Sunday, 4 January 2015

ELLE EXCLUSIVE: Devious Maids Edy Ganem


It’s been dubbed as the next Desperate Housewives, although Devious Maids has Eva Longoria behind the camera and a set of Latina housemaids in front of it. ELLE’s Jessica Baxter chats to Edy Ganem, who plays Valentina, about the show that’s got everybody talking.
Devious Maids is Lifetime’s fastest-growing series – and it’s your first big role. How does it feel being part of something so successful?
When I first moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting, I would daydream about my future and I imagined it all feeling differently. I had no idea what the feeling would be, and being a part of Devious Maids has taken me to a place where I have started to feel things are very surreal. The show is doing amazing and I’m so happy to be a part of it. I feel like I’m living the life I dreamed of and I’m barely getting started. It feels very GOOD in a nice, warm and fuzzy way.
How did you land the role of Valentina?
I believe I was the last maid to be casted and I did it the old fashioned way by auditioning for the role. The audition went really well and a few hours later I received the callback to meet with Marc Cherry and Paul McGuigan (director of the pilot). It was my first time completing a screen test so I could have been very nervous but I felt right at home playing Valentina.
Valentina is a headstrong, somewhat rebellious, young woman – do you find it easy to relate to your character?
Yes and no. Valentina and I have several similar characteristics and relate on many levels. However, there are moments when I literally ask myself “what and why would Val do that?!” and I have to sit down and understand her so that I am as authentic as possible.
What do you and Valentina have in common?
Valentina is a big dreamer, big romantic and I am very much that way as well. Additionally, we can both be very stubborn, especially when dealing with our parents. Of course they may seem a bit juvenile, but parents and children do not always see eye to eye. However, at the end of the day we see that Valentina loves her family very much and I am that way as well.
Being produced by Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria, do you find Devious Maids is often compared to Desperate Housewives?
Not really, but it definitely helped that Desperate Housewives was a huge hit. Everyone that watched it wanted to see what Devious Maids was all about. Also, the fact that Eva Longoria is so well known helped the show.
Why do you think it’s so popular with viewers?
The series is packed with juicy details, twists and turns in every single episode, and there’s something for everyone. The characters are fun and crazy with eclectic personalities; it also helps that the script is well written with hilarious and inappropriate one-liners, mystery and always leaving our viewers wanting to know what happens next. It’s like a book you can’t put down. Need I say more?
In the show, your character is passionate about fashion design – are you also interested in fashion? And who are your favourite designers?
Yes, I am very interested in fashion, but I can’t say I am much of a designer myself. For now, I am happy shopping and putting outfits together. My favourite places to shop are department stores that carry a variety of brands, and stores such as Urban Outfitters and online shops such as Nasty Gal, etc.  With shoes, I am particularly fond of Jeffrey Campbell and I also love wearing my Converse sneakers, I have several pairs!
In South Africa, we’re almost at the end of season one, when your on-screen boyfriend invites you to go to Africa. Have you ever visited Africa or had an interest in visiting?
I have not been yet.  However, I would love to travel to South Africa in the near feature, definitely a lot of interest to visit!
While you’re working on one of the biggest TV shows on air at the moment, do you have any ambitions to move into films?
Of course! I would love to venture into film, but that does not mean I do not want to keep doing television. I’m open to all possibilities on television and film, but I have to admit that it would be another dream come true to be a film actress too.
What is the best part of your job and working on this show in particular?
The best part of my job is that that I am doing what I love and I always want to go to work. There are two great things about working on this show. The first being the interactions with my fans via social media. I’m always posting pictures on Instagram and Facebook, and we are participating in live tweeting on Sundays, while the episodes are airing. It’s really fun and I truly enjoy how entrenched our fans are in each episode. Secondly, the cast is absolutely amazing! We are a very happy DEVIOUS family on and off set.
And the biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge has been my “subtleness”. Before Devious Maids, I mostly worked on independent films and Marc Cherry always reminds me to be “bigger” because TV (and the style of this show in particular) is more theatrical than film. Every day I have to explore these options and constantly push myself to portray the correct tone.
Apparently you’re a big adrenaline junkie – what is the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
Skydiving hands down is it! I did it once and I honestly do not know if I would ever do it again. It’s pretty crazy but really, really, cool. I’ve done some white water rafting, bungee jumping and was a passenger in a drag race at the Las Vegas Speedway; that was insane, I loved it and would probably do it again!
What can we expect in season two of Devious Maids from your character in particular?
There are several new things in store for season two and I am very excited for everyone to see. People will see Valentina become more independent and decisive about her life. She still desires to pursue a career in fashion but her mom tries to control her. Valentina then finds work at a different home where she will meet a new guy… and I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Stay tuned!
As someone who is living their dream, what advice do you have to ELLE readers who want to pursue a career in front of the camera?
I would say stay focused and work really hard. People think it’s easy to get discovered and make it in the industry but that rarely happens – if at all. I urge people who want to pursue acting to take it seriously by signing up for classes, networking, appearing in short films, build your reel, etc. Take the first step and do not stop. With each step you’ll begin to find your way.
Image: Peter Svenson

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