Interview « María Pedraza Daily –


We chatted with the actress and dancer, who has Urban. La vida es nuestra on Amazon Prime Video. “Hopefully the platforms will stay for a long time because they have given us a lot of joy. Especially to the actors”, says the young woman, who she acknowledges having been inspired by Sara Socas for her character.

You were shooting in Malaga with Toy Boy and now you’re back with Urban. Can this become a filming city on a par with Madrid and Barcelona? Does it offer what an actor needs?
Yes… I could say that it is like the new Barcelona. A lot of things are being done, a lot of productions, the Malaga Festival brings a lot of people… It’s one of my favorite festivals and I have a great time. You are very comfortable, with that rhythm and those cool productions that are made, but at the same time with the sea next to you, which gives you the tranquility of being at peace. You are saturated with filming, which sometimes happens, and you go to the sea. I feel like a home. For me it is like a second home. I feel that way, because I’ve been here a long time.

In this series you sing. How has it been? Did they notify you in advance?
Yes, they told me. It’s very funny: when I was little I used to go into my room to sing karaoke. My parents asked me why I didn’t train my voice. I was dancing, because she was a dancer, and I didn’t educate her… But you are attracting your dreams a bit, and this has been one of them. I knew it from minute 1 and I loved it. On top of that, Lola doesn’t sing, but she tells, because she does cockfights, and she’s very cool. I really like that world, I have been very inspired by Sara Socas, who is a super inspiration for me, I love her. I’ve loved getting into that world so fully, because you live it in such a real way… Asia [Ortega] sings beautifully, and Bernardo [Flores] also sings. And I have lived it very closely.

Has the challenge been difficult for you?
No. When I’m ashamed of something, I say to myself: ‘If I’m going to have to do it, what difference does it make?’ I don’t think, I jump in and do it. And on top of that I enjoy it. And it has been like this: I have enjoyed it very much. I’ve had to play the guitar too. I started to try it in confinement, one day I got angry and said that I was not learning any more, and here they have given me the gift of playing the guitar again. And do it with the incredible team of musicians. I was a superfan of Los Serrano, my platonic love was Víctor Elías… And, of course, the great news came to me that he was going to be here. So he was in love. I have had the great pleasure of meeting him and he is amazing. The lyrics and everything they do has love, they are very well written. They are very well accompanied for this series. We did not expect less.

Going into the matter, how is Lola’s story?
Lola comes from a wealthy family, with all kinds of comforts, but she is a very sensitive being and feelings are more pervasive than material things. That is why she denies that and goes to the authentic, and seeks authenticity. That’s why she goes with Janet to Malaga, like she goes places alone and puts on headphones and sees people. She always seeks to get inside her. She is very brave and she is not afraid of the void.

What kind of relationship does your character have with Asia’s? It seems that it is more than a friendship judging by the advances shown to the press…
Spoilers I can’t do! [Laughs] It’s a series where there are no labels to begin with. No tags or filters. The situation occurs and there is an impact. We are people who collide -I am going to tell it like this- and there is affection, a rapprochement…

You were talking about inspiration with Sara Socas. Could you talk to her?
Yes, I spoke to her, actually. I wrote to her on Instagram, she is very busy and she could barely help me with what I was doing, but she already had a team that was helping me, which is the one for this series. We had so little time that we could barely talk, but she did, she told me that if she ever did something else where we had more time and she could sit with me, she would be happy. I’ve seen a lot of his videos. I love it. She arrives and busts it, and Lola has that point that’s a bit unexpected. You see Sara Socas and say, ‘Well…’, and she suddenly arrives and has a devastating force. I was inspired a bit by that: in not noticing that Lola could do what she does, and that she arrives in the first chapter and “boom!”.

