Hollywood’s Lidia Pires flying high under the radar

By Dr. Alan Carlos Hernandez on August 19, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO (Irreverent Homemaker @ Herald de Paris) – Lidia Pires may not be a name you recognize but she has been a recognizable face on numerous international TV commercials, network TV programs and more than ten feature films. She is most recently featured as one of the stars in the cross-over heist film Ladron que Roba a Lardron. There is no doubt that she will flirt with A-List notoriety in her upcoming feature, the comedic romp, Lean Like a Cholo.

In a time of media myopia and typecasting, Lidia is a transcendent Latina, a jack of all trades, an artistic multi-talented chameleon who can reinvent herself through many genres while mastering several media platforms.

She has worked as a model, writer, script doctor, producer, PR executive, and on-air host. She is a painter as well as a successful casting and production associate. Lidia says that acting is her first love and she can say it in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese. Ever active and engaged with the world around her, she takes time to give back to the community

Pires tells us: I was born in Asuncion, Paraguay but at the age of two my father joined the United Nations. We started to travel and we lived all over the world. I was raised in numerous different countries.

Growing up in many cultures has enriched me in many ways. I was an only child and that thrust me into situations I had to face alone. I was extremely shy and realized that either I retreated with my uniqueness or I had to learn to observe, absorb, and transform myself into one of “them” so as to fit in with the crowd. I found that the latter worked best.

I am completely bilingual. I think in English when I speak/write in English and in Spanish when I speak/write Spanish. When I was six my parents put me in a painting class that was offered at the Museum of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro. My artistic side was born.

I always loved film; nothing compares to immersing myself in other people’s lives. I am inspired by Kathryn Hepburn. Her life on and off screen touched me in a personal way. I was enthralled by the hugeness of film, both on a physical and emotional scale. I approached my parents to tell them of my desire to enter the acting world. They were appalled so I took a secretarial course and traveled back to my country.

I started my working career in Paraguay and joined an advertising agency as its public relations liaison. From there I joined a production company as producer. Television production there, at that time, was in its infancy. To get something done you had to be a jack-of-all-trades. There I became friends with a marketing director. He convinced me to have a renowned photographer take some photos of me. My modeling career was born.

Through modeling, a production company approached me to be in one of their commercials. Since I was very vocal about what could be done to improve it, they hired me to produce. Hence my production and sort of acting career were born. At the time there were only two production companies and the industry was really in its infancy. So you ended up being in charge of pretty much everything. You had to scout locations, you had to find props, you had to cast the commercial, you had to feed the people, pick them up and take them back, you had to light it, you almost had to film it too! There were no demarcations of “this is your job and this is mine” or any hierarchy.

I remained in Paraguay for two years. I had difficulties adapting to the way things were done. I’d come from New York (my father’s last post in the United Nations) so the adjustments were hard, plus I really loved New York. The city fascinated me. It offered so much. The museums, the parks, the theater, the foreign-films, everything that excited me was there. So there I returned.

When I moved from NY to Miami, I was a fish out water. There’s a very different attitude, so when I was offered a job in Los Angeles I jumped at it. And here is where I found the happiest of mediums. Everything is so geared to the entertainment business and most everybody in the business understands what you need.

In LA I was offered a job as a producer where I produced commercials (both local and international), a worldwide documentary, and a movie in Venezuela. I liked working in commercials as a producer for their quick turn around and variety. What did not satisfy me much was that I did not have much creative input in them.

Documentaries are a labor of love. I compare them to raising a child because you put in a lot of time and money and you just hope that maybe they will go out into the world and do good. At the time I was doing TV production it was incredibly time consuming. Now it is all high tech. I loved them all in their own way.

I started producing independently and had a program Gems Spa on Gems Television (a US based international network) where I also served as its host. I also produce a local access program Entre Amigas where I am again one of the hosts. Gems Spa came about through a contact in Miami that was looking for programs for Gems Television. I didn’t have a concept at that time but turned to my producing partner to find a subject matter that was accessible, of interest, and feasible to get permits quickly. We headed off to Dessert Hot Springs for a story on one of its spas.

