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Edy Ganem talks the new season of 'Devious Maids'

Edy Ganem plays Valentina Diaz on Lifetime's "Devious Maids". The series is executive produced by Eva Longoria and Marc Cherry.
Peter Svenson

Edy Ganem is a name you'll be hearing for a long time! Not only is she gorgeous and talented, but when speaking with her you instantly grasp a sense of great humility and dedication to her craft - all things that put her on the path to taking Hollywood by storm. The Modesto, California native can currently be seen starring as "Valentina Diaz" in the Eva Longoria/Marc Cherry executive produced series "Devious Maids", which revolves around five Latina maids working in the homes of the Beverly Hills elite. Ganem plays the youngest maid, who falls in love with her boss's (Susan Lucci) son (Drew Van Acker).
In addition to her breakout starring role on this hit Lifetime series, Ganem is also highly passionate about advocacy, and in our new interview talks about her desire to become a humanitarian and the responsibility she feels to use her voice to raise awareness to important causes. She also discusses what she's most enjoying about "Devious Maids", and the twists that lie ahead this new season!

What do you most enjoy about your role of Valentina on “Devious Maids”? She's an interesting girl. She's got a lot going on.

Edy- She really is. I actually was really, really excited to play her when I read the pilot. I was really loving everything that was going on with her. It's like a fantasy. I love movies with a message and movies that teach you something profound, but I also like film and TV that is just entertaining; is smart and witty but also makes you laugh. I love romantic comedies. I feel that I've been in a position before where I am watching a TV show or a film and it's kind of like, “'Oh my god! That's so sweet. I wish that would happen to me. That's so romantic.' Cute things that you would see happen to a couple. And I feel that Valentina has a lot of that going on. Valentina gets to experience the romance of pursuing somebody that she is in love with. Kind of like really just going for it even if it means going against everything her mother is telling her. Or even if it's against people thinking it's right or wrong, because there is a difference in the social class because Remi is rich and she's not. I really like that. And I like the fact that she's young and she's trying to save money to go to school and become a fashion designer. That's what she loves. That's her passion. And she is really determined to do it so I really like all that stuff about Valentina.
And for season two, it's changing. Valentina is not going to be living under Zoila's roof any longer. She is going to be going on her own. She is going to be working for a new employer so she's going to be more independent. And also, we get to see her get involved in this kind of love triangle situation. So that's even more fun for me now. I feel like all these fun things are happening to Valentina!

It sounds really good! I was going to ask what you can tell us about the future with her and Remi. So with someone new coming into the picture I assume things are about to get complicated?

Edy- Yes, we have a few new characters. And one of them is going to actually be a possible love interest. There is a little love triangle happening. We're still going to see Valentina and Remi but there is going to be a new person to the equation there.

That's going to be fun to watch! I like her storyline. On some levels I do think it was kind of a realistic storyline maybe how she fell in love with her employer's son. I just thought it was really interesting.

Edy- Yes, I think it happens a lot when you have someone who is a domestic working in a house like with Genevieve; if you see all the other households it's different. They're going behind your back or kind of like the typical parody rich person from Beverly Hills. But Genevieve, even though she's very aloof to many serious things about life, she's a sweet woman. So Zoila, her maid who is my mom, is like family to her. Zoila has worked for Genevieve for a long, long time. And they are really close to each other. So when the kids start growing up together, it's kind of like a family type thing. But Valentina is a few years younger than Remi. She's the girl, who is so romantic, and it becomes a thing where she likes him and I believe as she gets older, she realizes that she actually loves him. It's not just a crush. It's not going away for her. I feel like for her it was one of those things where she was young and so was he and then they started to become at that age, 15, 16, 17 when she started to realize that she liked him and then she realized, “I'm in love with him.” And then finally when she's 19 she tells him how she feels about him.

So since she is going to move out and work for someone new and she won't work with her mom anymore, are we going to see her be conflicted between fitting in with the typical Beverly Hills lifestyle and at the same time try to stick to her roots?

Edy- I think that no matter where she goes she's still who she is. It's just basically she's just living her life and she's just working. At the end of season one, we see her going to Africa to be with Remi, but in season two Valentina comes back. And there's still a lot of conflict with her and Zoila because Zoila still seems very controlling. So she just decides to say I'm not going to work with you anymore, I'm going to get a job. She gets a job as a maid with another household, but it's still with the purpose of saving money so she can go to school and move forward. It's just kind of one of those things but she's not really changing who she is. I feel like she's always pretty down-to-earth and she knows who she is.

Well you're working with some great talent on this show. Judy Reyes, who plays your mom, and also Susan Lucci, and of course, Eva Longoria is the executive producer of the show. Have you learned something special from working with them? They have all been so successful in the industry.

Edy- Yes, I feel like through working and getting to know them, the more I get to know them the more I realize, (I feel that I always knew this but it just reinforces) you still have to remain humble. No matter how far you go. I see these women and they're just so down-to-earth, and so nice and so wonderful. It's just such a nice experience to work with them. People like Susan Lucci and Eva Longoria who are so famous, so big, and everybody knows who they are, and they remain so humble. So I think that's just a big lesson to learn within the industry: you're under the lime light, and everyone wants to know about you and take a picture with you, and talk about you, and you still manage to remain who you are. So I'm so blessed. Because it's my first thing going in with big talent and all these women that have been working for so long and I feel so welcome. Everyone does.

I know you have played various roles in the past, but as you mentioned this is your first time being a regular on a show. How have you grown as an actress and a person from playing this character and being on “Devious Maids”?

Edy- I have definitely learned a lot from working with all the women and everyone. You're on this set everyday so it's more about the small things you learn everyday being an actor, being on the set and how the day-to-day work is developed and all of that. But I also feel that I have learned a lot about the other things that are a part of being an actor in the industry and when you're on a show that is successful. I feel I have been exposed to things that I hadn't been exposed to before. Like interviews like this (Laughs)! I feel that I have learned a lot about expressing myself better and about communicating, and to just feel the confidence of who you are when you attend events. Because you're attending all these events, and you're going to all these red carpets, and you're meeting people and they're asking you questions, and it can be a little intimating and a little overwhelming; so I think you learn to be a little more comfortable with who you are. You learn more about who you are. Sometimes people ask you things and you're like, 'Oh gosh, I never thought about that.' You have an introspective moment where you realize a little bit better who you are and what you stand for. And also, a lot of the events you attend are charity events. For me, personally, that allowed me to realize that I want to do more philanthropic work like Eva Longoria. I want to follow in her footsteps. She's been great about welcoming me into her world and introducing me to a lot of people. I was able to realize that I definitely want to make sure that I use my voice as it gets bigger and bigger in the world for good.

Yes, speaking of charities, I read you are passionate about advocacy and activism. Tell me about that.

Edy- Mainly I have actually been getting involved with an organization called MALDEF. It's a Latino organization. And I would like to get involved with charities that have to do with children, or homelessness, or education, or all of them together. I've been kind of getting started. And I definitely want to do as much as I can - maybe create my own foundation. So I feel like little by little I'm trying to learn so I can keep it going and not just sit there and not do anything. Because I feel like if you are an actor, or a singer, or a performer, people are listening to you and you should be able to help the world in a way. People are listening to you so you have a voice.

Yes, definitely! I always say everyone's voice matters and everyone can make a difference.

Edy- Exactly. Even if you feel like this is so small, it counts. No matter what you're doing. I feel that everyone has something different that moves them or that appeals to them. Maybe something in your family or maybe something in your life that happened that really pushes you for a specific cause- as long as there is something that you're doing. I feel that we're moving in a better direction.

If you could go travel back in time and spend a day in the life of anyone from history, who would it be and why?

Edy- I'm kind of fixated with old Hollywood, like Marilyn Monroe. And I always wonder- just because right now everything is so intuited with emails. For actors right now if there's an audition, we get an email. Or even a phone call, like “Can you go here right now?” It's all in a quick moment. “Here is your script; this is your audition for tomorrow.” So I don't know why I always wonder, how was it when Marilyn Monroe was an actress? Thinking of that movie THE ARTIST; if anyone ever needed to reach anyone, I'm just thinking they didn't have cell phones, they didn't have internet, they didn't have email, so I always wonder how it was back then where you had to be home if you needed to get a phone call otherwise people couldn't get a hold of you. You would be like call me, but you would have to be home. And if you have an audition, it's one of those things I saw in THE ARTIST, they send them the script. But somebody had to drive it to their house and receive it in person as a hard copy. I always wondered how it was back then.
But if I had to say someone more meaningful that really impacted history, I would really like to see how it was to be Dr. Martin Luther King, because it's one of those moment's that didn't happen too long ago yet it's kind of crazy to believe that there was segregation and that people in America had to fight for the right to be equal and have the freedom to have what people had. And to stand up to your society, to your government, to speak and know that there are a lot of people that don't agree with what you're saying, that don't believe in what you're saying, they're completely 100% against you, and so much so that they actually attempt to kill you; and still fight for your beliefs because you know your beliefs are what is right and how it should be no matter what. He knew he lived in the time where what he was doing he it was going to have to be in the future. He was giving for his children. I can't even imagine how it would be to live something like that. Just being so noble to dedicate your life to such a big cause and die for it. So I know they're two totally different worlds and people! But sometimes you wonder!

Yes, two different icons in their respective fields. But yes, he stood up for something that changed the world.

Edy- Yes. And it's like now everyone gets to experience what it is. You look back and you can't believe that it wasn't like this before. I mean for me it's even so hard to believe that they even had to fight for that. I think in the future people are going to look back and say I can't believe that gay and lesbian people had to fight to be able to get married. It's going to be like I can't believe that used to be the case where they couldn't. But right now we're living it and that's how it used to be back then and they fought for it.

Any final thoughts you would like to share?

Edy- I'm on Instagram and Twitter: @EdyGanem. I love sharing pictures from either from my life and from the set when I'm filming the show. I love, love interacting with the fans. Also, when the show airs we do the live-tweeting!

The new season of “Devious Maids” premieres Sunday, April 20 at 10 PM EST on Lifetime.

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