My Interview with Actor Rene Mena
Prince: Hey “Mr. Hollywood” how are you?
Rene Mena: (Laughing) I’m doing well Prince, It’s great to see you finally!
Prince: I know man it has been too long—two years to be exact.
Prince: Anyways I traveled all the way to LA, to not only catch up on old times, but to feature you on my website. I’ve been keeping up with all of your successes in Hollywood, rising up to be the next Hollywood star, and so it would only be right to interview you.
RM: (Laughing) Thanks I appreciate it.
Prince: So Mr. Hollywood, tell me about yourself?
RM: Well I was born and raised in Sonsonate, El Salvador. And by the time I was 16 years old I moved to Richmond, VA where I received my High School Education at Meadowbrook High School. It was really hard to say which one [El Salvador or Virginia] I called home, because I lived in El Salvador for almost all my life. But I’m so happy and fortunate to call Virginia my home. And as of right now I reside in Hollywood, CA where I am pursuing my career in acting.
Prince: El Salvador? Wow I did not know that? So tell me how did you first get into acting?
RM: Well I first got into acting back in 2010, when the economy had still collapsed. And at the time, I was a real estate agent. The real estate economy was really slow and I decided to look for a new career [which was acting]. Still living in Richmond, Virginia, I auditioned for a role to be a villain in a local web series. And when I auditioned for it I did not know what to expect–I had no experience or acting skills. But when I got the news that I landed the role, I was ecstatic; and I soon realized that this was the career for me. And since then, I’ve been picking up acting gigs—from the time I met you in DC to now in Hollywood.
RM: (smiling) Thanks.
Prince: For those of you out there who may know this, but I met Mr. Hollywood at an audition gig in D.C.–while I was interning at Capitol Hill. At the time I was balancing politics with acting, and we both didn’t get the gig. But our friendship still remained. So now back to acting.
Prince: Tell me about the acting business? What’s it like? Is it difficult?
RM: It’s competitive! Everyone wants to be a star; everyone can speak a language; and everyone has the look to make it. You can’t turn down any gigs that you find uncomfortable. It’s difficult, but I love it.
Prince: So what sets you apart from all the other upcoming Hollywood actors?
RM: Nothing. All of us will go the distance. All of us will play roles that require us to be nude; a rapist; a criminal; a killer; a drug dealer; a terrorist; all of them. The challenging roles are the most competitive and most engaging that an actor can ever have. I gave up my job to pursue this dream and I am willing to go this distance. Many of my friends are broke, but I still learn from them.
RM: But what separates me [truly] is “Love” for the art. The ability to “cry on cue” whether be angry or sad—I can even do it right now (tears streaming down)
RM: (Grabbing napkins) Yeah I know. It’s even exciting when you can use it in real life. You can catch so many people off guard and get yourself out of trouble in an instant.
Prince: Oh really? (laughing)
RM: Yeah. I got myself out of a ticket for running a red light.
Prince: No way (laughing)
Prince: So how do you get into character?
RM: I just switch on and off; I become the character instantly. For example I had to play a rapist; and, some people can’t do that. What I’ve learned, and what a lot of actors are trained to do, is to separate your subconscious mind (from what’s right and wrong) and play the role. And the funny thing is that I don’t actually rape anybody. Technology has gotten so advance that cameras make it look like you’re raping somebody, but you really are not. Anyways what I do, if it is a challenging role, is research tremendously—using Google, Youtube, etc.. And then afterwards, I prepare for it constantly by practicing.
RM: Like right now I am watching that waiter in front of us, and I’m paying very close to detail of what he is doing, how he is talking, etc. Details are everything.
Prince: Wow. So tell me have you received negative criticisms along the way?
RM: Yes! All the time. And what kills me [which I have gotten over] is my accent! My accent hurts me as much as it helps me. I was asked to use a Bronx accent for an audition and I couldn’t do it. But the worst criticism that I’ve gotten was when I audition for LA Fashion Week. I was sitting in a room of about 20-30 models and this beautiful woman approached me and said, “Are you kidding?” Basically she was telling me that I was not pretty or handsome enough to be in the show–people were staring at us when this happened. But I actually turned the tables on her and said this: “Well I’m actually the executive producer for this show, and I have to say that we can’t use you.” As soon as I said that, the room went quiet.
Prince: (surprise look)
RM: Yeah she even apologized and begged me to put her back on the show, but I told her “no” and she left.
Prince: Did she realize later that you played a joke on her?
