Gigi Guizado was exposed to the arts at a young age and decided as a high schooler that she wanted a career as an actress. Since that time she’s played many roles, with her latest being Lydia Leon in the new release I’m In Love With a Church Girl.
When did you first develop a love of acting?
When I was in high school, I went to see a friend perform in a local youth group production of Godspell. I was enthralled by the show, during which, it really hit me that storytelling through acting was the best job I could conceive of. I’d already fallen in love with the performing arts by then, thanks to my Godmother who’d trained me in her dance school, and my mom who’d taken me to community and college productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors and West Side Story. Even by kindergarten, with minimal exposure to the the performing arts, I’d realized that I loved to make people happy and to make them laugh, in particular. I knew that was what I wanted to do for a living when I grew up, but it didn’t really click for me that I wanted to be an actor specifically until Godspell.
What was your first acting role?
My first acting role came in the fifth grade, in Mr. Blabon’s class. Each year, Mr. Blabon would put on a class production. I played Miss Hannigan in Annie, the musical. More than once, I’ve looked back and appreciated how influential that experience was on me. Even then, I knew that music rehearsals were hands down, the best part of any school day.
What is your acting background/training?
About the time of the Godspell epiphany, my high school acting teacher, Mrs. Carter, arranged a drama festival that included auditions for The New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC) Youth Program. In an effort to try something outside my comfort zone, and gain some audition experience, I tried out. Much to my surprise, I won a scholarship! So, my professional training began at NCTC in San Francisco where I soon began performing with their Children’s Theatre Company. I studied drama briefly at College of Marin and UCLA before finally completing my BA in Drama at San Francisco State University. My acting background lies in regional theatre (selected credits include San Jose Stage Company, Marin Theatre Company, Center REPertory Company, EXIT Theatre, The Marsh) where I did everything from farce, to musicals, to drama, to developing new works. I’ve also done dozens of industrial films and a few television and radio commercials. My introduction to feature films came through extra work on films shot in San Francisco like The Pursuit of Happyness, The Game, and Metro.
Tell us about your role in I’m in Love With a Church Girl.
In I’m in Love with a Church Girl, I play Lydia Leon, a devout Christian who is very concerned about the company that her daughter is keeping. In this tale of love, faith, and redemption, my character learns that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, God is in control, and witnesses just how amazing His redemptive power really is. The film was inspired by a true story and I was blessed to meet with the real church girl’s real mother during filming. I had a ball sparring with Jeff “Ja Rule” Atkins; as my strict mom character is an antagonist to his bad boy character. It was also fun to play the mom of Disney Cheetah Girl Adrienne Bailon.
What other films have you been in?
My first feature length theatrical release was Colma: The Musical which won several Special Jury Prizes at Asian Film Festivals in California before being picked up by Roadside Attractions and LionsGate Home Entertainment. It’s available through Netflix, Blockbuster, Amazon. A short film I’m proud of, Soledad is Gone Forever, did well at festivals including the Cannes Film Market – Short Film Corner, and is available through Amazon and IndieFlix.
What has been your favorite role?
On stage, my favorite role has been Maria in Lend Me a Tenor. I love farce; and the timing and rich body language of that character were a delight to play. It was an honor to be nominated for an Arty Award as Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for that role. On film, it’s a tie between Delia in Soledad is Gone Forever and Lydia in I’m in Love with a Church Girl. As Delia, I enjoyed the role’s challenges of developing a character much older than myself, finding the emotional truth in the heartbreaking story she reveals, and working with voice coaches on the bilingual role to achieve a Chilean accent, as opposed to my own neutral accent in Spanish. Highlights of playing Lydia include creating her emotional arc, as well as the heartfelt comments I receive in person and on Facebook from people who were moved by the film.
What would be your dream role?
George Clooney’s love interest. Seriously though, I’m in Love with a Church Girl changed the way I approach my career. My current dream is to play leading roles in films which inspire and have a postive impact. I’m no longer interested in playing any role I can get. I’ve become much more selective, aware of the young, impressionable eyes that are watching me, of what a powerful medium film is to touch audiences and influence our culture.
Any upcoming projects?
I’m active in the healthcare simulation field, recruiting and training actors to role play with student doctors and nurses to hone their communication and diagnostic skills. The Seinfeld episode where Kramer takes a job as a Standardized Patient and portrays a gonorrhea case is a comic send up of what I’m up to. I’m available for and actively seeking faith-based and family film projects as well.
If you missed the theatrical release, or want to add I’m in Love with a Church Girl to your collection, it will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on January 14, 2014. There is an accompanying Discussion Guide at http://iminlovewithachurchgirl.com/ .This PG film has a five Dove rating and inspired Rolling Stone magazine to say, “The biggest independent debut this week was the Christian-audience oriented I’m in Love With a Church Girl, starring rapper Ja Rule as a kingpin reformed by the love of a good woman.”
For my demo reel and further details on my work, see my imdb page https://pro-labs.imdb.com/name/nm2209353/ and website http://www.gigiguizado.com/ . My representation is Jaki Baskow & Associates, 702-733-7818 phone, 702-733-2052 fax, firstname.lastname@example.org .