Rising Star Spotlight: Make Way For Katherine Castro

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Dominican Republic-born actress Katherine Castro is currently making waves in Hollywood with her diverse background, talent, and passion for her career. After her feature on NBC Latino’s Top 10 Standout Latinos at Sundance, Castro received the Hollywood FAME award for ‘International Breakthrough Artist of the Year’ and an award from the Women in Film Association in the Dominican Republic. Castro’s inspirational journey from TV host and actress to producer has made her Hollywood’s next most lovable Latina.

 Katherine is starring in a new romantic-drama called SOMEDAY opposite Chris Santos (“The Girlfriend Experience”) helmed by J.S Mayank. The film follows two strangers, Melody and Adam, who meet on a 14-hour flight from Sydney to LA; Adam, (Santos), is a world-famous composer but Melody, (Castro), doesn’t recognize the fact that her flight companion is a famous composer. Along the way, they pour their hearts out – a connection made that is more beautiful, precisely because of its simple, fleeting nature.

 We recently caught up with Katherine Castro courtesy of the Anderson Group and here’s what went down:

How were you “discovered?” was it a chance encounter on the street?  Audition?

I think more importantly is that I discovered at the age of 2 that I wanted to be an actress but, of course, I still didn’t have the notion of what that even meant, but I do remember how beautiful it felt in my heart when I was “pretending” to be someone else for my parents and their friends. Not only because I knew somehow I felt I was having fun, but also I saw that it made people smile, laugh, that made them feel something.  Again, at that age, it was more of a feeling. It was at 5 when I knew with certainty that acting was my calling and it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

What do you like most about acting?

I love that I can be so many people, which are really different aspects of myself, because it all starts with me. I’ve always been intrigued by human psychology and human behavior and even though every character starts with me, I love finding the points where we are similar and then going on a discovery journey.  I like that I can put myself in the mind and “shoes” so to speak, of another human being and see the world through their eyes. Their perspective. Give myself license to get lost in the unknown while giving birth to the character. It’s fascinating because there are no limits!

Can you tell us what Someday is all about?

Inspired by true events, Someday is about two strangers that meet on a 14-hour non- stop flight from Sydney to Los Angeles. Adam is a world-famous composer, but Melody doesn’t recognize her flight companion. Along the way, they laugh, flirt and pour their hearts out…a connection made more beautiful precisely because of its fleeting nature.

What sort of person is going to love Melody?

Anyone can relate to Melody, that’s the beauty of this film and Melody. I think at some point in our lives we have had an experience when we meet a complete stranger and you have this instant connection and chemistry – it feels like you have known each other since forever yet it’s the first time you have really actually seen them.

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How is Melody like you? Different?

We’re similar in that she likes to travel and learn about other cultures. Also that I never recognize famous people. I just don’t care. Different than me that I usually don’t talk to people on planes. I fall asleep immediately. Also, I’m much shyer than Melody. I don’t talk much. I’m more of a listener.

What’s the biggest challenge to taking on this role?

Learning the tango and making it look like a professional Tango dancer. Tango is all about passion and connecting with your partner and we didn’t have that much time. We took two months and a half of Tango, in addition to choreography, so there’s a lot for your brain to process and then your body to catch up with it, and even though I had dancing experience, with Tango all that goes out the window!

Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?

Hmm, maybe Cate Blanchett. I love her work and how she has that amazing ability to completely change from one character to another.

Besides yourself, which actor in this production is going to blow people away?

Oh, I think definitely Chris Santos. He’s such a great actor and his work is so beautiful, besides being incredibly handsome. The ladies are in for a treat with Santos!

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

I have so many great ones but I think one that stands out for me is a pilot I worked on called Kidnap Radio. It was recorded in a sound booth as is was supposed to sound like a Radio Show. This is how I met J S Mayank, our Someday writer/director. We had an instant connection on an artistic level on how we saw my character, the scene and where it was going. I love how he works so closely with his actors so immediately you feel that you are in a safe environment. You feel comfortable, relaxed, which is very important so that the words, intentions, emotions…everything just flows effortlessly through your body. When we did my scene everyone was moved by it. Many in the studio were in tears, as it was a very emotional scene. That moment was so special to me because I was able to touch their hearts. They felt the truth, and truth always have such an overwhelming reaction on us, doesn’t it? When JS yelled cut, they were all clapping whilst still wiping their tears away.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

Everyone to me is interesting. I love hearing people’s stories. I think especially the elderly. I find them fascinating. You learn so much from just listening to them. They are an infinite source of knowledge. It’s a gift. Also children, especially toddlers. You would be surprised how much they can teach us.

You’ve been in the entertainment industry for a few years now, what has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned. This can be about the industry or about yourself.  Or both!

From the industry, it’s not personal. It’s just business. The moment you learn to detach yourself from things or an outcome, the happier you are, and this applies in all areas of life, by the way. It gets easier with time and experience. As for myself, nothing can stop me. I am stronger than I ever knew or even remotely imagined.

Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?

Coming from the family and the country that I come from, the education starts at home. Treat everyone with respect and kindness. Growing up in a military family, the higher the ranks, and my dad was a high ranking General, the more the people want to be your friend. When my parents got divorced I was 13, I realized that people value power, money and social status, much more than they should. Power, money, social status to me never meant a thing. It was never important but it was an eye-opening experience, because we no longer had friends and many turned their back on us because my mother was no longer the wife of the ‘General” and we became the product of a “broken” family where friends weren’t really allowed to be around us anymore. An alienation of sorts. Not completely, but very evident. I never changed who I was but what did change was my understanding of human behavior. Our human nature.  Money, status, and power comes and goes, and with that so will friends. So all the flashing lights and stars, nothing fazes nor surprises me. At the end of the day, we are all the same. This experience growing up keeps me grounded, aware and grateful for who I am and where I am at today.

What are some of your favorite downtime activities?  Other talents?  

Traveling somewhere to catch a play or a concert, reading, trampoline jumping, going to the movies, getting massages, infra-red sauna, dancing, especially when I’m home alone I dance salsa like there’s no tomorrow. It’s so much fun. Other talents, I think I can carry a tune, dancing (I can now add Tango to the list thanks to Someday), and Capoeira. I’m also taking on piano again. It’s been quite some years, but I’ve been missing it so I’m getting back to it.

Now, 5 questions for the ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Wind River

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Kindness, compassion, vulnerability, confidence, loyalty, because these are intangible qualities that you can only feel, and you connect with others this way, and when I connect with someone, (friend, family, lover ) the more I get to know the person the more beautiful they become in my eyes

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Be cast in a musical film. “In The Heights” would be so much fun if they ever make it into a movie. Hey Lin Manuel Miranda!

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” Go base jumping, which is on my bucket list

5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? I am very open hearted and generous, sometimes to my own detriment, but I still wouldn’t change it.

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