European-born Actress/Writer Masiela Lusha portrayed Carmen Lopez for five seasons as George Lopez’s rebellious and passionate daughter on the syndicated ABC series, George Lopez. She was born on October 23, 1985 to parents Max and Daniela. Raised in Tirana, Albania; Budapest, Hungary; and Vienna, Austria, Masiela settled with her mother in Michigan at the age of seven. English is her fourth language.
Her acting talents span well into voice-overs, films, music videos, commercials, print work with Ben Affleck, and of course television. Among other things, Masiela portrayed Nina, the lovable and energetic, fast-talking best friend on the popular animated PBS series, “Clifford’s Puppy Days”. Film work include “My Father’s Eulogy” a biography in which she portrayed Lisa, the reflective lead who reminisces on her experiences with her father; “Cherry Bomb” and most recently, “Muertas” in which she plays the determined and strong-willed lead, Aracelli; a young factory worker from Juarez who dreams of America and all its promises and during which falls in love with an El Paso journalist, Ethan.
Masiela has been named “The Youngest Author in the World” to publish a book in two languages. She designed the cover herself at the age of twelve, and was also named as one of “The Best Top Ten Talented Poets for North America”, for her first book “Inner Thoughts.” She views writing as an expression of herself where she can “create secret worlds without boundaries”, and her second book of poetry “Drinking the Moon” was recently released in print this summer by Dorrance Publishing. Through her poetry she paints portraits of character, human emotions, experience, insecurity, and pride; and reflects on the betrayal of friendships, and on the society surrounding her.
READ BELOW HER INTERVIEW WITH REEL LADIES!
RL: YOU HAVE AN INTERESTING AND DIVERSE BACKGROUND. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE ALBANIAN CULTURE?
ML: The Albanian culture is elusive to me. I think this has to do with leaving the country at such an early age, as well as the country rediscovering her roots after many decades of repression. What I can say about the Albanian culture is what runs through my limbs and what carries my philosophy in life. There’s a condensed softness about the Albanian people, and I’ve witnessed examples of their hospitality that have been famously engraved in history for centuries. Maybe I’m soaking memories of my homeland in sentimental syrup that grows thicker and sweeter with time, but there is something truly noble about the Albanian people and their culture of purity and keeping promises.
RL: WHAT LANGUAGES DO YOU SPEAK?
ML: At the moment, I speak three languages. English is my fourth. Unfortunately, I lost Hungarian. My mother taught me through example that to learn the language of the country you’re living in as a guest, is to offer due and necessary respect to the people and their culture. I developed an affinity for languages, and the art of expression so vast in sound yet so condensed and universal in sentiments and truth.
RL: HOW DID YOUR FAMILY GO FROM ALBANIA TO MICHIGAN?
ML: The journey was long, one of self-discovery and life-or-death for my mother. I always felt my mother was following the trail of her heart to America. My Great Uncle Dr. Joseph H. Alli was a doctor residing in
Ann Arbor, Michigan at the time and he had asked to help us. The journey to Michigan took three restless years of ups and downs, triumphs and uncertainties. And although the countries we subsequently resided in offered to take us in and were fundamentally helpful in our temporary transition to their culture, my mother stayed uncompromisingly loyal to the American dream.
The vivid tapestry of my mother’s American dream was burned to a crisp, when in a letter, we were officially denied American entrance after so many years of blind pursuit. In the letter, we were offered the idea to begin a new life in Vienna, where we were living at the time. Though our life was very comfortable, and we were fortunate to have a wonderful man, whom I still consider my “Onkel” Franz teach us the richness of the Viennese culture, my mother was utterly heartbroken. She was devastated. And looking back, I understand
I still remember one morning in particular. It was a few weeks after our hard rejection. I was seven at the time and was glowing warm from a dream in which I had described as flying high up in the air, above the trees, above the homes toward America. I never saw America before, but I just knew it was our dream country, this magical land of gold and green… Just the way my mother had described it. I told her that we were flying to America on a big white plane without windows. She sat me down and gently told me we would need to call Austria our home now, but I was insistent in my delicate dream. “No,” I said. “we’re flying to America! Don’t forget!”
That day, we received a letter from the American embassy, asking us to pack our bags because we were coming to America.
RL: WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR CREATIVE SPIRIT?
ML: Creative writing and poetry has existed as talent in my aunt as well as my mother, as well as many generations before in my family. Some mothers sing lullabies to their young children, my mother read me
poetry– so I associate my strongest and most insistent feelings on words lyrically organized on a page.
Would you ever allow me study the philosophy of your spirit? May I use your time to color this page? And your emotions to entertain you? - Masiela Lusha
RL: WHAT IS THAT DRAWS YOU?
ML: I was an unassuming, soft-spoken, self-possessed skinny little girl with absolutely no tincture of rebellion in my make-up. I’ve been told that as a young child, I was gentle, but resolute with indomitable
will. I usually sat quietly in my chair, listening to what was being said, and I think this nature allowed me truly absorb a reality that was vivid and varicolored with untamed fantasy.
Although I was calm as a child, I had this restlessness about me–this need and hunger to create my own world. Poetry filled that void, and its words fed that vital necessity of ownership.
RL: WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE IN ENTERTAINMENT?
ML: I was enrolled in ballet courses from an early age, had written a book, had explored many careers through my elementary and middle school in Michigan and although I had an affinity for many kinds of expression, acting seemed to me a noble career when pursued with a pure heart. It complemented every passions of mine: dance, understanding people, anthropology, and it vitalized me with an energy of attention I never sought out but thrived on when offered.
RL: YOU ARE ONE OF THE SUCCESS STORIES OF ATTENDING AN OPEN CALL. TELL US ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE.
