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Interview with actress Melissa Boloña for HUF Magazine

Melissa Boloña – Actress | Philanthropist | Model

We know that you spent some years living in Lima, Peru when you were younger, do you ever miss living there? It must be a big change leading the lifestyle you do now, compared to when you lived in Peru.
I was very young when I lived in Peru, between 9-11 years old. Prior to that I lived in New Jersey and moved back to New Jersey after my years in Peru, so NJ always felt like home to me. I don’t miss living there but I am very eager to go back and visit and see family!!

Right now you’re constantly traveling between NYC and Los Angeles for work. Do you ever find time to travel for leisure? What are some of your favourite vacation spots?
I do find time to travel for leisure! Sometimes I am also fortunate enough to kill two birds with one stone, such as the Cannes Film Festival. I traveled there for work and got to spend time vacationing afterwards in one of my most favorite spots, St Tropez. I am also a huge fan of St. Barts in the Caribbean.

We read that growing up your nickname was “Cookie” short for “Cookie Monster” is this true? Was there a specific cookie that you just couldn’t eat enough of?
Guilty! I was called Cookie Monster for my love of cookies naturally. To this day I can’t get enough of chocolate chip cookies, they are my absolute favorite!

Did you always know and plan on being an actress?
When I was much younger I would run around saying I was going to be an actress, I even recently discovered an old diary, with my young-self so set on being an actress. As I became a teenager I toyed with the idea of being an FBI Agent, which I was super into; as well as being a psychologist (or even an FBI Psychologist haha!) Hopefully one day I will be able to combine all these dreams and play one in a movie!

In your upcoming film Dog Eat Dog you work with Nicolas Cage, how did it feel working with such a renowned actor in Hollywood?
It was a very cool experience and a bit surreal. Its a big opportunity as a young actress to be able to work with someone so well-seasoned in the industry; you learn a lot from just being on set with them and watching them in action. He is a true professional when it comes to his craft!

Tell us a little bit about the movie.
The basis of the story is about three men (Nic Cage, Willem Dafoe, and Christopher Matthew Cook) who are all out of prison and have to adapt to the real world. Lets just say they it is a very cleverly written and directed film (directed by Paul Schrader) in the grittiest and most entertaining of ways!

If you were not acting what career do you think you would have chosen?
FBI Agent!!!! I love to solve mysteries and be tough!

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With all your upcoming films in production—what was your most difficult role to play and your easiest?
I’d say my most difficult role to date was in ‘The Neighbor.’ My character in the movie is kidnapped and held hostage and it was a really dark place I had to go to in order to make it believable. As for my easiest role, I don’t think any of them were easy. I think when you are committing to becoming a character you have to give it your all and if it’s easy then you aren’t giving it your all.

What actress-model do you look up to for inspiration?
I think Jessica Alba is amazing. She had a strong acting career and was able to leverage it into an even bigger brand; she never took the easy route and really made something for herself. In this industry it’s so important to create something that has staying power because you never know how long you have in front of the camera.

Do you have a “dream project” or “dream role” that you would like to work on? If so what is it?
I do indeed!! I would absolutely love to play a character like Lara Croft!! She is so cool, tough, and a strong female figure.

With such a hectic work schedule it must be hard to find time for yourself. When you do, what are some ways you spend your free time?
In my spare time I love to hang out with my family and friends and most importantly my four dogs. I like to take them to the dog park and on long walks when the weather permits. I’m really into trying new restaurants, fitness and I consider myself and expert backgammon player.

You have 4 dogs! is it hard to spend time and take care of them between all your traveling and busy work schedule?
I am extremely fortunate that my sister Michele loves the dogs like I love them!! When I am very busy with work she will take one or two of them and the other two will come with me. Taking care of them is second nature to me, its part of my daily routine and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

You’re somewhat of a philanthropist and have been involved with numerous charities. What has inspired this?
I think I have been interested in helping out other people since a young age. Its always been a priority for me. I even considered becoming a psychologist at one point to help people out on an emotional level. I think my upbringing and my mom inspired this in me at a young age.

