INSIDE THE HEAD OF HILDE GARCIA
Fun, friendly, funny, full of life, and the first actor to answer all of my questions, are but a few ways to describe Hilde Garcia. It is stimulating to discover and learn from new people. Hilde appears in the movie Diamonds and Guns with Renee O'Connor.
One thing I've ascertained as a person looking in from the outside, it's difficult being an actor. There are many obstacles that young actors have to conquer daily in order to be noticed. Hilde gladly accepts every challenge and deftly vanquishes each one, wisely retaining lessons learned. She is completely cool and she has starred in a couple Star Trek Series -- be still my closeted Trekker heart!
I also asked Mr. Steve Sears to say a few words about his friend and we even got Hilde's response.What to say about Hilde? She's a Cuban fireball with inexhaustible energy, dedication, and drive. She's also a good friend and loyal Florida State Alumnus. And if she hasn't told you, you should ask her about the time she met Patricia Tallman and the time she met Mira Furlan (both favorite Babylon 5 stars of hers)Now lets get to know this lively lady!
--Steven L. Sears
When I came out to visit Steve Sears, to see if Los Angeles was for me, he knew I was a huge Babylon 5 fan. So he figured he would surprise me. He told me we were going to see his friend Pat to return a 35 mm camera. Now, I had already met his friend Pat Osos, so that's where I thought we were going. When we get there, he takes out the camera and starts to tinker with it at the door, but I did not catch on. The next second the door opens and Pat Tallman is standing there with her dog and my mouth was wide open and Steve was taking pictures. Then she said to me, "He did not tell you where you were going?" I just shook my head and then she asked us to come in from the cold. It was really funny and she was great and we all went to dinner and had a nice time- (Jeffrey Willerth joined us as well).
On the way home, I told Steve he would never be able to surprise me like that again! It was the most perfect treat on my first trip here. Well, several months later, he and his girlfriend came to visit New York City. We met in the city and they invited me to see a play. It was a new production and one of his friends was in it. Of course, sometimes I am so smart and catch on quick. This was not one of those times. I walked with them to the theatre and caught them up on my life -- i.e., I talked a lot. And when we got there, I did not ask to see the tickets. Both of them made me stand away from the billboard and of course I did not even catch on and I also did not look for the signs. I guess I figured, if it was a friend of Steve's, I was sure to enjoy the show, so I did not do the usual theatre things I do like look at the bill board, figure out the play production merits, read at the program, etc.
This was the miracle that the two of them had hoped for because Mira Furlan was starring in the show. When we sat down, his girlfriend took the program and I did not ask her for it and the lights went down. Next thing I know, Mira is on stage and she is looking in the mirror and I lean over and whisper to Steve, "Hey that looks a lot like Mira Furlan!" And he leaned over and said, "That's because it is!" The look on my face matched the one at Pat's house several months before.
I will never say that Steve Sears cannot surprise me because I have been proven wrong one too many times. We went to dinner after with Mira and her husband and I even impressed them with a few words in their native tongue. It was another highlight for me because I admire and respect both actresses and their work.
Who is Hilde Garcia?
My neighbor had something really memorable to say about who I am, but I forgot what it was. I looked myself up in the dictionary, but the page was torn out. Currently, there's an APB out on me.
What made you decide to become an actor?
The voices in my head. Wait, who said that?
What is harder, auditioning for a TV, movie, commercial or theatre role? Which do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy Kaiser rolls most, especially when they are fresh out of the oven. In answer, I would say the one that pays. Seriously, I like all opportunities to audition. It's like a mini play-in-one directed by me.
Do you want to write or produce or direct?
How hard is it for women to be taken seriously in the business?
All you need is love… and?
Any suggestions for venting frustrations at the world in a constructive manner?
"I think, therefore I am." Hmmm. Does that mean that, "When I don't think, I'm not?"
As Wittgenstein so ably demonstrated in his "private language" argument, the problem with Cartesian foundationalism is that it lapses into solipsism.
What was the last thing you bought that you really didn't need?
Chocolate. No, wait I need that. Ummm, a mansion and a yacht. Oh wait, that was Elmer Fudd. Ummm, lima beans.
Where's your head?
North of my boobs.
What you get teased for?
My talking. Apparently, I do it in large quantities, but I wouldn't know.
What foolish inconsistency is your hobgoblin?
How many letters do you write?
