Newcomer Angelique Rivera is making her splash on the small screen in a big way!
The actress is starring in the highly acclaimed ABC series American Crime as Evy, a teenage girl with a dark past. Raised in Kissimmee, a small town outside of Orlando, Rivera has been acting since she was 8-years-old. The rising starlet got into acting after going to watch her friend in a theater troop production of Annie. "I realized that is what I wanted to do; I wanted to be up there and be able to incorporate musical theatre, dance, singing, so acting was perfect," she explained.
Rivera decided to attend the University of Florida to pursue a B.A. from the Acting Program. "It didn’t really occur to me until college when I started seeing more Latina actresses on TV and in film that I thought to myself ‘I can do this.’" She took this to heart and moved out to L.A. where she hit the ground running.
We spoke to the young actress all about her role in the second season of American Crime, the Latina in Hollywood that she looks up to the most, and more.
Read it all in our exclusive interview below:
Why do you think it’s important to be a Latina in your field?
I think its important for young men, women, girls and boys who are watching TV that they see themselves on the screen and I never really had that growing up. I didn’t think this industry would have allowed that to happen and now things are changing. We are here, we are the fastest growing ethnic group in America like we belong here just as much as anyone else does and we should have the opportunity to follow our dreams too and have equal opportunity. I hope I will get different opportunities one day so people can see that we are more than just the gang leaders or the maids or you know these stereotypical Latin roles that are so overplayed at this point. We are so much more complex than that and yes there are Latinos that are maids and gang leaders and those other things. We are also doctors, lawyers, and politicians and all these other things that don’t really get displayed as much.
Who is the Latina Actress that you admire the most?
I love Gina Rodriguez, I really do. Once I stumbled upon an article where she was talking about that and hearing what she wanted to do for the Latin community, I was completely drawn to her words. She has the same mission I have; she wants to do exactly what I am doing. She’s been in the business much longer than I have and she’s been fighting for so long to have these opportunities. It just so amazing to see how far she has come and what kind path she has created for me for other young Latina artists.
Talk to us about your audition for American Crime.
I auditioned for American Crime in July and then I got a call from my manager saying I got a call back for the next day and I was so excited that I never got a call back for anything so I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is real!” John Ridley, Michael McDonald who was another Executive Producer and Kim Coleman, the casting director were all in there. We chatted that up before and he told me before I started my audition, “if the acting is good, the acting is good and I am not going to give you notes and we will move on and if I feel I need to say something I will.” And I was like ‘okay well lets do this,’ and we did the first scene. I always approach the scene with what I know and reading the scene over and over again, I wasn’t trying to memorize it I was just trying to understand. I broke the scene down and read it over and over again finding new things every time and by the time I go in I have the slides in my lap just because I didn’t fully know words. John Ridley comes up to me and takes the slides out of my lap and says ‘you don’t need these’ and he throws them away and he gives me notes and the next time I did them the scene by the end I was just bawling. It was one of those acting experiences that you just think ‘this is why I do this, this is what I am meant to do, I’m meant to be here right now’ It was amazing to show John Ridley he can trust me with this character. It felt like the stars aligned and everything felt right. If they don’t give me this role it was not because of my acting it was because of something else. I felt it was mine I felt confident and a couple days later I found out I booked it.
What can you tell us about the second season of American Crime?
I don’t know what I can tell you (laughing). It’s a lot different from the last season, its different in look. It’s different in the fact that Felicity, Regina, and the others are playing extremely different characters from the first season. I really think this season is going to hit it home for a lot of people. My character is struggling with finances; she’s very poor in every sense of the word. And she has a lot to over come in her family life and romantic relationships.
What has it been for you working with the rest of the cast?
I love the cast, it’s a big group but all of our storylines are kind of separate. I mainly work with Lily Taylor who by the way is just the most amazing actress and person I have met. She is just beyond, she is like five foot two but when she comes into the room she just demands your presence, she has all this energy and in her acting she just demands so much of you that its wonderful working with her. She is just so sweet and she has taken time outside of set to talk to me, bond a little bit and give me advice, she’s been much of a mentor to me and very much appreciate her and Connor, my other cast mate that I work with the most. He’s great, he’s smart cookie he really is smart and its nice working with him and seeing his process and of course I don’t know all of it but just growing with him, seeing how’s he’s changing everything we work together its interesting.
What can you tell us about your character(Evy)?
Evy is very family oriented; she’s loyal as heck. She is strong, she doesn’t put up with a lot of bullshit. She is very different than me in appearance, she doesn’t care. It’s not a priority she doesn’t have the resources to look pretty, its not part of her life to wear makeup. She can’t afford makeup; she can’t afford all these things that other girls have. She doesn’t really connect with other girls as much, doesn’t want to have girlfriends, she’s very much a bro. Guys like her because she’s like them. So I don’t know what’s going happen with (Evy). I know that she’s always going to be strong, loyal, family oriented girl she’s always been. Yeah, it was crazy but it shows you that you never really know what’s going to happen or how fast your life is going to change on an instant. It was just so amazing and no one had ever said yes to me and yes I’d only been doing it for six months but still it went from no one saying anything to me to just booking a role like it was this huge extreme change but I am incredibly grateful and I love what I do I am so happy!
Make sure to catch Angelique Rivera on American Crime tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC