‘Being’ Lisa Vidal: Actress Talks Life, Work & Growing Up in Whitestone

Right now you’re working on the BET show Being Mary Jane opposite Gabrielle Union, which just got picked up for another season. Tell us about your character on that show, Kara Lynch, and how that role has evolved over the course of the show so far. Are there some parallels for you as a working mother?
Oh yeah, I mean totally. My life has always been a balancing act and my character’s life has definitely been a balancing act. I would say that she speaks to and represents a lot of women today who are working mothers who are challenged by wanting their careers – actually, most of the time needing their careers because both parents have to work – and also wanting that side of their domesticity, wanting to be mothers and wives. It’s a real balancing act, and sometimes you drop some balls. That’s what I like about these characters. They’re not perfect, they’re flawed. They make mistakes, you know, and that’s important to represent because that’s reality.
I think I can relate to Kara and that’s why I love playing her. A woman who’s in a power position under so much pressure to conform, but also to be better – better than the men, better than her peers. So she’s juggling a lot of balls and I like the way some of them fall and then she finds herself trying to pick up the pieces from there. I can identify with that.
You know, as women, we try to be all things to all people, and it’s not easy. But most of the time we’re up for the challenge. And most of the time we do a pretty damn good job. The creative producer, Mary Brock Akil, she and I had a three-hour lunch and talked about the character and she told me the direction Kara was going in, and that she wanted Kara to represent the working mother and the challenges that arise from that. I was so excited about that because I have so many friends who are working mothers – in the industry and outside the industry – and being able to be honest with a character is really exciting. She talked to me about some of the challenges that Kara was going to be having, and sometimes how she sacrifices too much from her family and her husband and there are consequences that come along with that. She wanted Kara to have to deal with those consequences. It sounded really exciting and interesting. I love conflict because we deal with it every day.

Can you tell us a little bit about the direction the current season took viewers?DSC_1428-print
The show definitely got sexier and things happen in Kara and Mary Jane’s relationship. They’re both passionate women, they’re opinionated, and they’re strong. They can be fearless but they’re flawed, and there are some issues that come up with these women.
You see a lot more of Kara’s personal life develop and more conflict there. Like every woman who goes through a divorce, she’s looking for love and afraid of finding it. It’s really challenging when you’ve been burned, when you’ve given your heart away and it gets crushed. You know, dealing with the issue of “does a man want a woman with a family and a career woman.” She’s bossy, she’s in charge, and she’s got issues, Kara. [Laughs]

Are there any other projects in the pipeline for you at the moment?
I am involved in trying to get into some producing and developing some projects. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do, to create something. So I’m getting involved in that and working on a few things on the side there.
And I recently did a film called Victor, which was a beautiful film. It was a period piece and based on a true story about this man named Victor Torres and how his life was really destroyed by heroin and drugs. It’s back in the 1950s when a lot of Puerto Ricans came to New York and things didn’t go that well. A lot of the neighborhoods, there was a lot of heroin.
So it’s this man’s beautiful life story and how he overcame that and he became one of the most influential pastors in the country. Actually in the world, as well, because he has programs in other countries. I play his mother who was really his champion and who pulls him out of the depths of darkness. We’re hoping to get a release date soon and we hope that it comes out soon, too, so everyone can go see it.

As a Puerto Rican woman, a wife, a mother and an actress, do you ever find yourself filling an ambassadorial role to other Puerto Rican women? Do you find yourself gravitating toward certain types of roles more than others?
You know, it’s funny, I like to play roles that everyone can relate to, but I definitely do consciously choose roles that have a strong opinion or representation of positivity. I am pretty proud of my culture and where I come from and it is important to me how I represent Latina women. That has always been in the back of my mind, although first and foremost I’m an actress, so it really it is about telling someone’s story. But I am careful about what I choose to do. I do seek out roles that champion women.

Well first, my little girl wants me to say that I love my daughter, and she wants to say hi [Daughter Olivia yells ‘Hi!’ into the phone, and assures us that she’s good.] But also I want my fans in Queens to know that I am a proud Queens girl that will always love my home. That’s where my heart is and it always will be. So a shout out to my Queens people because I love them.

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Posted by on Jun 11 2015. Filed under Features, Main Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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