More Than Meets the Eye

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We loved her on the George Lopez Show, adored her as Jamie Batista on Showtime’s hit series Dexter, and were crazy about her on the red carpet. Now Aimee Garcia stars in RoboCop alongside Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton and is being praised for her performance as a brainy scientist. The film, directed by José Padilha, is a remake of the 1980s sci-fi hit and also stars Samuel L. Jackson and Abbie Cornish.

Garcia has firmly established herself as one of Hollywood’s most engaging actresses and shines with beauty, intellect and talent. She can play funny, she can play sexy, she can play smart…but each role is carefully chosen because Garcia has made a conscious effort to make “good” material. Good material, she says, attracts good people.

In Robocop, she stars with an international cast of iconic actors in an action-packed film about what it means to bring robots into everyday life. It is, she says, a film that is relevant to today’s technological advances.

“I think it’s very timely. Would you, for example, be comfortable getting on a plane without a human pilot? Can robots replace soldiers? These are not crazy concepts. Look at Amazon wanting drones to deliver its packages. I liken RoboCop to The Matrix. It makes you think about higher concept issues and I’m very excited about it.”

Garcia says she knew she wanted to be a performer at the age of three when her parents took her to see Annie. She was so mesmerized by the little girl on stage that she didn’t stop dancing and singing when she got home. Her parents decided to put her in dance class and Garcia began dancing professionally at seven—and soon segued into acting in commercials.

She took a break from professional acting to attend Northwestern University and graduated as a triple major in Economics, Journalism and French. After working in finance in New York for a year, she realized it was acting she really loved. She packed her things, moved to Los Angeles and never looked back. Garcia became a TV regular and, on the feature front, also appeared in Spanglish with Adam Sandler, The Good Girl with Jennifer Aniston and Dirty with Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, Garcia was honored for her contribution to the arts by the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts in October 2013.

Garcia took time out of her busy schedule to talk to SOMA.

Where were you born and raised?
Chicago. I root for the Bears and cry for the Cubs. It’s my town.

What do you love about Chicago?
The people. Frank Sinatra said Chicago is a big city with a heart of a small town. I agree. That’s what I love about it.

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How do you like living in Los Angeles?
I love that it’s all-accepting and full of dreamers. It’s a place where people say ‘you can’ and where dreams come true. Henry Ford said, ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses’ because they could not have conceived the possibility of a car. It’s that visionary spirit that is prevalent here. LA is also a city that has tremendous reach. The movie industry permeates globally. I take that very seriously.

What do you say to a young girl that wants to follow her dreams and be an actress?
I say ‘Go for it.’ But you have to train…take the dance classes, singing classes, acting classes. You have to be a self-starter. You can have an idea, shoot a video with your phone, put in on YouTube, it can go viral. Things happen, so go for it. I would also tell her to learn to cook. There’s so much down time as an actor you should learn how to cook and fuel your body properly. Your body is your instrument.

Do you cook?
Yes. I started taking cooking classes and I love it.

What’s for dinner?
Salmon and steamed broccolini…followed by a little dark chocolate. I have to have the chocolate.

What’s your favorite time of day?
Sunset. It’s the beginning of the night. I was born at 7:25 p.m. so maybe that’s why I love the night. It’s when I feel most alive. I even sleep like a vampire. On my back with my arms crossed on my chest.

Who is your favorite designer?
For red carpet I would say J.Mendel. I like simple, classic styles.

Do you love the red carpet?
I don’t know that there’s an actor that loves it. Nothing prepares you for that scrutiny and attention. I was once on the red carpet between Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie and was so nervous I broke out in hives (luckily they were on my back). But I’ve learned that it’s part of what I do and remind myself how lucky I am and try to enjoy it.

What can you tell us about your character Kim in Robocop?
Kim is a scientist, a Ph.D. from MIT who is a robotics expert. She is Gary Oldman’s assistant and an instrumental part of the team that puts RoboCop together. She’s a great character to play. She’s intelligent, professional, smart, and there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Sounds a little like Aimee Garcia herself.

Text by Ellen Georgiou
Photography by Phillip Lopez
Hair by Cori Bardo
Make-up by Daniele Piersons

THE OBSESSION ISSUE

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