Starlet Hayley Orrantia opens up about typical day on-set of The Goldbergs, her journey on The X-Factor, and writing lyrics
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY TJ Manou
- Los Angeles, California
Starlet Hayley Orrantia talks exclusively with We Blab Entertainment Magazine about a typical work day on-set of The Goldbergs, and her journey on The X-Factor. Hayley also opens up about how she personally writes lyrics for her music.
Congratulations on the huge phenomenon of "The Goldbergs" on ABC, which, was recently renewed for seasons 5 & 6. Having grown up in the late 80's culture "The Goldbergs" reminded me of my own family with the fashion, and attitude. Can you take us threw your audition process for Erica Goldberg?
I actually was the first person they saw for the role of Erica! I received the audition from my agent while I was driving into California with my dad for pilot season back in February of 2013. As soon as we arrived I put myself on tape for it and soon after received a callback. The Goldbergs was also my first screen test ever so I definitely got lucky. The best part of this story is that I have heard that it came down to me and one other girl.
They originally went with her until an intern in the back of the screen test room fought for me. She apparently made a compilation of my personal YouTube videos where I was being my goofy self and the producers decided to take a chance on me despite my limited resume. I have been so grateful to work on such an amazing show for four years now and hopefully many to come!
You grew-up in Highland Village, Texas singing at the age of just nine years old R&B, and pop music which, eventually lead to writing with songwriter Jamie Houston from the (High School Musical series). How did you get started in the music business, and what made you decided moving to Los Angeles was your next step to stardom?
Music has always been a first love for me. It all started when a family friend heard me singing in the car along to the radio and suggested I take it more seriously. Over the next few years I performed all across the DFW metroplex and made incredible connections through my music school. Eventually those connections led me to Jamie.
Jamie introduced me to a bunch of labels in NYC and LA where they suggested I get some sort of "platform" to further my music career, like a television show. That is ultimately how I ended up acting and booked The Goldbergs. I happened to move to Los Angeles around the same time I booked the show. I really feel like it has all been fate the way it has worked out in my life.
The first time I personally became aware of your name was on the first season of "The X Factor", and I remember thinking Hayley is going to be a big star. Your appearance on The Which, eventually led to you be eliminated during the fifth week, but I'm sure it was a one of kind experience. What was your personal experience like being on the "The X Factor", and what did you learn from being on the show?
My journey on The X Factor is one I hope to write about someday. To sum it up, however, it was a whirlwind of emotion and excitement. I met some lifelong friends on that show and I learned so much about the way the industry works, good and bad. I learned that, as an artist, you cannot allow other people to dictate what kind of music speaks to you.
There will be countless people fighting to push you in one direction and while there are times they could be right about it, you have to follow your instincts because your journey to find your sound will come in time. It's been almost six years since my time on The X Factor, but i can still vividly remember my experience and treatment on the show. It shaped me into the artist I am today in so many ways.
On "The Goldbergs" set in yhe 1980's you play Erica Goldberg the older sister of Berry, and Adam whom is extremely popular, fashion crazy, mostly cares about boys, and loves to torture her brothers. What dose a typical day on-set look like, and how has your character evolved over the years?
A typical day on set requires about a 5:30 AM wake up call to be on set for an hour and a half of hair and makeup. After quickly shoveling breakfast and coffee in my face and memorizing my lines for the next scene, it's on to set where we put the scene on it's feet. We do one rehearsal before the crew sets up lighting and then we film that scene anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the scene. Our work hours and be anywhere from 5 hours to 12 hours in one day. It's kind of crazy schedule, but in the end it's all so worth it! Erica has evolved in so many ways over the last four years. Erica is actually based on creator & producer, Adam F Goldberg's, older brother, Eric. Because of the age gap between the real life brothers and the fact he didn't have an older sister,
Adam didn't have as many stories to start the show off involving Erica. I am actually thankful for that because I believe it gave the writers a lot of freedom when writing about Erica. She's always been headstrong, wise and the-middle-man of the family, much like Eric Goldberg. However, the writers have since added her musical ability once they saw my interest in wanting to do both. I believe it has really worked in the favor of the show & definitely for my career to be able to do both music and acting. Now that Erica is headed to college and chasing her dreams, the writers have a whole new playground to work with on the show.
In 2011 you started in the independent comedy "Cooper and the Castle Hills Gang", where you played Penny the mean sassy older sister of Cooper who, comes-up with a devious plan to foil her little brother's quest to find a family heirloom. Do you have any memories filming in Lewisville, Texas and what do you hope kids who just discover the movie take away?
