Paola Turbay Dishes On Her New True Blood Character – Exclusive!
Does waiting suck so much that you just can’t take it anymore? We get it. Luck for you, Wetpaint has exclusive scoop on True Blood’s newest super natural Antonia — straight from the luscious lips of the actress who plays her! Check out what Paola Turbay has to say about her character and learn a few secrets about the season of the witch!
Wetpaint: We know True Blood keeps its spoilers under lock and key, but tell us a little bit about Antonia’s character and what’s coming up for her in season 4.
Paola Turbay: You know what, I can’t say anything! The only thing I can say is that she’s a witch from the 17th century, so she’s around creating terrible situations. Her presence is really going to put the show on fire.
How did you get cast on the show?
It was amazing. It was cathartic. I’d gone in a season or two ago when they were looking for a vampire — I think she was supposed to work with Eric. It was a five-episode arc. I couldn’t go in the day they called because I was shooting Secret Life of the American Teenager, so I went in the next morning at 9 a.m. and they had already made an offer. They put me in second position in case nothing happened with the other person they’d made the offer to, but of course she figured it out and was able to work with them. I was like, “Oh my god, it was my lucky day ... it would have been amazing! It’s not going to happen again!” But it did, they called me. I got off the plane from Colombia on January 2 and I was talking to my manager on the 3rd and I said, “I think this year is going to be good, I have a feeling.” We hung up and a half hour later he says, “They want to see you for a witch!”
I went in the next day to read for Alan Ball and the casting director, and three hours later it was mine. But it was so intense, because this character has to go through severe moments and intense emotions that they wanted to see it in the read. It was so tiring and exhausting that I even lost my voice. It was really intense, but intense enough to get the role!
You play Adrian’s mom on Secret Life and now you’re in Season 4 of True Blood. These shows couldn’t be more different — which do you prefer working on?
Well, they’re two completely different shows and two completely different characters. On Secret Life of the American Teenager, I’m playing something I’m more familiar with: being the mom of a teenager — not as old as Adrian, because my own teenager is 14 — but at least I know what that relationship is. I know what kids of that age are thinking about and what they’re dealing with, so I can relate easier to that. It kind of comes naturally, although Cindy [on Secret Life] is very different from me.
On True Blood I’m playing a witch — although sometimes my kids think I’m a witch (laughs). She’s from the 17th century, she’s from a different era, a different way of thinking. From the place and time she comes from, women of her position were conceived of in a different way and of course witches over all were seen in a different way. It all happens in this fantastic world of vampires where imagination is limitless. So I think I can play a little more and be a little crazier about what I do because everything is acceptable. But at the end of the day they’re completely different worlds, different roles, absolutely everything is different.
Were you a fan of the show / books before you were cast?
I had seen the first season when it came out because it was such a huge sensation, I had to see what everyone was talking about! And even though I’ve never been into the vampire thing, it’s important to recognize when a show is good, whether it has to do with your interests or not. You have to have the ability to recognize when a something is well-written, well-produced, well-acted and well-directed, and this is one of those shows. Even though it's not my thing, I enjoy watching something of this quality and level of perfection.
Everything is so, so, so well done, I’ve always admired it. It’s crazy that they don’t win more awards! I am just overwhelmed by everything, it’s so meticulous and it’s just a pleasure to work on that show. It’s a dream come true. They work at the pace you want to work, you have enough time to prepare to work the scene, the lighting is absolutely beautiful, the directors are so amazing, and everything is perfectly taken care of. I’ve been a huge fan in that sense.
What’s it like working with Alan Ball?
He’s a sweetheart. Ive been a fan ever since American Beauty. I feel so lucky to have been cast by him. It’s a great feeling. It’s always great to get a role, but when you know it was this guy, this super smart, great, amazing writer that cast you, it’s such a great feeling. And when you start to work with him and you find this sweet adorable person that lives at this wonderful pace and mode, and just enjoys what he does and is having fun with what he does, it’s a pleasure, it really is.