Tons, tons, all 26! Really, I am the world's best pen pal. Before the Internet or email, I would actually write letters, using real stationery, to friends around the globe. I still do, to some who have not gotten on line, but thank god for email. I can now write more letters and personalize as needed with a touch of a button. What's even scarier is that I have saved all the letters from my pen pals from the beginning-- except for the email ones.
How many holiday gifts have you bought/made yet?
As a matter of fact, one. I currently am getting a computer refurbished so that I can donate it to a needy child who wrote the most amazing letter to Santa last year. As part of Operation Santa, the letter was forwarded to my synagogue from the post office, and I answered it with some holiday gifts. The computers going to be a present from the Easter Bunny.
What's in your CD player this week?
The soundtrack to Chicago.
Ever thought you were going crazy/nuts?
All the time-- especially when I don't hear the voices in my head.
Have you ever fainted?
Yes, on my birthday. I had just graduated from college and was a camp counselor in Massachusetts. An eleven-year-old had ran back into her cabin to get her ball, but slipped and split her lip in two on the bed frame. I ran in, picked her up, got her in the car, drove her to the nurse on the campus, put her on the table, held her hand while she got stitches, and then walked out the clinic door and promptly fainted.
Whom did you want to be when you grew up?
Wonder Woman. Supergirl. Anyone with a cape.
If you had the opportunity to take a month off just to enjoy life, what would you do?
I would spend it traveling Europe via backpack, or driving across the United States, hitting the lower 48. (Hawaii would be a little hard to drive to.)
What book has caught your fancy in the last month?
I love reading, and I love children's literature in particular. My husband just bought me a beautiful hardcover C.S. Lewis Anthology, and I'm now in the middle of The Chronicles of Narnia. As I'm writing this, I'm heading out of the wilderness and traveling towards Narnia….
Do you think you use your education on a day-to-day basis, or is your diploma just useless paper in a nice frame?
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Florida State University, where I also minored in languages and music. I work professionally as an actor, and use all of these skills to broaden my employment possibilities. I also completed all my coursework (minus the thesis) towards a Masters in Education at Florida International University. I used those skills when I was a teacher, and I still use them as a reader for children at an underprivileged school as part of the SAG Bookpals Program. While I haven't made a $1,000,000 yet, I am definitely using my degree. It proudly sits in a beautiful, originally designed, stained-glass frame made by a friend, right over my piano in the living room.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I do. I think that there are things that go bump in the night. It would take too long to detail all of the reasons why I believe it; suffice it to say that some stuff happened that would be worthy of an X-Files episode or two.
Where have all the flowers gone?
What would you consider is the most important characteristic in a perfect partner for you?
Let me tell you about my husband David. HE is the perfect partner. He is kind, loving, warm, supportive, funny, witty, smart, resourceful, creative, caring, humble, and awesome at video games. These were all the qualities I wanted but never thought I would get. He also speaks four languages and is very spiritual. He loves sports, and we play softball every week together. He pitches and I play 2nd base. His main concern and goal is to help me succeed. I am more blessed than I ever imagined I would be. Out of all those traits, his best is probably his capacity to forgive (probably no surprise that I'm a little, uh, challenged in that area), and it makes me hopeful that I will end up being a better sum of all my parts.
How do you feel about roller coasters, and what does that say about you?
They rock! What does that say about me? That I have issues? I have a Season Pass to Magic Mountain, so while I may have issues, I'm dealing with them in a cost-effective way. And nothing gets rid of your issue like hanging upside down at 80 miles an hour. My favorite roller coasters are Goliath, Space Mountain, and the Cyclone at Coney Island.
What is the one thing you will never do?
I can't divulge THAT information, but something else I wouldn't do is sell out a friend.
Have you ever been in an area directly affected by a disaster?
I lived through Hurricane David in Miami in the seventies. We did not get hit directly, but it was close enough. I'll never forget the scary howl of the wind all night long. I learned to buy lots of canned food.
What are the elements of a perfect kiss?
One that involves my husband.
Who outside your family has taught you the most?
My students. I used to teach elementary school, and I loved my students. There wasn't a day that would go by where I wouldn't be inspired. One day, I had been working on a huge project with all my classes. I hadn't slept, felt horrible and had forgotten my makeup. So when I went to freshen up, I was upset and said to the secretary, "I look so ugly." Then I heard this voice from behind me and it was one of my students. She said, "You look beautiful, Hilde. You don't need any makeup." That day I learned what beauty was.
What is love?
The ability to, uh … well, according to Webster's, um… Love is, er … hmmm … one of those 70's t-shirts that said, "Love is…"? I don't know. All I can say is if I had to give it a name, it would be David. (Yeah, that's my husband.)