It was so quickly done that one of the hosts had to be me. We sent it to the programming person explaining that we were going to replace me as host. She called saying that she would purchase a season for the network and wanted me in it. So now I was producer and host. Since we travelled with a very small crew I found that producing and hosting was challenging indeed.

Recognition (for I have no fame) has been wonderful. Though I don’t get it often, when someone approaches me and treats me as if they know me because I have been in a tiny part of their day, it is incredibly rewarding.

As an actress I am partial to film. I like the process; the minuteness of the shots and the immensity of the result. I like to see how so many can work so well toward one result. Almost like observing an ant farm or a mass of freeways intertwining.

Stage has my full respect because I tend toward stage-fright and have had to overcome it. I started doing theater in school and then continued in Spain with an experimental group that went to little towns and set up in the town plaza. I like that you can form a true bond with your fellow actors. I like the immediacy of the response. ItńĀs almost like a rollercoaster where you go, “Wow, what a ride!” I would add, “I’m so glad it’s done,” and then, “Let’s go again!”

I like TV hosting if I have creative/writing input, but that rarely happens in the real world. I was fortunate to have that when I did. I am a Latina actress. There is no escaping that fact when you look at me, and I am proud of that. I like to think of myself as one of those wise Latinas that Justice Sotomayor refered to. I have been fortunate due to the fact that I’m good at adopting other cultures and accents.

I have played roles where ethnicity does not take a prominent role but there is a lot more that can be done. In real life we are placed more and more in pivotal positions where we just happen to be a minority – not because of it. However, the television and film world has been slow and reluctant to recognize that. The tides are changing with the advent of digital which makes it economically possible for minorities to create roles for themselves that do not fall into stereotypes. Ultimately, I have no problem in being hired because I am a Latina and I am choosing a lot of projects that show us in a good light as with Rollout!, Flights of Fancy, and Divina Crane.

I may be falling into a cliche here, but because of the nature of the business and its unreliability as to steady roles, I consider each acting experience “big” and give it great importance.

The first time that I was on set as an actor in a commercial and had the luxury to shed my producer hat was huge. The first time I was in a major film on theater screens in the United States and worldwide was huge. The first time I stepped into a town square and conquered my stage fright was huge. I love drama so, as an actress, I tend to gravitate to those roles, but some directors have discovered my comedic timing and are willing to pursue that as well.

I have a knack for seeing in some people what others don’t. A friend of mine, Rosalinda Morales, has her own company, Far More Casting & Production, and was getting extremely busy at one point and – knowing my involvement in the industry – brought me in as the casting associate in a few projects. We worked well together so continued working in many others.

I look for honesty in an actor. I don’t want to question who they are when they are in character. If you can hook me by provoking a strong reaction in me with a writer’s line you will have me as a fan for life. As a casting director I look to see if you have respect for your craft and the auditioning process is very important. With that comes being on time, and having the sides and the headshot if requested. Knowing the etiquette in the process and the ground rules is important as well. Come rested, and if frazzled or tired, make sure it doesn’t show.

In casting there are always scripts that come into our hands. In reading them I started correcting and giving notes to the writers. That started another side career which I enjoy almost as much: script analyst and copy editor. Since I am fully bilingual (English/Spanish) and knowledgeable of the way people say things and what words they use in different countries and regions, I segued into translating and doctoring scripts as well.

Again, chance and luck played a substantial role. We received a short film script that I thought had great value as a story but needed a lot of adjustments. I asked the filmmaker if he wouldn’t mind if I gave him some notes. Since he welcomed them, I gave them to him and from then on, through word of mouth I have done so with many others.

I am a firm believer that not only as a human, but as double-minority, a Latina woman, I have to give back to my community. My way of doing so is by volunteering. I have volunteered with The Flying Samaritans going to remote towns in Mexico and being the interpreter between the patients and the doctors who come from the U.S. I have recorded newspapers articles for a service the Braille Institute offers, as well as textbooks that another organizations offer. My indigenous roots brought me to the Native American Voices program at the Autry and I am very involved with their Young Native American Playwrights Mentorship Program.