The platforms have become a new window to show your work. As an actress, how do you live this new panorama with the possibility of your work being seen all over the world almost simultaneously?
Yes, it’s almost simultaneously. Sometimes it is even ephemeral, but it is also beautiful. It is another type of stage that we are experiencing, and the good thing is to settle down even temporarily. Hopefully the platforms will stay for a long time because they have given us a lot of joy. Especially to the actors, who give us so much work, and to the rest of the departments. It amazes me that I have gone somewhere, like Paris, and they know you there. How nice that people, through a series they have seen on a platform, tell you that they loved your work. I’ll stick with that, and with those I’ve lived with on set.

You have participated in a few series but all have found a very large audience partly thanks to the platforms. Is there any common link in terms of the sensations that those projects that you have had with respect to Urban have generated in you?
Yes. Something a bit abstract comes in here, which is my intuition. I am guided a lot by intuition. When I am presented with a project I am very lucky and I feel very lucky to have been able to choose thanks to what I have done. In this case, Urban chose me, and I chose Urban. I felt that it was going to be a success not only for the viewer, but also because of how it was presented to me: Jota [Linares] and Ray presented it to me in a way that I believed from minute 1: the photography, the personality of our characters, the link between Janet and Lola… I loved it because it goes a lot with what I like about movies. That magic and this realism, and this series has a lot of that: those shots with a camera over the shoulder, everything kind of dirty but at the same time very true… It gives you the feeling of being inside, and it’s very cool. And that has Urban: it’s something different, indie but with a lot of strength. It is very cool. This project has a lot of soul.

How did you experience a shoot as intense as this one? Has it been very different from other previous projects in terms of intensity?
Yes and no, because everything is very fast and very ephemeral. We live in a very hectic way, but within that we have to find enjoyment and stay with things that could be overlooked. I keep everything, everything has stayed in my heart. The characters teach me a lot to be a better person and Lola has taught me a part of me that I didn’t know, which was to be comfortable in solitude. Lola knows how to be comfortable in solitude, but she takes refuge too much not to think about all that emotional burden that she has. Loneliness has made me feel comfortable.

What segment of the audience do you think a series like Urban can best connect with, and what do you think are the keys to doing so?
Look, I think with everyone: with adults, with adolescents… It’s a series that many people can connect with, it doesn’t focus only on the adolescent world, because… We’re not teenagers [laughs]. Our characters are entering a stage and embarking on a path in which they are already adults, and are even looking for their place, their success through many failures. It can be seen by all kinds of audiences.

You had said that Urban had chosen you. You return here with the director Jota Linares, with whom you made Las Niñas de Cristal, who spoke of demand; this series talks about failure. How long have you lived together and how do you see everything you have done and what has brought you here?
Jolin, we’ve lived so much… Jota has met me and I see myself as when I shot the first film with him, which was [Who would you take to] A deserted island, and I saw myself as a child compared to what I am now. I really feel, and he gives me something to say, like a very woman. It has been precious to be able to grow with him. I have really grown with him, professionally and personally. We’ve been through a lot together, he’s taught me a lot and I hope I’ve taught him a lot too. It’s nice to have gone through a deserted island, through a classical dance and a ballet, and now suddenly go to the music. We have both experienced this for the first time and it has been beautiful.

Jota brings out the best in me, and that’s why I love riding with him. But also with Koldo [Almandoz, also director of the series]: it has been a discovery because we didn’t know each other and I love shooting with him. They are beings with different universes but that merge super well. I love it. It has been a discovery and I would like to be able to ride with him again.

What kind of actress are you when approaching the character?
I am very energetic, intuitive… When I read a script, the energy of the character comes to me. She also left a margin for improvisation, because from what we read and what we imagine happens, there is always a difference. I like that the character I’m doing surprises me, and that what has to be generated on set is generated. In the end it is life itself: if you are asking me a question I am going to answer you in another way. Without the other party, we would not have that feedback. Lola has a lot of what I have created, of what I have received from that inner world, but also a lot of what has been generated on set with the whole team. I work like this almost always.
Many times it is either very much in line with the idea that you have imagined or it is something else. That’s why I try not to go with something super defined, because I know that we have to be open as actors to adapt all the time, and that’s why I leave a margin for improvisation. I like when I see myself say: ‘And that? That was not in my plans’. I like to surprise myself. I work a lot with improvisation.

