This is part two of an interview with Mexican actress Paola Poucel. In part one, we discussed her work with an educational theater company whose motto is giving a voice to the voiceless. Here we’ll cover showbiz stereotypes, the change in roles offered to Paola after becoming a mom, and providing a voice for the voiceless.
Hip Latina: What was it that got you interested in voice-over?
Paola Poucel: My dad was a huge Disney fan, and we basically watched all the Disney movies, my sisters and I, and we loved to play with the voices, of course in Spanish. We used to do the whole movie, the three of us. Every day, just having a meal.
HL: As a musical theater person, I’m assuming that you’re doing singing.
PP: Yes. And I do a lot of voiceover and commercials. And I just did an audition for Orange is the New Black.
HL: Oh, awesome.
PP: I mean, I didn’t get it. [laughs] But it’s good to be back.
And it’s weird because I’m not the same person I was before. Now I’m a mom. It changes you. It changes you physically, mentally, and it’s kind of fun to see how the casting directors see you now.
I used to be more like a young student, or the naive girl who just came to the city. Now they see me like a more mature, put-together woman. So the roles I’ve been called for are stronger roles.
HL: Do you feel that that is directly related to your having a child now?
PP: Yeah, I totally think so. Because, I mean, before, it’s like, oh my god, this is the only thing you have and, “Please, please God, I need to get it!” And now, it doesn’t matter. If I get it, great. If I don’t, another thing will come. I have a baby I have to keep alive. [laughs]
HL: Have you talked about this with others in the field?
PP: Yes, to men and women. They have exactly that experience, or the opposite. So they put all of their focus and their energy in; they get it because of that.
HL: Have you heard of that book The Secret that talks about changing the outcome of your life by the energy you put out?
PP: Yes we talk about that all the time, me and my husband.
I totally believe in that. After school, your whole world changes. After school you’re like, “Oh yes, the world is mine!” I mean, I don’t know your story, but after a couple of months you’re like, “Oh. This is the real world?”
HL: That’s definitely been my story. It’s been disenchanting.
PP: That’s what happened with me. It was a couple of really hard months, seeing that my Broadway dream, it wasn’t going to be that easy. Because musical is so American, and I’m not American. I have a completely different energy. It’s not only the accent. It’s just a whole energy thing, the Latina blood, even if I don’t look like too Latina, it’s there. [laughs]
HL: It’s changed your opportunities, being a Latina who’s trying to find work in Broadway.
PP: I think there’s a stereotype of the Latina. So, if you are not tall, black-haired, sexy, you know, great body, great dancer. Because those are the adjectives that are actually on the breakdowns. TV, film, theater, blah blah blah. Either you are like young, sexy Latina. Or you are the 40, 45, Latina grandmother type. And I don’t fit in any of those. I’m just a woman.
And I tried—believe me, I tried. I dyed my hair, I tried to be super fit. That’s not me. I mean, I can be in great shape. But I’m not Sofia Vergara. I’m not Salma Hayek. [changes to a stronger accent with very rolled r’s] And I refuse to talk like this the entire time. [laughs] I mean, I would do it. But it’s not what I am.