I think working on Cooper and the Castle Hills Gang was a perfect transition for me into the acting world, especially since it was filmed in my hometown. I was actually a junior in high school during filming which was difficult for my schedule, but I learned so much. It was such a well produced movie and everyone involved was so incredibly kind that I could not have asked for a better first experience.
I hope that when people watch it, it can be an enjoyable family friendly movie that brings them together. I hope they can appreciate all the time and love put into that project and also the features that the movie highlighted about Castle Hills. Overall it was a fun and educational experience that I will never forget.
One of my favorite episodes of "The Goldbergs" is Kara-te where Erica sings Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" at the high school Holiday Talent Show. Can you tell us how the producers first let your character start singing on the show, and are you self-tough on the guitar?
I had a conversation with the producers one day asking that if they ever had an opportunity for me to sing on the show that I would be more an ecstatic. Luckily for me they gave me a shot with that first talent show episode. It went over so well that they continued to write Erica's musical interest into the show. Fun fact: I don't know how to play guitar! They hired a teacher to help me, but I REALLY struggled with it and even begged the producers to stop writing it in unless I could play piano. I guess I've made it look real enough that everyone thinks I can play. However, this summer I spent some time working with an amazing coach and I now can accompany myself a little better. We'll see if those skills are tested this next season!
You have an amazing singing voice, and your singles "Love Sick", and "Silence You" have a very indie country sound that you don't hear in most modern country songs. Can you give us some insight into how you go about writing lyrics? Are your lyrics based off personal experiences?
Lyrics to me are one of the most important elements of a song. A lot of people, I notice, just breeze by the lyrics and only tune in to the melody or production of a song, but I am so different. I love hearing the real story of the songwriter or artist played out in their song and the cleverness of a good line. My goal is to have someone listen to my song and be speechless with emotion because it truly hits home for them in a way that no one can explain. I know that when I go through something difficult in my life and I hear that experience reflected back at me in a beautifully written song, I feel more understood than having a discussion about it in person with someone.
All of my songs are based on a personal experience of mine. Even if I it's something I am not going through at that moment, I can tap back into that feeling or relate it to a time in my life when I did feel that way. I think that's where music and acting cross for me. It's very important to me to make sure that every line of my song is true to my personal experience. I believe this is what makes a song more relatable than anything else. If you share your truth honestly, it will resonate better with other people.
Since 2007 you have serviced as the ambassador for Texas Music Project, which raises awareness and funds for music education in public schools. What can you tell us about the non-profit, and how important is keeping music education in our schools?
When I started working with Texas Music Project, I couldn't yet appreciate the reality it would play in my own life. Music has always been important to me and while I am lucky enough to have been able to do it outside of school, not everyone can. During my time on The X Factor, I was a senior in high school and was forced to quit & take online homeschool courses to finish my education. Many states, including Texas, have a policy that does not allow the amount of absent days required to further a career in entertainment, despite your grades. Around the same time, my high school cancelled all future Musical Theatre programs due to minor complaints and issues. I was devastated that the next 4,000 kids to walk through that school would not have the opportunity that I did to appreciate the value of music & theatre classes. It has been my ultimate goal to change this policy and allow every child the same opportunity as I had whether it's a class for one year of high school or the beginning of a long lasting career. Many people view a career in entertainment as risky and short lived. However, from my experience, I know there are many levels to this industry, more than just being in front of a camera or behind a mic. I hope one day in the near future I can work with statewide school boards to discuss a change in policy.
The Goldbergs returns with season 5 this fall on the ABC network.
American actress Masiela Lusha discusses George Lopez Show, playing Gemini in Sharknado series, and non-profit Uncommon Good
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Raul Roa
- Los Angeles, California
American actress Masiela Lusha opens up about the groundbreaking sitcom The George Lopez Show, and playing Gemini in the hugely successful Sharknado series. Also Masiela talks about her non-profit Uncommon Good helping families rewrite their stories.
Congratulations on the success of "Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens", and the sequel "Sharknado 5" which, premieres August 6th on SyFy. The Sharknado series of films has become a huge phenomenon, having personally seen memes based off your character Gemini. Can you tell us about the audition process for the role of Gemini, and how difficult was it doing your own stunts in Sharknado?
Sharknado felt like a whirlwind from virtually out of nowhere! Within 48 hours of my scheduled flight to Florence, Italy, I received an offer. I read the script and absolutely needed to portray the role of Gemini. Her fierceness and compassion was perfectly fleshed out, and I said yes. Within 48 hours of my acceptance I found myself on set, meeting everyone for the first time.
