Born in Mexico City 1966, Veronica Falcon has been in the film industry, acting and choreographing for almost 30 years. At 51 she has gained wisdom and industry experience, which has fuelled her with passion and inspiration to continue her journey as an actress. Veronica sits down with JW and shares with us what she’s learnt in the business, her views on ageism and feminism, and her advice on fulfilling your goals.
Building a career as a Mexican actress and working with some of the best directors in the country, she decided only quite recently to move to Hollywood to further pursue her dreams. Within only a short space of time she landed the leading role in the US hit series, based on the popular novel, ‘Queen of the South’. Playing the fiery character of Camila Vargas, who is the head of America’s most dangerous drug cartels in Dallas, TX.
Whilst growing up, it was your decision to leave your family to work hard on your dreams. What is it about acting in particular that made you choose such a path?
It’s simple. I just love it and am very passionate about it! I’m grateful that I can make a living as an actor. My love for it has to do with the fact that the craft is about people. As actors, we tell stories, stories about people. We play people, we become people and to do that we have to observe, travel, read, analyze, question, study and meet other people. Then we play. Like kids. So on one hand is intellectually stimulating and on the other is quite liberating. I find it fascinating. I love good stories and I am very passionate about great characters. It’s amazing for me, to dive into the complexities of us as human beings, the infinitesimal amount of stories that humans can spark and the mysteries of human nature, acting allows me to indulge in all that and to play, just as when I was a girl, well almost. As an actor I get to play in a safe “make believe” world and through that I have the opportunity to provoque, entertain or move other people.
Having left Mexico with the hopes of pursuing an acting career in Hollywood, within only a few months; you were able to land the role of Camila in ‘Queen on the South’. What’s been some of the most valuable lessons you’ve gathered being a part of the production?
I think perseverance pays off. I think one of the greatest lessons has been to never take anything for granted. You work hard for something, educate yourself, train, pay your dues, get lucky and then if you do you try to grab the opportunity & to honor it. But that doesn’t mean you are that special or that extraordinary. You can’t take it for granted, you have to wake up every day and play the character with the same commitment as the first day. Someone once told me that “The character finds the actor” I believe that can be accurate many times but I also believe that once the character found you as an actor is your job to make sure that he found a “treasure” and not a “carcass”. Maybe is not my best analogy but what I mean is that if you have the chance to play a character like Camila Vargas you better step up to it and try to deliver the best performance that you can every single time.
Being able to experience an insight into the world of Hollywood, did it match up to your previous expectations and ideas? Were there any areas of the industry that surprised you?
Yes & No. The problem with expectations is that reality usually shatters them. But that is not necessarily negative. I expected, hoped to get a challenging interesting job as an actor, I never expected to get one of the best & most challenging roles of my career within 9 months. I expected to have a hard time because I know how ageism is in the industry and so I did not expected to be playing one of the most sexually attractive roles in my career at 51. So yeah that surprised me a bit. Other expectations were fulfilled: I expected to find professional, talented peers & good scripts and I have, aside from Queen of the South I had the opportunity to work in the HBO series “Room 104” created by Jay & Mark Duplass an that was a “gift”, I knew how talented they are, I knew I got a great script and a good character to play but they exceeded even my expectations which were very high to begin with. And yes it is still surprising to see that in this day and age female directors, crewmembers & actors are still pigeonholed and fighting for equality. I was not expecting it like that, in that area we still have a long way to go there everywhere, not only in Hollywood.
What type of character would you love to play in the future?
Mostly I am interested in playing challenging roles, I love flawed characters, misfits, rebels, weridos, villains, specially when they are wisely constructed and I always enjoy very much to play physically challenging roles that require for me to transform my body. Transformation in terms of physicality is very alluring to me. But I’d also love to play a historical character and yes, I think it would be lots of fun to play a super villain in an action comic book based type film or series, I’ve never done that and I am guessing it would be a lot of fun.
Being a mother yourself, you’ve mentioned it is the thing that describes you first. But if you could have one message to give to the younger generation about holding onto their dreams, what would it be?
Well once you have a dream and you are holding on to it, grab it, hard, don’t let go and make it happen. Believe in it, believe in you despite everything or everyone who tries to discourage you. I truly believe that if the heart is in the right place, if one works hard & is focused on the goal it will happen, might take a while bit it will. But above all, once you have it, enjoy it, nurture it, share it & never ever ever take it for granted.