Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH -

IT seems fit­ting to chat with Alana de la Garza in a class­room on lo­ca­tion in New York for her new US drama se­ries, For­ever.

Recog­nis­able to au­di­ences for her in­tel­li­gent roles in CSI: Miami and Law & Or­der, the 38-year-old did not start out study­ing to be an ac­tor — rather a spe­cial needs teacher.

The world of show busi­ness and net­work tele­vi­sion seemed be­yond her wildest dreams.

“I grew up in a small town and I hon­estly didn’t think (act­ing) was a tan­gi­ble goal.”

But she scored her first role in 2001 on soap All My Chil­dren.

de la Garza was drawn to play­ing “smart and strong” women. In For­ever, it’s De­tec­tive Jo Martinez, a wid­owed po­lice of­fi­cer.

“What I love about Jo is she’s flawed and very hu­man. She’s been through tragedy in her life which makes her vul­ner­a­ble, but she’s also tough,” she says.

She is grate­ful to play an­other em­pow­er­ing Latina char­ac­ter, but says it wasn’t al­ways that way.

“Quite a few times (cast­ing di­rec­tors) were like ‘where’s your ac­cent?,’ ‘she’s not Latina enough?’ You kinda want to go, ‘ we’re Amer­i­can, we’re made up of this melt­ing pot of peo­ple and some of us have ac­cents and some of us don’t.”/


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