I have various projects coming up such as Flights of Fancy, a film written by Diana Lesmez and based on the true story of world renowned, Dr. Ricardo Saca ńĀan inmigrant from El Salvador; Divina Crane, a webisode based on a psychologist who works as a social worker in the inner city (a Latina) along with a detective appointed by the GovernorńĀs office (a Native American); Walking on Turtle Island, a TV series on Iktomi (the trickster) in the Lakota world; Rollout!, a feature film based on the true story of handball coach Tony Huante who, for two decades, mentored East LA kids, ultimately producing several national pro champions.

You can also see me in the soon to be released feature film Lean Like a Cholo, a movie directed by Demetrius Navarro (ER). The film is starring Kilo (aka Down) a rapper who had the hit “Lean Like a Cholo.” I play the role of Kilo’s mom. Demetrius, Kilo’s real life son, Valente Rodriguez (George Lopez show), and Erlinda Orozco’s mom is my role as well. My husband is played by Rick Najera (Latinologues).

What I do get is recognition as one of the few Paraguayan actors to be part of SAG and AFTRA. For that I am grateful. I have been able to represent my country well. It has given me the opportunity to let budding filmmakers in my country know that the film business in the United States is in fact open to all who are willing to put the training and effort into it.

As for me, I want to be have the traits of a chameleon; always adapting and changing, hopefully for the better. I want to work in this magical world of entertainment until my very last breath.

If I were to leave a legacy it would be that I wish that I have touched someone’s heart in some way. I hope that perhaps I’ve instilled a work and life ethic with which I have been able to achieve many goals. That being a minority shouldn’t stop us and, on the contrary, make us better. Our essence and character is judged in how we take our life journeys and not so much as to where we reach. I hope they say she took the journey well, enjoyed it all the way and planted so many seeds along the road that we are blessed with the shade from these tall trees thanks to her.

My advice would be to not be stifled by the preconceived notion that because of being a double minority (a woman and a Latina) we have the odds stacked against us. Prepare yourself through training and read as much as possible in the branch of the arts you want to concentrate on, stay on top of the latest developments, and forge ahead! If we put our minds, our hearts, our efforts to it… si se puede! Yes, we can do it.

MORE ARTICLES BY AL CARLOS HERNANDEZ


Comments
Richard Yniguez August 19, 2009

Wow…nice article! Lidia has done it all and how proud she makes me that she is a Latina with a goal! Her story is one we can all identify with no matter where we come from. Confidence, self-esteem and a joy for the work that she obviously loves. Growing up around the world gives her that unique ability to inhabit a character fully, because she has lived through so many cultures. Beauty & brains too…

Al Hernandez you out did yourself this time…can’t wait to see what you & the Paris Herald will come up with next! This will be a hard act to follow! Kudos to Lidia Pires…Al Carlos Hernandez & The Paris Herald!!!!!

Susie Albin-Najera August 19, 2009

Beautiful article on Lidia! What a fantastic and talented woman. I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

Marianne Iniguez August 19, 2009

What a great article. Congratulations on all your accomplishments Lidia. Im sure there are many more to come!

Diana Lesmez August 19, 2009

This is why we’re so proud to count Lidia among the cast of FLIGHTS OF FANCY. She’s tops!

Oscar Torre August 19, 2009

Thank you Mr. Hernandez for writing a great article about a wonderful actress that I had the honor of sharing the screen with in the film “Ladron Que Roba A Ladron.” Lidia is not only an amazing actress but a great human being.

Josh August 19, 2009

Who is she??? My wife is from Paraguay…..
Nobody knows her.
Why do they have to pretend that she famous or something?
I don’t get it, there’s a lot of young beautiful latinas out there.
Gez…..
Do your homework.

edgar arce August 20, 2009

I am proud of both of you and look forward to more of your talent on display. The two of you make a great team!

Lidia Pires August 20, 2009

I am most grateful to Al Carlos Hernandez and The Herald de Paris, who not just with this article on me – but on many others – are shedding a positive light on our Latino community. They are helping erode those stereotypes that are best counteracted with positive examples and well expressed ideas. They are giving us a platform where we are allowed to tell our stories so that others who may share similar struggles, do not even think of raising the white flag of surrender while on their journey through life. Kudos to both!!

