The lovely, vivacious and talented Cuban actress Yara Martinez has done her fair share of supporting roles — guest-starring on series such as Southland, Nashville and Breakout Kings as well as appearing in the thriller picture The Hitcher. The brown-eyed, gregarious brunette satisfies her craving for playing inimitable and often luscious roles by slipping into the skin of distinct characters — much like a chameleon changings its colors — with confidence and soulfulness, from an alluring fugitive in NBC’s hit series Chase to a conservative defense lawyer in ABC Family’s The Lying Game. Now she is broadening her creative outlet with her role in Alpha House, Amazon’s first original comedy series.

As of Friday, November 15, Amazon officially released the first three episodes of their in-house program, created by the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist of Doonesbury, Garry Trudeau, for free, with subsequent episodes thereafter available each week to Amazon Prime members. The satirical comedy stars four powerful Republican senators living together in Washington, D.C.: Gil John Biggs (John Goodman), Robert Bettencourt (Clark Johnson), Louis Laffer (Matt Malloy) and Andy Guzman (Mark Consuelos) are the fab four, living the frat house lifestyle while set right in the middle of right-wing dealings, re-election battles and political scandals.

A former political junkie, the 33-year-old Martinez was instantly attracted to this smart, witty series which makes government affairs more accessible and comical. Her character, the charming Latina billionaire mistress Adriana De Portago, is a lobbyist with a hidden agenda. Bewitching all those around her, this puppet player secretly climbs straight to the top of the political ladder. Drawing on her experience and past interests, the down-to-earth actress rounds out a star-studded cast of powerful characters that is sure to create some drama and hilarity.

After a glamorous night on the town, Martinez generously took the time to give GALO a glimpse into what it was like working with such a well-known cast,  faking orgasms on set, taking the leap from ballet to acting, and what the industry holds for her in the future.

Editorial Note: Portions of the interview have been edited and shortened.

GALO: Before you got into acting you had studied ballet for 10 years. I understand intense training and discipline can be involved. Had that hard work and self-restraint prepared you for acting in some way? Can you explain what brought on your interest in acting and how you made such a transition – is dancing still a part of your life?

Yara Martinez: My great aunt is the founder of Cuba’s National Ballet, so ballet was a very important part of my life. My family supported the arts and ballet and took it very seriously. It was very intense training. There was a time when I was 11-years-old and I thought that I wanted to be a prima ballerina. I went to a very strict ballet school in Miami, where we rehearsed every day, and it just focused me. I definitely had a very strong passion for being on stage. When I was 12-years-old, I took a summer dance program and they made us take an acting class. What I always liked was playing the classical parts in ballet because of the characters, and when I took that acting class, I realized I wanted to be an actress. So, it was through dance that I found that.

GALO: You were born in Puerto Rico to Cuban parents and grew up in Miami. I assume after your decision to become an actress that is when you moved to L.A. Miami is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America” and has a prominent Cuban-American population. L.A. is also known for its large Latin population. Was it a comfort in some way knowing that you were moving to a city where there were still people of a similar background as you? Presently, do you see yourself as a role model for the Latin community?

YM: I actually moved to New York from Miami and was there for three years. I waited tables, and as much as I loved theatre, I just really hated being a cocktail waitress, so that’s what inspired me to move to L.A. and try television and film. I definitely don’t see myself as a role model [for the Latin community], but I always find it very comforting whenever I am surrounded by someone who is Cuban, Puerto Rican or from Miami. My father was from Puerto Rico and it’s where I was born, so I spent a lot of time there. It’s a part of who I am. When I meet someone, and I hear the accent, it immediately takes me back home. You transcend 10 years with that person because it feels like you’ve known them forever. It’s something that I definitely enjoy.

GALO: The audition process for roles can be grueling and filled with rejection. One day you’re in and the next day you’re out. Was it difficult to get used to this tough, fast-paced L.A. environment? How did you prepare for the audition process?

YM: I went to a four year conservatory in Miami called New World School of the Arts that had an amazing program and some of the best productions I have ever seen. It was a very progressive and experimental school, but one thing I wasn’t taught was the business side of [acting]. It was a shock when I moved to New York and was figuring out how to get an agent. When I think of my career, getting representation was the toughest part. You’re so hungry just to work that you want to do anything. You’ll play dead. When I think about that now I don’t even know how I did that. I don’t think people realize how difficult it is just to get in the room and how that’s a victory in itself.

Once auditioning, I don’t acknowledge or dwell in the rejection. I just keep moving forward; otherwise I’m going to go insane. It’s kind of like a little part of your brain turns off and you don’t focus on that, you just focus ahead. The reason I started acting is because I want to connect with people and want to have a real moment. You want to be elevated and elevate the people around you. You go into a room with 20 suits and know they’re analyzing everything about you. I try to believe that if something is meant to be, it’s meant to be. I just need to be relaxed, focus on the work, and not worry about anything else. When I get into that zone, it just creates an experience for me. As opposed to thinking, am I sexy enough or Latina enough for these people?

(Interview continued on next page)