On My Radar: 5 Things Working On 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Taught Me

Playing Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine is my first regular TV gig, so I learn something new literally ev-er-y day on set. Oooo, this is how they shoot driving scenes! or Holy shit, the lighting crew can make/break how an actor looks! There’s so much new information to absorb; I’m like a giant baby soaking up my new world. (FULLY POTTY TRAINED THOUGH I SWEAR). Here are a handful of my favorite lessons so far:

1. Andre Braugher has a great voice.

Andre Braugher has a great voice.

Can’t the Juilliard alum, Emmy-winning, classically trained and highly regarded actor that so many people know and love (especially middle aged white ladies… what is up with middle aged white ladies loving Andre so much??) leave some talent for the rest of us? NOPE. No, he can’t. Because he also has a gorgeous singing voice. How do I know? Because his dressing room is three doors down from mine and he belts out rock n’ roll and soul at the top of his lungs when I am trying to nap on our lunch breaks. But do I care? NOPE. Because I lay in the dark of my dressing room and listen to the actor I know and love from Homicide and Glory sing “I been drankin’” and all is right with the world.

2. Craft services will tempt you with the fruits of the Devil.

Craft services will tempt you with the fruits of the Devil. 

And the Devil has the best fruits – aka delicious carb-y snacks! Pastries and muffins with sparkly sugary crusts in the a.m., non-stop candies and mini chocolates (THINK HALLOWEEN), little bags of kettle cooked chips and popcorn, bagels and cream cheese, sodas and diet sodas, a cheese platter stacked high with scrumptious, slightly sweaty slices of cheddar, and so much other stuff that comes and goes all day I’M PRETTY SURE JOSH THE CRAFT SERVICE GUY IS A MAGICIAN. Here’s the thing though: we are not at a magic show or a special party. This is everyday, Monday through Friday, at work. And though I love cheese and I love sweets, both exacerbate my skin issues (read: zits) and have the potential to make my belly ache (read: gluten allergy). So I enlisted the help of a health coach, and one of the main things she’s taught me is to be calm and enjoy lighter/healthier fare crafty has to offer – nuts, rice cakes with nut butters, sparkling waters, and Kombucha. Because getting a big zit suuuuuucks regardless, but especially when it’s broadcast on TVs nationwide – plus we all know those mini chocolates have that gross waxy coating on them anyway. 

3. Expensive jeans are worth it.

Expensive jeans are worth it.

Look, never in my life have I paid more than $60 bucks for a pair of jeans. TOPS. But turns out it’s true, what you’ve read in every fashion magazine ever: pay a little more and you get better tailoring and better quality denim. The kind of denim with STREEEEETCH. For your beautiful womanly, Latina hips and butt. A good pair acts like Spanx and is a wonderful investment in yourself. After just ONE week on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, strutting around in pricey designer jeans from wardrobe and feeling like a million perfectly-sculpted bucks… that’s right: I went out and bought TWO pairs. 

4. Having no control over when I am allowed to go to the bathroom makes me crazy.


Having no control over when I am allowed to go to the bathroom makes me crazy.

All day at work, there are tons of people on our crew working ridiculously hard to get our shots and our actors ready. The amount of coordination it takes to shoot a television show is mind-numbing. There are so many things that have to be exactly right to create the correct environment for a single shot, let alone a whole scene or the full episode. So when everything is ready (lights/camera/action/extras/hair/makeup/props/sound) and then all of the sudden I have to pee like a racehorse, that is an urge that I have to suppress. Because I know if I leave, EVERYONE is going to have to wait on me – not just the other actors in the scene, but the 100+ other people whose job it is to make us look and sound good. Sometimes I wind up waiting for hours. And when that happens, I’m like a little kid doing a pee dance, just hopping around on one foot and desperately begging the AD with my eyes when are we going to have 3 minutes for me to relieve my pain?! (Also, the bathroom is way over in another building, so YAY!)

5. Chelsea Peretti and Melissa Fumero are angels from heaven.

Chelsea Peretti and Melissa Fumero are angels from heaven.

Every day on set I learn more from and about them, and therefore more about myself. They are hilarious, supportive, vulnerable, and lovable – the best work BFFs I could have asked for. Every time one of them nails something in a scene, it feels like a victory for me. Maybe another combo of women would have created a competitive feeling (DON’T YOU REMEMBER MEAN GIRLS, YOU GUYS??), but not so with these two. I can go to them for advice, and they help me see things from another perspective. Recently, I asked Mel a question and then finished with a “sorrrrry.” She told me to stop apologizing for myself and I immediately thought SHIT, she’s right, I do that all the time. I may not have been able to see that if it had come from another close friend, but there’s something about the work friendship dynamic that’s really special and enlightening in that way. And I’ve got their backs, too. I have a deep desire to see these women succeed and fly in every aspect of their lives. ANGELS I TELL YOU.