What has it been like to record in that deeper Málaga and more of the neighbourhoods, which perhaps clashes with the one that is intended to be sold abroad?
We have been to places with an impressive history, and I am glad to have lived thanks to this project. We have gone to very iconic places, and I have known another Malaga that I had not known. That’s really cool. Maybe you come from abroad and you think you wouldn’t get into certain places… But why don’t you know. It’s great that we have a super team of locations that make something so realistic and nuanced.

You have spoken before about the ephemeral nature of our current world. With the platforms allowing and promoting such an “impulsive” consumption of content, are you reluctant that everything ends up turning out so quickly, also for projects that have taken you months to do?
It is what is happening. But I compare it to movies from many years ago and you think: ‘How good that the platforms are.’ A series like Los Serrano is on the platform, or movies like Titanic are restocked in theaters. How precious that it is something so ephemeral but that things are being rescued and are even an inspiration for us, for the actors and all the departments. Everything is feeding back. Yes, it is ephemeral, but there is that other part that gives us the rest mattress. How good that things of one thing or another endure. That gives us security.

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Ego is the new thriller starring María Pedraza with Pol Monen, Marian Álvarez, and Francisco Boira.

During the confinement caused by the COVID-19 crisis, Paloma (María Pedraza), a 19-year-old girl, goes to a dating network with people of the same sex as her. The young woman begins to lose her mind when a double exactly like her appears on this contact website with clear intentions to impersonate her. Directed by Alfonso Cortés Cavanillas, this new hypertechnological thriller represents a change of scenery for María, who strips herself emotionally to cover issues as complex as confinement or mental problems. “I love getting out of my comfort zone, these are issues that touch me on a personal level, I really like being able to give Paloma a voice and life, this role came to me at a time when I needed it for personal reasons, life sent it to me as a sign”, said María, “I have felt very free, very free and sheltered”.

The film, which was shot in just one week, takes place in a time of confinement, not far from reality. We asked María what it was like to shoot at such a complex time, which has profoundly marked the way we relate and communicate: “We had everything very close, it was shot after confinement. I’m not going to lie to you, I was a little scared of the unknown”.

With a script by Jorge Navarro de Lemus, the plot revolves around Paloma’s (Pedraza) desperation to find the woman who wants to steal her identity. The film has been honored at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, winning the Best Feature Film Award, Best Screenplay Award, and Best Actress Award.

What has it been like to bring Paloma to life in this new thriller?
She has been a great challenge as an actress and as a person. In the end, many times we tend to prejudge ourselves, there are some characters that scare us or make us leave our comfort zone. I received it as a great challenge, I was so excited that I called Pedro – my representative – because he couldn’t believe it. I think that as an actress I have that responsibility to get out of my comfort zone and give voice to situations that seem important to me, such as those dealt with in this film; mental problems, confinement…

How have you faced this new character…
The theme of the film is mental disorders, I did not want to focus only on that because I wanted to experience it from Paloma’s mind. She feels harassed by a person identical to her. She wanted to show that the viewer traveled with that harassment, until almost the end of the film. She lacks certain things, she seeks help…
The scenes screaming and in the foreground was a challenge in itself, when it is interpreted you have to differentiate your person from the character, what happens to Paloma could happen to anyone. I had to play two very different characters; the scenes with myself were shocking, but I felt comfortable.

