Justina Adorno

A Ris­ing Star

Upscale Living Magazine - - Content - By Heléne Ra­mack­ers Pho­to­graphs cour­tesy of Alex Stone

A Ris­ing Star

She stars as Yoli in the Eva Longoria Bas­ton pro­duced se­ries Grand Ho­tel, air­ing on ABC. Set to make her a house­hold name, Justina Adorno spoke to Up­scale Liv­ing magazine about her love for act­ing, ve­g­an­ism and her two adorable fur-chil­dren, Catsby and Penni.

JUSTINA, TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR­SELF.

I was born in the Bronx and lived there with my fam­ily un­til I was about ten years old. I then moved to Columbia, South Carolina and fin­ished school­ing there. As a child, South Carolina was a place for me to safely ex­plore my en­vi­ron­ment, giv­ing me free­dom in ways I couldn’t have had in the Bronx. How­ever, I knew at a very young age that in or­der for me to grow, I had to leave my small town and get back to my roots. In 2013, I moved back to New York to pur­sue my ca­reer.

WHEN DID YOU DE­CIDE TO FORAY INTO THE WORLD OF ACT­ING?

At a very young age. Since I can re­mem­ber, I al­ways dreamt of be­ing ei­ther a vet or an ac­tress; anytime there was an opportunit­y for me to per­form I took it. In high school, I au­di­tioned for an act­ing pro­gram, then au­di­tioned for a board­ing arts school. I con­tin­ued to study act­ing in col­lege and af­ter grad­u­a­tion, I signed with an agency and moved to New York. By 2015/16 I started in­vest­ing 110% of my ef­forts in my ca­reer.

YOU STAR AS ‘YOLI’, THE BLACK SHEEP DAUGH­TER OF THE MEN­DOZA FAM­ILY IN THE NEW ABC DRAMA, “GRAND HO­TEL”. WHAT WAS THAT EX­PE­RI­ENCE LIKE FOR YOU?

Well, I love the fact that Yoli is the black sheep of the fam­ily. Fam­ily dy­nam­ics are typ­i­cally nu­anced, I’m proud to rep­re­sent those who don’t nec­es­sar­ily feel as con­nected to their fam­ily in cer­tain aspects.

IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ALSO HAD LOTS OF FUN FILM­ING “GRAND HO­TEL”. CAN YOU SHARE A FEW OUT­TAKES?

We had so much fun film­ing! My glam trailer was al­ways the highlight of my day, whether it be chat­ting or singing with the glam squad and cast. Karaoke, sin­ga­longs, and dance breaks hap­pened fre­quently. When­ever there was a scene at the din­ing room ta­ble with the fam­ily, some­thing hilarious al­ways hap­pened. I re­mem­ber us shoot­ing a serious scene and all of a sud­den, the ta­ble started shak­ing and we just all broke char­ac­ter and laughed out loud.

EVA LONGORIA BAS­TON PRO­DUCED THIS SE­RIES. WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORK­ING WITH HER?

My ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with Eva sur­passed my ex­pec­ta­tions. She is very in­tel­li­gent and highly ex­pe­ri­enced. I felt as though I could trust Eva on and off cam­era. She is such a boss! The woman does it all with such charisma and grace. You can feel the en­ergy just brighten on set when she was around! It didn’t hurt that she al­ways had Santi on set. I am in love with that baby! She made the set feel like home. We all be­came a fam­ily and we owe a lot of that to Eva for set­ting the tone from when we all first met!

YOU ARE AN OUTSPO­KEN AND PAS­SION­ATE VE­GAN, FA­VOR­ING A PLANT-BASED DIET. HAS THAT AL­WAYS BEEN THE CASE, OR DID YOU MAKE A HEADSHIFT TO GIVE UP AN­I­MAL PROD­UCTS?

Ha-ha yes, I am! I’m a huge activist and when I can make a dif­fer­ence, I al­ways take on the opportunit­y. As far as my diet is con­cerned, I started my ve­gan jour­ney two years ago. Once I in­ter­nal­ized the mes­sag­ing be­hind an­i­mal rights ac­tivism, I felt that I no longer had a choice. I be­gan to fol­low ve­gan pages, an­i­mal ac­tivists and con­tin­u­ously ed­u­cated my­self by watch­ing footage of the con­di­tions that these an­i­mals were in. The truth makes peo­ple un­com­fort­able, but so does growth. By seeing the truth, I was able to grow and fully al­low my­self to dive head­first into the life­style. That’s re­ally what it is – a life­style – and it is one that I am proud of. To give a voice to the voice­less saves lives, and to save a life is to show com­pas­sion. This is what the world needs.

