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Tell us about your story? Who is Masiela in a nutshell?

Masiela remains a work in progress. There’s a restlessness in me that underlines my life chapters. It's as if I'm striving to prove something to myself; I simply don't know what it is. However, I do hope to find it one day, and to relinquish myself into a form of contentment. That sounds foreign to me at the moment.

I am, above all, a poet. I see poetry, I write poetry, and I also consider acting a form of poetry. After all, it is a representation of one specific truth.

Where are you originally from?

I've spent my most formative years in Los Angeles, and consider myself an Angeleno at heart. However, I fully absorbed each culture I had the privilege of experiencing. Living in Tirana, Budapest and Vienna have helped define my expectations and tastes. Their languages cultivated my figures of speech and determined my poetic style while living in America. I would feel rather incomplete in my writing and acting if I did not have such versatility to pull from.


How and when did acting start for you?

I discovered acting in Macomb, Michigan. An agent from Los Angeles was combing the Midwest for talent and landed in Detroit. He held an open call and met each aspiring actor. By the end of his seminar, he invited three to return to Los Angeles. I was one of the three and within a week we found ourselves facing a broad horizon of new expectations and unimaginable journeys.

Do you remember your first audition? How was it?

My first audition was a JC Penny commercial. They placed about six of us in a line in front of the casting director and producers. We said our name and age, and that was it. They called half of us back in and asked us to recite a few lines. A day later I heard I booked the commercial. It was my first time on set, I remember not having opinions, simply absorbing the experience like a sponge.


What do you consider as your most memorable experience as an actress so far?

My first kiss was on camera would be my most memorable experience! To be exact, it was during the Warner Brothers run-through of a George Lopez rehearsal.

Among all the characters that you have ever portrayed, are there any favorites?

I feel fortunate to have acted in a variety of genres, and played out an array of protagonists and antagonists. I consider each character a representation of my life, so it would be difficult to hone in on a favorite. I would say, however, that Carmen Lopez remains my most fulfilling role. She was lightyears ahead of me with life experiences, and I gained a lot of insight through her turmoil. It was through Carmen that I experienced the reward of acting in a well-written, culture-defining project. Fans would reach me for hugs, some crying, outlining ways that her storylines healed them. This shifted my trajectory in acting. I realized then that I would never commit to a project if I could not heal in some way, however small. Every role outlines an element of family, faith, or love that I am proud to embody.


Tell us more about your writing.

I write a variety of genres such as poetry, literary fiction. I've also written a children's book. Once again, the overarching theme of restlessness propels me forward. There's always another form of poetry I can and should explore, another novel plot line completely different from the novel before. I feel my writing is more of a tool to explore my limits, that anything else.


Which author/artist you think influenced you the most with your poetry?

I love Dr. Maya Angelou for the majesty of her idealism. I find her supremely inspirational in her ability to elevate humanity and heal a culture. She wrote with a purpose, driving her pen for change and perspective defying. Truly courageous. I also love Yusuf Komunyakaa for his electric definition on life. He is unapologetic, rhythmic and defiant. He follows rules, he breaks rules, and he just about does anything he pleases.

What else keeps you busy aside from acting and writing?

I love to paint, I love to spend hours recognizing the nuances of shapes and the negative of spaces. I love balance and composition.


Any upcoming projects that can get your fans excited?

Sharknado is back!!


Dream project?

I am fascinated by the strength of Saint Theresa. As a fellow Albanian, I would love to be involved in a project outlining her life.

Book you’re currently reading.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.


If you’re going to have a book what title would it be?

A Life in Words.


Currently binge watching________

Black Mirror. It's so incredibly uncomfortable because it's authentic. I love projects and books that shift perspectives, and this definitely makes the viewer reconsider societal norms.


Any advice you can give to any aspiring actors out there?

One day can change your life forever. I think this applies to any craft and industry, but it is especially significant in acting. As actors, we live on a perpetual precipice of “what could be,” and, this relies on a system of self-reliance and belief on a daily basis, it is what keeps us going and going because and not despite criticisms and disappointments. The actors that make it are the ones that do not shrink beneath the weight of another person’s words.

My advice is make criticisms and disappointment your friend since there is virtually no possible way to avoid it in acting. Allow it in your meditation, give it entry into your subconscious without defenses or judgment. If the criticism helps you, breathe life into it, and allow it to impact your craft, if it doesn't, consider it white noise. But, never let it define you, and determine your motivation. Don't let it develop into a chip on your shoulder.

As actors, we are not required to be perfect, so we therefore we cannot take criticism personally.. Art is messy; it is flawed.. That's the magic and the unpredictability that keeps audiences guessing and entrenched.


If you will be given the chance and opportunity to help a specific charity, what would it be and why?

I've been given many opportunities to help countless causes close to my heart. I am currently involved in Uncommon Good, a cause that pulls in entire family units and

elevates all members. More specifically, Uncommon Good mentors students into college and has a 100% success rate. Imagine if other disadvantaged students across America had this blessing.


Photography: IRVIN RIVERA