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Episode 17: Actor Spotlight on Marianly Tejada

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by Katherine Beck in The All American Biz
23/02/2021

Episode 17: Actor Spotlight: Marianly Tejada

Today I am talking with Marianly Tejada.

She’ s starring in Peacock TV’s new series, One Of Us Is Lying.

 


She’s sharing with us her acting journey and giving us the inside scoop into her new series that’s filming soon!

By the time you finish listening, you’ll find out:

    • How Marianly Tejada started her acting career in NYC
    • How Marianly Tejada mastered the American accent
    • All about her new show, One Of Us IS Lying

If this episode inspires you then I’d love to hear from you! Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, post it to your Instagram stories and tag me @katherine_beck_ !

Then follow me on Instagram to go ‘behind the scenes’ with me and my own journey as an American accent coach and Voiceover Actor.


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SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Katherine Beck  00:00

You’re listening to the All American actors podcast, Episode 17. In today’s episode, I’ve got an actor spotlight with Marianly Tejada that’s coming up next.

[SHOW INTRO]

Before we jump into today’s episode, which is so good, I’m so excited for this one to share it with you. I want to give a big shout out to on the shore who left us a five star review and said Catherine’s all American actors podcast is a game changer for anyone who is serious about a career within the American Film and TV industry. Thank you so much. I really appreciate that. And I’m so glad that you are loving the podcast. And that’s exactly why I started this podcast to give you my tips give you some inspiration and insight into the biz. So I love that you’re loving the podcast. And thank you for tuning in. And if you want to be featured as our star listener of the week, just leave us a five star review for this podcast. And I’ll give you a special shout out right here on the show. So if you liked this episode, go ahead and leave us a review. Alright, let’s get started and talk about my very special guest on the show today. She’s originally from the Dominican Republic moved to the US to study and pursue acting and she has made her way on TV series such as Orange is the New Black, the purge. And now she’s going to be starring in peacocks new show, one of us is lying. So without wasting any more time. Let’s jump to the interview with Marianly Tejada. Welcome tothe show. Iwant to give a big welcome to Marianly Tejada, who is on the show with us. She is an up and coming actress in the States. So excited to have you with us.

Marianly Tejada  02:25

Thank you, Katherine, thank you for having me. I’m really, really excited to chat as well.

Katherine Beck  02:29

So you’re originally from the Dominican Republic? Is that right?

Marianly Tejada  02:33

That’s correct. Yes. I’ve spent most of my life in the DR. as we call it.

Katherine Beck  02:39

I love that. And so how did you become an actress in the us then?

Marianly Tejada  02:44

So I so the us both and the Dr. My home. So I was born in New York, and I grew up in the Dominican Republic where my parents are from and what I call home. And then I started acting back home. And I feel like when I was really serious about it, and I was like, Okay, this is something I see myself doing on the long run. I said, Okay, I’m going to go to New York, I’m going to, you know, enroll in a conservatory or whatever acting classes I can get and and really pursue it. So that was back in 2015, I believe. And it sort of started from there.

Katherine Beck  03:21

And so what was that like studying in New York,

Marianly Tejada  03:26

it was challenging, it was a lot of fun. And it actually introduced me to accent work, because I enrolled in this Conservatory. And it was it was quite interesting the journey because I remember the first week of classes, we were lined up like all international students, we were lined up, and you sort of had to audition for the dialect coach of the school and read this like page worth of lines. And if you passed, you didn’t have to take the American accent acquisition class. And if you didn’t, you had to and I feel like most of us saw it as like, Oh my god, we’re not ready. You know, it’s going to be challenging working in this industry in the US. But actually, I ended up loving the class. It was my favorite. And it’s it’s I mean, it’s just an incredible tool to have in your toolbox as an actor to work on sounds and know especially if you know you’re dealing with like a whole nother language, not just an accent to have that to use. And I just I really love it now

Katherine Beck  04:28

doing the work. Oh, wow, that’s really interesting. And so what did they teach you in the class? Did you have to learn phonetics? Yeah, we

Marianly Tejada  04:35

did. We did a lot of sound work. So you know, being aware of the sounds that for instance, in Spanish, you don’t have the th sound which we oftentimes replace with a D and the i in Spanish sounds like an E in English. So all of that and also operative words because the rhythm is very different depending on where you come from, to you know, we speak really, really fast and the Are and usually drop the ending of words. So I had to work a lot on that. And yeah, it’s been fun because it’s helpful to do other accents as well. And that just, you know, standard American.