It’s something you’ve never done before, what motivated you to be part of this hypertechnological thriller? How have you lived this experience?
What motivated me was to get out of my comfort zone, I love being able to cover issues that touch me on a personal level, I really like being able to give Paloma a voice and life. It didn’t take long for me to accept the project because it just came to me at a personal moment in which life suddenly sent it to me as a sign, a challenge. I had the need to do it, I like to tell what I feel through those characters, I have felt very free and very supported by the entire cast of actors and by all who were there every day to make this possible, that, by the way, it was shot in a week, I always tell it because I think it has a lot of merit. We worked with great care and love to make this possible…

What did you think the first time you saw the script, was it something that caught your attention from the beginning?
I got goosebumps! I was looking forward to it. I read the first two lines and I already knew that I wanted to do it, I read it in full too (laughing), but from the first moment I knew that I wanted to be part of this project.

The film talks about issues such as confinement due to the Covid-19 crisis, etc. What has it been like to shoot at such a complex time, which has profoundly marked the way we interact and communicate?
We were all very close, it was shot right after confinement and to tell you the truth I was a little scared. Fear of the unknown, of recording again after so long… I took it with great desire and enthusiasm. It was my first job after confinement, there were many measures (which we fulfilled all of them) and a lot of responsibility for this project to go ahead.

How has it been working with Alfonso (Cortés-Cavanillas)?
He has enchanted me, he is rock and roll (between laughs). I loved meeting him and working with him; He is very committed, he gives himself, contributes, listens and takes care of you. He is a great professional that I have been fortunate to work with.

And with Pol Monen, Marian Álvarez…
Oh Pol fantastic! He was the first person I worked with in this world. It’s like being at home, he’s my best friend and I’ve really enjoyed this project with him. With Marian I connected from minute one, she offers a very human energy, she broke my soul in certain scenes and I had to stay in the role. She plays my mother in the film, a desperate mother who does not see the way to help her daughter, in constant emotional exhaustion… She has stripped herself emotionally with this project and has let herself be carried away, she was in constant transformation.

The film has won the Best Feature Film Award, Best Screenplay Award and Best Actress Award at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, how has this been for you?
Well, the truth is that I did not expect it at all. It was a very project for us, for me… It was just in confinement and I don’t know, I did it to enjoy it myself, to myself.

Do you think that the awards for the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival is the first step towards something bigger in the field of Spanish cinema?
Well hopefully! Now everything is super connected, all together, this makes it easier for your work to be recognized in other countries. I think so… little by little.

Many of the scenes take place through Zoom or Skype, what do you think of this reconfiguration of old scares to present new-looking situations?
Love it. In general, the genre – thriller – captivates me, I am very attracted to this type of cinema, besides I think it is much deeper, it engages from another place, it has a lot of depth. In Ego we talk a lot about mental problems, especially anxiety…

Do you think this film is going to help give greater visibility to these problems?
Well, I hope so, we have to help people with mental problems to seek help. We live in a society where everything goes very fast, demand and perfection go hand in hand in a constant way. We are, well, I can only speak for me, in a moment of extremes, a frantic pace that you follow or go to your world. But yes, I think it can give voice to everything that happens. Little by little more is verbalized and that is good.

The film will be released in theaters on December 1 and will be available in the Imagine creator community in the middle of this month.

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The actress is sincere and tells us about everything she is passionate about in front of and behind the cameras, about her favorite hairstyles for this Christmas and how she takes care of and styles her hair with the ‘Steampod 3.0’ by L’Oréal Professionel.

Natural, unfiltered, demanding, funny, impulsive… María Pedraza (1996, Madrid) began her professional life as a dancer and today she is one of the young promises of Spanish cinema that has crossed borders. With several new releases to come and a promising career ahead of her, she has just been named the face of the ‘Steampod 3.0’ styler by L’Oréal Professionnel.

That she has been chosen as an ambassador for a hair straightener is not surprising because the actress’s long hair is, together with her impressive eyes, one of her hallmarks. A benchmark for thousands of girls around the world (only on Instagram he has more than 12 million followers), he tells us how he takes care of his chameleon hair, the keys to keeping it healthy, strong and bright even for a lover of look changes like her.

