Ana de la Reguera Reveals Her Deepest Secrets and Fears in New Comedy Series (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
Ana de la Reguera is ready to show a new side of herself.
The 43-year-old actress began her career acting in Mexican telenovelas before crossing over into the U.S. with roles in feature films like Nacho Libre and Cowboys & Aliens. Currently on Amazon's Goliath, de la Reguera is known for her versatile roles, and for the past seven years she's been working on a dream project that will allow fans to get to know her like never before.
The Mexican beauty is taking on a heightened version of herself in Pantaya's new comedy, Ana. The titular character -- a struggling actress -- embarks on a journey of self-discovery upon realizing that her life has been controlled by appearances. Semi-autobiographical, embellished and a lot of fun, de la Reguera aims to show audiences that life at 40 isn't the end of the road but an opportunity to explore your full potential.
Ahead of the Ana premiere, ET spoke with the star and creator of the show to talk about the pressures of being perfect, finding purpose and showing her vulnerabilities.
ET: You've been acting for decades. Why did you decide to tackle a project like Ana?
Ana de la Reguera: It was very important for me to do this show because it was everything I was interested in talking about, especially in Latin America. I thought, I haven't seen a show that explores some of these subjects that you will see in the episodes. I wanted to do a character that I didn't have the chance to do before...so that's why I wanted to write it.
It's been seven years since I started writing the show. It took me a very long time to write it, to learn and to workshop the show and have it produced with the right people. It takes forever. It's a very long and complicated process. But I feel like it was a matter of time. I just didn't give up and I kept being necia y terca.
Tell us about the character. How much of it is based on real life stories?
The character, Ana, is very close to who I am. It is pretty much me and whatever I've lived. Whatever you see about Ana, it's all the things in my universe, even if I lived them or I didn't. It's inspired by my life and my anecdotes, my surroundings. Let's just say it's 50/50.
You say that you had to lose yourself to find yourself. How did that journey help you create this project?
The show is a coming-of-age at 40. Como una adolecensia perdida, because I was trying to be this perfect girl, this perfect daughter. My mom had a beauty school in my house and she was a beauty queen. Appearances were very important while I was growing up. I thought that was normal, but it wasn't. I grew up with that pressure of being the perfect daughter, the perfect actress and being good.
In my mid-30s, at one point I got lost. I was like, "Who am I?" and "I want to be able to show who I really am," because I think most of the audiences only know one side of me and I haven't had the chance to explore other sides of my personality even in the acting world. I wanted the audience to know my most vulnerable parts and I wanted to show that because I thought it would be powerful for other women and other men too.
What does your family think of the show? How did your sister and father end up playing themselves in the series?
[Laughs] They haven't watched it, but my sister and my dad play themselves [on the show]. [My sister] has been very close to the project from day one and she also wrote a lot of the scenes in the series. Her music is in it too.
My dad asked me about my show, [while] we were celebrating our birthdays in Guadalajara, I was going to start [filming soon]. He asked me if there was the role of my dad and I said, yeah. But, I was planning on having an actor [play that role] and he said that he wanted to do it. I was surprised and at first I didn't want him to do it because, I kind of make fun of them too and I was like, "Oh my god, he's going to get mad when he reads the scenes!" But he didn't. He was very excited and I told him you have to audition because it's not my call. It has to be the network and I can say if I like it or not, but it's not my decision. So he did the audition and he was the first one cast. The network loved him and they didn't even want to open casting for the role. They just loved him.
Your mom has a significant storyline on the how - why didn't your mother play herself on the show?
My mom is my biggest inspiration for the show, but she has such a huge personality and she's very controlling. She is a leader. We are very similar. I knew that it would be hard to have her on set because she would be very opinionated [laughs] and she would be telling me how to do things.
She's also not an actress and her role is very important and big. Compared to my other family members, they have smaller roles. I just couldn't risk having someone who has never acted before. I kept [the project] very secret from her because I was afraid that she was going to get mad [laughs]. But now she's seen a couple trailers and a couple scenes, but she hasn't seen the show and I don't know what she's going to think. I rather say sorry than ask for [her] permission.
There’s a scene where your manager says you’re not going to be Meryl Streep. Did that happen? Was there a moment when you thought your career was coming to an end?
Yes, many times. I think, we get lost many times and then we find ourselves and then we get lost. Sometimes when you start your career, you have a moment when you're like, "Why did I choose this? Am I still interested in this or not?" We all have those moments and I think those moments are very important in our lives because when we get lost is when we find all the possibilities and new things and we go deep, even if we don't want to. After all the crisis that we go through, we go back to the stage because it's like, "Oh, I really love acting." But yes, many times I do find myself asking, "Am I going to get another job? Am I really talented? Am I special enough?" Because there are so many talented people and there are new people emerging and you're like, "Maybe I'm not relevant anymore?" All those thoughts go through every actor's mind and every person. That's why I wanted to put it out there in a funny way too.
There's also a line in the show where Ana's mom says once you turn 40 you become invisible. Do you believe that?
Pretty much everything that you see on the show my mom has said, except that quote. She didn't say that to me. One of my closest friends said that to me and I was shocked when she said that, and I thought that it was very powerful too because she truly believed it. For me, it has been the opposite. To be honest, my 40s have been the busiest and I think I've learned a lot in these last years because I guess now I know who I am. And maybe I get lost again, but when you see the show, you see how Ana realizes that that may not be the best advice that she got from her mom. It's actually very funny how she discovers that she is not and won't become invisible.