EXCLUSIVE: Zulay Henao Talks 'The Single Moms Club' & Latinos in Hollywood

Zulay Henao in the Single Moms Club

Was there any scene in particular that you would deem as one the hardest for you to pull in emotionally?

Yeah. There’s a scene in the movie with Eddie Cibrian, who plays my ex-husband. He’s also a very talented and just an awesome actor. But there’s a scene in the film where I’m finally confronting him and getting my independence back. I had a very long talk with Tyler about it. Another thing about Tyler that I think I’ve mentioned in interviews before is that he’s extremely intuitive. He managed to [tell] me things about myself that were very true – that we were able to use in that scene. But that was a really hard scene for me to pull from emotionally. Maybe because there were some truths to some of that going on in my own life, not with an ex-husband, but with maybe a relationship that was ending. It was very interesting and it was very challenging.

Some say that women can’t have it all. What are your thoughts on that?

I completely disagree. I think we can have it all. I don’t think that it’s fun to be one-faceted and to just be a mother or to just have a career. I don’t want to believe that for  myself. I want to believe that I can have a career and have a family and hopefully have a husband. Not hopefully – I will require that.

I will require someone that wants to build a team with me. I don’t think it’s impossible.  I think that sometimes it is hard because when you have two people who are working jobs -- having two careers -- kids, it gets challenging. But that’s the beautiful thing about when you start a family, that’s your support group. That’s who you go to. That’s who you fix problems with. And I aspire to have that one day.

No doubt that you will. What’s next for you after this film? What do you have coming up?

Right now we’re in the middle of pilot season. I am working on doing more TV. I’m really just excited for the movie to open and [staying] open to the plans that God has for me. I’m just taking it day-by-day. I feel very humbled and very excited and just happy to be living my dream, so I’m open to the beautiful things that God has coming my way.

Awesome. So we wanted to tap your mind for a minute on the topic of Latinos in Hollywood. Rita Moreno recently said that the door was open for us in Hollywood but not as open as it could be. Not directly quoting her right, but that’s generally the gist of her statement. She believes that we need to support each other more.

We do.

What do you think we could do to keep opening that door wider for us to have even more opportunities?

We’re the fastest growing demographic in the country, and I think it’s so important for us to support each other. There’s a cultural shift and there’s just so many more facets opening up. My experiences now as an adult are not the same as what my parents had when they first came here. So I think that we need to really take that and hold that with responsibility because we are a strong force. We are growing exponentially. There are so many more [Latino] men and women who are doing so many things. I think it’s important for us to show that. I think that our roles could grow more on television and in the mainstream media and I feel honored to be a part of [that].

I’m growing every day and evolving as a woman and as an artist, but I’m hoping that I will have the opportunity to take on those bigger and more – not important roles – but to show a different side of us and showcase the value of Latino Americans in this country because we are amazing right now. We are rocking it right now! We have a lot of women, not just in entertainment, but in politics. We are doing so many amazing things, and I’m just really proud.

That’s a great answer – love it! Who are some Latinos you look up to or admire?

When I did my first movie with Jennifer Lopez, I remember thinking of her and holding her on this pedestal. And I still do. I think she’s such an amazing artist. She’s multi-faceted and she’s broken so many boundaries. But I think it changes it all the time. I admire different actors for different reasons, but I don’t only just admire entertainers. I admire people of power and conviction who follow their dreams and who make things happen in their own personal lives -- Sonya Sotomayor [for example]. I admire my mother. I admire people who don’t just exist. That’s what I admire. I admire people who challenge themselves to grow in whatever professional line they’re in. I just admire powerful people of purpose and conviction.

Wonderful. Any last words for our readers?

I just want to say I hope you guys like the movie! Go see it March 14. Yes, William [Levy] is going to have his shirt off in one really long scene. I think you guys are really going to enjoy it.

Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club hits theaters this Friday, March 14! Are you heading out to see it?