Katherine Beck  05:12

Isn’t that great once you learn phonetics that makes it so much easier to pick up another accent overnight. Really? If you have an audition, do you find? Absolutely,

Marianly Tejada  05:22

I feel like I’m a little shy when it comes to diving into, I don’t know, let’s say if I had to do a British accent, just because I respect a lot, just culturally, you know, representation. And what I think you know, is well rounded cast or an actor who plays a character, but it is very helpful if I have to do I don’t know acts like a Cuban accent in English or any other line American or like a Spanish accent even which is more Hispanic European, then, you know, the the other accents, but yeah, it’s it’s super, super, super helpful.

Katherine Beck  06:02

Yeah, it really is helpful. And that’s really interesting that you had that training and that experience early on in your study and how that’s supported you, I’m sure in your auditions and your role preparation. So tell me some about some of the roles that you’ve played since being in the US and working in the industry over there. What are some of the roles that you’ve done so far?

Marianly Tejada  06:30

So I’ve, I did a lot of theater in the beginning, because my training was in theater. But TV, my first role was in Orange is the New Black a couple years ago now. And it’s funny because I remember that audition, I went in and they wanted someone who had a bit of a more of an accent, you know, more of a Hispanic accent. And I wanted to the audition, because I’m always used to hearing Oh, you you do have a bit of an accent. And you know, I let myself be free if I’m not working on a specific role to just let my rhythm come through. And you know, the sounds that will tell that I’m from the DVR. So I go into the audition, and I read with the casting director, and she’s like, Oh, we need someone with a bit of an accent, can you do a bit of an accident, I was like, Oh, I’m happy to, you know, go back a little bit to how I naturally sound and then I read again, and then I got a call a few days later. So it’s interesting to as a Latina actor, find a balance in the in the accents and the characters that they’re looking for, and, and exploring all that ground

Katherine Beck  07:41

yet you make a really good point here. And I think that that is a concern for a lot of international actors. I know, especially because I’m in Australia that it is something that comes up all the time in sessions with actors, and people talk about a general American accent or standard American accent. So do you ever feel or have felt in the past any sort of pressure to sound a certain way for your auditions until they say, Hey, can you bring in a little bit more of your natural accent, let’s

08:11

say absolutely. And I feel like I still do in a way. But what I’ve learned to do is, I think a lot of the work for me is I used to be very strict about oh, this needs to sound perfect. And a lot of you know, the American accent that we hear is very relaxed. So not trying to get the sounds perfect, but actually doing the work prior, so that your muscles are relaxed, and it just kind of flows, if that makes any sense. Totally a lot. But it is something that I still keep in mind. I just try not to stress about it too much, because then it just plays the opposite of what I wanted to do in an audition room or a self tape.

Katherine Beck  08:54

Yeah. And you know, when you’re in the US as well, I say there’s not one specific way that everyone sounds, everyone sounds so different. And especially when you’re creating a role, you want that character to be unique and genuine. And if you’re trying to create this specific way of sounding, it’s never gonna feel truthful,

Marianly Tejada  09:19

you know, personal Yeah, because also a lot of the freedom that we have as artists is you have to bring a little bit of yourself or what you create for that character. And there has to be freedom within that. I feel like if I put a lot of pressure on myself, then it just become generic, and then I feel it and it translates in the same way. So it was something that I struggled with in the beginning. And now I just kind of have an attitude of like, you know, if my accent comes through, they’ll have me read again, if it’s a character that doesn’t meet the accent so much. So I allow myself some room for mistakes, but what really helps is just doing the work prior so that I can just relax And, and have fun.