What’s it like behind-the-scenes. Any on-set moments you’d like to share?
The moments I’ve had there are just great. It comes from Alan Ball and from Anna [Paquin]. When the heads of a show have a way of relating to people and treating people, that sets the bar and the mode for how people interact. They’re so down to earth and so kind. Everyone involved in the show is so cool and relaxed, there are no egos, there are no divas. It’s not about that. It’s fun to go to work. Some shows, you walk in and you feel like people aren’t happy or you can sense something’s going on, or maybe the star of the show is a diva, and that creates a certain energy. When you walk on set here, everything is good. From minute one, everything is good. The energy is cool, people are doing their job and enjoying what they do. It’s the perfect space for people to be proud of what they do and to feel that they can do their best. People are happy.
I would say it really depends on the story, and this season it’s going to be interesting. I’m Team Love. Team Happy! I’m happy when Sookie’s happy, because she’s not stupid, she’s smart, she has a sixth sense, she makes good choices, so I’m Team Love.
If you could be any supernatural, what would you be?
Maybe a fairy. The vampires are too dark for me. I’m not that dark. Fairies always have the magical thing going on, they’re that little guardian angel you want to have with you. And of course, fairies can always decide which way they’re going to go with their magical powers.
How did being crowned Miss Colombia change your life and career path? We know you originally wanted to be a psychologist ...
I started doing television and commercials when I was 14 years old. I grew up in Colombia — well, I lived my first 10 years in Houston, New Orleans and Iowa — but I moved to Colombia because my parents are Colombian. Over there, I started doing television, commercials and getting involved in productions. My father really didn’t like the idea. When it was time to go to school, I wanted to go to New York. I played the piano, I sang, I directed the choir at school, I'd write all the plays — I was the producer of anything that happened at school. I wanted to go to the School of Arts and work on my singing and my dancing, but my father wouldn’t let me. I was supposed to move in with family there, but they moved somewhere else and my plans fell apart.
I started to study psychology, because I always found it interesting. Then, after Miss Colombia, which was in the middle of my career, all these doors opened up and they started offering me all these shows. I think it’s because I wasn’t the typical Miss Colombia, with the perfect answers, the perfect posture and the perfect smile. I was just me and they liked it. All the directors that new me from commercials said “You’re an actress, there’s no way you can fight against it. You have the name you have the offers, you can do whatever you want to do with it.” I started hosting because I really didn’t want to jump into acting without being prepared, I always thought I had to study. I finished my career as a psychologist even though i knew I wasn’t going to work. I finished it because I had fun doing it, I loved going to school and I found it interesting.
Then I started studying theater and meanwhile I was hosting my shows on Colombian television. They’d offer me anything, they even offered me the Colombian version of Ugly Betty! And they would say, “What do you want to play and we’ll write the story,” and I’d say, “Just wait and when I’m prepared I will let you know. Let me do my thing the way I want to.” So nine years later I moved to Miami and got myself into a conservatory called The Acting Studio in Hollywood, Florida. I started shooting a comedy in Colombia so I’d go back and forth. I shot my sitcom and another show and another show, and then I came out here to LA!
Has your training in psychology helped your work in acting?
I think it helps me understand where things come from. Everybody has a way of being, everybody has certain traits and it’s always a result of experiences in life, relationships they’ve built and the way they’ve bonded through the years with people. Once you start to break down your character, you understand certain things. I think it makes it richer and gives it more layers, so yes, without a doubt psychology is very important. I think actors use it without knowing, because they do have to understand the psychology of their character. It’s really helpful.
Which actresses most inspire you?
I love Cate Blanchet and I love Kate Winslet. They’re my favorites. Of course, we all love Meryl Streep, but I think those two would be my favorite. I just love their work.
What’s coming up next for you?
I’m pretty busy right now. Just those shows for now, and hopefully something will happen with a few features I’ve gone in for with amazing people!