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NM Film Focus: Inside the Industry with Monique Candelaria

NM Film Focus: Inside the Industry with Monique Candelaria

Monique Candelaria sits down to give advice to Hollywood hopefuls.


   Monique Candelaria may be most well known for her small but memorable role opposite Bryan Cranston as the Denny’s waitress in “Breaking Bad.”

   Dozens of rabid fan forums all over the world remember Candelaria’s character in the haunting scene where Walter White celebrated his 52nd birthday alone at the diner counter at a pivotal point in the series.

But above and beyond that, Candelaria has been a steadily rising, working actor since 2009. She’s offered insider information for those considering a career in the industry.


ABQ Free Press: What does the film industry mean to you?

Candelaria: I love it, but it’s a world filled with sharks and personal demons. If you are willing to make your dream become a reality, you must learn to love rejection, truly love the craft whether you make money or not, never be afraid to create your own work and ultimately remember to live a life full of adventure so you can incorporate the feelings you have into your acting. This is not a career you get into for fame or fortune. This is a career you get into because in your waking moments, all you can do is think of ways you can create something new and influence the world around you.


What have you found most surprising or different than you expected when you first decided to make acting your career?

When I first decided to get into the film industry, I expected to have to move to California right out of college and enter a cutthroat industry where everyone is willing to tear you down in order to succeed. So, what surprised me the most was that the industry came here to New Mexico and provided an opportunity I never thought possible with a community of individuals who stand by one another and support each other to reach the highest level of success as a unit.


What has helped or hindered your dreams?

Perhaps the only hindrance I find is the belief that if I really want to “make it” I need to move to California. The other problematic area is that on bigger budgeted films such as “Independence Day Resurgence” most of the New Mexican actors that were cast didn’t receive any kind of name recognition on the end credits of the film or on IMDb. On both counts it gives the appearance that the actors here are not credible or worthy of being given the opportunity to stand on the same ground as California actors. It has been a long and grueling process for all of us to prove our worth, but slowly I do see that things are beginning to change and very soon I think everyone in the industry will begin to migrate to New Mexico instead of California to flourish in their career.


Having been a part of the local industry for many years now, what can you say about what you’ve seen as it’s grown and what do you think the future holds for New Mexico film?

I have seen everyone embrace the challenge of learning and mastering a craft by educating themselves through training, workshops, internships, books, experience and ultimately joining together to obtain success as a [community] of inspired individuals that have the desire to create.


New Mexico film expert Christa Valdez, of OneHeadlightInk.com and ChristaValdez.com, reports on movies industry news for ABQ Free Press.


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Albuquerque’s definitive alternative newspaper publishing an inquisitive, modern approach to the news and entertainment stories that matter most to New Mexicans. ABQ Free Press’ fresh voice speaks to insightful and involved professionals who care deeply about our community.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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