Interview with FERNANDA URREJOLA | An Uplifting Being
The best way to uplift others is to be our own example of our innate power within all of us to live the life we consider is best. When our beliefs aligned with our desires we attract those around us that matches that vibration and as a result, we become altogether powerful co-creators. We all create our own reality as we have the freedom to react and build our own perception of the world around us.
Actress Fernanda Urrejola who stars as Maria Elvira on Netflix’s new original series “Narcos: México” which will premier its Season 1 on November 16th, says:
“I’d love to tell more uplifting stories. To remind everyone the real power we have as the co-creators of our own reality. We get so trapped into trying to fulfill our lives with external things that we forget the amazing resources that lay within us. We are even able to change our DNA just by changing our state of mind, and the way we feel.”
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Fernanda Urrejola?
Who Am I? I will probably try to answer that my whole life. Everything is constantly evolving and I like to think that I am too. The first word that comes to my mind, though, is intense. I can’t do anything about it… I’m a passionate woman and I like to get the most out of every experience. I’m spontaneous, very playful –– If we are not here to have fun, then what’s the purpose of it all? I am also very clumsy, something that makes my friends tease me a lot. I’m sensitive and delicate, but I have learned I am strong, and brave too… Fear has never stopped me.
- How does your personal life path have embraced your desire to do acting as a profession?
As a child I used to play by myself for hours, pretending to be different people. I made up stories that would take me into these dramatic rollercoasters, and many times I ended up emotionally engaged. I loved it… But from early on, my parents made it clear that I wasn’t allowed to pursue acting. For them (they are both in the science field) acting wasn’t a career. Instead, in my adolescence, they supported me in another passion; synchronized swimming. I devoted years into my training, but I realized it didn’t fill my spirit as much as storytelling and the possibility of understanding the human psyche. So against all expectations, I decided to study acting in Chile. Before I graduated I started acting in TV and film, and that was it. I’m aware of how fortunate I am. I’ve done what I aspired to do and I keep making my dreams come true.
- The entertainment industry is evolving into a more globalized platform where talents from around the world come together to create. What inspired you to expand your professional horizons to the U.S.?
I grew up watching American films. At age 8 I knew “Gone With the Wind” by heart –– another example of how intense I could be. I dreamt of becoming an actress in the U.S. After a long career in Chile, I felt a change was necessary for me. I had to get out of my comfort zone, and so I moved to Los Angeles. It was the best decision I could have made, both for my career and especially for my personal growth. Being here, in these times, has given me a greater perspective as an actress. The possibilities to tell stories are fully open, no matter where you are from. As human beings, we share the same issues and emotions.
- The entertainment industry in the U.S. must be quite different from your country of origin, Chile? How does this contrast of professional experiences have influenced you as an actress?
Chile has a very small industry, but we have a rich and complex cultural heritage. I’ve had the privilege of working there in theater, TV and film, and this has prepared me with a diverse range of tools that I have brought to my work in the U.S. I’m here to keep learning, and I think after a couple of years I’ll be able to assimilate the influence that this contrast has given me as an actress.
This being said, I believe the scale of the industry doesn’t really matter. In the end, all that remains is how devoted you are to the craft.
- Being an actress gives you the opportunity to become and explore different personalities. How does the process of studying a character have added to your personal growth and in consequence your sense of empathy towards yourself and others?
What I like the most about acting is the deeper understanding of empathy. That’s the reason why I became an actress in the first place. I’ve always been delighted with how the human mind works. I find it both amusing and obvious that all the characters I’ve played have revealed to me a part of myself I needed to understand. I’ve always acknowledged this, and I treasure it as a fundamental step of the magic of the human experience. To put yourself into someone else’s shoes gives you perspective and the understanding that no matter who we are, we all share the same drives and desires. Being an actress has also taught me to see emotions for what they are, detach from them, and be aware that they don’t define us.
- More women are writing, directing and producing within the entertainment industry. That creates new narratives between the story and the spectator showcasing powerful female lead characters. How do you think this affects the industry and the perception of the audience?
I think this is a unique point in time. We are going through an immense cultural change and I’m grateful to be a part of it. In history, it has been mostly through the arts where social beliefs have been installed, so the fact that we can now re-tell our stories –– after centuries of being silenced –– will make it easier for the old patriarchal beliefs to dissolve. I think the paradigm won’t shift from one day to another, but it has already started. I see young girls nowadays, and I admire how empowered they are. The female vision and energy are essential for this moment in evolution.
- You will be seen on Netflix’s new original series “Narcos: México” portraying Maria Elvira. How was the audition process and how did you feel when you first read the script?