Filming my own stunts was what motivated me accept Sharknado as well. Gemini was fearless and it felt like such a fulfilling outlet. My favorite stunt would have to be leaping off the Stratosphere Hotel in Vegas at 4am. Leading up to this particular stunt, our director, Anthony, and our producers insisted I wouldn't be able to follow through. Of course, when someone says that something can't be done, I feel compelled to prove them wrong.
You recently stared in the Lifetime movie "Forgotten Evil" which, is about a woman with amnesia who tries to restart her life until the past comes back to haunt her. The character you play is the multi person role of Renee, Jane Doe, and Veronica, who has amnesia, and can't remember things. Was it a challenge to play three different roles in one film, and what kind of working relationship have you built with director Anthony C. Ferrante?
Anthony and I worked together on Sharknado a few months prior when he offered me the opportunity of Renee. I adored working with Anthony in Sharknado because he had quite a fluid way of filming scenes, sometimes rewriting scenes on the day of shooting. With Sharkando, as actors we simply didn't know what to expect day to day, and it was quite alright because the end product was rewarding. With Anthony, I felt safe, and I considered him an actor's director. I didn't second guess his vision, and I was always pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
While I've worked on heavy genres in the past, I loved Renee because she essentially evolved with the audience. She began to piece her world at the same pace as the viewer began understanding her circumstances, so essentially she lived on the same plane of understanding. There was no backstory to draw from, essentially nothing she was privy to that the audience would need to eventually catch up on. Anthony asked that I play various firsts in the film: the first taste of a strawberry, the first moment of spotting a person that Renee would eventually love, the first kiss, and the first betrayal. The audience lived through these moments with Renee and that made me feel more connected with my craft.
As actors, we are taught to draft a little backstory diary on our characters, outlining subsitions, and explain the hidden machinations of every physiological twist. With Renee, and for the first time in my career, I was forbidden from exploring this tactic. I simply needed to live moment to moment with her. It was exhilarating.
Having grown-up with "The George Lopez" I felt the similarities between The Lopez family, and my own family. My favorite episode was when Carmen convinced Max he was adopted with the classic line "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but you're adopted! And when you turn 16, your head will explode just like your real mom's said!" Can you take us threw your audition process for Carmen Lopez, and what can you tell us about working with George Lopez?
What made the George Lopez show magical is the authenticity injected by the producers and our incredibly dedicated staff of writers. This authenticity is what feels most rewarding to actors, in my opinion, because it breathes life to our craft. We then act for a reason, and that reason is to elevate, reflect, and by doing this, essentially heal. We act for the audience, not at the audience. And we absolutely have the writers to thank for this honor and privilege.
The George Lopez show was my first sitcom audition, my first Network test, and my first major offer. And I believe these series of first could have helped my performance of Carmen. During the audition, I didn't have any exceptions, I was even jarred at the bursts of laughter in the middle of my audition. I always assumed an actor's stage was sacred, but this laughter fueled me forward, and felt more natural than other more quiet and respectful audition experiences. I then realized that sitcom was my home, that one space of reassurance and direct validation of healing I needed to witness realtime.
I do believe having no expectations and preconceived notions about this particular audition process and even the Hispanic family is what inspired an offer from the producers. I didn't impose an accent, a style of delivery, a preference of clothes. Carmen was written with such contradictory and complex characteristics that I remember thinking, "ok, they clearly just want a real girl, contradictions and all! I'll be me then."
That was it! The series of auditions and tests felt easy, natural, and for the first time in my early career, I felt that this was where I needed to be. I simply glowed auditioning for Carmen because I loved her so much even before the offer. She was an amalgamation of nearly every friend I had known and adored in school, and the most authentic pieces of me.
Over the years "The George Lopez Show", has become a cult sitcom that raised the bar for latinos in television. The many fans we're very excited when the cast reunited after 10 years on "The Lopez Show" George's new semi-autobiographical sitcom that airs on TV Land. What was like reuniting with the cast after 10 years, and can you tell us exactly why Carmen was written out of series after season 5?
I feel Carmen had such a diverse trajectory in her storyline, they took her through so many growing pains, that at some point she needed to find herself, settle into an understanding of who she was, and go to college. She learned too much over the five years not to grow up and move on. I learned so much through Carmen and was pleased to see her finally settled. It was rewarding as an actor to take her through her journey.
Reuniting with George and Constance felt easy and natural, like the original sitcom days. Within minutes of our tableread, we found our rhythm again. This surprised me as we hadn't seen each other in years. For me, it must have been nearly a decade!