RM: No; but it goes to show you that you should not let anyone boss you around nor should you tolerate disrespect. And as you can see I did not fight with her or ignore her.
Prince: Woah! That’s a deep. Way to go man! (laughing w/ fist bump)
RM: (laughing) Thank you
Prince: No Problem. Now let’s get into some embarrassing questions!
RM: Oh no (Laughing)
Prince: Tell me your most embarrassing moment?
RM: (Laughing) It would have to be the time when you and I modeled for that one fashion show in Maryland.
Prince: (Eyes Rolled)
RM: (Laughing) It was embarrassing for me because it was the first time that I ever did a fashion show and I didn’t know what I was doing. I remember that my sister told me to stuff tissues in my speedo for the bathing suit contest.
RM: Embarrassing yes! But I still won first place!
Prince: Yeah I remember you won. But thank God I didn’t go that far to win a show.
RM: (Laughing) Anyways even though it was embarrassing I gained confidence from that moment. And since then I now do fashion shows in a heartbeat.
Prince: Cool. Now since you are in an industry where there are beautiful women surrounding you every day, and you are required to “make-out” with them in every gig. Tell me your first “make-out” scene or a funny story of “make-out scene that you once did.
RM: (Laughing) What I can say is this: “Be careful of what you wish for.” Yes it’s pretty cool that you can work with phenomenal actresses and “make-out” with many girls in Hollywood–and let’s be honest, there are a lot of beautiful girls on the Hollywood set; you hardly see any ugly girls—but it can get very tiring and annoying.
Prince: (Puzzled Face)
RM: The first kiss is amazing, but what you don’t know is that directors want the perfect kiss from every angle. So 1 lip-lock kiss can turn into 20 lip-lock kisses—with breaks or no breaks in between—and then it becomes annoying. But it’s all about Perfection. Now let me tell you my most intense “make-out” scene.
RM: I landed a role to play newlywed husband for a wedding scene, and I had the pleasure to work with a beautiful actress. I mean she was really pretty from head to toe. The director wanted us to passionately lock lips with each other and in the first few takes, we [mostly me] were struggling to get the kiss right–I was so nervous because of her and the director. But then she did something that I will never forget. She grabs my hand and jerks it onto her breast.
Prince: (JAW DROPPED; EYES BUGGED OUT)
RM: Yes! That is the exact same reaction that I gave her! For 10 seconds I was in deep and utter shock, my eyes were glued to my hand on her breast. I couldn’t feel my body except for her breast. She then looked at me and said, “Don’t you want me?”
Prince: (Laughing out loud)
RM: (Laughing) I replied saying “Oh yes I do.” but again I lost my composure. She gave me room to breathe and I then got back into character.
“It was that moment again that I realized that I had to separate my subconscious mind and play that character—I could not think about myself or her. More importantly I could not waste any “takes”. Each take is very important for a director, so you have to give it your all in each of them, regardless. That was one experience that I will never forget.”
Prince: Yeah! I’m stunned just by listening to it. I wish a beautiful woman can jerk my hand like that. (Laughing)
Prince: Anyways let’s wrap up the interview with a few personal questions. What is it like to work with established actors?
RM: It’s really amazing. They are so down to earth. They are humble and respectful people. They are just normal people like you and me doing what they love: acting. I really am humbled and blessed to work with such great established actors.
Prince: Then lastly what advice would you give to aspiring actors who want to make it in Hollywood or follow your footsteps?
RM: I would tell them to have respect for the art! Be serious. You have to treat it like you are going to medical school or law school. It’s cool to do it as a fling but if you are serious in becoming an actor then you have to craft your skills, your body, and your mind. That means going to the gym; researching agents and agencies; etc. It is a profession.
RM: Look at actors like Angelina Jolie, Bruce Willis, etc. they put in years of hard work to get to where they are today—it’s about the struggle. Be patient, Be Persistent and Work Hard—put your own money on the line for memberships so you can be a Hollywood actor. Have savings; Get a Day Job! Research and (most importantly) go to acting school. Compete and never turn down gigs—even if they are not paid. But the most important advice I can give is to be positive.
RM: I love positivity; and in Improv, you cannot say no! You have to keep pushing and take on challenges that will develop your acting skills
Prince: Wow. That was very insightful! Is there anything else that you want to say before we end our conversation?
Prince: Cool! Thanks so much Rene. I really had a blast. I hope to see you again soon or on the Big Screen
RM: (Smiling) No, Thank you!