Margarita Reyes’ work occupies a unique cross section of producing, acting, education, and activism. From her work with the Latino Film Institute to her documentary about DREAMERs, she strives for meaning behind her work and the betterment of society as a whole. We sit down with her to find out why –
Everyone has a unique origin story. What’s yours? How did you get into this crazy business?
At 19, I was modeling and was hired to work on a few music videos. I had always wanted to be an actor so getting to be on any set was a huge deal for me. I networked with crew and soon I was signed up and working on a super, super, ultra, low-budget film. Eventually I was referred to an agent who agreed to represent me. And a few years later, I was working as an actress. I guest starred opposite one of my favorite actors, Alfre Woodard, in The Practice. In the time I worked with Alfre and our Director Christina Musrey, I was inspired by these two, strong, confident, accomplished women. I wanted to be a part of that. Since 1998, I’ve been privileged to work on feature films, primetime series, commercials and everything in between.
What’s been your biggest source of inspiration?
My biggest source of inspiration is my daughter. Jade just turned 18. I can’t believe I have an 18 year old. It goes quick! She was accepted to a great college and she’ll be on her way in a few months. She is driven, focused, hard worker, and has integrity and grit. She has a lot of great qualities but nothing compares to her heart. She’s a good person and that’s what I’m most proud of.
What’s your ideal role?
My ideal role is one that combines my creative and community work. Something that will make an impact on a social justice issue.
What’s been your favorite project to work on?
My favorite project has been starring in Aloe Blacc’s chart topping song “Wake Me Up”.
Wake Me Up
The video is inspired by 11 million true stories. One of those stories happens to be mine.
I didn’t know what the video was about when I auditioned for the part. It wasn’t until we were on our way to the Mojave location that I got a chance to see the treatment and realized how important this video was to our community.
Last summer, I Produced and Executive Produced Director Jessica McMunn’s feature film “Unabridged”. We were privileged to include the students from the Latino Film Institute’s Youth Cinema Project at Santa Ana High School. I am a mentor with the LFI YCP and this was a great opportunity to work with our youth on a “Hollywood” film. They worked as cast, crew and extras.
Burnout in this industry is common. How do you balance being an actress, producer, activist and everything in-between?
My daughter and my work with youth keep me pretty grounded. The craziness of Hollywood can really get to you if you let it. I’m constantly reminded of how far I’ve come but also that our youth need our mentorship.
What’s your worst finding a location horror story?
I had to find a location that looked like 1990’s Minnesota…in Los Angeles. We didn’t have a budget for said location and needed it the morning of the shoot. I took to my social media and luckily one of my friends knew someone who happened to own a laundromat and would let us shoot there that evening. I recommend always being over prepared for production.
What do you like the most about Wrapal?
It’s super user-friendly. I already utilize Wrapal services and always recommend the site to colleagues. I love that I can put keywords and search for locations. Recently, I referred a filmmaker to the site and he found a location he’d been having trouble finding. The location was great! The rates were great for his independently produced web series.
You’re marooned on a deserted island; what three objects would you choose?
Bowie knife, water filter, Journal (and pens).