I initially auditioned for two roles; a smaller one and María Elvira. When I read her scene, I was captivated by her intelligence. Even if she was not a narco herself, she grew up in the narco world and understands it, so she can’t be fooled. After a while without hearing any news, I was about to go to Chile for another project, thinking I didn’t get the part. It was then when my agent called to say I got it. I read the script of the first episode, and I was thrilled with how the story evolved. I rapidly got engaged and I wanted to know more, so I started my own research on the character and her world, while I waited for the next script to arrive.
- The original series “Narcos: México” is set to premiere on Netflix, November 16th, 2018. Who are the new cast and why do you think the audience will be thrilled to watch it?
Diego Luna and Michael Peña are leading it. Great actors from different countries have been put together to make up an amazing cast. Narcos is a show that has already captivated audiences from all over the world. The best thing about the upcoming season is that the show renews itself without losing its essence and what makes it great. It will take us to the origins of the Mexican cartels in the early 1980’s, and we’ll be able to see how Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo (Diego Luna) becomes “The boss of bosses”.
- What do you like most of your character, Maria Elvira, and did you find any resonance between her and yourself?
As I said before, she is a very smart woman. Nothing escapes her radar. Even in this man-driven world, she remains strong. And above all, she’s a woman that will do anything for her family.
- How would you describe the relationship between Maria Elvira and her husband Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (played by Diego Luna)?
They are family and for her that’s unbreakable. She is his second wife (he is a widower), and they have two kids together. They make a great team. She supports him and he respects her opinion. He learned a lot from her father, who was also a narco.
- What kind of message in a story would you like to be part of at this moment?
I’d love to tell more uplifting stories. To remind everyone the real power we have as the co-creators of our own reality. We get so trapped into trying to fulfill our lives with external things that we forget the amazing resources that lay within us. We are even able to change our DNA just by changing our state of mind, and the way we feel. There are so many magnificent stories about courageous men and women whose examples can inspire others. There are unknown heroes out there, changing the world. I want to tell those stories. I’d love to be part of projects that show empowering women who have been able to change history in spite of social beliefs.
- What other exciting projects are you working on?
As an actress, I’m not allowed to tell yet, but I can’t wait to share once I’m able to.
I’m also a writer. I just finished shooting a short I co-wrote and acted in. I’m currently co-writing a feature film, set in the south of Chile, that’s ready to be shot the first semester of 2019, directed by Francisca Alegria. It’s going to be the first feature script I ever wrote, so I’m really excited about that.
I’m also developing a show that thrills me… There is a lot of adventure and has all the components I want to watch in a show.
- Are you involved in any charity organization or humanitarian cause you would like to mention?
I am. I have been working on a new organization in Chile that will help regulate the situations of children that come from abusive and impoverished backgrounds. My country has gone through a huge crisis regarding our children. The state entities that were supposed to protect children’s rights, were the ones neglecting and hiding years of abuse. After the news came out, my best friend and I started collaborating with a foundation called “Para la confianza,” to create www.Observatorioparalaconfianza.com – that helps regulate authorities with the benefit of the children as a focus and provides tools and information to the citizens that want to help.
I also support different environmental movements to protect the unique natural patrimonies in Chile, because we don’t have yet the laws to do that.
- How does the perspective you have about yourself affect your existence?
It affects my existence in every way. It’s no lie that you are your own limits.
Getting out of my comfort zone and having more time for myself, really helped me to go deeper into that understanding. I’m more aware of my own limiting beliefs, so I try to go beyond them. I’m appreciating my process and I’m trusting that the universe has my back, the way it always has.
- How did you discover the practice of meditation and how does it shape your days?
I discovered it a while ago, but I thought it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t stay still for more than ten seconds, how was I supposed to clear my mind for half an hour? I guess I had it all wrong about meditation, and probably too many expectations. But there came a moment in my life where it was pretty clear I needed a big internal change. I was repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Falling into the same old patterns… I went to therapy, but that didn’t do it. I needed more, so I went to a workshop to learn about The primordial sound meditation (Deepak Chopra) and it really helped me. I started meditating every day after that. And I’ve tried different kinds of meditations along the way. There are a bunch of them, you just have to find which ones resonate more with you.
- The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is “The Essence of a Joyful Living.” How does Joy during the creative process affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
Joy is just an essential element of my philosophy, therefore I try to bring it to everything I do. It makes my life a constant creative process, so every manifestation, whether it comes from a project I’m doing or my day to day life, is colored with Joy.
- When you hear: “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?
It’s one of the few things I believe to be a universal truth.
Photographer: Javiera Eyzaguirre | Hair and Makeup: Cristián Quitral | Styling: Natalia Schwarzenberg