Growing up my mom stressed the importance of giving back to those less fortunate and it has been something that has stuck with me. As I’ve gotten older it has become something I choose to do instead of have to do. It’s so important to find a cause that is close to your heart because there are so many people (and animals) in this world who need help.

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Model off-duty outfits—where do you like to go shopping and buy your clothes?
My off duty uniform usually consists of a bodysuit + denim skirt + some sort of flat sandal or sneaker. I am all about dressing for comfort in pieces that are still cute and have a bit of sex appeal. I like to shop online mostly on Net-A-Porter and ShopBop but I also love to pop into smaller boutiques to get inspiration.

It’s fun to get all glammed up with extravagant clothes and makeup but what is your everyday makeup look?
I don’t like to wear makeup when I’m not working. A bit of concealer and mascara and I’m out the door. I think it’s so important to let me skin breathe when I’m not working and I usually wipe off any makeup I have on the second I get home.

If you could go back and re-live one night/day of your life, what would it be?
Tough question! I honestly don’t think I would go back and re-live a night or day in fear that it would change any sort of outcome or memory I have of a great night/day.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to the first film you starred in?
The advice I would give myself is to be confident. It’s a hard business and everyone has an opinion and it’s ok to have your own. In the beginning was nervous to offend anyone so wouldn’t always speak my mind but now I know that it’s ok to say how I’m feeling or how I think something should go.

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About Melissa Boloña

ACTRESS
Summer 2015 saw Melissa Boloña’s movie debut with a theatrical release In Stereo in which she played the support female lead. She received good reviews for her emotional portrayal of an immature young New Yorker dating an older guy played by Micah Hauptman. She also had a smaller role in a second movie with theatrical release Shark Lake which starred Dolph Lungdren.

She has 4 movies currently in postproduction and heading to the festival circuit in early 2016. She plays a small role as a reporter in I Am Wrath, directed by Chuck Russell and starring John Travolta. Also, Billy Boy which stars Blake Jenner and Melissa Benoist, directed by American Horror Story director Brad Buecker. In addition, Frat Pack, a comedy in which she plays a lead character in an ensemble cast which includes Kevin Farley, Beverly D’Angelo, Danny Trejo, Robert Knepper, Tommy Davidson and Hana Mae Lee. Lastly, The Year of Spectacular Men, directed by Lea Thompson with a high profile cast including Maddie and Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Cameron Monaghan, Jesse Bradford and Nicholas Braun.

Having been spotted by the producers for her role in In Stereo and possibly her most critical and high profile role to date, is her role of a young mother in a highly emotional scene acting opposite Nicolas Cage in Dog Eat Dog which also stars Willem Dafoe and is directed by Paul Shrader.

Additional projects include Cops and Robbers starring Tom Berenger and Michael Jai White, and directed by Scott Windhauser, Firebrand, a comic book movie directed by Chuck Russell, Neighbors, a thriller scheduled to be filming before year end and Nasty Habits, the follow on project of Mel Rodriguez III director of In Stereo.

PHILANTHROPIST
Melissa was introduced to charity work in high school, when she would go door to door in her hometown, fundraising for the American Heart Association. Since then, her efforts have grown exponentially in scale. In 2013, she became the charity ambassador for the menswear line Gents, raising money for the James Blake Foundation, which funds cancer research.

For the past two years, she has supported the J/P Haitian Relief Organization founded by Sean Penn (Melissa’s childhood friend was in Haiti during the 2010 earthquake). Melissa also helped raise $200,000 for a charity poker tournament sponsored by the Clinton Foundation.

Her goal is to open her own charity to help pet owners pay for surgery for their sick companion animals. Melissa has four dogs, one of which is blind.

MODEL
Melissa has shot editorials for Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Latin Esquire, Forbes Mexico, Flaunt, Latina, BELLA New York, and has been featured in Vanity Fair. She has appeared numerous times online for Sports Illustrated.

Melissa has also been the face of brands such as Gents, Beach Bunny, and Love Haus. In April 2013, Melissa beat out over 20,000 contestants and won the Beach Bunny Swimsuit Supermodel contest and shot a campaign Irina Shayk, Chrissy Teigen, and Nina Agdal. Melissa also was chosen to be the face of Beach Bunny’s new lingerie line, Love Haus.

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