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“AYAR” STAR ARIANA RON PEDRIQUE CHATS ABOUT HER LATEST FILM ROLES AND HER EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH ACCLAIMED DIRECTOR FLOYD RUSS

<em>Ariana Ron Pedrique photographed by Ben Cope<em>

Venezuelan actress Ariana Ron Pedrique is most known for her lead role in the hit series Rosario Tijeras – which became the #1 Netflix series in LATAM and Mexico – as well as her role in the American debut feature film Ayar by Floyd Russ, where her performance received positive recognition from critics. She not only stars as the lead of Ayar but helped to write her role, allowing her to fully develop her character from a creative and personal point of view.

Ariana has garnered an impressive body of work as a TV show host since the beginning of her career in Venezuela. Notable credits include co-hosting two prime-time shows – El Hormiguero MX with guests such as Chicago, Michael Bolton, Daniel Radcliffe, Kevin James, Joss Stone, Paz Vega, Mark Ronson, among others, and Lip Sync México by VIACOM’s original franchise. After becoming one of the top actresses in Latin America, Ariana is continuing to expand her acting career to the U.S. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, after taking the initiative to go headfirst into pursuing her “Hollywood Dream.”

Check out our exclusive interview with Ariana as she shares with us insight into her latest roles and her experiences working on her new feature film, Ayar.

Tell us about your background and how you became interested in acting? 
Even after attending a school that allowed me to be on a stage from the time I was three years old, it wasn’t until I moved to Mexico City that I really knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I was invited to be part of the Performing Arts School CEFAT. I’ll never forget the first day I held a set of sides in my hands. I knew then that I wanted to do this for as long as I could. I fell in love with it. I then had the good fortune to hone my professional skills in Mexico with several lead roles in Theater and on TV, including the #1 Netflix series in Latin America and Mexico Rosario Tijeras, Amazon Prime’s Dos Lagos, FOX’s José José biopic series, which is now on Netflix U.K and Netflix LATAM. I would later decide to immigrate once again to pursue my dream in the United States.  

I understand you were born and raised in Venezuela, and also lived in Mexico City – what pushed you to make the transition to Los Angeles? How do you find it different from your home?
The “Hollywood Dream” was something that I considered so unreachable that I never truly thought of moving to Los Angeles. That’s why I stayed in Mexico City for almost ten years. I thought I was going to stay there forever. But what made me formalize the decision was a combination of circumstances that pushed me to pursue better roles, better stories, better projects… something different. I am so glad that I did! My then-boyfriend happened to be living here in LA as well. So, having his unconditional loving support only made it easier for me to make the leap.

Immigrating is never easy, especially considering how different America is from Venezuela or Mexico. The people, traditions, language, and food are just a few differences between these places. Each place has its uniqueness. And, I’ve been lucky to have been able to create a home wherever I’ve lived. Sometimes is easier than others. After a couple of years living here, Los Angeles has become my new home. Ayar is my American film debut.

You are starring in the debut feature film Ayar – can you tell us about your role in the film?
Ayar is a first-generation American Latina who is tormented with guilt over leaving her newborn child behind to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. After five years of an unsuccessful career in Vegas, and with the pandemic looming, my character is determined to return home and mend the relationship with her daughter Jasmine (Calliah Sophie Estrada) and mother Renata (Vilma Vega). But when Renata refuses to allow her to have contact with Jasmine due to COVID, Ayar is forced to grapple with past mistakes and peel back the layers of who she has become to figure out who she should be.

<em>Ariana Ron Pedrique photographed by Ben Cope<em>

What was your experience working with Emmy Award-winning Director, Floyd Russ on Ayar?
It was a whirlwind of emotions. He inspired me to let go of my fears and move forward. Always forward. He challenged me in so many positive ways. Floyd is one of those directors who lead by example. To me, he has a strength of spirit and determination to achieve what’s in his head, regardless of the challenging circumstances. He reminds me of a powerful train that won’t stop until he reaches his destination, regardless of the obstacles that he might find in the way. Yet, he has this almost child-like attitude towards life that’s so refreshing. He shifted my vision of what can be possible and how valuable it is to believe in yourself. And I will be forever grateful that he was the first person who believed in me in the U.S.

How did you prepare for your role in the film?
Ayar is a strong-willed woman who dreams of being a singer. I realized that if I were going to commit to the character entirely, I would need to sing and play the piano, as this was crucial for the film. So, I convinced Floyd not to hire a double and promised I would learn to play the piano. We were only two weeks away from the shoot. There was no time to learn how to read music. So I played every day with the help of a brilliant Colombian composer and music producer whose name was Angel Ruiz. He helped me feel confident about this crazy task at hand and guided me to approach it much like choreography for my fingers. That was exciting! It was definitely a huge challenge. Also, the collaborative co-writing process of the script with Floyd and Vilma really helped me understand Ayar even more deeply.

Tell us about the film’s world premiere at SXSW (2021)?
It was such an enriching experience for me. I remember when Floyd called me and said: “WE GOT INTO SXSW!” I started dancing all over the house with my husband. Due to the pandemic, they created an amazing app where they held daily conferences and showcased so many great films. It was an honor to have Ayar’s premiere at this renowned festival. This was my first time being part of a Film Festival, and I will never forget it.

You are celebrated for your roles in a number of high profile shows for LATAM and Mexico including Sony’s hit series “Rosario Tijeras”, as well as “Two Lakes” and “José José El Príncipe de la Canción?” – what has been your favorite project to work on so far in your acting career?
Thank you for the kind words! Honestly, it’s hard to choose one since every project has given me so much to be grateful for. Each has been like a step on a staircase that has brought me to where I am today. But if I had to choose, my favorite project so far would be AYAR, without a doubt. This film has changed my life and my career for good in a way that I’ve never anticipated. Ever since I became an actor, I’ve wanted to do a role like Ayar, to be part of a story like this one.

If you could work with any director, who would you choose and why?
I have a long list of directors that I admire and would absolutely LOVE to work with. Ava Duvernay is top of mind for me –– I find her and the stories she chooses to tell very inspiring. Debra Granik is another, the performances she gets from her cast are always so memorable – I would love to be part of that. Alfonso Cuarón is another one of my favorites; the rawness of his films and the naturality of his work make his films look effortlessly brilliant. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, Damien Chazelle, and certainly last but not least, Darren Aronofsky, are just some of the many directors I would genuinely love to work with.

<em>Ariana Ron Pedrique photographed by Ben Cope<em>

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue their acting dreams?
I would say: “Go for it!”. When you give yourself to your dream entirely, trusting your gut feeling, you can’t go wrong. Dreams have a wonderful way of coming true.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you aren’t acting? 
Ever since I co-wrote Ayar, writing has become a new passion of mine. So, I just finished my screenwriting course at NYU and will love to continue to hone my skills. I also love to read and travel – especially if I can disconnect and be surrounded by nature. I enjoy yoga and meditating. I’ll admit something embarrassing since I still feel like a kid inside: I love to play a good video game every now and then. And my favorite part of the day is watching a great film with my husband surrounded by our fur babies.

What can we look forward to from you in 2022?
I finished shooting a new film in August 2021 that will come out by the end of this year. Unfortunately, I cannot share further details on the project. But I am looking forward to sharing more with you shortly!

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