Ramón(Tino) Oviedo Calabrese August 20, 2009

Muy buen reportage a Lidia Pires. Verdaderamente hace justicia a una mujer luchadora, salida del corazón de la América del Sur y haciendo enorgullecerse a la raza latinoamericana.
El valor de Pires es cada vez mejor reconocido en el √°mbito de las grandes productoras de Filmes en LA, Ella a participado en varios filmes y en TV, por lo cual constituye un importante curriculum,
Ella es multifacética en el campo del arte. Pintora con exposiciones en Brasil y Paraguay y otros países de A. Latina. Tambié incvursionó en otros campos del arte.
Vivió en varios países en los cuales su padre fué diplomático de NNUU. lo cual le permite conocer profundamente la idiosincracia del latinoamericano. Sus papeles representando a este sector de la numerosa población de inmigrantes en los Estados Unidos, los hace por eso con gran solvencia y un especial énfasis en el alma de su raza.
Lidia Pires es una actriz que puede llegar todavía mas lejos. Tiene mucha convicción y capacidad. Y creo que donde haya un film con personajes representativos del mundo poco conocido de nuestra América India, Lidia Pires debe tener un lugar muy importante.
Ella es un orgullo para los latinoamericanos.
R;F:O:C:

Joe Camareno August 20, 2009

Mr. Hernandez has done it again! Hit another home run with an article spotlighting a positive story about a Latina with brains, ambition, beauty and talent!.

I have the distinct pleasure of knowing Lidia personally, but was happy to learn more about her as I read this article. The depth and breadth of her talent is immeasurable, mainly due to the life experience she brings to the table on every project she tackles, whether as a producer, writer, or actor. Of course her smarts don’t hurt either! ūüėČ

Thanks to Mr. Hernandez for bringing another person from the Latino community to the forefront! Please continue your work. It is a needed endeavor in this time when the Latino voice is being shut out as newspapers and other publications close their doors in the information age.

KUDOS!

Consuelo Flores August 20, 2009

Great article featuring a wonderful, talented and very smart woman! I am not only impressed by her abilities but also in her conviction of identifying and working on authentic and important stories within our community. Lidia demonstrates through her work that talent can no longer be held back by societal or cultural constructs. And, Lidia has indeed touched people’s hearts by creating memorable performances, offering opportunities to others and making art a reality all with integrity and passion. She is a true artist and a strong and beautiful woman!

We are proud of all the success Lidia has been having and we look forward to good things still to come. Thanks to people like Al Hernandez who take the time to spot talent and movement within the community and industry. Congrats and Kudos to Lidia and Al.. and of course the Herald de Paris

Team PLIE

María Liz August 20, 2009

Lidia is a beautiful person, inside and out, very talented and highly trained in their profession, loves his work and makes it very bien.Deseo every success!!!

Stephen Blackburn August 20, 2009

¬°Viva Lidia, the Paraguayan Whirlwind! Another fascinating profile by Mr. Hernandez. Ms. Pires exemplifies Latina/o beauty and talent that is still for the most part untapped by Hollywood. In a time when Los Angeles is hurting for production and Movieland struggles for product that will appeal to audiences, it’s amazing to me that producers aren’t lining up Latino projects that will tap the vast audience potential of the U.S. Latino population. Maybe we need some wise Latina CEOs…

Fabiana Lizarraga-Pascali August 20, 2009

And now, I will comment in spanish and English, for if I do it solely in English you will still find an accent! Uno que Lidia no tiene ūüėČ
Que buen articulo para alguien que inspira como Latina y como mujer. I met Lidia several years ago through a production team. She was part of it. She was the brains, the beauty, and the kindness all represented in what later became my dear “Princesa Paraguaya” y amiga. Hoy sigue siendo, todo aquello y mas. We don’t see each other that often (cosas de la vida, cosas del querer!) but every time we do, she has so many stories to tell and so many projects to fullfill……
Thanks to Mr. Hernandez for sharing smart articles to read. Y gracias por permitir que otros sepan que los Latinos contamos con una carga increible de belleza externa e interna.

