Empowerment Series: “With Love,” “Righteous Thieves,” Grey’s Anatomy, The Baker and the Beauty & Being Mary Jane – Actress, Lisa Vidal Shares with AW how She is Living Her Best Life
Lisa Vidal is well-known for playing strong characters in television series such as Chicago PD, Southland, Rosewood, Boston Legal, The Division, ER, and Third Watch. She has also been seen in films, among them Star Trek and Mighty Aphrodite.
The first time I saw Lisa in action was in 1994’s coming-of-age film, “I Like It Like That.” The story revolves around the ups and downs of a Puerto Rican couple learning life and love while living in a poverty-stricken inner-city neighborhood. She played, Magdalena Soto, fearless and passionate with an incomparable touch of sass. Her bold spirit jumped off the screen, speaking to women in the audience who dreamed of something bigger. The role happened a lifetime ago but she continues to exert the same energy today, as all those years ago. The native New Yorker’s eternal authenticity and fiery loyalty to her Latino roots seem to only reinvigorate, as time passes.
Over the years, this amazing talent has captured even more hearts, gaining the respect of a new generation with characters like “Mama Ortiz” on ABC’s medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, Kara Lynch on BET’s Being Mary Jane, and Mari Garcia in The Baker and the Beauty.
Her most recent roles have introduced her to a new and younger audience. She plays Liz in season two of Prime’s hit series “With Love” and can be seen as Annabel in the Lionsgate film, “Righteous Thieves,” produced by another powerful Latina, Jolene Rodriguez of Broken English Productions. In the movie, Lisa plays the leader of a team that is looking to recover priceless works of art. The heist-thriller stars an impressive ensemble cast that includes actors Jaina Lee Ortiz, Cam Gigandet, Carlos Miranda, and Brian Cousins.
AW had an opportunity to interview the dynamic actress about how she embraces life. This young spirit is on fire, with no signs of stopping. Her resume speaks for itself but there is much more to the woman than meets the eye, as I discovered during my exchange with this inspiring Latina mama.
You have a loyal fan base. We loved 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, it’s films, television, dancing on Instagram, or delivering energetic interviews, we see your zest for life in and out of character. It is palpable and real, with wonderful qualities that make you engaging and relatable. Where do your love of life, people, and self come from? How do you maintain the level of energy displayed? 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!
What has been the biggest positive shift or change you have made, as a woman, so far? 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 have survived breast cancer, going 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 and 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, similar to many AW readers. How do you make sure you spend time in your happy place? My happy place is a 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, and 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 lives and create the life envisioned. I believe as women, we share a common thread. It is the reason for writing these 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 toward us. 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 an 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.
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…
Overcoming personal loss has taught me incredible strength. It is easier to give into fear or anxiety during periods of uncertainty. However, I believe all of us are capable of tapping into our power at any age. Life’s worst moments will test you and force the most change. It is ultimately up to you to decide which road you will take when it happens. Will you opt to rise up or become the victim?
I say, FIGHT BACK! Be the inspiration and encourage those around you to empower themselves and work to create a better life. The possibilities really are endless when you start believing in yourself and the beauty within.
You can watch “Righteous Thieves” in select theatres, On Digital, and On Demand.
For more on Lisa Vidal, visit Instagram@thereallisavidal and Twitter@thelisavidal
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