Daniela Lugo, The Latina Actress And Filmmaker, Shares Her Journey With About Insider
We would like to introduce you to Daniela Lugo, a talented Latina actress and filmmaker hailing from Mexico City. She has showcased her skills in various esteemed venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York City and Bellas Artes in her hometown. Daniela has also had the privilege of working with renowned figures like Alfonso Cuaron in “Roma” and the sensational Bella Thorne in the upcoming show “PADS”. In addition to her acting pursuits, Daniela is actively producing films both in her home country and the United States. Among her upcoming projects for the big screen are “THE WFI DATE” and “THE MARCH OF THE PENGUINS” (La Marcha de los Pingüinos).
Currently residing in Los Angeles, California, Daniela has made impressive strides in the theatre, television, and film industries in a relatively short amount of time.
HI, WELCOME TO ABOUT INSIDER! THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, WHO IS DANIELA LUGO IN YOUR OWN WORDS?
I am a proud Mexican who was born and raised in Mexico City. Since the age of 8, I have been fascinated with everything related to the performing arts, and I have always dreamed of pursuing acting, especially in the United States. In 2018, I moved to New York City, where I trained at several prestigious acting schools before moving to Los Angeles to hone my skills as a filmmaker and actress. The entertainment industry has always been my passion, and every time I portray a character or write a story, it brings me to life. I derive immense joy from making people happy through my work, and I never give up on fighting for my dreams. I am a girl full of energy and love, and I am honored and grateful to be a professional actress and filmmaker both in the US and my amazing home country, Mexico.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR EARLY EXPERIENCES WITH THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY AND HOW THEY SHAPED YOUR PASSION FOR ACTING AND FILMMAKING?
I have been passionate about the performing arts since I was eight years old. I still remember the moment when I watched the Phantom of the Opera for the first time and immediately knew that I wanted to pursue acting. I began taking dancing, singing, and acting classes in various studios, hoping to make a career out of it someday. In 2006, the movie High School Musical was released, and I remember doing concerts at home for my parents and their friends, putting on my own productions of the show with my friends. I would prepare the set, lights, and sound to the best of my abilities as a seven-year-old.
In 2016, I had one of the most memorable moments of my life when I appeared in Alfonso Cuarón’s film “ROMA.” It was then that I realized I wanted to pivot to the film industry as an actress. Before moving to New York City, I participated in many professional musicals in Mexico, including “The Producers,” “Shrek The Musical,” “Sweet Charity,” “PIPPIN,” “R&H Cinderella,” and “Evita.”
After discovering my true passion for acting and filmmaking, I moved to the US in 2017 and trained at several prestigious schools, such as “The American Academy of Dramatic Arts,” “Stella Adler,” “Broadway Dance Center,” and “Steps on Broadway.”
HOW DID WORKING ON “ROMA” INFLUENCE YOUR DECISION TO BECOME A FILMMAKER?
When I booked the movie “ROMA,” I was fully committed to musical theater. At first, I didn’t feel overwhelmingly excited, and I even realized that I had to miss some of my school exams due to the filming dates. My initial inclination was to reject the project, but I decided to follow my instincts instead. Despite being criticized by some of my teachers for being a “bad student,” I decided to take the chance.
Once I became involved with the project and witnessed Alfonso Cuaron’s filmmaking process, I fell in love with the art of filmmaking. The behind-the-scenes work with cameras, microphones, lights, and everything else involved was an extraordinary experience that I will never forget. I knew that this project marked the birth of something significant within me, and it was the turning point in my journey as a professional filmmaker and actress for TV and film. This film will always hold a special place in my heart as my first significant professional achievement on the big screen.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE DEMANDS OF ACTING AND FILMMAKING, AND DO YOU HAVE A PREFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO?
This is a difficult question for me because both acting and filmmaking bring me immense joy. With acting, I am able to bring characters to life and connect with audiences on an emotional level. With filmmaking, I have the opportunity to create stories that can inspire and move people. Both are equally important to me and I consider them to be the loves of my life.
Being in Hollywood, I feel a responsibility to create meaningful and impactful work that represents my country and its people. I am passionate about telling stories that can make a difference and have a positive impact on society. Whether I am acting on stage or set, or working behind the scenes as a filmmaker, I cannot imagine myself doing anything else.
The joy I feel from both acting and filmmaking is truly magical and fulfilling.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE GROWING UP IN MEXICO CITY AND HOW IT HAS INFLUENCED YOUR WORK AS AN ACTRESS AND FILMMAKER?
Mexico holds a special place in my heart as it’s where I grew up surrounded by warmth and love from my amazing family. My country has also provided me with numerous opportunities that have helped shape me into the person I am today. It’s amazing how simply seeing an image of Mexico can transport me back there, evoking the smells and sounds of my beautiful country.
As a filmmaker, I’m constantly inspired to create stories about Mexicans living in the US. There are so many incredible artists and individuals in this country that inspire me to tell their stories. My upcoming project, “The March of the Penguins,” tells the story of a woman who must leave her family and Mexico in pursuit of a better life for her loved ones.
Similarly, as an actress, I feel incredibly motivated every time I’m given the opportunity to play Mexican roles. Recently, I wrapped up four projects where I played a young Mexican woman in “CADET,” “THE THINGS WE DON’T SEE,” “ACCEPTANCE,” and “POSADA.” Being able to incorporate my culture and heritage into my work is an absolute blessing.
WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
Salma Hayek, Eiza Gonzalez, Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Iñárritu, and Guillermo del Toro are my biggest influences in the film industry. They are paving the way for the Latinx community in Hollywood, and as a Mexican, I am incredibly proud of them. I always strive to follow in their footsteps and create stories that represent my heritage. Recently, I booked my first off-Broadway play called “Octopus in Its Own Ink,” which shares a Latin story that deserves to be heard. I hope to one day achieve the same level of greatness as these inspiring figures.
WHAT’S SOMETHING WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT MIGHT SURPRISE US?
I went to college to study business for one term, which is a funny story because after I graduated, I felt lost. I was bombarded with negative comments from my peers and teachers, filling my mind with the notion that I would never be a good actress or be capable of succeeding in this industry. I recall sitting in my classes, studying economics, mathematics, and other subjects, feeling frustrated and unfulfilled. Deep inside, I knew that my true passion was the arts. So, I confided in my parents, and they were extremely supportive. Looking back, I believe that attending college was critical in leading me to my decision to move to New York City.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER ASPIRING ACTORS AND FILMMAKERS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?
First, taking acting or filmmaking classes is key to developing fundamental skills in these fields.
Second, networking is crucial. It’s essential to meet other filmmakers and industry professionals in Los Angeles and beyond. Collaborating with talented individuals can lead to incredible opportunities.
For filmmakers, building a strong team is vital. There is so much talent out there waiting to be discovered, and finding the right collaborators can make the filmmaking process more manageable.
For actors, it’s essential to connect with casting directors and follow their instructions. The entertainment industry is full of rejection, but it’s important to pitch yourself and build a network within the Hollywood and Broadway communities.
Patience is also essential, as this career is full of ups and downs. You may experience moments of self-doubt, but it’s important to trust the process and believe in yourself. Remember that there’s always a rainbow after the storm.
You never know when a project will change your life, so always stay focused and determined.
WHAT IS ONE MESSAGE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO GIVE TO YOUR FANS?
Always fight for your dreams because if you don’t even try, you will regret it. You need to stand up and give it a shot. I endured bullying during my high school years, with many people telling me that I would never make it as an actress or filmmaker in Hollywood. But look where I am today! I ignored that negativity and focused on my goals.
Always try! Fight for your dreams and goals!