What impossible skill would you like to have if you could choose anything at all?
X-Ray vision. Teleportation powers… beam me up, Scotty….
Describe a situation or event that really changed the direction of your life.
When my mother passed away, I felt like I had been knocked unconscious. She was a tremendous source of strength and support for me, and I didn't know how I would go on without her. I had to start relying on myself for all sorts of things … and found out that I had more strength than I ever realized; the strength to leave New York and pursue an uncertain career in acting on the opposite coast, the strength to be vulnerable and to be loved, and the strength to recognize my self-worth and what I can contribute to the world.
What do you do when you're blue to cheer yourself up?
Paint myself red. Oh, sorry, I mean paint in red in my coloring book.
What is the weirdest thing you own? Explain.
My husband David. I bought him at a garage sale-- it would take too long to explain.
What is your favorite ethnic food? How did you discover it?
Mexican food. I drove to a Taco Bell. I grew up in Miami! Please, next to Cuban food, Mexican was the most popular. Since I always had Cuban at home, Mexican was my choice out every time. Although, now that I live in LA, I gotta say I love the Mexican food in town way more than back east.
Have you ever been completely lost?
Spiritually or physically? Spiritually, when my mom died. Physically, my first week in New York City. I managed to find the Lincoln Tunnel, but once in Jersey, I couldn't find my way home. It was dawn before I figured I went the wrong way on Kennedy Blvd. It's a really long boulevard. I bought a map at the corner gas station before I got home.
What's the second thing you notice about people when you meet them?
Their generosity (or lack thereof).
What did you dream about last night?
Haven't got a clue! I usually have no clue.
Do actors go out and get parts, or does a company contact an agent to get to you?
I'm going to try to paint a picture so that a person not in the biz can understand. Technically, actors can submit their photos independently to casting directors. With good agents, actors have better chances of getting called in by a casting company, but auditions-and bookings-are still possible even without representation. And booking a job without an agent speaks volumes about you! But most actors don't know how to access casting information, where to submit, or even how, and that's where an agent can help. On the other hand, it's not always better to have an agent- sometimes they don't have you at the top of their list. Also, while an agent could help get an audition, what counts is what the actor does in the room-and that's a function of talent, training, and personality. And let's not forget who you know!
Is it in an actor's best interest to become a member of the Screen Actors Guild?
YES! We are nothing unless we stand together. With their eyes on the bottom line, production companies don't always have our best interest at heart, and actors often get overlooked as the lowest on the totem pole. Non-union work, whether in Los Angeles or anywhere else, weakens actors as a group, and actors who accept it rather than join the union send the message that they are for sale. YES to SAG. (I don't have an opinion do I?)
How important is exercise in your life? What sports do you play?
100%! I exercise every day, and I love sports. Especially softball! My hubby and I co-manage a team for an entertainment league. We play on Sundays and then go out for chicken wings and beer. I also love to play volleyball and basketball. I love watching sports, too, especially college football, pro baseball, and gymnastics. (I was a gymnast when I was a kid and still love watching.)
What do you envision happening to us after we die?
"Oh my god, we get killed like Kenny!" And then we have punch and pie. I am right, of course-- unless there's no pie….
You have just won the lottery. What do you do?
Go on one h*** of a shopping spree, buying all the toys I ever wanted which Santa and Yenta Elf didn't bring.
Is it all right for celebrities to express themselves or does it feel like media, religion, and/or political functions try to control what's said?
Everyone has the right to express themselves, regardless of their popularity. Audrey Hepburn used her fame to help feed starving children around the globe. Bill Cosby got us all to think about teachers in NBC's "The More You Know" campaign in the 1980s. So more power to them! I have noticed, however, that actors and others in the biz who've vocally opposed the "war on terrorism" have suffered adverse consequences, and that is deplorable. No one should have to censor oneself to avoid job consequences- and I thought the McCarthy era had taught us that.
Does it feel like 'Big Brother" is watching you?
Not really … probably because Big Brother is too busy giving Little Sister the shaft!
Do you feel safer now after 9-11? Did society learn anything?
I don't. And I don't think it did. Emily Dickinson said, "What I have learned is that love is all there is." We are supposed to forgive and love. I would say before 9-11, we didn't know how to do that, and I wish I couldn't say that that's still true. It is impossible to make a free society totally secure; the only thing that you can do is to create a greater "sense" of security. But that "sense" is an illusion, and the cost to our civil liberties is too great. Think about it. Israel is probably the most secure country in the world, and yet it cannot prevent suicide bombings. What we really need to focus on is why there's so much discontent in the world, why so much of it is directed towards America, and what we can do about it. Spending billions of dollars a month fighting wars does nothing.
