How Former Miss Bogotá Carolina Guerra Landed on TNT’s Drama ‘Animal Kingdom’

Photo by Andres Oyuela. Courtesy of Carolina Guerra

When Colombian actress Carolina Guerra envisioned what a career as an actress would look like, she always had Hollywood in mind. She had some success on Colombian TV, but going to the U.S. was a dream she wasn’t going to give up easily, even when fate looked like it was working against her.

Guerra, who is a former Miss Bogotá, made it to Los Angeles in 2015 and landed two TV pilots. Timing, however, was not on her side. Her visa expired a few days before production on the shows began, and Guerra found herself back in her home country. The following year, she returned to L.A. but soon decided to return to Colombia after she got word that she booked a movie there. Finally, in 2017, Guerra told herself that if she was going to make a career in Hollywood work, she would have to go all in.

One of her first auditions on her third trip to L.A. came in the form of TNT’s premiere season of Animal Kingdom, a crime/drama TV series adapted from the 2010 Academy Award-nominated Australian film of the same name. Although Guerra admits her audition did not go as well as she had hoped, she was offered the recurring role of Lucy, a single mother and the Mexican girlfriend of main character Baz Blackwell (Scott Speedman), the leader of a group of criminal brothers who are controlled by their protective mother Smurf (Ellen Barkin).

Although it was only a recurring role during the first season, Guerra’s character evolved into a main character in Season 2, which airs its season finale on August 29. Animal Kingdom has been picked up for a third season. During a recent interview with Remezcla while on vacation in Athens, Guerra talked about what excites her the most starring in a show like Animal Kingdom, and discussed her passion for social issues.

On how her character has changed in Season 2

We started to learn a little more about Lucy in the second season and will continue to learn about her. There has always been this mystery about her job. We’ve started to see that she has intentions and that she likes doing things in a certain way. We’ll start to see more of that as the season comes to an end. She will show everyone why she is a powerful woman. She is such a badass.

On reading a new episode’s script every week and a half

That’s one of the things that has impacted me the most. I’ve never worked the way we work on Animal Kingdom. It’s one of the things that excites me the most about show. Every week and a half we get a new script fresh in our hands. Then we get together for a table read a few days before we shoot the episode. We have no idea what’s going to happen. As an actress, you know you’re in something good when you’re that excited. The most unexpected things can happen on this show. The writers have done such an amazing job.

On advising other actresses to drop everything and see if Hollywood is for them

I mean, it might sound like it is not responsible, but I would tell them yes. I feel like life has a way to reward that kind of bold decision. Obviously, you can’t go in blind and be irresponsible, but I do feel if you’re passionate enough, you should go for it. But you have to have that drive. You have to be brave and be able to get out of your comfort zone.

‘Animal Kingdom’ Season 1 Episode “We Don’t Hurt People.” Photo by Doug Hyun. Courtesy of TNT
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On actresses who choose stereotypical Latina roles

Everyone has a way of building their career. I feel like that’s a personal decision for everyone. In my case, I try to be very careful. But there are moments in your life where you can’t be as selective as you would like. But you can always make your work substantial, even if it’s a small character. That’s the beauty of acting.

On the type of works she would like to get moving forward

I like drama a lot. I would love to do feature films, but I am happy with what I’m doing right now. There are some amazing and quality shows on TV right now.

On her political values

Like many of my generation, I feel very passionate about social issues. I believe in a progressive and tolerant society that gives people the freedoms to express themselves the way they choose. I believe that the government’s role is to help those in need and not to simply maintain the status quo. In my own country, I am incredibly excited about the prospects for peace since the recent legislation. I believe that if I can influence people with my platform as an actress, my main message would be get involved, take an interest, be curious and investigate things that matter to you. Even if we don’t agree on everything, I think it is imperative that our generation takes an active stance on things we believe.