WHAT IS YOUR FA­VORITE DISK TO PRE­PARE?

Lately, my fa­vorite thing to do is to eat fresh seeded fruit. How­ever, I do love mak­ing raw cu­cum­ber pasta with an av­o­cado pesto sauce topped with olives av­o­cado and cherry toma­toes! Just talk­ing about it makes me want some now.

YOU ARE IN IN­CRED­I­BLE SHAPE. HOW DID YOU MAN­AGE TO STAY FIT?

Wow, I wasn’t ex­pect­ing that. Thank you? Ha-ha, I’m hon­estly not in the best shape right now. I gained some weight for the role of Yoli and have been ac­tively build­ing a healthy re­la­tion­ship with food. Right now, I’m at a happy, re­laxed place. I don’t make as much time for the gym any­more, which I re­ally miss and should prob­a­bly start do­ing so. I’ve re­cently wanted to bring back con­sis­tent phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity into my life. It truly makes a dif­fer­ence for my men­tal state, let alone my phys­i­cal. So, if there are any per­sonal train­ers out there ... reach out! I need some­one to kick my butt back into shape! Cur­rently, I bike or go on hikes and occasional­ly hit the gym. Those are my fa­vorite days.

YOUR NAT­U­RAL CURLS ARE BEAU­TI­FUL; YOU ALSO ROCK THE SLEEK STRAIGHT-HAIR LOOK. WHAT DO YOU PRE­FER?

Right now, I pre­fer my hair to be nat­u­ral. My hair can be su­per curly or wavy/frizzy and I just let it do what it wants these days, but some­times I do en­joy blow­ing out my hair. I’m su­per grate­ful to have ver­sa­til­ity with my hair. I change it based on the vibe I’m feel­ing.

FROM NEW YORK TO SOUTH CAROLINA, BACK TO NEW YORK AND FI­NALLY, LOS AN­GE­LES. WHAT ARE YOUR FA­VORITE MEMORIES OF THE DIFFERENT PLACES WHERE YOU HAVE LIVED?

My fa­vorite mo­ments al­ways re­volve around the peo­ple I meet in each lo­ca­tion.

YOUR FUR-CHIL­DREN ARE ADORABLE. TELL US ABOUT CATSBY AND PENNI.

Ahh omg thank you! I miss them so much! They stayed back in New York this time around and that has been very dif­fi­cult. Those cats have been a huge part of my jour­ney in life. Catsby was a bodega cat in my neigh­bor­hood in the Bronx, and at the time I needed some­thing to love that was low main­te­nance. So, the boyfriend was out, and I didn’t have the time to walk a dog, nor was I al­lowed to have a dog in my build­ing. I saw Catsby the second week of mov­ing back to New York and just fell in love with him. I told my­self if he al­lowed me to pick him up, I would ask the guy at the counter if I could have him. You can add up what hap­pened next. Catsby is my hand­some man three­fold.

My other cat, Penni, was res­cued in my neigh­bor­hood as well. I was work­ing on an event and my boyfriend at the time called me and told me there was a wounded kit­ten at the steps of the church. Her poor back legs weren’t work­ing, and her tail had no move­ment. In the weeks fol­low­ing, I nursed her back to health and worked on grooming her re­la­tion­ship with Catsby, be­cause he was a very “jelly” boy. She is my sweet lit­tle girl, my Penni PoPo. I love them so much and to watch their re­la­tion­ship grow warms my heart. They love each other so much. They are for sure my chil­dren. I’ve had to scold them for be­ing mean to each other and praise them for be­ing the cutest of sib­lings.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FA­VORITE HOB­BIES AND IN­TER­ESTS?

I love song writ­ing. It’s se­ri­ously some­thing I can do all day ev­ery day! I also love find­ing new ve­gan restau­rants and mak­ing meals. I en­joy watch­ing movies / the­ater and even res­cu­ing an­i­mals when I can. In the Bronx I worked fre­quently with a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion called Lit­tle Wan­der­ers NYC that res­cues cats / kit­tens that need care or homes. That is some­thing I can do all day ev­ery day. If I can save a life at least once a day I would be the hap­pi­est per­son, which cor­re­lates with my ve­gan life­style.

ANY EX­CIT­ING PROSPECTS / PROJECTS ON THE HORI­ZON?

I do, but it’s a work in progress. Let’s just say it has to do with my jour­ney into ve­g­an­ism.

https://www.in­sta­gram.com/justina.justina/

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