In her first-ever live audience interview, Luisa Rubino sits down with host Brian Calle for an exclusive interview on the L.A. Weekly Weekly Podcast.
One of the most striking impressions one gathers when face to face with the young actress is how impressively down-to-earth she is. One of the most famous Mexican-born TV actresses to grace U.S. screens, fame and talent haven’t affected her sweet and shy demeanor. Sitting down with her feels like sitting down with a friendly classmate or coworker who just happens to play a leading role in American hits like Narcos: Mexico and Fugitiva. She has also been a series regular on Caer en Tentación, Como Dice el Dicho and La Rosa de Guadalupe, making her a household name to many.
“You know, it’s funny, because I’m an actress and I’ve done this since I was very young – 5 years – and I always get nervous,” she shares.
A lot of people would think that because she’s been on screen for years playing a myriad of strong female roles, that public speaking would be a breeze. But no, stage fright still exists for even the most venerated of talent.
She’s learned to take her nervousness and turn it into energy, which has led to her success. Auditions are especially nerve-wracking, she explains, as you have the immense pressure of giving not only a stellar performance, but the perfect first-impression … as defined by whomever you are auditioning for. The constant moving of the needle for who you need to be based on the role and director you are auditioning for makes this career not one where you can succumb to nervousness. Rubino and her industry colleagues have all had to put in the hard – and sometimes painful – work to ignore the sharp sting of anxiety and funnel that acute energy into confidence.
Covid has changed the industry to make the audition process even harder. In a room alone with only your screen and whoever is on it, actors and actresses no longer have the same support/cues that they once did when in a room full of directors and crew. While talent was once able to adjust their audition based on reading body language and receiving support from casting directors, they are now left to figure it out themselves, using intuition to guide them.
“Now with Covid and the pandemic, auditions in the room stopped – I don’t know if it’s going to ever be as it was [again] – and now it’s a lot of self-tapes and castings over Zooms,” Rubino describes. “As an actor, it’s tricky because you don’t have someone – the director maybe, or someone from production – telling you what they want [from] the character, the role… so it’s kind of hard. You have to use your imagination. You have to take your imagination as far as you can and give your shot.”
“Before, you would just step into the room, bless yourself and say ‘ok let’s go,’” she laughs.
Admittedly, audition rooms are awkward – standing in front of five or six people just staring at you – but the ability to read those poker faces and become the exact character casting wants is what sets actors apart from the rest of us. Raw talent and an almost superhuman ability to regulate emotion are necessary to make it in Hollywood as Rubino has.
Born in Mexico City to Argentinian parents, Rubino split her time between both places growing up.
Living as foreigners in a different country took a toll on the young family at times, which caused them to move back and forth from Mexico and Argentina throughout Rubino’s early childhood. When her younger brother was born, the family settled in Mexico up until four years ago, when the actress moved to Spain to film a television show.
“I lived in Spain for almost a year. I could say it was the best year in my life,” Rubino shares. “I learned a lot, I became more professional, more responsible. It was the first time ever that I stepped out of my house – stepped out of my mama’s wing – and went to a different country and different continent.”
How did she find herself living her dream in one of the most exciting cities – Madrid – in the world? Acting is in her blood, as her father used to be an actor and she would accompany him to his work.
“Argentinians in Mexico, they had nowhere to leave me when I was a baby. With no one: not a grandmother, not an aunt, no friends, anyone. So my dad used to take me to his projects when he would be on set – my mother used to be a model back in the day as well and she would take me to the runway – so [the industry] is something that I saw and experienced from a very young age,” she says. “My first two commercials were when I was a baby!”
“At the age of five I started asking – you know I really wanted to act – I was asking my parents, ‘Hey, I want to study this, I want to be this, I want to become an actress when I grow up,’” she continues. They were kind of surprised but agreed to support her until she grew out of the acting bug and wanted to stop. Except it never stopped. With her dream realized so early, she knew she could make it to the top and had no intention of quitting.
“I really wanted this,” Rubino states simply.
So being the badass she is, she went out and got it.
From modeling to acting, she asked about everything involved in the process. From camera types to film styles, she grew in her knowledge and confidence to become who she is today. At 23, she’s not done growing, and hopes to direct someday.
Was there a moment where she realized she had made it? Yes, she tells us, when she landed her part in the Netflix smash-hit Narcos: Mexico.
Rubino has joined the Narcos: Mexico cast as Andrea Nuñez, an idealistic and ambitious young journalist whose mission to expose local corruption in the new generation of kingpins brings her to an even bigger story than she ever anticipated. Debuting on Netflix on November 5, Rubino will play a leading role in the beginning of the end of the Narcos saga.
From how COVID has changed the audition and casting process to becoming a leading Mexican-born television actress in the notoriously cutthroat American industry, tune into this week’s episode of the L.A. Weekly Weekly Podcast to learn more about this incredible young talent.