Interview with Elena Rivera

  • Tell us about you. How did you start in the show business?
At the beginning it was in the music, with “Menudas Estrellas”, and due to a colleague I found out about a casting for a new character for the TV series “Cuéntame”. I performed just to give it a try, and I was chosen. In fact, the first days recording there were many words that I didn’t know, because I wasn´t educated for performing yet.
  • I saw that at the beginning you imitated singers in TV shows like “Menudas Estrellas” or “Jóvenes Estrellas”. Have you thought about working in the music business?
Some time ago I recorded a few songs with a friend of mine from Zaragoza, but afterwards, shooting “Cuéntame”, playing at the theatre and studying at the university I didn’t have any free time. I don’t want to give up on music, since it is what I started with. 
  • And how was that first casting for “Cuéntame”?
Thanks to collaborate for a while in “Menudas EStrellas” I dealt with it more calmed. Even the casting’s director told me she was surprised that I wasn’t shy in front of the camera, like most of the other candidates were.
  • How was the moment when you found out that your actress career was about to start?
I remember I went to the movies with my friends and when we left the cinema my parents were waiting for me, although we hadn’t agreed to meet. There were they, smiling, they told me that I had received a phone call and that was a very exciting moment with my parents and friends.
  • How do you remember your first shooting day?
At that age you don’t think about everything so much, but seeing the entire neighbourhood that at home we were from the beginning watching on the TV series was very impressive. And suddenly, I had a sequence with María Galiana or Imanol Arias. As my parents were aware of the situation, for them it was harder to assimilate; besides I started shooting just four days after they told me I was the chosen one.
  • And about the script, how did you memorize the roles, being so young?
I don’t remember saying at any time “I’m going to study the dialogues”. There are mainly sequences in which you have to know when you have to join but they hadn’t any difficult dialogue. They were typical child’s things such as playing in an open space, besides we practiced a lot before shooting. I remember that Alicia Hermida was there, helping the youngest actors.
  • Tell us about her, Alicia Hemida.
She is a woman full of energy and vitality. I have the good luck of being with her now in the theatre with “El Arte De La Entrevista”, and since we knew each other from “Cuéntame” I’m very comfortable working again with her.
  • Do you have any relative who had worked in the show business?
None, my parents were astonished when I started in this business. Well, at home we have always really liked music. My grandmother, my aunt and my brother always liked singing, in fact my brother also started in “Menudas Estrellas” but then he decided to stop and follow another path.
  • How would you define your evolution as an actress and as a person, having in mind how old you were when you started acting? What is it that has marked you the most or in what has the development of your personality been based?
When I was a child I didn’t consider shooting as a job, it was more like a hobby that I had to balance with the school. I think being constantly surrounded by adults makes you mature faster. It makes you grow up and see the life in a different way. And as an actress I guess that I have grown too, shooting for ten years with people such as Ana Duato, Juan Echanove... You try to be a “sponge” and learn from all the advices.
  • Professionally speaking, being natural is the greatest piece of advice that you have received?
You have to know the script, but you shouldn’t get obsess with it and the essential thing is to know the intention that they want the sequence to have. Sometimes the script is modified in the last minute, so then you have to be natural. María Galiana says: “acting is giving a feeling and then everything is solved itself, not just playing faces”, so that is, giving a touch of naturalness.
  • Who are you main references in the TV series, who doesnt stop surprising you no matter how much time goes by?
María Galiana and Juan Echanove. I don’t happen to meet them very often but the few times we do, they have a way of seeing interpretation, that what they feel about this job is passion. I’m fascinated every time I hear them talking about it. And also the opinions or advices that you hear from María, Juan or Alicia.
  • Tell me about her personality, how do you understand Karina?
She always had a strong personality, very mature for her age. She came to the neighbourhood and shook up the boys. The last seasons she has a different character due to some problems: the rape attempt, the depression and suddenly the drugs. Now it seems like her attitude has changed and she is happy with the band.
  • How do you see the intense friendship between your character and Carlos? Are you in love?
I think so, but that depends on the screenwriters. There are some scenes in which our look is special because the script says so, in others we look like just friends. We will see about what happens in the end.
  • Are you aware that “Cuéntame” will have an expiration date?
I always have in mind that at some point it will finish, what’s more the other day I finished shooting the last season and I enjoyed myself going for a walk through the studio. I have been doing that for several seasons because you never know when it can be the last one. And I’m aware that it has to finish.
  • As a spectator, I understand that there are some scenes that you have done in fiction but you haven´t lived in real life.
In the first seasons, kissing when you were so young and in your real life you were 11 and you hadn’t experienced that yet. And above all, last year being in the drug world.
They inform us so that we can familiarize ourselves with it. For example, the plot based on the 80’s; the youngest of us didn’t live it and they help us a lot to get into our characters, the context and the situation.
  • How do you combine studying and working?
At the beginning I was hesitating between Dramatic Arts or Early Childhood Education. Finally I decided to study the second one because I like having something that doesn’t belong to the show business, something that is more real. Besides since I was a child I was called to become a teacher.  I don’t enrol all the subjects but I scrape by.
  • Are you aware that you are a privileged person?
Yes, I am. With the current situation we are living with so many actors being unemployed... I didn’t stop since I started and moreover in so important works.
  • You currently combine “El Arte De La Entrevista” with the TV series “Cuéntame”. What do you prefer, working on the TV or live acting in the theatre?
I prefer the theatre; since I’ve tried it I feel a really special magic. A month ago we finished in the María Guerrero Theatre and I’m already looking forward to starting with the tour. Theatre was a thing I wanted to try and I had the luck to get that chance.
  • Talking again about theatre, how was your experience with “El Arte De La Entrevista”?
I feel so privileged playing a work by Juan Mayorga, and also being surrounded by colleagues with such a great career like Alicia Hermida or Luisa Martín. It is a dense story with double meaning sentences, besides we had the responsibility that there was no previous version. We were getting ready for about a month and a half, and we are truly happy with the results.
  • Was it your hardest role to play?
I think so, and it connected to the theatre concept. Acting live and feeling the audience is wonderful.
  • What other projects have you being doing lately, besides the ones we have already talked about?
Some weeks ago I started shooting a small performance for the movie “Perdiendo El Norte” by Nacho García Velilla, and I happened to meet with the team from the TV series “Los Quien”. It is only two or three sequences with Julián López. I had never done cinema before, so it was a new experience. In addition it impressed me the shooting speed, which is three times slower that in the TV series.
Thank you very much Elena.
Ana M.Adrián
Translated by: Pilar Colomo