Her beauty could catch the eye of anyone, and it seems as though her confidence is beaming, however, Nadine Velazquez isn’t just a pretty face, and she hasn’t always been comfortable in her own skin. It’s been a journey for her, and now with a booming career, challenging roles, and some self discovery, Nadine has grown to be a powerhouse in the entertainment industry. It seems like there is no stopping her, as this fall she is starring opposite Denzel Washington in FLIGHT, come April we will see her starring as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s wife in SNITCH, and last but definitely not least, she’ll star opposite of Luis Guzman in the Lionsgate comedy Aztec Warrior- we hope, and know, this is only the beginning of her success! Nadine chats with us about her transition from Chicago to LA, some lessons she’s learned along the way, and everything in between!
Binge Magazine: How was the transition from growing up in Chicago to moving to L.A.?
Nadine Velazquez: It was really, really, really hard. I struggled a lot the first two years just acclimating to this place, and I would say I just tried to make the best of it. I was driving a car I didn’t like, I didn’t like being constantly rejected, I just didn’t feel good about myself out here. I didn’t have any friends, and I moved here for love, so my boyfriend was working all the time and I was in the apartment doing nothing, I was pretty miserable. I even tried getting a waitress job, and I quit after the second day because I knew that wasn’t why I came out to Los Angeles. I’m not a waitress, and I didn’t come out here to be, I came out to be an actress, I had a little bit of money left from the work I did in Chicago so I just trusted that this would all work out, and that it would make sense at some point and I wouldn’t have to settle. And it worked! I’m not saying it was easy, but it was what catapulted me into having a career that is successful.
BM: How do you stay so humble? It’s such a great quality, and I’m sure it can be hard when your starring alongside actors like Denzel Washington and Dwayne Johnson
NV: I just don’t think it’s my personality to think I’m better than somebody, all I’ve ever wanted all my life since I was a little girl was to live a happy life doing what I love.When I was younger it was to be a gymnast but that didn’t happen, and then it was to be an actress, and that didn’t happen right away. For me I feel like I’ve waited for a really long time to get a taste of what would bring me a lot of joy, so by the time it happened, which was almost decades later, the gratitude I have for doing this is more than anything. That to me, is the ticket, is the gold, is the prize. Every time I get to work I just feel enormously blessed and lucky. I don’t think that’s ever going to change.
BM: What was the difference like going from “My Name Is Earl” to a movie like FLIGHT? Do you like comedy or drama better?
NV: I love comedy! I just love comedy, I don’t think I’ll ever not want to do comedy, I think it’s part of who I am, but FLIGHT did make me want to be a better performer. I’ve gotten to see the movie a few times at different places and I got to see the audience and the reactions they had to it. It’s always interesting to hear, one little thing can make someone cry, make them feel something, or change their lives. I mean, that’s what movies are for. It just inspired me to really take it to another level, a more universal level where people can really take something from it. I’m just ready to go out there and start moving people the way I know people in Entertainment can do.
BM: What has been your biggest success for yourself so far?
NV: Well, I think when it comes out, Aztec Warrior. I’m the female lead, and it’s comedy, it’s a romantic comedy in a weird way. I would say that movie is my biggest accomplishment so far. Every year, or every time I do something new, I’m proud, I know then I’m a true actress. I feel myself change every time I take on a new role. I really, really want to make an impact on the World, and I want to do it through my portrayal of people.
BM: It seems like you’re very close with your family, do you get to see them often?
NV: They do live in Chicago. My family is very close, my younger sister and I are in fact writing a show together right now called My Sister and she is an incredible writer! I’m excited for us to join forces, I think we’re a dynamic duo and eventually we can start writing scripts and movies, I’m really excited about it!
BM: On your twitter, we saw a photo from your birthday, the caption read “Happy Birthday to the woman I’ve become. I’m glad to be walking in my skin.” I really think that’s a powerful statement that a lot of people can be moved by. Have you always been comfortable in your skin, or is it something that you’ve had to learn?
NV:It would be nice to say I’ve always been that way, but no. I struggled with my identity forever, I was also sexually abused when I was a kid so that also took a lot of years off of becoming comfortable with myself and growing into myself. So I think this is a new thing, I started taking this journey when I was 30, I was married to the guy I mentioned before, I realized I had everything that I wanted but I just wasn’t happy, because I didn’t feel like I was living my life, I belonged to someone, I didn’t belong to myself. I was working on a sitcom and I felt like I didn’t know who I was as an actress. Everything I did I felt like I had this burden, like I had done it through willpower and determination, but I hadn’t done it from my heart. I basically, I got divorced, I said,I’m 30 and I love you, but I’m not in love with you and I don’t know who I am, and I don’t know what to offer you. I feel like this is my second chance at my life to really know who I am as a woman and I don’t want to wait until I’m 45 to have this revelation. It was a big, big move, I’ve never been on my own before, I’ve always had a boyfriend or someone there taking care of me somehow, when things weren’t going right he was always there to cheer me up, so I had security with him, life security, he didn’t want to leave, he didn’t want us to break up. I needed to do it, though, I needed to know who I was, I needed to know that I was doing everything because I’m strong, because I’m talented, because I’m passionate, I needed to learn to stand on my own two feet. I’m just enjoying myself now more than ever, I feel like I’m finally coming into my own, and I’m proud of myself. Whenever I feel like I’m fading, or no one is paying attention to me, I just remind myself that there is no one else like me, and no one has my mind, no ones been through what I’ve been through and no one has my heart, and I’m happy with that.