Frank y Marta Gallegos August 20, 2009

Congratulations Mr. Hernandez on a wonderful story of a multi-talented Wise Latina! Lidia has forgotten to say that she has functioned as an editor for our upcoming book, the Beauty Beyond. Lidia was brought into our orbit by famed screenwriter and producer and fellow Wise Latina, Nancy de Los Santos (Celina, Mi Familia, One Hot Night, etc.,) for our book and pending movie project. Lydia is a super talent, always busy and yet a very concientious world class actress, producer, editor etc., thank you Herald De Paris for profiling her unique and empowering story!

Abrazos Frank y Marta Gallegos, MD

Linda Garcia August 20, 2009

Great article! The first time I saw Lidia Pires was on the film Ladron que Roba a Ladron in Dallas. I had no idea that one day I would meet this empowering Latina in person and the impact that she would have on my life. I was blessed by her presence while I was working in wardrobe for the short film Miracle. Watching her work was amazing! She invited me into her light and reminded me that I could shine as bright as she does. She gave me the push I needed to begin working on my dreams. Thank you Lidia for sharing yourself with us! We love and respect you!
&Thank you to Al Carlos Hernandez for all that you do!

Mark May August 20, 2009

Lidia is a success, both professionally and personally. But “under the radar” does not mean unrecognized so I offer a big thank you to Al Carlos Hernandez and the Herald de Paris for a fine account of someone who can serve as a role model regardless of gender or ethnicity.

Annie Frenzley August 20, 2009

The article by Carlos Hernandez touches on so many different aspects of Lidia’s life and career she is inspirtation not only to myself but to all women on following one’s passion she has always been on my A-list.. Congratulations to Lidia and Carlos Hernandez

Elia Esparza August 20, 2009

A wonderful profile highlighting the career and background of a talented woman. Al, you do a wonderful job putting the spotlight on positive Latino accomplishments. Lidia’s journey, I’m sure, has come as a result of hard work, sacrifice and sheer determination. Bravo to her. Kudos to you, Al. And, much continued success to Lidia.

Domenica Rodriguez August 20, 2009

Wow this is awesome! I always like to read about amazing and successful hispanic women. This so inspiring!

rick najera August 20, 2009

I really like that movie lean like a cholo and I’m real excited to see you and rick najera’s chemistry on screen I heard the love scene was out of control….. Caliente and I don’t mean the race track Iin TJ

andy dahl August 20, 2009

Fantastic to know the complexities behind such a unique woman, and therefore treasure to the world who shares her gift in her own way!

Wonderful reporting.

Lillian Dahl August 20, 2009

The vivaciousness and multi-talented abilitiy of Lidia is exemplified in this article.. I met Lidia through my son who was in the Peace Corps in Paraguay while Lidia resided in Hemet. My son is from Hemet, Ca. She is delightful as she has such a variety of interests, experiences and aspirations. Her intelligence is evident when she is discussing her varied projects. I was impressed with her ability to help students develop their movie projects. Anyone who is able to tap into her talents will be very lucky and enriched. And she cooks Paraguayan food, too!

Donald & Barbara Cohen August 21, 2009

Dear Lidia:

This excellent piece couldn’t have been more accurate and richly deserved.
Even knowing Lidia as we do, we were fascinated by all the things we
had never known about her; the depth of her thoughts and feelings and
the breadth of her experiences.
My compliments, as well, to the writer.

Frank y Marta Gallegos August 21, 2009

Congratulations Mr. Hernandez on a wonderful story of a multi-talented Wise Latina! Lidia has forgotten to say that she has functioned as an editor for our upcoming book, the Beauty Beyond. Lidia was brought into our orbit by famed screenwriter and producer and fellow Wise Latina, Nancy de Los Santos (Celina, Mi Familia, One Hot Night, etc.,) for our book and pending movie project. Lydia is a super talent, always busy and yet a very concientious world class actress, producer, editor etc., thank you Herald De Paris for profiling her unique and empowering story!

Abrazos Frank y Marta Gallegos, MD

Cathy Areu August 21, 2009

I love reading about fabulous Latinas like Lidia. Thank you so much for the profile.

Frank Gallegos August 22, 2009

Congratulations Mr. Hernandez on a wonderful story of a multi-talented Wise Latina! Lidia has forgotten to say that she has functioned as an editor for our upcoming book, the Beauty Beyond. Lidia was brought into our orbit by famed screenwriter and producer and fellow Wise Latina, Nancy de Los Santos (Celina, Mi Familia, One Hot Night, etc.,) for our book and pending movie project. Lidia is a super talent, always busy and yet a very concientious world class actress, producer, editor etc., thank you Herald De Paris for profiling her unique and empowering story!
Abrazos Frank y Marta Gallegos, MD

Hector Luis Bustamante August 23, 2009

What a great piece on Lidia! – Lidia is a wonderful person and a very talented actress. I really enjoyed reading this great article!

Peter R. August 23, 2009

A very complimentary article about Lidia who know’s what she wants and goes for it. Having once known her during earlier years Lidia has always been a strong and caring woman who has love in her heart for others and deserves what life has to offer. As I come from a newspaper family I have to say that Mr. Hernandez wrote a very solid article. Congrads!

Robert Owens Greygrass August 23, 2009

Lidia’s classy style and natural beauty are an instant attention getter. Her lively, smiley, cheerful attitude keeps your attention.
Lidia is a great personality on and off the camera. She brought a charming and magnetic performance, as the bubbly water wife, to my short film Walking on Turtle Island, shot July of 2008. She and I worked together with Native Voices at the Autry in the Young Native Voices program. Lidia showed her generous intellectual skills working with teens.
Her professionalism and enthusiasm are contagious. I am sure we will continue to watch her career rise.

Nancy De Los Santos August 23, 2009

¬°Que viva Lidia! I’ve only known her for a year or two – but am amazed at her talent and expertise in our field. She’s creative, she’s daring, she smart – and she’s kindhearted – not an easy-to-find combination to find in our world or any world. I consider myself very fortunate to count her as a colleague and amiga.

Raquel Brussolo August 25, 2009

I am a fan of Lidia’s and I’m glad you wrote this article on her!!! She is an inspiration for all of us Latinas!!! BRAVO!!!! Thank you!

Rosalinda Morales August 27, 2009

Thank you Mr. Hernandez for showcasing one of the most hardworking actresses I know. Lidia is a thorough and talented professional who deserves to be recognized as the wonderful actresss that she is.

Liliana Salerno August 31, 2009

¬°Que gran gusto leer su nota a Lidia Pires!
Viv√¨ por muchos a√Īos en su Paraguay natal y pude conocerla como profecional y como persona, enamorada del arte y entregada a el.
Vuelvo a disfrutar mediante su relato y he podido ir rememorando las epocas que comparti con Lidia en nuestra juventud.
Estando yo tan lejos, actualmente en la Rep√Ļblica Argentina, es gratificante tener noticias de ella mas all√† de seguirla en los trabajos realizados.
Ella es una latina exitosa y gracias por acercarnosla a traves de su publicacion.

Carlos Mojoli September 1, 2009

Excelente art√≠culo. Tuve breve trato con Lidia, aunque de materias muy duras. Pude apreciar en ella valor e inteligencia, as√≠ como una capacidad inmensa de amar a su madre. Es la persona que jam√°s defraudar√° a√ļn en las m√°s duras condiciones. Considero un enriquecimiento haber tenido la oportunidad de conocerla y tratarla como ser humano. Su rol no fue de mero √©xito porque no lo buscaba. Fue un rol de daci√≥n y humildad. Es una magn√≠fica persona. A decent one. Le deseo que la vida le recompense sus virtudes.

Brian Ceponis September 1, 2009

Lidia more than deserves the recognition that she is getting. Beyond being a professional and hardworking actress, she is also a wonderful person. Great stuff!

Frederiko 'Freddie' Aguilar September 3, 2009

To Lidia… I am jealous… or perhaps envious is a better expression. I know you have worked hard, and put your heart into what you do. You are a personal friend of mine and thanks for your friendship. You are also an inspiration. As I read the article, I was getting mad at myself for not working as hard as you. However, in this business, it’s never too late. No matter what we love to do in the entertainment business, we have to pursue it with tanacity and love. This is what I see in Lidia. I have written a novel that I hope will become a movie soon. As I was writing, I did think of Lidia as playing a major character role in it. That’s a big compliment. Thanks Al for taking the time for the interview. You have a good thing going here. To Lidia and all the thespians in our community, God Bless.
Frederiko.
author of “The Desert has no King”

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