ML: I was thirteen at the time, utterly naive about the industry. I had been in one play in Michigan before then; I played Cinderella– and that was the extent of my insight and education. So the open call itself was a journey I took in appreciating Hollywood. There were 700 people, some adults, most were children. There was an agent who founded the theatrical and commercial agency ABA in Los Angeles and was touring the country to find new and promising faces to model or act in New York or LA. The Open Call began with a lecture on the industry, and one by one, the auditorium of promising faces would walk to the front of the stage, greet the agent, provide their names and their dream. It lasted a full day, from morning until five in the
afternoon. I was mesmerized by the agent’s energy and professionalism until the very end. I loved the business he described, the matter-of-fact nature of Hollywood he projected. I knew then and there that I wanted to be in the industry with these wise and professional people. By the end of the day, he called out the three names that would accompany him back to Los Angeles, and I was one of the three he had asked. That was the end of the open call and the beginning of an entirely new life and dream of my own.
RL: WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST PROJECT?
ML: My first project was modeling with Ben Affleck. A group of professional models, and I, were arranged in our poses on the backlot of Universal Studios, waiting for the mystery celebrity to arrive for the shoot. I was thirteen at the time, and remember hearing the rough engine of a motorcycle. I turned to look, and this tall man dressed in black leather stepped off. I peered up from my place in the shoot and he walked toward us with heavy boots, smoothed the top of my head with his palm and started the day. It took every muscle in my body to stop myself from grinning throughout the winter shoot. I was shivering like a Chihuahua, and it wasn’t from the winter theme!
RL: HOW DID THE GEORGE LOPEZ SHOW COME ABOUT FOR YOU?
ML: It came about like a typical audition where the actress doesn’t know a soul in the room, and exposes her heart and vulnerability in hopes to win a handful of strangers’ affection. I was fifteen at the time, and the breakdown for Carmen, the character I was asked to read for, was described as strong but vulnerable, funny but serious, innocent but with wisdom beyond her years. Essentially, they wanted a real girl. I had only myself to offer, my scant Hollywood experiences, and that’s what I inevitably performed for the producers… little Masiela from Michigan, trying her luck in big Hollywood. A month later, I received the call from the producers asking me to test for the network. Before then, I had never heard of such a step so every stage of auditioning from that moment on felt very new to me.
After a couple of tests, the network narrowed it down to two girls, from the original 600. We were asked to finally test in the ABC building. I was the last to read for the professional audience of what looked to be 70 or so, drenched in utter darkness. There was one bare stage, one bright spotlight, with one metal chair perfectly center. I hopped to center stage. Stared at a sea of dimmed faces. A pregnant pause of awkwardness, and I released a little giggle. Everyone laughed with me, and that was the breath of a moment that catapulted me into the most organic audience, actress relationship I strive to recapture time and time again. I was home.
Two hours later, I received a call that invited me to stay home for five more years.
RL: YOU ARE ALSO A PUBLISHED AUTHOR, TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORKS.
ML: I write to escape, to confront and to tame. Each one of my works is published like little diary entries where I hope the reader can take what I write to dress his own body of experience and deeper wisdom. The core reason I had written books is to offer children a tool in accomplishing their own dreams. I would like to show them what is possible in this world, and what happiness is available to them if they have the courage to look.
RL: WHICH DO YOU ENJOY MORE, ACTING OR WRITING?
ML: The beauty of these two professions in particular is that they complement each other seamlessly. Since I was a very young girl, I loved people, I adored their intricate behavior in society, their emotions, their instinct, their fire. I was enthralled by what was not being said, by the dichotomy of their emotions. As an actress and as a writer, I’ve been offered the privilege to study people for the rest of my life. As an actress and writer, I’m offered the opportunity to become what I’ve always dreamed of becoming, an anthropologist without limitations. At parties, I would much rather sit, dimmed by inattention, and study the atmosphere and the silence and dance between people, but often times I’m not offered this privilege. The necessity for isolation, and the striving for popularity is the only contradiction I find in being a writer and an actress.
RL: WHEN DID YOU CREATE YOUR PRODUCTION COMPANY, ILLUMINARY PICTURES? TELL US ABOUT IT.
ML: Illuminary Pictures exists to carry the dream of helping society in any way that I can. Spending my most formative years in this industry, I learned to love and appreciate the elements of filmmaking, sound, cinematography, acting, directing fused into one acclaimed project that can be remembered for decades, and now centuries, to come. I dream of standing as the glue to bind audiences around the world, I dream of making a difference in the way people view this world. And this complements the reason for my acting and writing as well. All three elements of storytelling carry one vital philosophy– to offer universal insight, and many instances, hope and therapy to those who absolutely need it. To illuminate a combined and universal purpose, whether it be through the written word, the spoken word, or both elements incorporated into another element of truth. All exist to tell a story to the world, carried generations to come, to their children’s
RL: WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON CURRENTLY?
ML: The company has a slate of four feature films and one tv project in active development. Outside Illuminary, I’m preparing to act in four films for the remainder of this year and early next year. My third book of poetry is in its final stage of editing, and I’m currently mustering up the courage to show my first novel to the world.
RL: WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A PROJECT?
ML: The elements I believe everyone looks for are talent and heart. It’s intangible, but the force of the written word has the power to carry our emotions. The written journey the story takes plays your heartstings like a puppet.
RL: WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL?
ML: To be alive and happy long enough to watch the other wonders of this life unfold each year. To have a family.
RL: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE FROM WOMEN IN THE FILM AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY?
ML: I would like to see from women in this industry what I have had the privilege of witnessing for a decade now. Strength, conviction, and unapologetic sensitivity for the healing of souls.
For More Info on Masiela Lusha, her poetry and her projects, VISIT HER SITE HERE!