Inside the Mind of Paula Malia
13 de January de 2022
13 de January de 2022
When we’re kids, we radiate creativity. So much so, that we’re able to fully immerse ourselves in other worlds that come out straight of our imagination: cowboys from the Old West, doctors in an operating room, guardians of the galaxy… Some few chosen ones had been able to turn those games of creativity into their current profession… as is the case of our guest today.
In order to keep on imagining a thousand different worlds, Paula entered Eòlia School of Dramatic Arts in Barcelona and, ever since that moment, her career as an actress has taken her in a journey to every possible world — roles in television shows such as ‘Crakòvia’ or series such as ‘Cities’ and ‘L’ùltima nit del karaoke’; leading roles in theater plays such as ‘La importancia de ser Frank’ and big screen performances like ‘Gente que viene y Bah’, ‘Animals’ or ‘Inocentes’.
Her rise to fame certainly came with her Netflix productions: series such as ‘El Vecino’, ‘Bienvenidos a la Familia’, ‘Loco por ella’ or ‘Valeria’ — in this last one, her role as Carmen, a friend of the main character, won her the praise of the critics.
©Bernardo Doral. COSMOPOLITAN.
But, what goes on inside the mind of an actress? How does she manage to inhabit the skin of a character so easily? And, how does she manage to control the stage nerves or the uncertainty of not knowing what her next job will be? Today, we will delve into the mind of Paula in order to understand everything that goes on inside her head when she thinks about her job and she will give us some tips that will undoubtedly help us in our day to day — even if our line of work doesn’t take place on top of a stage.
Foto 1: ©Bernardo Doral. Fotos 2 y 3: ©Marina Castells.
At the hardest moments, I used to force myself to think about how happy my job makes me and to remember that feeling I get when I’m on a stage or shooting or rehearsing. I would focus on keeping calm and working, like a busy bee, one step at a time. My line of work, like many others, is a long distance race.
I think it’s important to have dreams; not being afraid to want things and working hard to see them materialise. However, you must also be careful with thinking something along the lines of ‘if you really want it, you will get it’. That’s a capitalist thing that has been pushed inside our brains and that can sometimes become a bottomless pit of frustration. Not everyone sets off from the same place and opportunities are not always the same for everyone. We must be aware of the fact that some people enjoy more privileges than others. Still, I think that the day you stop dreaming is the day you start dying. I hope that will never happen to me.
I still face that fear everyday and I don’t think it’s ever going to go away. I just handle it better with every passing day! Haha! I thought that fear would disappear when the number of projects started increasing and I started working more. But it never really goes away. And when I speak with actors and actresses that have spent their whole life working, non-stop, they confess to me that they also never stopped feeling it. My way of dealing with that fear is with confidence. Confidence in that my work will yield results and confidence in the team of people that I have around me. Living life day by day and trusting things will, one way or another, work out in the end. Life doesn’t always present you with things just the way you wanted them, but I think that it’s in those unexpected turns where the greatest experiences come up. You just have to learn how to surf the waves.
When I was studying, I had a professor that would always tell us to ‘take off; even if you’re departing from yourself… Just take off’. That phrase is etched in my mind. I think that no matter how chameleon-like actors may be, we can never fully run away from ourselves. The good thing, though, is that we’re infinite. We have a million faces. We only need to be willing to find them and show them once we’ve found them. I’m not exactly the same person when I’m with my mother, or my partner, or in a job interview or when I’m buying bread. If we start pulling from those faces as much as we can, we can get to unexpected places. And that makes us more empathic. I think we would all be capable of doing everything we wanted to — of course, depending on our background and circumstances.
In my case, the most important thing that I’ve learned is not to take it personally. They are not saying no to you, just to what you’ve presented. I think it’s important to separate those two concepts. Bear in mind that their decision is based on thousands of other decisions that have been made and that, most of the time, have nothing to do with you. You may rock the audition and still not be the right choice because you’re too tall, too young, too old… The important thing is to be satisfied with the job you do and let the rest decide.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that before every premiere I feel like throwing up! Hahaha! But, fortunately, once I step onto the stage, the nerves disappear. I think that they disappear because I realise I’m well prepared to face that challenge. ‘You’ve done your homework. You’re ready. Trust yourself’. That’s what I say to myself before I have to take the stage. Also, I’m never alone. I always have my colleagues that will always have my back. So, the only thing left to do is to enjoy the journey. In the end, isn’t that why we do it?
My job is always seen as a very individualistic task —each actor and actress have their own career, their own success and failure— but I think that nothing could be further from the truth. In my profession, like in many others, teamwork is essential. If you play it solo, you won’t get far. You have to learn from others. Stop comparing and start joining efforts. I’m glad it’s like that. It’s much more fun and humane!
Article written in collaboration with: Paula Malia, @paulamalia