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The Hottie Stop interviews Mariana Vicente, star of The Lucky Man

02.05.2018by: Eric Walkuski

There aren't a whole lot of people who can claim they were in the running for Miss Universe, but Mariana Vicente is one of them. The Puerto Rican-born model and actress was crowned Miss Universe Puerto Rico in 2010 and followed that up by placing in the Top 10 for Miss Universe that year. One look at her and it's not hard to see why, but Mariana is also blessed with a very kind heart and gracious nature, as I found out the other day when I was lucky enough to chat with her for a bit. At the moment, Mariana is promoting a new film she co-stars in, THE LUCKY MAN, in which she plays Rebecca, girlfriend to a con man who pretends to be a preacher.

According to Mariana, the character of Becca is a bit of a unique one for her, as she actually gets to play a Latina. You wouldn't think a woman crowned Miss Puerto Rico would have trouble getting roles like that, but thanks to her naturally blond hair and skin tone, Mariana often doesn't book roles meant for Latin-American women - something she's hoping to change. We spoke about that specific challenge, as well as her experience doing the Miss Universe pageant, what advice she has for young people trying to break into the industry, what's next for her and more!

So tell me a little bit about The Lucky Man and how you got involved?

I remember having a very bad day when I did the audition, I had a friend of mine put me on tape. It was one of the rougher scenes I had to do, it was one of the scenes where we were fighting and he was crying. For some reason it was perfect, because I was having a really bad day but I got excited by the audition and really put my heart into it. I ended up booking it, much to my surprise. Every time I get a role for a Latin character, I'm like, "You know, I'm just going to have fun with it because I'm probably not going to book it." But I did, and I got super excited to be able to do it.

Is there a certain aspect of your personality, or something you can do, to play up the Latin-American side?

Yeah, I did a very slight accent. Not the aggressive Sofia Vergara accent, because there are so many ways you can play up the Latina aspect. Rebecca had grown up in the United States, she had grown up speaking Spanish to her mom and her family, but English was her first language. And she did maybe have that slight accent, because speaking Spanish so much to her family and where she grew up. It's like how you meet some people here in California who have Latin-American parents will sometimes still have an accent. That was the direction we decided to go. I have had auditions where I've had to do the full-on accent, but it still doesn't work, because people still want to see J.Lo. They want to see somebody who is curvy and has darker hair. I mean, I wish I looked like J.Lo. [Laughs] I love embracing that part of our culture, how in Puerto Rico, curves are something that's really sexy and beautiful. You don't have to be skinny to be pretty, it's actually quite the contrary in Puerto Rico; the curvier you are, the more beautiful you are. I like that, but again, it's frustrating. I am Puerto Rican, but I can't really show the world I'm Puerto Rican. I'm still trying to find my place in this industry.

What's your character like? Are you similar to her in any way?

I feel like Rebecca and I are very different, but at the same time I understand why she does things and where she's coming from. She may seem really superficial, a little bit plastic, but nobody is really like that. She and Johnny have an amazing bond, she'll do anything for him and he'll do anything for her. It's super beautiful. They take each other for what they are. She has this very unpredictable life, she doesn't know where she's going to be tomorrow, so the only thing she has is him.

It looks like you shot in a variety of locations, where did filming take you?

We were in Dallas for a little bit and then in New Mexico, in this little town. I don't even remember the name, it was a very different experience. I'm used to filming in New Orleans, in Atlanta, in L.A., and this was the first time I shot in a very, very small town. Super cute, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It had five restaurants, a gas station, maybe a supermarket. It was hard to adjust because we were shooting for so long and in between we didn't have a lot of options of places to eat or places to go to kill time.

When did you move to the states?

It'll be ten years in a year. I have moved around a lot. This is the third time I've moved to Los Angeles. I lived in Miami for a little bit, I lived in Mississippi for some time, I lived in New Orleans, I spent a summer in New York. When I was younger and studying finance at the university of Puerto Rico, wasn't really liking it. I'm a very creative person, anything that involves being creative. I have no idea how I ended up in finance, but after little bit over a year of studying it I was just really unhappy and I decided I just wanted to take a year off and live somewhere far away from home, but still within the United States, so I felt kind of safe. Puerto Rico is very different from the U.S., it's still part of the U.S., so it felt safe somehow. I ended up taking an acting class so I could make friends, because I didn't know anybody. I thought, "Nobody knows me here, so I can be a fool." I ended up loving it and pretty much decided, "This is it."

How did that all lead to being in the Miss Universe pageant, which must have been a mind-blowing experience.

It was a very enlightening experience. It was half and half. Half of me loved it, half of me hated it. The part of me that loved is a part of me that likes to be busy; I like to feel like I'm being productive, that I'm learning, so that part of me loved. I'm a very social person, so I loved meeting people, getting to do community work, I loved all of that. But I really did not like a lot of it. Pageants are extremely competitive, and not in a good way. It's physical comparisons, and it shouldn't be like that. Yes, it's a beauty pageant, but it should be about everyone embracing their own unique beauty and not turning everybody into this model of beauty and robots. Telling them what to say and telling them what's beautiful and what's not. It should be more about polishing everybody's uniqueness. Throughout the whole journey I thought, "At the end of this, I'm going to go back to being Mariana, I have to keep being myself." If I change, that's what they'll expect of me for the rest of my life, and I don't want to be a character for the rest of my life.

What kind of advice would you give to someone who wanted to get into modeling or just showbiz in general?

I was talking about this the other day with my fiancÚ. I pray every day that I get boys, I feel like I'd be a better mom to boys, I know how to play with them and how to deal with them. I was telling him if we ever have a daughter and she wanted to be a model or an actress, I would try to convince her to wait until she was 18 to pursue that. Be true to yourself, don't let anybody change you because that's what makes you beautiful. There are a lot of girls in the world that are beautiful, but what sets you apart is that you're responsible, that you're nice, that you're grateful. So when I was a young model, I would always leave a handwritten note for the editor thanking them for having me there, or I would send them flowers or something like that. I think that helped me, because they knew I was going to be there on time, that I was going to be ready, that I was going to be responsible. That's really important, in any job, really.

What is next for you? Is there something you haven't done yet that you really want to do?

There is so much I haven't done yet that I want to do. I have a couple other things coming out; I have a romantic comedy coming where I was the mean girl at the office, which was really fun because it was so different from what I usually play, which is the pretty girl or the nice girl. I also filmed a movie with John Travolta, which was really fun to shoot because it was shot in Puerto Rico, so I got to go home and see my family for a bit. Right now I'm just looking forward to pilot season and to keep auditioning. I believe in things being gradual in your life, I like that everything in my life has been one step after the other, so right now I'd like that next step where I can maybe have a role that's a little more substantial. Something fun, something that will make me feel joyful because this is what I love doing.

You can find out more about THE LUCKY MAN on its official site, and you can follow Marina on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Extra Tidbit: Photos taken by Jordan Voth
Source: Movie Hotties

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