In your opinion what could justify an invasion of a sovereign state?
Nothing. We should take care of our own problems before we go and try to fix everyone else's. Historically, there have been compelling reasons to attack another country-like Pearl Harbor-but we didn't invade; we went to defend ourselves. Maybe there are circumstances were a country acts in such basic disregard of human rights that it forfeits its right to sovereignty, justifying an invasion, but we should never reach that conclusion unilaterally.
Name or quote a portion of a speech that inspired you or has stuck in your head over the years.
"Act well your part, there all the honor lies" by Alexander Pope. This transcends even the world of actors.
"Recognize yourself and fame is sure to follow, for it has been there all the while"- written in the Kahlil Gibran style by my husband for my birthday.
What is your current project, and what are the pros and cons so far?
I'm working on starting my own children's book publishing company, focusing on bilingual books and creating positive role models for children, especially girls. I have 4 storylines complete, including a trilogy. My dearest friend, the most gifted artist I have met, is illustrating, and she's captured my characters to a tee. These are all pros. Cons? I've never done this before and I lack a lot of the necessary venture capital.
Where does the time go?
Out with the trash.
What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?
The Grand Canyon, Paris, the Parthenon… it's a three-way tie.
How hard is it to balance family and career? How has this affected you and your family?
I can balance anything! I am the best multi-tasker on the planet. Our life rocks and the balance is great because we are both committed to the same things: a good life, health, lots of video games. We cannot wait to have kids. I think we'll be happy and keep things in perspective.
Is this Ben Franklin quote out of date? "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
This quote is not out of date. Some great men and women have spoken amazing words. They transcend time and history.
What is the biggest misconception regular Joes have about actors?
They think that it is easy and we're all successful or even overnight successes, and that they think they can do it because it looks so easy. Well, it isn't. In 1996, the majority of actors made less than $5,000. You have to deal with continual rejection, and without any explanation as to why you were rejected! It is extraordinarily difficult to not make the rejections, and the sporadic nature of work in this business, personal. The outsider doesn't have anything to equate this with-and maybe that's why so many are willing to appear on reality shows. If I see one more reality show, I'll barf. I've had so much training, I'm up each day submitting myself, I continue to train and network-and the amount of shows I can audition for is severely limited because of this "alternative programming." I believe I am good and yet I have not gotten far enough and I am actually in the top 5 % of SAG actors who earn money. Only 1% of SAG actors make over 500,000 and 2-5% make over $20,000. The other 95% cannot make a living on acting alone- and I know many of them, they are good. But that's the nature of this business and I am sick and tired of fans or people who do not work in this field assuming they could do it. They wish. It's hard to get rejected over and over again. It's hard to do it for 20 years and still see no return in your investment. A little compassion could go a long way with us and me.
Harry Potter- children's book or devil's spawn?
Children's book. I can't remember what children's literature was without it! The Harry Potter books are magical. They talk about right and wrong, loyalty, friendship, love, honor and good and evil. It might be set in a magical fantasy world of witches and wizards, but that's nothing new. If one thinks, devil's spawn, one hasn't read the books.
What made you take the roles on various Star Trek series? Are you a Trekker?
Yes, I'm a closet Trekker! That's what made me take roles without lines! It's history, it's magic, it's a dream come true. It's what I grew up watching and it's an honor to be part of that universe. When I came out here to Los Angeles, I said, "I'm going to get on Voyager". And in its last season, I was cast to be a Talaxian. It was the coolest. They liked my work on the show and I was invited to audition for Enterprise. I never thought I'd make the final cut, but I did and I have been on the show since the pilot. The cast and crew make it all worthwhile. They are some of the most professional, talented, and supportive people I have ever met.
The Talaxian side of the family
Have you ever run across Star Trek fans?
I have been to one or two Cons (conventions, for the uninitiated), with friends in the Sci Fi world, and I've bumped into Star Trek and other fans. They're almost always very nice, if uncomfortably reverential, and at times they can be a little intense. I'm not inherently special just because I put on a jumpsuit and fiddle around with plasma relays. But that can be a little tough to explain.
Just minding her own business in the background during her tour of duty on the Federation Star Ship Voyager
Tell us about Diamonds and Guns.
