Interview: Maria Quezada

Tommy2: How’s it going, it Tommy2 and joining us today we’ve got Maria Quezada from the Nickelodeon sitcom Talia in the Kitchen. Maria, how are you doing today?

Maria Quezada: Hey Tommy, I’m great! It’s finally Friday, I successfully survived my first week of High School and I’m so excited for the weekend.

Tommy2: Okay, you’ve gotta tell me all the details. First week of High School, that’s mind boggling.

Maria Quezada: Yeah, well I’m technically a sophomore, but the thing is I was home schooled last year because I was filming the show and with the hectic schedule I had to be home school and on set they have like teachers and stuff. But, this year I decided to go back to school so, it’s a totally new experience and I love it, I’m making a lot of friends and no one knows and it’s like a little secret.

Tommy2: Right, so tell me, I want the full details on the wardrobe for the first day.

Maria Quezada: Well, so for the first day I went kind of casual. Jeans, you can never go wrong with jeans and a cheap top with some print on it. So yeah, I just kept it cool and casual and then some sneakers.

Tommy2: Okay, and did you get any new shoes for school?

Maria Quezada: I actually went shopping. I bought a ton of clothes because I want to change my look a little now that I’m a sophomore and in high school it’s like official now so, yeah. I’m really excited, you don’t even know.

Tommy2: As far as your acting, let’s kick this off about the big news with your nomination for an Imagen Award in the category of Best Young Actor for your role of Talia in the Kitchen. Congratulations!

Maria Quezada: Thank you so much! It’s a huge honor and I’m so proud to represent the Latino community and just say that I’m latina and I’m proud and diversity is something that we really need in this industry and it’s amazing that this awards show stands up for that

Tommy2: And I’m curious how did you find out about that nomination and what were you doing at the time?

Maria Quezada: Okay, well I find out about this nomination because one of my cast mates actually texted me at like 12:40am in the morning and he’s like, hey I’m so proud of you congratulations and I had no idea what he was talking about. I actually thought he sent the wrong message to the wrong number and I was like, Hi… thank you, but are you sure this is for me? Because I had no idea what he was talking about, I honestly thought he was tired and then he sent me a link because I just brushed it off I was like that was no, that wasn’t for me. Like I was trying to go back to sleep, and then he sent me the link with the list of the nominees and I saw that I was nominated and the show was nominated as best children’s programming and I freaked out! I was so happy. I’m pretty sure I woke up everybody in the house from the screaming and the excitement. And then my fans started tagging me all over social media, so it was unreal.

Tommy2: Yeah, I’m sure! It’s one thing to hear it from someone, but when actually go online and then see it there it’s like a whole nother experience.

Maria Quezada: Definitely, and then right after that I texted my whole cast and I was like, I am so proud of you guys, we did it! It was amazing.

Tommy2: Now, why do tell us more about how you ended up landing the role of Talia?

Maria Quezada: Okay, well it was a very long process. I started the audition process when I was 13. I had just turned 13 and I actually auditioned in New York. So I auditioned in New York, that happened and then a few months passed and it was another callback. It was like a total of like six or seven callbacks or something and then it ended with testing, which is basically where they like mix and match different characters to see who’s going to be on the show. So then after that they told me that I had booked it and it was insane. I was so excited, so happy to embark on this new journey. And then the pilot got picked up and yeah, here we are, nominees.

Tommy2: And I was wondering if you learned anything about food you didn’t know while on the set?

Maria Quezada: Yes, definitely! I didn’t know anything. I knew how to make cereal, a sandwich, pretty basic, but on set it was just a huge, it was an incredible journey because had the chance to learn about the culinary world and I actually had to take cooking classes on set. So, yeah… all those stunts where you see me cooking or sauteeing. That’s me for real, I practiced every single day after coming home from set, I would practice in order to not have a stunt. And then one day, I remember that I chopped up everything I could find in my fridge and in my pantry and just left it all out and my mom came downstairs the next morning and she was like, what’s this smell, Maria! So yeah, that’s how I got to do all of my own stunts

Tommy2: On that note, what’s the absolute messiest food in the kitchen?

Maria Quezada: Oh there’s a ton! I actually had to cut a lot of vegetables that had a lot of like juice in it, so it went everywhere. But the good thing is that usually when we did those type of things it wasn’t really a close up so you guys saved yourself from all that mess. But, yeah… there’s a lot of messy foods and a lot of messy situations on set because we also had scenes where we had throw food at one another or fall on top of food. So yeah, it was a constant mess but it was a lot of fun.

Tommy2: And I’m wondering did you ever think out loud to yourself, I’m getting paid to do this, it sounds kind of fun?

Maria Quezada: Yeah, I remember that but honestly do it because it’s my passion. I love what I do and I love being on set every single day and just cheering everybody on, like let’s go team we can get this scene. Even if it’s the end of the day I’m the one person who cheers everyone on and just goes for it I guess.

Tommy2: Okay, and back to the food thing. What’s your favorite food to eat?

Maria Quezada: Ooh, good question. My grandmothers cooking is by far the best in the world I think. Yeah, but if it’s not that it’s probably pretty typical teenager pizza type thing. But yeah, you can never go wrong with the abeula.

Tommy2: True, true. Okay, in addition to your acting, I hear you also play guitar and sing. Why don’t you give us your background on that?

Maria Quezada: I do! I do that for fun, I love to play guitar, I love music, but acting is #1, my #1 passion and that is what I want to do, I love it so much. I love how I can create characters and bring them to life and how they have the power to influence people and change lives.

Tommy2: Okay, then lets talk about bringing those characters to life. What type of things do you think you added to the character of Talia in your show?

Maria Quezada: Okay, so when I got the character, she was very different but I guess as I went along she just became this whole persona, she became real, she became more positive and it was just incredible to see how she evolved as the season went on. And yeah, so I brought a lot of myself as well other people I have seen in real life into this character and I just made her my own, which I love so much. I’ve actually learned from her more than anything. I’ve learned to be more confident and to never ever, ever give up.

Tommy2: And one think I’ve heard that plays a big role in your life is Charity. Why don’t you share about one of the charities near to your heart.

Maria Quezada: Charity plays a big role in my life because I feel like giving back is the biggest thing you can do. I’m always on the lookout for new charities, but currently I support St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital as well as Feeding America and I’ve done various events for Ronal McDonald’s House of Charity, and it’s just incredible to see how you can light up peoples lives and how you can bring a smile to a kids face just by donating your time, your money, your effort. So, my biggest advice is to pick a cause and to help out today.

Tommy2: What’s the future look like for you in terms of acting, are there any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

Maria Quezada: Currently I am working really hard and just doing as much as I can and being prepared. I take a lot of stage combat classes for future action roles which I hope to do in the future and yeah, I’m constantly learning new things and I’m so excited for what’s ahead. So, I’ll tell you guys. You guys have to like find out, so make sure to join on this journey.