Gabriela is a bilingual actress and producer based in Atlanta. She is represented by Avery Sisters Entertainment.
Where are you from originally and how did you get into acting?
I am from Santiago, Chile. I’ve wanted to be an actress since I was 10-years-old. But back in Chile, the opportunities are very minimal. So when I moved to the United States, I worked for maybe 15 years in different fields but realized that I didn’t want to die without trying to follow my dreams. So I quit my job and have pursued acting since.
How did you end up in Atlanta?
Because of my boyfriend at that time who is my husband today. We met in Florida and then he got a job here in Atlanta. We moved here together.
Was he supportive that you wanted to act?
How did you go about starting to act?
One day I turned on the radio and heard a commercial about this company called 21st?? Century. They train you in acting and put you in a showcase in front of all the local agents. I did that and that’s how I got my agent.
Have you been doing any other training since?
Yes, I’ve studied with Michael Cole and numerous other people in town.
Do you do anything outside acting to supplement your income?
Luckily, my husband has a great job. If not, not sure I’d have been able to pursue this career. That being said, I also landed a job as a stand-in. And I took it because I wanted to be part of the industry and learn set etiquette and all that. So I worked as a stand-in on the show Necessary Roughness. That way, I had a little bit extra money even though the hours were crazy. That’s how I started. But I’ve always worked part-time. It’s not like I was the main breadwinner in the family. So that was kind of lucky for me. I also joined the IATSE 479 union (for technicians and crew) and so now I work at craft services as well.
What do you do in terms of marketing and networking?
That’s why I work in craft services and as a stand-in, to connect with people in the industry. Working on big sets, I meet with the producers, directors and casting directors. I’m very good friends with a lot of them. That’s my way of networking.
Do you think your ethnicity is a challenge in Atlanta or does it help you find the roles easier?
Being Hispanic and speaking Spanish has been a benefit, no doubt about that. But, also it’s a big challenge, because in this industry they stereotype you so much that if you don’t look the way they think a Hispanic woman should look, they will not cast you. My looks are pretty much like a white person. So I have done tons of commercials with no lines because I can look like a white person. However, when I speak I do have an accent so that’s a bit of a challenge for me.
Do you have any plans to move to New York or L.A.?
I have to see how things pan out. My focus is changing right now. I started as an actress and it’s something I’m passionate about. But I’m also moving to producing more. I just finished producing my second project. It’s a short. And we’re going to turn it into a feature. So I don’t think it is necessary for me at this moment to move, because things are going back and forth between acting and producing.
How do you deal with rejection? How do you stay positive and motivated?
In the beginning, when I started with the acting career, the rejection really affected me. I took it personally. I thought I did something wrong. I always blamed myself. But over time you learn it has nothing to do with you. There could be so many different reasons why they didn’t choose you. And now with producing, I care even less if somebody rejects me, because I always have my own project and team I am working with.
What do you wish someone had told you at the beginning of your career?
I think the path that I’m going through right now is the path that I need to learn what I am. I do wish I had had some mentoring about what to do at every step, how to brand myself.
But that’s why I’m producing right now. The idea is to do projects with a good message behind it and not just a project for me to shine in. I want others also to shine. The project has to be meaningful. You have to feel you contributed to something in society.