Sofia Sisniega is the ultimate tale of two cities. As she is constantly jet-setting from Mexico to Los Angeles and back again, we were curious to know exactly how the star of "Gossip Girl: Acapulco" finds balance. Sofia took some time to share with us details about her career and life, like her formation of her GGA character, her ever-growing admiration for Shakespeare, and her four-legged traveling side-kick, Purux.
You star in the Mexican adaptation of “Gossip Girl." That show was a huge sensation in the U.S. Did you ever watch the U.S. version? How is “Gossip Girl: Acapulco” like and not like the original series? I watched some episodes, I like watching young actors doing a good job. "Gossip Girl: Acapulco" is similar enough for you to feel like you're watching "Gossip Girl," but different enough to keep you hooked! Some characters are different and some are pretty much the same. The writers had to take in consideration the fact that these kids were raised in Mexico, because we're usually a little bit more conservative. This doesn't mean, however, that the series is less action-packed! On the contrary, this adds a little bit of drama to the whole situation: our characters take longer to forgive each other because they are more apprehensive. These were a few changes that had to be made so the Latin-American audience could feel more identified with our roles. Also in GGA, the Humphrey family owns a small boutique hotel, Jenny is a brunette, my character drives a porsche, Chuck actually taped Nate and Serena when Nate cheated on Blair, and Blair is even more spoiled than she was in the American version. And the fact that it happens in Acapulco just makes things hotter! Lots of skin, nice weather, beautiful landscapes! It makes you want to be in the story as much as it did when they were in Manhattan. And to top this with some yummy whipped cream: We don't know who "Gossip Girl" is, all we know is that it will be a different person than the one you guys saw in the New York version.
Your character is Sofía López-Haro. She is the Serena of the show. How did you come into this character? Did you take anything from Blake Lively’s interpretation, or did you form the character completely anew? I based my character only on the “Gossip Girl: Acapulco” (GGA) scripts, as if I was working on a play that has been directed many times. When you’re working on something that has been done before you must be very careful not to steal someone else’s performance, so I was careful not to watch the American version too much. GGA writers made an adaptation of the original series and pulled information from the books. Some characters ended up being different but mine stayed pretty much truthful to the American version.
She is charming, lovable and good intentioned. She's always trying to help but ends up hurting the people she loves the most. There's an age where you learn how to differentiate between what's important in life and makes you grow as a human being, and what's not. She's at that point where you make a lot of mistakes, you hang out with the wrong people and leave behind what really matters. I think that as you grow up your priorities change and you start to define your personality. When the first season begins she doesn't quite know who she is, she's trying to find herself, she's tried rebelling against what she doesn't like but in doing it she's screwed up and hurts who she loves the most. She wants to start over because now she analyzes the good and bad of every situation and thinks about it twice before acting.
You grew up with lots of classical theatre. How did you make a transition from performing Shakespearian plays to playing one of TV's favorite socialites? Shakespeare's work is so rich and so universal that contemporary writing hardly ever achieves that amount of depth. I use Shakespeare even if I'm working on a TV or film character. He wrote so many roles in so many different situations that I've found that there's always one that pretty much matches whatever character I'm working on. I use Shakespeare's monologues as if they were the inner monologue of my contemporary part and this gives them more depth. I also spend a lot of time observing the way people behave in real life and stealing from them. People think you are like the character but this is not true. While you can find some roles that are similar to you, an actor is not his character. I get tired of playing the same type of roles so I'm always changing. I can play the "popular girl" in school but I've also played the "nerd”, the "gang girl," the "animal trafficker," etc. I believe this is what keeps you interested and interesting as an actor.
What’s your favorite Shakespeare work? Your Twitter features a lot of quotes from Antony and Cleopatra. Hmm, that's a hard one. I love so many. I like Antony's monologues better than Cleopatra's actually. The beauty with Shakespeare is that you can work on female or male roles and they both give you something entirely different. My favorite characters are Ophelia (Hamlet), Desdemona (Othello), Constance (King John), Hermione (The Winter's Tale) and Isabella (Measure for Measure).
It’s wonderful that you’re a huge animal rights activist. You recently did a shoot for PETA Latino. Why are animal rights so important to you? What else do you want to do to help animals in need? I've helped animals since I can remember. When I was little, I used to ride my bike in search for animals in need. I would always find stray dogs and cats and would bring them home. I, like many people, can't stand knowing that an animal is suffering and not doing anything about it.
There is so much to do, I believe two of the main problems are: the Government and the corruption that revolves around it, and the lack of education. If authorities were stricter a lot of wild animals would remain in their natural habitats. If everybody had access to a good education we would see less cases of animal cruelty. Animal welfare is something that should concern everyone, just like taking care of the environment we need to take care of animals, we need to rescue and protect them, we need to prosecute people who mistreat them and that's something anyone can do; you don't have to be part of an organization. I shot a PETA campaign because it's a way to communicate what I believe. A lot of young girls dream about being on magazines, I used to dream about doing a PETA campaign. The fact that more people will listen to you because you're an actress is one of the many beauties of acting: not only can you transform someone with your acting but you can share your ideas and be listened. At the same time this is a big responsibility and you better make good use of it.
Judging by your instagram, you have a few animals in your life! Who is the Chihuahua? The Chihuahua is "Purux" (pronounced "PurUsh", it means "little fatty" in Mayan), I've had her for 4 years and she usually travels with me. She's really my only dog. I rescue animals all the time but I always put them up for adoption. If I adopted all the animals I rescue I wouldn't have room to rescue more so even if I'm dying to adopt them I know that I need the space for whatever dog is in transit.
Tell us about some of your hobbies. You Instragram-ed a picture of you getting ready to surf. Yeah that was actually me learning to surf for "Gossip Girl Acapulco." I only took one class because my character doesn't really know how to surf. I ended up being way better at it than my character but haven't had the time to do it again.
Other hobbies: writing, reading and cooking (I'm a great baker!).
Okay, now the tough question: California or Mexico? Hmm, I could never make up my mind. I go back and forth all the time and I think that's probably how I will spend the rest of my life; both places are amazing!
In addition to “Gossip Girl: Acapulco,” you’ve done some big films like Matt Damon’s “Elysium” and Mel Gibson’s “Get the Gringo”. What’s next for you? Do you want to pursue more film in the future? I started out doing theater when I was about four. By the time I was seven I was in several children plays. I shot my fist movie when I was 15 and I've actually done more film that TV. My father was an independent film director so I basically grew up on a film set. I like film better than TV because you have more time to prepare each scene, although television has grown a lot and it's becoming better and better. When a series looks and feels like a movie you realize that it doesn't really matter if it's film or television, as long as you're working on good material. But yes, I definitely want to go on working in movies... and theater.