Katherine Beck  10:02

Yeah, it really is about that preparation prior to the audition or being on set. So how often do you work on your voice and your accent then these days, these days,

Marianly Tejada  10:15

I feel like I haven’t done it so much. But because I’m getting close to shooting something, I need to drill on that and just really start getting my hour or two hours a day in, because it does make a difference. And you know, if I’m around my family, which has been happening a lot with you know, quarantining, and all whatnot with the pandemic, if I’m around my family a lot, which all of them speak Spanish. So that’s what we speak at the house, then you know, the accent will go back to its origin a little bit more. But I when I’m on it, I feel like a good two hours will just pass by really fast and not feel like oh, I sat down for two hours to do work, because there is a lot of, you know, ground to cover. I feel like, yeah, so

Katherine Beck  11:01

you’ve got this new show coming up. Do you want to tell the listeners a little bit about it? Yeah. So

Marianly Tejada  11:07

it’s, it’s one of us is lying, and it will be streaming on peacock. So it’s nbcs new platform. And it’s based on a book by Karen McManus. But yeah, she’s a terrific writer. And it’s a show about four high school students actually five who get into detention. And then one of them dies in detention. So the show is about finding out who did it and how it all happened. And it’s, it’s a pretty cool

Katherine Beck  11:38

show. Yeah, sounds really good. And so tell us what’s your accent gonna be like for the show.

Marianly Tejada  11:43

So it’s gonna be a bit of more standard American, because my character Bronwyn grew up in the US. So she’s a second generation. And it’s something that we do talk about a lot with, you know, the producers and in and in sort of the writing, how we can incorporate culture into the household. But you know, she has been listening to English her whole life, and it is her first language. So I think the challenge in that regard for me is to really just, you know, get my sounds on and be consistent with the accent.

Katherine Beck  12:16

Yeah. And you’re going to be filming this overseas.

Marianly Tejada  12:19

Is that right? Yes. So we’re going to New Zealand, which is extremely exciting. Yeah, we’ll be there for a good four or five months or so. Wow. And

Katherine Beck  12:29

have you been to New Zealand before?

Marianly Tejada  12:30

No, I haven’t, I haven’t. So I’m really excited.

Katherine Beck  12:33

Well, you’re gonna love it. And I would imagine it’s going to be a mix of obviously, the leads have already been cast in the US. But I would imagine there will be some new zealand actors that will be popping into some of the shows as well, the episodes.

Marianly Tejada  12:48

Yeah, I’m thinking as well. So I’m excited to see you know, what, what new fellow actors are going to come aboard the ship for sure.

Katherine Beck  12:55

And that’s always fun, too, when you’re working with local talent. And they’re kind of in the same boat as you are. Maybe it’s a little bit harder, because you know, you have more experience living in the US, but they’re also going to have to work on their American accent as well.

Marianly Tejada  13:08

That’s interesting. Yeah. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. That’s very interesting.

Katherine Beck  13:12

And so what is it like for you on set, then, you know, what’s your preparation for a role like this, obviously, you’ve talked about, you know, you have to get your accent into shape. So you’re feeling nice and strong with that, what other sort of preparation do you do for a role like this,

Marianly Tejada  13:29

I try and make sure that I get a good warm up just you know, practical things just before I go into set. And for Bronwyn, she’s a very, I think the voice was something that I looked for and kind of thought about for a while. She has a lot inside of her when the show starts and then her character starts unfolding and sort of going from you know, the girl that has it all together, and wants to you know, keep her mother happy, mostly because her mother is a big influence in her life to being more free and herself. So I think being aware that you know, her voice is is a little bit lower in the beginning, and then just opening up more was something that helped me and that I prepared a lot

Katherine Beck  14:20

about, and it’s always so fun. That process of finding your characters voice. Isn’t it amazing?

