In the new ABC dreamed series GRAND HOTEL,costars in the tale of a family-owned hotel filled with passion and scandals. Justina portrays a lively and determined young woman unwilling to compromise who she is and yearning to live her life on her own terms. In an exclusive interview, Justina previews her role in GRAND HOTEL and reflects on her journey as a working actor.
What was the initial appeal for you about portraying Yoli and working on ABC’s GRAND HOTEL?
JUSTINA: Yoli is my role model! She is such a confident and selfless person. She is the best version of myself. I knew if I got to play this part I would grow as a person and be able to fully speak my truth within her story. It’s an honor to step in her shoes.
How would you describe who Yoli is in the show?
JUSTINA: Yoli is the girl you wish you could be. She is true to herself and doesn’t give in to the pressure of society’s standards.
What do you most admire about her?
JUSTINA: I admire the freedom Yoli allows herself. She’s free from the ego, pressure and limitations others may try to put on her. If we could all learn to do that, we’d be in pretty good shape as humans.
What is it like working alongside the talented ensemble on GRAND HOTEL?
JUSTINA: It was incredible working with this ensemble. It all felt natural and I think we mutually felt the magic. It felt like home!
Who do you get to work with most in the series and what is that experience like?
JUSTINA: I get to work with Feliz Ramirez, who plays my twin sister on the show, the most. It was so fun to have such a true sisterly bond from the moment we met, and to reflect that relationship on-screen.
Any favorite scenes that you can share from working on the pilot?
JUSTINA: Let’s just say there is a beach scene, and I had a blast!
As an actor, what has been the one thing you have taken away from the experience of working on GRAND HOTEL so far?
JUSTINA: My GRAND HOTEL experience taught me that it’s worth the wait. I couldn’t have asked for a better pilot, cast, crew, production company and character that resonates with me this much. When it’s right it’s right. I’ve never understood that concept before, but now I do.
What was the initial appeal for you about portraying Jasmine and working on Netflix’s SEVEN SECONDS?
JUSTINA: Honestly, this role began as a possible recurring role with no lines. I actually read the character description wrong and thought it said “good catholic school girl” instead of “good catholic girl” and I showed up in a school girl uniform!! The casting team was like “Um, where did you just come from?” It was hilarious, but after that moment passed I spoke about my upbringing and was just myself so it was nice knowing they cast me based on who I am as a person.
How would you describe who Jasmine is in the series?
JUSTINA: Jasmine is a loyal, ride or die kind of girl. She knows when to support Felix and when to acknowledge that things may not seem right.
What do you most admire about her?
JUSTINA: I admire that she always makes an effort to show Felix that he has her support.
What is it like working alongside the talented ensemble on SEVEN SECONDS?
JUSTINA: They were so great and welcomed me into the family. The entire cast was just lovely. Leslie, David, Adriana, Michelle, Beau, Patrick were so charming and funny. We once played a game of Jenga while the crew set up a scene in another room. Just so you know, We are all excellent Jenga players! And I could always depend on Patrick or Claire to sing out loud with me to any song that was playing in the makeup trailer. Overall, everyone was so talented and focused – it was truly inspiring to feel that energy in the room. It was really hard to part ways with the cast right when we all were getting to know each other! This story meant something to everyone.
Who do you work with most in the series, and what is that experience like?
JUSTINA: Raul! Raul Castillo was just an angel and the greatest partner. We bonded over food and it was all downhill from there! Ha! Raul is such an easy person to get along with. He passed along so much great advice and I knew I always had a buddy to go to crafty with.
Any favorite scenes that you can share from working on the show?
JUSTINA: I loved the first scene I worked on in episode 3. It was my first day on-set, yet it felt so natural to just improv and get close with the cast.
As an actor, what has been the one thing you have taken away from the experience of working on SEVEN SECONDS?
JUSTINA: SEVEN SECONDS taught me that every story has its complexities. Sometimes people make choices from fear and not their morals. Sometimes we suffer the consequences of that, but even worse, our loved ones may suffer even more. Secrets never stay secret for too long.
What is your proudest achievement working on SEVEN SECONDS?
JUSTINA: That I got to be a part of a story that mattered. SEVEN SECONDS showed the perspectives of people that haven’t necessarily been shared on screen. There are a lot of shows about police brutality and racism, but I believe Seven Seconds grounded each plot line to show the complexities of both sides by delicately bringing family to the forefront.
What has surprised you most about your career so far?
JUSTINA: I’m surprised and grateful that I’ve been able to play women that I respect and see a lot of my best self within.
At this stage of your career, what do you think you have learned from the roles and projects you have worked on?
JUSTINA: The legend is true! When you are yourself with no apologies, everything just falls into place. The roles that speaks to me the most fell into my lap when I least expected them! I’ve always said I’ll wait for the right roles and I believe that patience is paying off.
Then what are the perks of where you are in your career right now?
JUSTINA: The perks? Hmmm, I’ve been able to play female roles that haven’t been based on my race or “sex appeal.” I’m very grateful to work in this industry at this very moment in time. It’s changing, and I’m happy to be a part of that change.
Has there been any great advice you have gotten about working as an actor?
JUSTINA: My college professor, Monica Bell, once told us never to compare our paths with someone else and that’s so true. Holding on to that advice has freed me from beating myself up for not getting a role, and instead, supporting others when they do! I believe everyone can win, it just might not all be at the same time — and that’s okay.
What advice would you offer to other upcoming and aspiring actors?
JUSTINA: I would tell aspiring actors to enjoy the ride and explore themselves. The more you know yourself and get comfortable with whoever that is, the easier it will be to feel present in audition rooms and confident in your acting choices. At the end of the day, we’re all human.
At a time when women’s voices are rising to be heard and respected around the country and world, what do you recommend your fans do to lend support in that endeavor?
JUSTINA: I guess the easiest answer is to: support projects that are directed and written by women. Also, in everyday life, just stand up for what’s right. Be the women you want to see on screen. Be honest, be brave, be risk takers but overall, be leaders!
Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can share that fans should keep an eye out for?
JUSTINA: At the moment keep, an eye out for the feature “ShotGun” and the series SWEETBITTER. I make a little cameo on both projects. They were so much fun!
To see Justina bring her character Yoli to life and all the fun she has in the process, be sure to tune in for the premiere of GRAND HOTEL, which has been picked up to series airing Fall 2018 on ABC. To learn more about the show and for sneak peeks, be sure to follow the show on Twitter @GrandHotelABC. You can also keep up with Justina’s career and future projects by following her on Twitter @JustinaAdorno.
GRAND HOTEL trailer:
SEVEN SECONDS trailer: