We’re so excited to introduce y’all to Jessica Garza who currently plays Anabel Ortiz on History’s hit show SIX. Jessica brings heart and passion to the show, giving her onscreen dad, Juan Pablo Raba, a perfect foil of a daughter. We’re seeing more of her this season and that’s a very good thing. She’s also currently filming her first series regular part on The Purge, which will be airing in the fall. We wish her all the luck, and can’t wait to see what else she has in store.
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview with us! We are big SIX fans, and love your work as Anabel Ortiz.
Thank you so much for this interview! You are my very first, so this is special!
What first got you interested in being a part of SIX?
I auditioned for the role of Anabel on tape. I had heard back that they really wanted a ballerina, and they were disappointed to learn that I certainly was not a dancer. I thought the role was lost, and I was really upset. I loved the script, and I’ve always been really fascinated by Seal Team Six since they killed Bin Laden. Almost a whole month went by, but literally days before they started filming, I got an email that I was going to get an offer for Anabel. I flew out to Wilmington and began filming.
Anabel is such an interesting character, she seems so supportive of her dad, but also sort of resigned about accepting that he’s going to leave often. What do you use to help you draw that out of yourself?
I have a really close relationship with my own dad, and he would be separated from my mom, brother, and me because we were in Los Angeles auditioning and he was in Dallas working. That really made me appreciate having him around when he was with us. Every time he would leave, I would give him a big hug and immediately start crying. It never got easier, no matter how many times he would come and go. I understood that separation Anabel experiences. Luckily, I knew my dad was safe and worked an office job. Unlike me, Anabel doesn’t know where her father is going or what he is doing or if he is even coming back home. While that terrifies her deep down, her father reminds her constantly that he is bulletproof. And I think that layer of mystery allows Anabel to not really think about what he could be doing. Buddha is like my dad in a way where they are both stubborn, and you aren’t going to stop them from doing what they want. The whole family really just trusts him and his teammates to get their jobs done quickly and safely.
In season 2, we’re already starting to see some rebellion from Anabel. Typical teenager stuff so far, nothing big. Will we see more of that as the season goes on?
Yes, definitely. The Ortiz family has been uprooted, and it has thrown Anabel’s world for a loop. They are staying in this crappy little apartment instead of the home she’s known for so long. She doesn’t see her friends as often since they moved. And while it’s not fair, she blames her parents. She thinks her mom is overreacting to RIP’s murder, and she doesn’t understand that her mom is just trying to keep her kids safe. So Anabel’s going to give them a hard time.
How are you most alike/different from Anabel?
Anabel is really into the color pink, and I can’t get down with that. But jokes aside, she loves her family like I do. My family is everything to me, and while Anabel is going through that typical teenage angst most teens do, that’s at the core of her too.
What would you most like for Anabel in future seasons?
That’s a tough question. Anabel is just a kid. She has her whole life ahead of her, so I think anything can happen.
When did you first realize you wanted to be an actor?
I think somewhere around the fourth grade. My brother and I had always played make-believe. We would put on plays in our house, and it would be a big production for just some little kids. We took it very seriously with music and costumes and props and sets. We made our family members show tickets at the door. We have both always been very imaginative and artistic. So in the fourth grade, I knew a girl who was in an acting class. I ended up there and somehow, magically, I’m where I am today. My brother stuck with it too.
What is the most difficult thing you’ve faced as an actor?
I think the job I’m doing now is absolutely the biggest challenge I have faced. I just booked my first series regular role on a huge franchise, The Purge. It’s totally unbelievable. It’s surreal. And it hasn’t quite hit me yet. I’m in the middle of filming, so everything is a whirlwind. I’m learning stuff I didn’t even know I needed to learn. I’m doing stuff I’ve never done before. This is the biggest stepping stone in my career thus far, it’s challenging and scary and thrilling and a total dream come true.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve had happen on a set?
I guest starred on a CBS show called Pure Genius. My character had epidermolysis bullosa, which is a group of rare diseases that causes fragile, blistering skin. In my character’s case, her diagnosis was pretty brutal. So I would spend up to three hours every day in makeup for prosthetics. They would cover my hands, arms, feet, and legs. I couldn’t do some of the most basic things on set since they covered the bottom of my feet and the tips of my fingers. I had to be wheelchaired everywhere I went because I couldn’t walk on my feet. I couldn’t use utensils, so someone had to help me eat. It was a crazy experience.
You’re going to be in the new TV series The Purge as Penelope. Can you tell us a little bit about that character?
I play Penelope, a woman who belongs to a Purge-worshipping cult. Having pledged myself to be sacrificed at the behest of our charismatic leader, my faith is tested when I’m exposed to the ghastly realities of the Purge. Penelope is an incredible role. This show, cast, and crew is dynamite. I can’t wait for audiences to experience The Purge like they never have before.
How long do you think you’d last in a real-life purge-type situation?
How long does it take for someone to bleed out? That long, at the most.
Do you have any tips for young aspiring actors?
Oh god, so many. Confidence is key; and it comes from your self, from your work, and from your experience. It takes years to build, and I’m still working on it every day. You have to trust yourself. You have to believe you are capable of this job. If you don’t, no one you audition for will either. And if anyone tries to get you to pay thousands of dollars for some kind of class, agent, footage, or whatnot… It’s a scam, and get out.
Do you have any aspirations to work behind the camera someday?
I could see myself producing a project. I’ve come across books and certain material that I could totally envision as a show or movie. But I really see myself just acting for now.
Thank you again so much, is there anything else you’d like your fans to know?
SIX airs every Wednesday at 10/9c. We are a few episodes in, but you can always watch SIX on the History Channel’s website or you can download episodes from iTunes. Lastly, The Purge should be hitting your televisions later this year, so keep an eye out for that.
You can follow Jessica on her twitter @jessgarza
SIX airs next on Wednesday, June 13th at 10/9c. Live tweet with us @tvserieshub