Marianly Tejada  14:26

Yeah, it’s it’s a lot of fun. And, you know, for me, I think because I train in the theater, a lot of times, the character will come with those more physical traits than you know, finding a backstory, which is also extremely important. But it’ll start sometimes from the outside in as some people say,

Katherine Beck  14:47

Yeah, very true. And where did you study? Did you say in New York?

Marianly Tejada  14:51

Yeah, so Stella Adler studio of acting.

Katherine Beck  14:54

Amazing. How good was that?

Marianly Tejada  14:56

It was It was great. I met some really great teachers. And colleagues, we started a theater group early on in the first year actually because most of the plays that we would get cast in would be from your typical American writers. And you know there are some great writers. Stephen adly. guirgis is a writer that I really really love.

Katherine Beck  15:23

Love him.

Marianly Tejada  15:24

Yeah. So I started a theater group with a with some friends and we would just put up our own place mostly Stephen adly, girgis work because they were, they were a lot of which ones. So we did den of thieves was the first play that we produced is about four thieves that get tied up in a basement and it’s more of a comedy than we did in Arabia, we’d all be kings, and we would rehearse you know, the with the hat and

Katherine Beck  15:51

Oh, one of my favorites. Yeah, it’s

Marianly Tejada  15:53

so good. Jesus hopped the a train is another Oh, I mean, all of his all of his Play Media and have so much in them.

Katherine Beck  16:01

Yeah, that is such a great start. And I have to say theater is my first love and there’s nothing like being on stage and performing and and and feeling that vibe, that energy that you get from the audience.

Marianly Tejada  16:14

Yeah, it’s it’s there’s no comparison to it. And yeah, I cannot wait to go back to the theater.

Katherine Beck  16:22

So is that something that you see yourself doing down the road is going back to stage at some point during your play? Really,

Marianly Tejada  16:30

I I joke around with my with my reps about you know, as soon as we wrap the show in New Zealand, I’m going back to New York. So you guys need to get me a play even if off Broadway, whatever it is.

Katherine Beck  16:43

All right. So what would be your dream role? If you could be in any Play, play any role? What would be your dream role? My

Marianly Tejada  16:50

favorite place is Anna in the tropics. By Nilo cruise.

Katherine Beck  16:54

I would love to do you know, one of the leads in the in the play? There’s two sisters. So either of the two sisters are great characters. That sounds great. And so in terms of working on the show, and then thinking down the road, what are some big goals that you have yourself for your acting career? Or do you see yourself working more in movies staying in TV? I know you talked about getting back on stage, I would love to

Marianly Tejada  17:26

do some some indie films, not because you know, just indie films, but I feel like there’s so much freedom to really just prepare a character when there’s a script that has room for a collaboration with a director or a writer. So I would just love to dive into that world a little bit more. Yeah, so film is something that I definitely have my my eyes on indie film, that’s always such a great place to work. And

Katherine Beck  17:52

are there any particular writers or directors that you admire that you’d like to work with? Okay, so

Marianly Tejada  17:57

she’s more of a TV director. But Tanya said I Cho, I know Tanya, you know, do you know her? Personally,

Katherine Beck  18:05

I’m Tanya and I were friends in Chicago. How funny is that? did start writing in Chicago. Tanya is one of the nicest most genuine people I’ve ever met. I absolutely love her. And she’s always been the most brilliant writer ever since I met her years ago in Chicago. She, she had this like, intelligence and this way of writing that I always felt like was like, beyond like, where she was at that point, you know, you could see that there was gonna be greatness in her. And it’s just been so incredible. Just to watch her journey of what she’s done. Yeah, she’d be a great person to work with. And

Marianly Tejada  18:46

I feel like she’s just getting started. You know, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. I yeah, her plays are amazing, too. So doing Yes, please would be amazing as well.

Katherine Beck  18:58

Yes. And she’s just she’s just cool. She’s just a great person. Oh, yeah. She’s,

Marianly Tejada  19:04

I believe me when you say that?

Katherine Beck  19:05

Yeah. And well, obviously, you know, that would be great for the future for sure. So you are are you based in New York? Or where are you based?

