INTERVIEW: MASIELA LUSHA, ACTRESS + POET
The more career paths we choose to explore, the more we learn about ourselves. We discover our true passions and hidden talents as well as our weaknesses. Masiela Lusha is someone who has travelled down various creative career paths throughout her life and has chose to stick with more than one. Best recognized for her role as Carmen on The George Lopez show and for her role in the two most recent Sharknado films, Masiela is also an author/poet, producer, humanitarian, and chef for a very big family! We spoke with Masiela this month about her career journey + what women inspire her! Check out the interview below.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Masiela, and most of you may know be as Carmen on The George Lopez show. I’m also a writer and an Ambassador to a number of causes close to my heart.
How long have you been a poet/author?
We are all born poets. I consider poetry to be a gauge of sincerity, a perspective, and a filter in how we see the world. Usually, it can imply experiencing the world closely and deliberately, where nuances and details breathe and come to life. Children are better at this than adults, and I consider children to be the best poets.
I published my first book of poetry, Inner Thoughts, at 12, and my second, Drinking the Moon, at 16. Though, I’ve lived through poetry long before writing my first poem at six or seven; I still remember my mother reciting to me her poetry as lullabies before bed.
Does the literary world allow you to have more creative freedom compared to acting?
I consider both to be free in creativity and yet constrictive in their expectations and rules. Just as in acting, we have genres in writing, tied to a society of individuals who understand, appreciate, and expect certain form. Just as in acting, genres can shift and form into other works. I am a firm believer in breaking the rules once a person thoroughly understands their value; and this applies to both acting and writing.
As an actress, I tend to feel restless when portraying the same character, or performing in the same genre for too long. It isn’t an accident or coincidence that my credits span from voice over, to drama, to thriller, to period pieces, to sitcom, to romantic comedy, to syfy. And my poetry carries the same variances. I’ve written Iambic Pentameter, blank verse, Shi as inspired by Chinese form, and I’ve translated poems and meditations by Mother Theresa, I’ve written a historical novel, and a futuristic epistolary tale.
We are free to explore and dream, and have every right to pursue one path, or many simultaneously. Though, the common thread that should weave all contradicting journeys into one coherent life is understanding the rules. Break them, sure, go ahead, but one should understand.
What was the inspiration behind your book, The Living Air?
The Living Air feels like an epistolary string of stories to me. These little diary entries are torn straight from my days from the age of sixteen, until thirty, and have defined the vicissitudes of my growth, and shifts in perspective. As I consider myself to be private, there are times I cringe when asked to recite my poetry aloud. Essentially, it feels as if I am asked to recite a diary entry aloud. The only notion that prevents me from shutting down completely is the sense that these poems may help in some capacity, may heal, or may offer a new perspective. That is the only motivation that keeps me moving.
While these are personal poems, I am inspired by the reader, by her journey and expectations. I write for her.
Do you plan on branching out into other creative careers in the future?
I love fashion, and have earned a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. If I do pursue a path in fashion, it would be motivated by innovation and what the future inspires, redefining seam patterns, new forms of fabric like coffee and milk.
What is a valuable lesson you've learned about working in the entertainment industry?
From personal experience, the most successful individuals are often the kindest and the hardest working. I’ve had the privilege of working with some incredible talent during my most formative years, and it has felt like an accelerated university degree. I consider Hollywood to be an industry and not a lifestyle.
What is some advice you'd give to a younger version of yourself? Step back and consider a broader perspective in life. Breathe and absorb the many layers of our humanity, the multitier experiences impacting us all as individuals and yet seamlessly stitching us together. Consider the many people, your gender, your age, around the world, experiencing vastly contrasting traumas, joys, and lessons at this very moment. This practice calms my inner monologue, and I feel lightened and revived; it allows me to feel connected and included in a narrative and movement that is bigger than myself.
It's Women's History Month and DARLA loves to celebrate women currently making history as well as those from the past. Who is a woman that has notably impacted your career, and how?
There are so many ladies who defined me! My manager from the time I was 12, Beverly Strong. She was the true definition of her last name. She plucked me from obscurity, and determined my worth. Her steadfast loyalty and support over the years left an impression on me. Despite the transient nature of my upbringing, feeling uprooted every other year, people stay. She showed me this. Sandra Bullock, my favorite boss and mentor. Through her example, she defined professionalism, charm, and sincerity. She was so dedicated to our show, that if she could not make it to set because of prior commitments, she would have a live feed wired from wherever she was in the world, so that she may watch real-time as we performed the scenes, and phone in suggestions or comments. And of course, my mother, who tirelessly explored nearly every hobby and craft with me, until I found my calling and muse. She was powerful and courageous, and left behind many versions of her life to embark on a new path, and always with the same tireless zeal and optimism. Truly courageous.
You are in a new Lifetime movie, Forgotten Evil. What is this film is about and what's your role in it?
Forgotten Evil is from the same director as Sharknado, but a completely different genre and mood. I was approached as they were writing the script, so I felt involved in the creative process. Forgotten Evil is a twisted coming of age story, about a girl experiencing amnesia. Learning tastes for the first time, the audience can witness a character utterly effaced, with no back story, no preferences, no friends, and transform before their eyes into a tangible, rounded character. It’s actually quite a fascinating prospect – to grow with a character.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you are working on?
One massive project is currently in the works that would startle a few fans. Though, I am sworn to secrecy at the moment. Also, I am in the process of publishing my second novel, The Journals of Olympia Pole.
Look out for the releases of Masiela Lusha's upcoming projects as well as her return with TheGeorge Lopez cast in a special reunion episode of The Lopez Show!
"I was thrilled when George reached out to me about the opportunity to film his new show Lopez on TV Land. I’ve enjoyed watching a few episodes in the past, and loved the idea. As soon as Constance Marie (my TV mom) and I entered set during our first table read, it felt like home. It was immediate, without any warm-up; we were back to our familiar rhythm and energy. It surprised me that nothing truly changed. I guess, it’s like family – it never really stops, it just gets redefined."
Follow Masiela on Instagram @MasielaLusha, Twitter @masiela, and Facebook @masielalusha!