Q–What do you think of Lowrider Magazine?
A–I grew up with Lowrider and I’ve always loved it. It’s a fun magazine, you see how creative people can be with cars and it’s a staple for the Latin community.
Q–Is it true you’re from East L.A.?
A–I am, as are my parents and grandparents. I’m third generation! I grew up in Monterey Park cruising Whittier Blvd.
Q–So, despite your TV stardom, are you really just “Marisa from the Block”?
A–That’s a funny question! Wow. It makes my life more effective if I do things genuinely and keep things real. I grew up in and around the entertainment business, which has given me perspective. A lot of people change, and I decided early on not to.
Q–Tell us how you got started. You began modeling first, right?
A–I started modeling at 13 when somebody took a Polaroid of me to an agency. I thought it would be cool to make some extra cash. Plus, I went to an all-girls private school and didn’t have the best time there, modeling was my escape, and so I worked a lot.
Q–Many guys still remember you as the “hot girl” from major music videos and as the host of MTV’s Senseless Acts of Video. How did you transition from modeling to TV?
A–I started traveling overseas a lot, which was a good experience being so young and having to fend for myself in different cultures, but it also opened my eyes to the modeling world, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to be an object anymore; I wanted to show my personality. So I came home from a trip and decided to start acting. I went on an audition for MTV, and I landed the role! I was able to be myself, which was a great experience.
Q–You were nominated for an ALMA and NAACP Image Award for starring as calculating supermodel Gia on General Hospital. Was it fun to play the bad girl?
A–It was a lot of fun. Growing up I always wanted to be so nice, especially after many of the girls in all-girls school were not. So getting a job being paid to be the mean girl was great, and of course you can’t stay the mean girl forever so eventually Gia became nice.
Q–We were sorry to see ABC’s primetime series Miracles end last year. You were great as female lead Evelyn Santos. How did that role differ from your role as Gia?
A–Evelyn had a lot of different life experiences going on: she was a cop, had been shot in the head, had a five-year-old kid, and an ex-husband in jail, which is a lot to think about as opposed to playing the supermodel! Evelyn had more depth than Gia. Though I did miss getting to wear the 4-inch heels and Versace dresses!
Q–What project are you working on now?
A–I just finished a CBS pilot with Rob Lowe called Dr. Vegas. While I look for the next perfect role, I have been continuing my charity work with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and HIV/AIDS causes.
Q–What kinds of roles do you want to play in the future?
A–Juliette Lewis is my idol and I like the kinds of roles that she tackles. I don’t want to be the “guy’s girlfriend” or the “girl next door.” I want to play characters with different issues, highs and lows. Q–As a beautiful young lady, you need to help the fellas out. What’s the best advice you can offer a guy when approaching their dream girl for the first time?
A–Shyness is an admirable quality in a man. So many men are over the top in their approach, it’s sweet if he doesn’t know exactly what to say, it makes a girl smile.
Q–Thanks for the time. Do you have a website that fans can visit?
A–Yes, it’s www.marisaramirez.tv.