Judy Reyes on Playing A Maid: “My Mother Was A Maid and Their Stories Are Worth Telling” (EXCLUSIVE)

Hispanics in the entertainment industry have come a long way since the days we were subjected to playing bit parts that were pretty insignificant. Today, Latino actors can be anything they want to be, yet some view stereotypical roles as wrong since we, as a collective, have fought against having to play those roles.

We caught up with Judy Reyes, star of the upcoming Lifetime dramedy Devious Maids to talk about her upcoming role debuting this summer, working alongside fellow Latinas Dania Ramirez, Ana Ortiz, Roselyn Sanchez, and Edy Ganem, and why she is heading down to Miami later this week.

Congratulations on landing the role of Zoila Del Barrio on Devious Maids. It’s a bit controversial with so many Latina actresses trying to get away from the “maid” stereotype. What are your thoughts on this?

[Devious Maids] is going to be different because it has five Latina leads as opposed to the passing character with under five lines who is opening the door on the show. That's the big difference; we are the stars of the show. My mother was a very hard-working maid and their stories are worth telling. As Latinas we tend to be overly partial considering stereotypes. I'm interested in being naughty and edgy. We should really poke the bear and have a lot of fun with it and see where it goes!

What insight can you give us on your character Zoila?

[Zoila] has been the lifelong employee of Susan Lucci's character [Genevieve Delacourt]. [Delacourt] is this extremely flighty woman who has been through a series of marriages. They have a complex but humorous relationship. It's one of those relationships that you've seen portrayed not only cinematically but in real life where she is completely dependent of me and I've even raised her son Drew. Now my daughter [Valentina] is also working in the household and she is completely in love with [Delacourt’s] son and I'm not having it. In true Marc Cherry tradition, the show is very campy with some diva drama. It’s extremely funny stuff. 

You are currently wrapping episode nine and moving on to ten. Do you have a love interest yet?

My character has a romantic history with someone in [the Delacourt] family! I'm going to leave it at that. It's a little juicy, no?

What is the relationship like between Zoila and her fellow maids?

We have scenes where we get together weekly and dish about what is going on within the households. It's not terribly involved yet but I'm hopeful that either later on in the season or in the following season, should we get picked up, that we would get involved more intimately.

On Friday, March 15th you hosted the first-ever Orphaned Starfish Foundation Miami Gala. This is a charity very close to your heart. What can you tell us about it?

I'm heavily involved with the Orphaned Starfish Foundation which is a foundation that works with orphans all around Latin America, Haiti, and Africa helping them out of poverty through education. I met the foundations founder Andrew Stein a few years ago and I was really touched to learn about his dedication to the kids in my native Dominican Republic. I went with Andy to an orphanage in La Romana and it was an extraordinarily moving experience meeting the girls. They just want to you to hang out with them, they want affection; they want you to dance with them, talk to them and play volleyball. They want to know that you care; that you want to be their friend, and that you will come back. It's very overwhelming.

For more information on how to get involved with Orphaned Starfish, click here.