I recently met the lovely Giselle Rodriguez at the Lifetime Premiere of "Little Girl Lost ÔÇô The Delimar Vera story" starring her mother, Marlene Forte. She's following her mother's footsteps as an actor.
Q: I am a big fan of your mother's work. I've heard her career has really taken off and that she recently was hired for the upcoming Star Trek film. Can you tell me about that?
A: She will be playing the Chief Transporter of the USS Enterprise. They just finished shooting in LA and we actually can't talk too much about it. But what I can say is that she is featured in a very pivotal moment in the film.
Q: So the film was shot in LA?
A: Yes, and it comes out on May 8, 2009
Q: You are an actress too.
A: That's right and I'm also a writer. I am an editor for an industry magazine that will be coming out in New York and will be called, "The Biz".
Q: Was your decision to become an actress, something that was encouraged by your Mom or do you feel that it was in your blood?
A: My mother tried everything she could to deter my decision to be an actor. I've always been a very good writer and everyone always encouraged that side of me. I don't know if it is in my blood but I fell in love with the craft of acting since I was always around it. I grew up around actors who were working very hard and now they are very successful.
Q: Tell me about your training.
A: Most of my training has been from just doing it. I've been offered opportunities to do readings here in NYC. I did go to Montclair State University and earned my BA.
Q: How old were you when you started acting?
A: I booked my first audition when I was 7 years old. And then I decided to continue my education. I didn't start acting again until after college. But, I was lucky enough to be around it because of my Mom. There were tough times; I saw the struggle and I really questioned whether I wanted to be an actor. The public only sees the glamorous side of it and they don't realize that it's really a tough business. It's one of the toughest businesses to be in because you are facing rejection constantly. As actors, you are at the bottom of the totem pole, with no control, no power. If I learned anything from growing up in this business, it's that I didn't want to wait for somebody else to tell me it was my turn.
Q: Is there anyone else in the Latino community, besides your mother, who inspired you to become an actor?
A: I would say her friends, like Judy Reyes. Friends like David Zayas, who is on Dexter. David's wife, actor Liza Colon Zayas was also wonderfully supportive. Lidia Ramirez, an incredible actor and writer. Lidia was one of the first people I met who wrote and acted. These people inspired me, not just in my craft, but also in how to be happy.
Q: What upcoming projects do you have?
A: A horror film called, "Blood Night". I only have a bit part in it. I have a few commercials running right now. I have the lead in a new play called, "The Newlyweds" which opens in May, here in New York. I have two short films coming out and I may be coming out for the Los Angeles Film Festival for "Sandman's Box". And I am doing the play, "The Vagina Monologues" for charity on March 20.
Q: What was the toughest audition you've been on?
A: The play, "In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings". I think I was 15 at the time and auditioned for Philip Seymour Hoffman. I was so panicked because I wanted to do a good job and not disappoint anyone. Ana Ortiz actually ended up getting the role.
Q: I understand you have taken on the role of Associate Producer in "Send Off". How did this come about?
A: I did a film a few years ago called "Glow Ropes: The Rise and Fall of a Bar Mitzvah Emcee" and hit it off with the director, George Valencia. He and Judy Reyes have given me the opportunity to do production work. George helped me and gave me a chance to work on this project. I realize that I want to work hard and I appreciate the opportunities I've been given.
Q: Do you remember how you got your SAG card?
A: Yes, I got involved with a casting director, Elsie Stark from Stark Naked Productions. She continued to call me in and I booked enough commercials to earn my SAG card. I was 20 years old and it was wonderful.
Q: What would you say to our readers who wish to become involved in the Entertainment Industry? What advice can you pass along?
A: If there is anything else that you can do to make you happy, do it. However, if you must do this business, then don't give up. Make sure that you pick something that you will excel in. Do your best. Give it your best and give it 110%. You are not guaranteed success; it's a really tough business.
Congratulations to you and your mother, Marlene on your continued success.