A Latina Actress on the Horizon of Greatness
story BY: Rebekah Melendez
One year, that's all the time it has taken for Juliana Cifuentes, 12 years old, to go from the world of competitive cheer to the big screen. Sometimes catalysts come from unexpected places; this has never been truer than in the life of Cifuentes. Roughly one year ago Cifuentes was injured. She turned this setback into a time to catapult herself into the acting world. Her parents, Sebastian and Jennifer Cifuentes, reached out to a friend in Chicago and after hard work and determination she was able to nail down professional acting gigs.
Breaking into Hollywood is no easy feat, but that is exactly what Cifuentes has done by landing a role in Melissa McCarthy newest flick. Juliana Cifuentes plays Beth, a Dandelion turned Darling in the much anticipated The Boss. The Boss is a story about a titan of terror, Michelle Darnell, who earns a one way ticket to prison when she is caught for insider trading. When she emerges from prison she has one mission, to make it back to the top of business. The cast has flawless comedic timing, and Peter Dinklage's takeaways and one liners are brilliant. The brown sweater gag between McCarthy and Kristen Bell's characters will resonate with mom's across the country. Which is exactly what this movie is great for, gags.
Don't be fooled by the fact that the bulk of the cast is comprised of children. In a recent interview McCarthy said that originally the movie was going to have a PG-13 rating, but that she felt her character wouldn't know how to behave around children, hence her explicit vocabulary. Even McCarthy said she would not let her child see this movie. Even though McCarthy's own daughter, Vivian Falcon, was in it.
Hilarity ensues, but it's meant for an older audience. Cifuentes, always a professional, took the gags and jokes in stride and stayed true to her character.
Cifuentes is a regular girl with big dreams. She understands that with help, hard work, and determination she can make her dreams come true, and so can other kids. One of her favorite TV shows is Jane the Virgin.
"It's really a funny show. I like how it shows Latina's in more positive roles," says Juliana Cifuentes.
For Cifuentes throwing yourself into the creative process and being present in the scene is the best feeling in the world. Acting is a process, takes hard work, and requires being extremely professional at all times. This fact, that some adults in the industry can't grasp, is as clear to Cifuentes as the life decision that Jane Gloriana Villanueva, a character on Jane the Virgin made.
Showing Latina's in more positive roles is something that inspires Cifuentes; she wants to break down stereotypes. Often times when an actor goes to a casting call the director has a specific look they want for a character. Often times Juliana Cifuentes has not fit this exact mold.
There have been roles where they were looking for blonde hair and blue eyes, but after Cifuentes read for the part she was able to prove that she had a new fresh way to approach the character, and landed the part. This is not to say that she has not run up against obstacles, but she has seen change in the industry. Yes, she has heard that she is either too ethnic looking, or even, not ethnic looking enough, but she isn't going to let that stop her from chasing her dreams.
Looking to the future, Cifuentes wants to continue to pursue acting, but she also sees the importance and value of obtaining an education. Her next project is that of a character named Brittany Montgomery on the web series, Gritz, by Faith in Me Productions. Where she plays a overall mean girl with a secret heart of gold.
"The best part of this new project is that it provides solutions and a way for teens to get help," Juliana Cifuentes said.
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