Marianly Tejada  19:16

So I, I’m a kind of a nut all over the place. But I’m I actually in Cincinnati, Ohio right now, just with Oh, wow. Everything’s slowing down. I have a lot of siblings that live here. We were five at home. So three of them are here. And so I came here to spend some time with them. And I was in New York before and I went to LA for a summer and ended up booking some work. So la was my home for the last year.

Katherine Beck  19:43

And so he kind of talked a little bit about like struggles with the accent and stuff like that early on in your career. Were there any sort of struggles or things that you had to overcome, kind of like, I think as we get older as actors, there’s a lot of lessons that we have to learn, you know, what were some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned over the years so far.

Marianly Tejada  20:05

I think overall, I’m getting over myself when I don’t get something, right. Just you know, don’t don’t stress it or overthink it just work harder, practice more, if you need to put into more work time, whatever that means. And just do it again, I feel like oftentimes, you know, if you’re in front of a casting director, or a dialect coach, or anybody who holds some authority in a room, you feel like you have to prove yourself, but just remembering that you’re collaborating with that person, and that they want you to succeed is something to keep in mind. Because it’s true, you know, casting directors want you to do well. And your dialect coach, of course wants you to do well. So it’s a collaborative process instead of like, me trying to prove myself and trying to get hired, for instance, that’s that that was a big lesson. Also, just doing research about, you know, writers, if theatre is something that is important to an actor, which it is, to me, a reading a lot of plays and finding out about new playwrights and what’s being produced, you know, when I was in New York, that was something that had it, just fruit, you know, this is a community, this industry, so you kind of grow with people as you meet them along the way.

Katherine Beck  21:30

That is so great. And it’s funny, because I was gonna say, I wanted to wrap this up by asking you if we had any advice for actors just starting out, you know, a lot of people that listen to this show are international actors from all different countries working on the accent. And you know, they always worry about the auditioning process and casting directors and how they perceive them with the accent and all that and making things precious. So is there any thing else that you might want to wrap up with any advice for actors just starting out,

Marianly Tejada  22:01

I would say, you know, look for for people who are good at what they do, if you need a dialect coach, do your research and find someone to help you. Teamwork makes the dream work. So don’t feel like you have to do it all alone, I would say you know, reach out and do your research about who you reach out to because it does pay off and just drill in those sounds and put in the work. And it’ll all have its fruit.

Katherine Beck  22:28

That’s beautiful. Thank you so much. It’s been such a joy to speak with you and get to know you a bit better. I wish you all the best on your new show that you’re going to be working on very soon. Enjoy New Zealand.

Marianly Tejada  22:42

Thank you so much. It’s it’s lovely chatting with you and meeting you and knowing about you as well.

Katherine Beck  22:47

So inspiring. Thank you so much money on Lee. And I’m so excited to watch your new show once it goes to air. And if you’re loving this podcast episode, and you’re out there and you’re thinking, hey, I want to do a podcast myself. Well, my friend, Courtney Elmer, who’s actually the one that taught me how to start a podcast is going to be running a free workshop coming up, I’ve got all the details for you. All you need to do is head over to my website, Katherine beck.com slash podcast to register and get all the details and join in on all the fun and I’ll see you there. I’m going to be joining in and doing the workshop myself. So if you’re interested or thinking about possibly doing a podcast of your own, come along and sign up. And if you love this episode, go ahead and take a screenshot of the show. Share it on Instagram and tag me in it at Katherine underscore Beck underscore, you can also send me a DM let me know any topics you want to hear on the podcast. And let’s chat. And coming up next week on the show. I’ve got another incredible interview coming your way. I’m going to be talking with Matt gresh, the executive producer of one of us is lying. Yes, the TV show that Marianne Lee is starring in he’s gonna give us the insight into how a production gets produced for TV. so much great stuff in this episode. So stay tuned for that next week. And make sure to share the show with all your actor friends, let them know what’s coming up next week and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become an all American Actor. So you can be the working actor you dream to be. Until then go practice your American accent. And I’ll see you back here next time.

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