One of the many things that I personally loved about "The George Lopez Show", that made it stand-out from other sitcoms was the fact it wasn't afraid to address serious issues. The episode where Camren told her parents she was pregnant so she could move into her boyfriends house, had a very serious tone. How did you tackle the more serious issues, and looking back on the show what was your proudest moment?
I agree with you that this was truly one of the most fulfilling aspects of the sitcom. The producers weren't afraid to let the characters scream, cry, feel genuine heartbreak, and simply live. Often times our endings weren't tied with a perfect bow and that's what kept the show timeless. It was real life.
There were moments when my direction for Carmen was to laugh, and in the middle of filming the scene, I would tear up instead because that simply made more sense to me in her situation, or even vice versa because George was hilarious, and angry or not as his daughter, I couldn't help but laugh. How often do we find ourselves stifling a laugh when we're angry with someone, despite our own attempt to be serious and dignified? That's life.
You're also a published author with the book "The Living Air" which, is about exceptional book of poems. Can you tell us what's your inspiration behind writing the book?
The Living Air is my most diverse collection of poetry. For the first time in my writing career, I wrote a few poems in German, and translated each back to English. I would say the translation (even of my own poems) feels by far the most complex and time consuming. Figures of speech that feel natural in one language feel forced or unintelligible in another! What to do?
For the first time in my career, I also translated poems by Saint Theresa, herself an Albanian. This translation felt like acting to me. To truly understand her meditations and the correct English interpretation, I needed to read a few books on her biography, and dive into her personal letters to friends and confidants. I needed to understand the depth of her yearning and insecurities to find its meaning in English.
I think a lot of people would be interested to learn your not actually Latino but, born in Tirana, Albania before your family left as refugees to Budapest, Hungary, and Vienna, Austria. Can you tell us how you got started acting, and got discovered?
That's right! The first quarter of my life lacked consistency and comfort. While I never felt deprived of a normal childhood, as it was the only childhood I knew, I did feel a sense of how truly big the world can be, the wide spectrum of people, dreams, dreads, and desires. This realization made me love people, and absorb their world in a very sensitive and intuitive way. I was able to follow the nuances of individuals, as it meant survival for me, and I was able to utilize this in acting later in life. And this is why I simply adore acting, it provides an outlet for every human experience, and validates it. Every heartache can be manifested into a reward in acting, every injury, a fulfilling journey. It's nice to have that outlet to rewrite one's experiences in a healing way.
I began acting at 12 in Macomb, Michigan. An agent from Los Angeles was combing the Midwest for fresh faces. Of the 600 or so aspiring talents at the open call, I was one of the three he asked to return with him to Los Angeles. While I did not know a single person in LA, I was fortunate to start with an agent.
You're new project "Uncommon Good" is a non profit charity that helps mentor youth to attend college, eat healthy, and combat health care issues. Tell us about your role in "Uncommon good", and what you would like to see for the future?
I feel my experience as a refugee galvanizes my passion for humanitarian work. I simply to need to support any way that I can. This automatic drive feels as natural and obvious as breathing. Perhaps I feel I was given too much in my youth, had witnessed a palpable human need on the receiving end, had lived through kindness and compassion from perfect strangers, that it is absolutely unimaginable not to relive this experience in a healing way.
Uncommon Good helps families rewrite their stories. They can re-interpret their expectations of what they were taught through our mentorship program. For example, our students from unfortunate circumstances have a 41.5% chance of graduating high school. Less than half! We find these students, help define their dreams, and mentor them through scholarships and college acceptances. We have a perfect 100% success rate in sending our students to college. Yes, 100%. We help them find the courage to define new expectations for the future, and all the golden possibilities that their society couldn't articulate let alone dream up.
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming premieres August 6th at 8/7c on the SYFY network.
Glee cast member Noah Guthrie talks playing Roderick Meeks on hit tv series, and releasing first album Among the Wildest Things
By: Rachelle Henry | PHOTOS COURTESY Brayden Heath
- Los Angeles, California
Glee cast member Noah Guthrie talks about playing Roderick Meeks on Fox's hit tv show, and releasing his first album "Among the Wildest Things". Also Noah tell us about masking a large following on Youtube in High School with his original song covers.
I’ve watched several of your covers, including one with more than 25 million views, “Sexy and I Know It,” by LMFAO. Your version is amazing and I’m listening to your cover of “Skyfall” right now. Love it! How did you get started in music and how did it unfold to bring you to your pivotal role as Roderick Meeks on FOX’s hit TV show, Glee?
