Lisa Vidal is recognized by millions, currently, as the face of “Mama Ortiz” on the largely popular, ABC television medical-drama Grey’s Anatomy. She is also known to fans “Kara Lynch” from BET’s Being Mary Jane or most recently “Mari Garcia” in The Baker and the Beauty. However, others have been seeing her on screen for decades in shows like Chicago PD, Southland, Rosewood, Boston Legal, The Division, ER, and Third Watch, the list is long and includes films like Star Trek. The actress’ resume speaks for itself but there’s much more to her than meets the eye, as I discovered during my exchange with the inspiring Latina-mama of three.
The first time I saw Lisa in action was in 1994’s coming of age film, “I Like It Like That.” A story revolving around the ups and downs of a Puerto Rican couple learning of life and love while living in a poverty-stricken inner city neighborhood. The character she played was fearless and passionate, possessing an incomparable touch of sass. Her bold spirit jumped off the screen, it spoke to women in the audience who dreamed of something bigger. The role happened a lifetime ago but Lisa continues to exert the same energy today, as she did all those years ago. The native New Yorker’s eternal authenticity and fiery loyalty to her Latino roots seems to only reinvigorate over time.
Her newly cancelled primetime television show, “The Baker and the Beauty“ is fighting to return for a second season but she is taking the news in stride. A petition is being circulated by fans to save the series, meanwhile the wife and mother is living life to the fullest. The young-55 celebrated a birthday in June, and is on fire. AW had the amazing opportunity to interview the dynamic actress about how she is embracing this milestone.
You have a loyal fan base. We love you as Mari Garcia in “The Baker and The Beauty” as well as, Kara Lynch in “Being Mary Jane.” You’ve played countless characters over the years that are not only strong but brilliantly driven. Whether, in films, television, dancing on Instagram or delivering energetic interviews, we see Lisa Vidal’s zest for life in and out of character. It is palpable and real, wonderful qualities that make you engaging and relatable.
Where does your love of life, people and self originate from? How do you maintain the level of energy you display in everything you do? My zest for life comes from God! I am grateful for everything in my life good and bad, believe it or not. I’ve been through a lot in my lifetime, many tough things, that could’ve taken me down but my faith keeps me strong, hopeful, and excited for life. I love people! I feel like we are all just trying to live our best life. Working to keep it together through the difficult moments, I have compassion and appreciation for that. I try to live in gratitude for all my opportunities and blessings. It actually keeps me happy and dancing!
You had a milestone birthday in June. Happy Belated Birthday, Lisa! What has been the biggest positive shift or change you have made as a woman since turning 50? Has life after 50 been what you expected. If so, in what way? Turning 50 came with some challenges that were more physical than anything. So far in my 50’s, I’ve survived breast cancer, gone through a double mastectomy and experienced major hormonal changes. Not fun! And yet, it makes me the more grateful – I beat cancer. I’m healthy, have this new lease on life and I want to live it to the fullest. I’ve been gifted a second chance and I’m embracing growing older gracefully. Becoming wiser and more aware of who I am as a woman, a mother, a Latina, a wife, an actress performer, and just an all-around person.
In real life, you juggle many roles – an acting professional, mom and wife, as do many of the AW readers. How do you make sure you spend time in your happy place? My happy place is spending relaxing time with family, sisters and girlfriends. Cooking! I love to cook for friends. I love to get manicures and pedicures, do girls’ lunches or just hang out. I dance every chance I get and love music! Every morning, I set aside quiet time, spend it with the Lord to re-energize my spirit. Strengthening my soul prepares me for whatever comes during the day. I feel lucky and blessed to have that gift.
AW is all about inspiring, empowering, and encouraging women to live their best life and create the life envisioned. I believe as women, we share a common thread. It is the reason for writing the stories and experiences, to help others see the endless possibilities available to them. What advice can you share with women worried or hung up on aging? I think beauty comes from the inside. It is key to care for our internal well-being before worrying about the external. Be kind to yourself. Women carry a lot on their plate, multitasking countless priorities. Being sympathetic, compassionate and considerate towards one another is important. Helping each other, as women, is something we should always do. There are also things we can do for ourselves, such as staying away from people who are negative towards you. Sometimes, you encounter individuals that don’t want to see you win – that is their problem. Let’s celebrate ourselves and one another whenever possible, leading with mutual kindness. Words have impact, if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all. Use your words to build each other up otherwise, they aren’t worth anything.
It has been disappointing to hear of the cancellation of “The Baker and The Beauty.” Fans are rooting and signing the petition to save it. There is so much about life we have no control over. During this time of uncertainty in the world, do you have a quote or words to share with readers that have helped you throughout periods of hardship? “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 has helped me overcome A LOT! It encourages me to remember that I am not in control of anything…
Lisa’s vibrant personality and gratitude for everything in her life is inspiring. She has endured personal struggles without surrendering her faith and love for life. It is easy to give into the fear or anxiety during any period of uncertainty during our journeys. But I believe we’re capable of tapping into an inner power for greatness at any age. Overcoming my loss of employment, ruptured marriage, and an episode of depression taught me incredible strength. Life’s worst moments will test you and also bring the most change. It is ultimately up to you to decide if you want to take the road to rise up or become the victim.
FIGHT BACK! Be the inspiration, encourage women around you to empower themselves as they work to create a life envisioned. The possibilities really are endless when you start believing in yourself and the beauty within.
Immensely thankful to Lisa Vidal and all the women blazing a trail for empowerment. You inspire me each day to continue sharing stories of real women.
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