Instinct Exclusive: An Interview With Jessica Marie Garcia!
From Disney Channel Princess To Netflix Street Kid!
Oh my gosh! You’ve got to check out our latest, exclusive interview with Jessica Marie Garcia! You may be familiar with Garcia from her work on Disney Channel’s hit show, Liv and Maddie, where she played the titular character’s best friend and Basketball Captain, Willow Cruz, until the series finale. I’ve quasi-known of Garcia for years- Hollywood, so big, but so small. Finally, I was able to get the chance to sit down and speak with her as she does a press tour for her latest Netflix series, On My Block, which premieres on March 16th. Let’s quickly dive in to get some scoop on the newest Dramedy [a combination of Drama and Comedy] and find out more on one of the modern Disney Princesses!
Bryan Keating: “After some sleuthing, I’ve discovered you are originally from Florida! How long have you been living in Los Angeles?”
Jessica Marie Garcia: “I moved to Los Angeles in January of 2006. I’ve been [on the West Coast] for a hot minute now!”
BK: Did you jump directly into acting?
JMG: “No! I started out working as Hostess at the Olive Garden in Burbank. Then I became a Server and eventually worked at Outback [Steakhouse] and The Counter [a gourmet hamburger restaurant]. I’ve worked at so many restaurants while being on shows it’s hysterical.”
BK: You kind of fell into the modern Hollywood tale: Working a job you’re better than until you accomplish your goals.
JMG: “Well, it was my name and my face [at work]. I was serving to the best of my ability and was a damn good waitress! I was personal, prompt, and I’d even think about what you wanted before you knew it! I cared. But, I couldn’t wait to not [be a server] anymore!”
BK: Your coworkers must’ve been so jealous!
JMG: “I mean, they were and they weren’t. It was a strange situation to be in. They saw me from the beginning work my way up. I think they were more excited to see that it could happen. I’m friends with most [of my former coworkers] today.”
BK: Wait, so you were acting on television while still waitressing?
JMG: “Yes! I cannot tell you how many times I would give a burger…then sign an autograph and take a picture. I would get uppity people who were really mean to me, but their kid would recognize me as Willow [from Liv and Maddie]! The parents would then be so nice!”
BK: Speaking of Disney’s Liv and Maddie, do you consider yourself a Disney Princess?
JMG: “[Laughing] Yes I do! I write it down in my journal every day! It’s funny you say that, because when I was originally cast in the show, my character’s name was Princess. No one told me they changed it [to Willow]. I was reading the script was like ‘I’m not even in this!’ As someone from Orlando, Florida – I take extreme pride in getting to say I was a part of the Disney Channel. It was a dream come true.”
BK: Do you still get recognized from the show?
JMG: “Almost every day! [My favorite fan sighting] was the night I got engaged. When we were sitting down and getting ready to order a ton of kids came up to the table. [It wasn’t just me] there was the entire cast of Liv and Maddie, who were a part of my wedding party. They thought I was getting married to another cast member! I still see the pictures of [the fans] circulating of that dinner. [It’s funny] when I see a Celebrity and their kids recognize me – but I recognize [the celebrity] – it’s a weird circle of [everyone fanning out]!”
BK: How does it feel to forever play a teenager?
JMG: “I love forever playing a teenager! To go back and reopen the wounds a teenager goes through, such as bullying, and to present that to [the audience] is a special moment. As an actor, it’s sometimes hard to shake off the material you’re playing. I’m glad that I get to [finish the role] and go back to being [myself] rather than 14-year-old Jessica. ”
BK: Please tell me about your newest series, Netflix’s On My Block! What can you tell me?!
JMG: “I play a character named Jasmin! She’s [a teenager], who uses comedy as a defensive mechanism. She’s the clown before anyone will clown on her. She thinks the world of herself, so she comes off as very loud and brass. She’s the one in her group [of friends] who brings in the noise and brightness into parts of On My Block. Especially with a lot of the series’ [heavy content], Jasmin is a fun character to have. You won’t forget her.”
BK: Who do you relate more with to: Liv and Maddie’s Willow or On My Block’s Jasmin?
JMG: “Hmm! I would have to say both characters are two very different sides of me. Willow was goal orientated and into bettering her friends and herself. Jasmin is all about being loved, appreciated, and noticed. Together, they share loyalty. I think Willow is more well-rounded and Jasmin and has a lot to learn.”
BK: In closing, what should we expect to see with the premiere of On My Block?
JMG: “We have a new, young cast coming in with actors like Jason Genao, Brett Gray, Diego Tinoco, and Sierra Capri. We touch on gangs and violence, but that’s not all you’re going to see. If you’re a fan of the series Awkward, you’ll love this show. We have the same Creator, Lauren Iungerich. It’s going to be excited for everyone to see, because you have not seen people of color in these situations.”
Well, there you have it folks! Garcia is fierce, fabulous, and ready to take on any role given to her. I am so excited for her transition from the perkiness of Disney and watching her take on a more role essentially pulled out of the slums. On My Block hits Netflix – the world’s greatest invention – on March 16th. Where will you be tuning in?!
Don’t forget to check out the trailer for On My Block below: