‘Southland’ Actress Carmen Corral Talks Banda Music & Hot Scenes with Ben McKenzie (EXCLUSIVE)

Tell us about your childhood. Did you grow up around a lot of Latinos?

My parents are from el rancho, you know? We spoke only Spanish at home. Chicago’s known for its large immigrant communities. There were Mexican, Polish and Puerto Rican people in the neighborhood. I love Mexican music. When you see me, you wouldn’t think I’d be pounding banda music, but I grew up with a live corrido at every party. My dad and his brothers are musicians. That’s a part of me I’m so proud to come from.

You’re also a dancer. Do tell.

Yes, salsa and bachata. I started when I was 25 as a hobby. I was going through a breakup and the only time I could forget about everything was when I was dancing. I became addicted. I didn’t stop for two years and now I teach on the side.

Tell us about this passion project of yours.

I wrote a dance film based on my experiences in the L.A. salsa scene. It’s in Spanish and English and the first time I submitted it to Sundance it got into the semifinalist round so that gave me hope. I know I have a story. I just gotta keep working on the script. The next step is to resubmit it to Sundance with all the notes I got from my screenwriting class.

Catch Carmen Corral on Southland Wednesdays on TNT at 10/9C