I have a friend who was working on the film and she just knew I could do the role. They wanted someone who could exude Producer. This friend having seen me in a producer capacity had no doubt I could handle this one line. It was a one-day shoot and a lot of fun. Renee was a blast to work with and really sweet. She has to come in and dance for me in this "Las Vegas Show Girl" bikini type out fit complete with feathers, and the dancing was a bit seductive. So between takes we would give each other very funny looks with, "Did you like the dancing?"
Is digital filming the wave of the future?
Yes. You can't fight technology. It looks sharp and I think it may be relied upon heavily.
What is your dream role?
I would love a kick a** role on The West Wing! I would love to be a fast paced, quick-witted staff member who knows her stuff. I could also be happy being a super quirky mom-in-charge on a sitcom.
Whom would you love to work with?
I could say Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, or Chip Chalmers. I also could say Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron or Hilary Swank. I think I'd be blessed to work with anyone talented. However, I hear that Martin Sheen is the nicest actor to share the stage with, so he'd have to be my pick.
What is the greatest wish a parent can have for their child?
That they are healthy are safe. That they learn more than I taught them. That they become good people and leave the world better than they found it.
Will there ever be peace?
Yes, but I don't know when. There's a lot of forgiving that needs to happen and a lot of loving that needs to be shared. I think this world lacks understanding. We refuse to see what we have in common. And until that changes, there will not be peace.
What do you enjoy watching on TV?
The West Wing, Star Trek, and ER. Now for the non-drams: Friends, Will and Grace, and Frasier. For the teen oriented stuff those of us from 90210 generation can't out grow- The O. C., One Tree Hill, Everwood, and Gilmore Girls. And now for the super embarrassing show- The Waltons. Yes, The Waltons. I get to re-watch them now as an adult. Thank goodness for TIVO. My mom and I would watch The Waltons right after the Lawrence Welk Show every Thursday night growing up. I could stay up past bedtime and it was our time. She would tell me how similar she grew up to them. Now that she is gone- it takes me back to every conversation we had about each week's episode. It keeps her close.
What do you think of reality TV?
Do you think that reality TV signifies that producers, writers and bigwigs are running out of ideas for quality shows?
They haven't run out of ideas, they're just selling out for the big bucks. They're not willing to develop something valuable because they know this will give them money now. It's a phase and soon the world of artist and productions with class will rule again.
What questions should I have asked?
Do I still like stuffed animals?
Yes. Just ask Chuckles, the bear on my bed that keeps bed bugs and evil foes away.
What is my favorite color?
The way to my heart?
Mashed potatoes with gravy.
What do you do when it rains?
An action shot!
Hilde's Official site: http://www.hildegarcia.com/
Diamonds and Guns, dhb Productions (show producer appearing with Renee O'Connor)
Circuit, Sneak Preview Productions
No Me Dejes Sola, University of Southern CA
South of the Border, Chapman University
Friends, Lovers, Enemies, New York University
The Night My Illusion Died, School of Visual Arts
Meal Ticket, Mortonstreet Films
The One Thing, Mairzy, The Tamarind Theatre- LA
Sand Mountain, Sang Picker, The Florida Project- NY
Susannah (opera), Chorus, Di Capo Opera Theatre- NY
Ah, Wilderness!, Muriel, The Undercroft Players- NY
Play It Again, Sam, Sharon, The Conradi Theatre- FL
Summer and Smoke, Rosa, The TLT Players- FL
The Time of Your Life, Mama, The Studio Theatre- FL
Yianni Stamas Diary, Yianni Stamas, Local Access Cable- NY
Star Trek: Voyager, Female Talaxian, "Homestead"- Neelix's Farewell.
Star Trek: Enterprise, see http://www.hildegarcia.com/Enterprise-Alien.htm and http://www.hildegarcia.com/EnterpriseEpisodeSynopsis.htm
Thanks to Kamouraskan for the beta.
L. J. Maas and Murphy Wilson [Amy Murphy].One Step Beyond ... Uber, That Is. WHOOSH #49 (October 2000)
The "Inside the Head of..." series in Whoosh various issues
Amy Murphy resides in Indiana, and is an avid reader of Xena: Warrior Princess Fan Fiction. If it exists in the Xenaverse, chances are she has read it! Murphy has also tried her hand at writing fan fiction, turning out two very nice pieces that reside on a couple of web sites throughout the Xenaverse.
Favorite episode: IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124)
Favorite line: "I Have Many Skills" --various episodes
First episode seen: TITANS (07/107)
Least favorite episode: LYRE, LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510)