It’s been a great year for actress Aimee García. Not only did she star in the lead role of the feature dance film “Go For It!,” she was cast in the critically-acclaimed Showtime series “Dexter.”
During an exclusive interview with me, García, who was best known for her role as George Lopez’s rebellious niece Verónica in the final season of “The George López Show,” talked about doing her own dance moves in “Go For It!” and her character Jamie Batista in “Dexter.”
“Go For It!” was released on DVD Sept. 27. The sixth season of “Dexter” premieres Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. on Showtime.
How exciting has 2011 been for Aimee Garcia?
It’s a dream come true. I go to work every day on “Dexter” with Emmy-nominated actors and writers. “Go For It!” was a passion project. We put sweat, blood and tears into shooting it. It’s a movie that could’ve gone nowhere, but a major studio picked it up and distributed it. It’s a story of an underdog. Coming from Chicago and the Midwest, I really feel like if you work hard you’ll get a break. This year has been so fantastic. It’s so exciting to headline a film. It’s not every day you see a Latina carrying a full-length feature.
The film is also directed by a Latina, Carmen Marron. It’s rare to get a film starring a Latina and directed by one, too.
Latinos are the fastest growing minority and we’re obviously not going anywhere. We’re extremely loyal as a people and I think Hollywood is starting to recognize that. It’s very rare for a major studio to nationally distribute a film with Latino talent, not only in front of the camera, but also behind the camera. It really is a major feat on so many levels. Usually film and TV are behind the curve when it comes to representing the actual social fabric of the country.
You came into “Go For It!” with your own background in dance. Did the dancing scenes come natural to you? Did you still have all your moves?
(Laughs) Well, I started my career as a professional dancer in Chicago, so I definitely had tons of training, but I was trained in classical ballet. So, I had to up my game because I knew I was going to dance a lot of hip-hop. I was sharing the screen with professional dancers who have danced with Janet Jackson and Pink and other incredible performers. I trained for eight months before we started shooting. I took about five hip-hop classes a week. I felt like a professional athlete.
What did that do to you physically? It must’ve been rough.
Yeah, I retrained hardcore. I was bruised. I had to ice my sore muscles every day. I also had to change my diet and eat more protein. I felt like I was a professional soccer player. But I wanted to do my own dancing. I didn’t want a body double or a guy with a wig doing it for me. It was pretty brutal.
Was doing your own dancing an important part of the process for you?
It was very important because my character really expresses herself through dance. I feel like if I robbed her from that experience it wouldn’t have been as fulfilling to the audience. [Director] Carmen [Marron] from the very beginning knew she wanted some who could act and dance. I knew I was going to have to step up and do it. I always promised myself if I ever got the chance to do a “Flashdance”-type of movie, I would do my own dancing. I can say with pride that every single dance move in “Go For It!” is my own dance move.
Talk about your character on “Dexter” and the overall experience it’s been working on such a popular show.
Only six dramas get nominated for Emmys and I’m working on one of them right now. I’m sharing the screen with Edward James Olmos and Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter. I’m just so lucky to be on a show with such a fervent and incredible fan base all over the world. The day after I got cast I was getting tweets from Germany and London. My character is Jamie Batista, Dexter’s new nanny. She’s Angel Batista’s little sister. She moved to Miami to study child psychology. She’s smart. She’s a hot little number who is super comfortable in a bikini. I love everything about her. She’s savvy, flirty and fun.