PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALEXANDRA ARNOLD
In this short Q&A, Los Angeles born Actress Libe Barer walks us through her Carly Bowman’s character, acting, the books that she reads and also shares to us her dream project.
Libe also played Beth in Those Who Can’t (2016) and Pia in Colony (2016).
When and how did acting start for you?
As a kid I always sought outlets in which I could act. I eventually got into this community children’s theater group where we did these epically long original musicals, written by our director, featuring songs from the 70’s and 80’s like some Bowie and Neil Young classics.
It was actually really impressive in retrospect and God bless our parents for sitting through them.
A manager found me there. I started auditioning and working sporadically, but at that point it was more of an after school activity because I always prioritized school first.
I took a break to go to college where I realized all I want to do is act, write, and eventually direct. So that’s what I’ve been doing since.
Tell us about any memorable audition experience that you had.
When I was 12 someone had referred me to audition for a new Nickelodeon series. I hadn’t really auditioned before and didn’t have any kind representation or training. I was really nervous and my sides weren’t stapled. Just before I went in I dropped them and they scattered. I quickly picked them up and went in. When we started I realized the pages were out of order and I froze up. I got a lecture about how I need to be prepared and need to have my sides stapled. I finished the audition shaking (needless to say I killed it). I left and cried to my mom for hours. However in beautiful poetic justice, when I started going out for real, that casting director cast me in my first TV job.
Out of all the roles that you have ever played, is there any specific favorite and why?
I don’t know if I have a favorite, but I love being surprised when I find a role that I’m not immediately sure how I can relate to. As I get into their skin I have light shed on a new way of living or thinking, my world view expands a little, and I gain new empathy I didn’t have before. I think that’s the most beautiful part about what we do, gaining understanding and compassion for people and walks of life that seemed distant before.
For those people who have not seen Sneaky Pete yet, what are some great qualities of the show that they cannot miss?
It’s a really fun crime show with a lot of heart. There are thrilling twists and turns, but at the heart of it it’s about family. Marius is conning a broken family so the way he stirs things up with them is really compelling and unique. Also I get to act with some of the best actors out there. It’s a must watch just to see Margo, Peter, Giovanni, and more give stunning performances. They’re really geniuses.
What’s the best thing about your character Carly Bowman?
I love how complex and dynamic Carly is.
Every time you think you understand her, she’ll do something that seemed divergent from who she was. Also she’s super smart, and it’s really fun being the youngest family member who is also perceptive enough to see something is off about “Pete”. The way she takes it upon herself to play detective and try to figure out what is going on in creative ways is also a blast to play.
What inspires you?
Travel and great art. Things that really shake up my day to day world view. Immersing myself in a different culture, seeing a piece of theater that hits hard and makes me question what I think I know, some great music that moves me, etc.
What is your dream role? Dream project?
Right now I am dreaming of playing Aurora Reyes Flores in a movie made by some badass Latina filmmakers.
I am Latina, but because of the color of my skin I play mostly white characters (like Carly in Sneaky) but there are so many incredible untold stories of powerful Latina women that I would love a hand in telling. Aurora Reyes Flores lived during the Mexican Revolution. She was a female muralist making political works and had a hand in helping with issues like poverty and workers rights. Those are the types of stories I want to tell right now.
Any advice you can give to any aspiring actors out there?
Focus on the art not the business, and constantly question why you’re doing this.
Book that you are currently reading.
I just started Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I’d never read it before and it’s tough and beautiful and such an important read.
If you are a book what book are you and why?
I think I have some of Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”, Maggie Nelson’s “The Bluetts”, and Patti Smith’s “Just Kids”. But really when it comes down to it I think I’m probably Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince”.
If you will be given the chance and opportunity to help a specific charity, what would it be and why?
The International Rescue (IRC) is doing really important things to help refugees and deliver aid in war torn countries. And the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) works to protect the rights of immigrants from Mexico as well as other countries. Both of these are great organizations that are helping people in need in these turbulent and xenophobic times.