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The Hottie Stop interviews Maiara Walsh star of VANish and Switched at Birth

03.02.2015by: Eric Walkuski

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On her official Facebook page, Maiara Walsh describes herself as an "Actor, Singer, Writer, Activist, Artist, Dreamer, Lover, Friend, Producer, Explorer of Life." After talking to her for a little bit, you get the idea she's not exaggerating. Maiara seems entirely passionate about every one of her endeavors, which is always refreshing to hear from a young actress in this business. If you watch a lot of TV, you may have seen Maiara on Disney Channel's "Cory in the House", ABC's "Desperate Housewives" or ABC Family's "Switched at Birth." You may also have caught her for a hot second as one of the leads in Amazon's "Zombieland" pilot, which didn't last past its initial episode. (It can't be easy taking over for Emma Stone.) Now Maiara can be seen in VANish, a taut thriller about the kidnapping of a drug kingpin's daughter, which is often not a good idea - especially when the daughter is as feisty and stubborn as Walsh plays her.

Here Maiara and I talk about the uncomfortable VANish shoot, the ups and downs of being an actress, being typecast as the "mean girl," and Brazilian barbecue.

So what can you tell me about your role in VANish?

I play the role of Emma and she's the daughter of a drug cartel boss. She's estranged from her father and has basically had to raise herself. She's very independent and stubborn and strong-minded, I think she keeps up her guard which is why she uses sarcasm so much. Ultimately, she's a badass. I think I was drawn to the character because I was tired of the roles I was playing. I'm a very independent person, so I liked that she didn't take shit from anyone.

That's a character trait you can relate to?

I don't think I'm as forward as she is, I think I try to be a little more polite about things. But I'm definitely very headstrong and I don't like being taken advantage of.

You get all bloody and dirty, it looks hot as hell, was it an uncomfortable movie to make?

It was one of the craziest shoots I've ever been on. We were on a time crunch, we had thirteen days to shoot an entire film. We mostly shot in the desert, and I was always covered head to toe with this sticky syrup blood. I remember sitting on the ground one day, just trying to chill, and everyone was avoiding me because they were terrified of my appearance. I looked like Carrie. [Laughs] I really like challenges like this, because it all takes place in a van, it was very ambitious. I'm a very proactive person, so I respected that Brian, the director, was like, "Whatever it takes, i'm going to make this movie happen."

Did you get along with your co-stars, all of whom are guys?

Absolutely, I think if that didn't happen it would have been a problem because we were stuck in such small quarters the entire time. I really loved the guys, and I'm a guy's girl too, so I love hanging out with dudes.

You worked with Danny Trejo and Tony Todd, as well, and both of those guys are characters. Have any good stories?

Danny came out one day and it was 104, 105 degrees, and he was wearing a suit and sweating his ass off. He's like, "Goddamn is it hot out here!" And I'm covered in all this sticky blood saying, trust me, I know. He was a really cool guy. Tony Todd is hilarious, it was really hard to keep a straight face with him around because he improves a lot of his dialogue. And he was terrifying, too, I love people who can just slip into character so convincingly.

You mentioned wanting to get away from the type of characters you've been playing; how would you describe those characters?

I think I've played a lot of rebellious teenagers, slightly selfish characters, and they're very far from who I try to be in my daily life. I love playing different kinds of characters, that's why I love acting, I get to play different people and try to figure out why they do what they do and make it real. After playing one role for too long, it just gets stale and boring. I want to continue expanding.

I noticed something interesting; you were in Mean Girls 2 as the head "mean girl," and you were a mean girl in the TV series "Switched at Birth" - very suspicious, were you just "right" for these roles?

[Laughs] I don't know what it is, to be honest. I won't get too into that. But like I said, I'm happy to be transitioning from the roles of my past to new roles that excite me more. I'm a writer as well. Brian wrote three scripts in one week, and VANish was one of the ones he wrote; as a writer, I know how tough it is to write a script, so I was blown away by his mad genius. And as a writer, you can write yourself into movies the way Brian did; he didn't have the opportunities to play roles like this, so he wrote himself the role, andI really respect that.

Is that something you plan on doing, writing a role for yourself?

Yeah, I've written two scripts already, and I've just directed a trailer for my first script. I'm currently editing it and then I'll go out to investors to raise money for the film. I don't like to sit around in between times when I'm working. I love what I do and I feel time is precious so this is the time to do it.