Thanks! I have been around music from an early age. In a family of studio singers, it's hard not to catch the bug. When I got my first guitar I fell in love with songwriting and it became the main way I express myself. During my last two years of high school, I started posting cover songs on Youtube and quickly received a lot of unexpected attention. People would comment and tell me that they liked what they heard and how I twisted songs around to make them my own. I decided to keep posting videos as a way to get my name out there while I worked on my own album of original music.
In 2013 I released my first album called Among The Wildest Things and started touring all over. After a couple of years of working the road, writing songs, and putting more content online I got a phone call from the Glee casting directors. They said they were looking for a certain kind of person to fill a role for the last season of Glee. Actually, they said that they needed a shy, chubby guy with a very soulful voice. haha. I happen to meet that criteria quite well so I sent in a self-tape audition and next thing I knew I was flying out to Hollywood to shoot the last season of Glee. Everything cool that has happened so far in my career has kind of fallen out of the sky. When that happens I work hard and try to run as far as I can with it.
It’s been said that Glee isn’t popular just for the music, although we all know the music is incredible. Part of its popularity is that it brings up real teenage issues and makes the misfits feel like they could belong. Do your fans approach you about issues and challenges they face, and can you share with us some of your techniques for making a difference for those reaching out to you?
I think one of the most meaningful and rewarding parts of being on Glee was hearing from the audience. People from all over would write in and tell me that they really identified with Roderick or with his struggles to fit in and that has always touched me. The best thing I can hear from a fan is that they relate to the character and that it has helped them with their own struggles. I was not the most popular kid in high school and was definitely the butt of many fat jokes so I understand how hard it can be. I think one of the most important things to do is to let those fans know that you hear them and you understand. The impact that this show had on its fans amazes me and I'm so grateful that I got to be a part of it in any way.
When I got on Glee I got a peek into the TV world and see how things are done and its truly incredible to watch. The time, money, and crew it takes to shoot one episode is amazing! Each week would vary on how much we had to learn. Sometimes it was just one song and dance, other times it was five. In my opinion it wasn't the rehearsals that were so hard but the actual taping of the performance.
Once you start recording a dance number it takes forever. You just keep doing the same thing over and over while cameras move around to capture different angles. In between each take you have to catch your breath (or maybe that was just me) and make sure your wardrobe is still intact. Then you get reset and go again. After about the 10th take it gets a little tiring haha.
You’ve performed on NBC's, Today Show, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as well as two performances on ABC's, Dancing With The Stars. Do you ever get nervous or star struck when performing live on TV?
I don't usually get very nervous. I've been so lucky that all of the shows I have been on are comprised of some really great people. Everyone is very inviting and have always tried to make me feel comfortable. This is not to say that I NEVER get nervous, but if I am it is usually if I feel underprepared for something. I'm also not the best with surprises so sometimes that can throw me off. For the most part I just try to stay focused but loose and have fun with it.
You’ve opened for Ed Sheeran, Neon Trees, Selena Gomez and many other talents. Do you go on tour with them for entire tours or for single shows? Tell us about one or more of your most memorable experiences while opening the show.
All of those opening slots have been for single shows. I think one of the most memorable experiences was actually when I was opening for Matt Nathanson out in Sonoma California. It was in the most beautiful concert hall I've ever seen on the campus of Sonoma State University. One of the stage hands had told me that the week before the show, Alison Krauss had opened the venue and I have always adored Alison Krauss. Anyway, where she stood on that stage was still marked on the floor and I got to stand in that spot and play my songs for a full house that night and just breathe in the Magic.
You released your first album, Among The Wildest Things, in August 2013. What was the inspiration for the album and what did you learn with the release of that album that has prepared you for the release of your second album?
The first album was really just the first snapshot of me as an artist. I wanted to put that album out on the heels of the Sexy and I Know It viral video so that I could capitalize on the new fans that I was gaining and let them know that I write original music too. I think the first album process taught me that things rarely go as planned with recording. Some songs change and take longer to complete than others. Some get thrown out entirely. The whole process taught me to be open minded and let things flow naturally. You can't force a song to be something that its not.
What advice would you give to other aspiring performers that might help them on their journey?
The main advice I would give you is to be patient. This is something that I try to tell my self often. If music is the business you want to be in then you need to know that it takes time. Time to get better at your craft. Time to figure out who you are as an artist. Time to assemble the right team to help you reach your goals. No matter what social media may lead you to believe, over night success doesn't happen. If you are true to your self and true to your craft you will find a place for your music.