In the 90s, models were discovered on the street. In your case, they did it through Instagram, don’t you find this evolution curious?
The truth is that if. I was a dancer and, suddenly, one day I had a casting for my first film. When they had already caught me I found out that they had seen me on Instagram. But of course, in the beginning what I was doing was classical dance, I hadn’t acted or anything like that either. I remember that when I got to the audition I told them: “Excuse me, I’m a dancer” (laughs). But it seems they liked me and after three tests, they finally selected me.

We are experiencing a unique phenomenon – to which you belong – with a whole generation of actors who are succeeding worldwide thanks, in part, to digital platforms and social networks, what does it mean to be part of this quarry?
In my case, I think what is most impressive is how fast everything goes. I swear to you that there are moments in my life that I am not aware of all the good things that happen to me. I truly believe that the brain is not capable of assimilating so much information. What I am clear about is the type of actress I want to be and what I want to convey. I am super grateful that our work can be seen all over the world thanks to the platforms, because for us that has been a super stage for the actors and for the people who dedicate ourselves to this.

And now that you have been able to interpret in different formats, are you from cinema or series?
I am more of cinema, I admit it. Although –logically– I love the series. But the feeling of making a feature film is that I love it. I started with cinema and I would love to continue like this. But it is appreciated that we are in a time when all kinds of formats are consumed. I think the projects are completely different in terms of time and storyline. Maybe that’s why I like a feature film better, it goes at a different pace.

You are one of the most followed people in our country in RR.SS. Do you take it seriously when publishing content – knowing how much you can influence people your age – or are you not aware of it?
I always try to show my personal side but I don’t think about it much. It’s funny because, as you say, a social network exposes you a lot and the more exposure you have, the greater the ability to influence and even inspire. In my case, I like to convey to people the most natural or real content possible.

Life with filters or natural?
Today for today, natural. I have used filters and I have touched a lot the light, the color… But I prefer to see things as they are. Many times, when we take a photo, we already know what filter we are going to put on it and that cannot be. As we are seeing, it can be quite dangerous.

You have studied classical dance, could we say that you are a very disciplined woman?
In general, I am very crazy, but it is true that I also have a very self-demanding part, which works for me and against me at the same time. There are times when, demanding less from you, things come out, flow and you enjoy them more. I’m trying to find that balance between being self-demanding and being a little more free and tolerant of myself. But yes, as you say, it has helped me a lot to have studied dance for interpretation, it also requires a lot of discipline and above all, concentration and passion.

An actress you admire…
I really like Carmen Machi. She is very fresh and inspires me a lot. Everything she does on an interpretive level is different and I find it very interesting and complex. It is amazing to see how she finds the middle point –and perfection– in each performance.

You always say that you like to change your look but this is not usually the best to keep it healthy… How do you take care of your hair?
I try to do intense hydration treatments with some frequency both at home with good masks and in the hairdresser with specific protocols, because I have it quite dry. In summer I leave my hair natural but when I want a more polished finish, either wavy or straight, I use ‘Steampod 3.0’ because it is the only one that protects my hair fiber, eliminates the frizz effect, the result lasts a long time and, in addition, power choosing the temperature seems a plus to me.

Have you had any major hair disaster?
Yes, it was horrible, I had a bleaching from zero to one hundred that destroyed my hair, it took a long time to recover it… I still regret it.

What is the change that you have made for work that you liked the most?
The most recent has been for the Toy Boy series, which is now premiering on Netflix, for which I had to wear extensions and I love how they fit me, it has been a great discovery. I’m at a time in my life that I look best with super long hair.

This styler was really born for the professional sector and now we can all use it at home, since when do you have it?
Yes, at first I only used it when I went to the hairdresser but thanks to the help and advice of Iván Gómez, who has been a great friend of mine for many years, I learned certain gestures to use it at home. They are only advantages! It has a spectacular and super professional finish, fast and easy.

And finally… Are you an ELLE girl?
Well, the truth is that I think so, but I let you say it (laughs).

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