You broke onto the scene in a Disney channel show, "Cory in the House", what was being a part of a Disney show like?

I had just graduated high school, just turned 18, and I booked that job. I think at first I thought it was what I was going to be doing for the next six years, because you sign a contract for six years, and then it took me a while to really get adjusted. By the time I was totally loving it, we got cut short. So that was a bummer and it made me realize you have to appreciate it while you have it. I'm still close with people from that show, I love the families that are created on set.

So none of the horror stories are true, people think Mickey Mouse is there cracking a whip.

I had a good experience because I was working with good people. It became more fun as time went on, I also chose not to go the pop star route, I really did stick to my guns, which was probably to my detriment to a certain extent while I was there, because they didn't offer me any Disney channel movies. It was still a really good experience, I'm really grateful for it.

You've done plenty of TV, are you trying to get away from that a little and make more movies, is that your preference?

In the past I would have said yes, but TV has gotten so much better, I would be open to doing a series. A lot of them shoot like movies now; I think a mini-series would be amazing. But I love films, I've always been a movie buff, I want to write and direct them, so that's always where my heart lies.

What are your other passions, outside of acting?

I sing, I write, I actually just shot a music video for a song I wrote. I love to read, I love to travel, I'm a travel addict. I can't stay in one place too long. I love meeting new people and seeing different cultures.

What's the coolest place you've ever visited?

I might be partial because I just got back from there, but I was in Slovenia about a week ago, and it's a place I never thought I'd end up and it was one of the most magical places I've ever been.

You're half Brazilian, so can you recommend some signature Brazilian dishes?

There's Brazilian barbecue, known as churasco, and there's a meat called picanha and that's delicious if you're a meat eater. There's also feijoada, which is a black bean dish. I love to go home and have my mom's cooking.

Do you split time between the US and Brazil?

It's funny, I used to go once a year, but I haven't been in four years. That's the longest stretch I haven't seen my family down there, which is awful. I'm planning a long trip to spend at least a month down there and really reconnect with everyone.

They might not let you leave once you're there.

[Laughs] I know! I don't know if I'll want to come back.

What are your favorite and least favorite things about being an actress?

I'm a big believer in dreams, as cheesy as that sounds. L.A. is a place where you can have the opportunity to really follow your dreams and carve out a path for yourself. The biggest con is, it's a frustrating business. You can be working a ton one minute and then not at all the next. I've had so many starts and stops in my career, especially after the Disney channel, because I was on a show for two years and then I had to start at ground zero again. I'm used to that, I have no problem with that. I have been in movies that aren't A+ movies, and it's okay, I'm finally at a point where I've made peace with that. I'm fortunate to be working and this is a lifelong path for me, it's not just something I'm doing on the side, I will be doing this for the rest of my life. I think it'll be fun to look back on some of my early stuff and go, oh my god remember when I was in that movie? [Laughs]

"Zombieland" is a good example, because I think most people just assume that would be a big hit.

Exactly, that's what I'm saying. That was like a for sure thing, Amazon spent the most money on that pilot, we were like, Oh my god this is going to be fantastic, and then it just got torn to shreds by all the Zombieland lovers. Which I understand, but it really did kill our show. Until I see a signed contract, I can't put all my eggs in one basket.

Is there any actor or actress that you really dream of working with?

Oh my gosh, there are tons. I love Kate Winslet, she's fantastic in everything she does. I love Natalie Portman, I really love her career path, I think she's been really smart with her decisions, and she's just a smart person in general. Honestly, Robin Williams was one of the top actors I wanted to work with, so when he died I was devastated because I loved him so much. I'd love to work with Jim Carrey. I think I'm attracted to these comedy guys who are also dark. Dustin Hoffman I've recently become a fan of.

Who is your all time celebrity crush?

I feel like it's so overplayed, but I grew up on Ryan Gosling. Although I have some strange ones. I'm also attracted to Paul Dano in There Will Be Blood. Sometimes Edward Norton does it for me as well. I think I like quirky, interesting people.

Well thank you very much for your time, good luck with the film and everything else.

Thank you Eric, I appreciate your time.

Check out Maiara's official Facebook page HERE, her Whosay page HERE and her Twitter page HERE. VANish is currently out on Blu-ray, order a copy HERE.

Source: Movie Hotties

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