The Cuban American actress is our May CHICA cover star.

Por Natalia de Ory
Abril 14, 2021
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Although Otmara Marrero's career may not have taken the traditional route, the Miami native, 32, has relished every opportunity along the way. Dancing was her first passion, but after a stint as a professional cheerleader she realized she needed a new direction. Five years — and several acclaimed performances in films and series — later, she's poised to become the next Latina breakout star. She spoke to People CHICA about her journey.

Cuban American Actress Otmara Marrero.
Cuban American Actress Otmara Marrero.
| Credit: Courtesy

How did you got into acting, because you started out your career as a dancer, right?

I did ballet for about 16 years. I was really shy back in the day, so dance was a way to express myself but not have to really use my voice. When I graduated high school, I auditioned for the Miami Heat [dancers] but I didn't make the team. The coach referred me to the Florida Marlins and I ended up making the squad and loved the team. There was a short stint of me dating a baseball player that opened my eyes to everything I was suppressing and the blocks that I was putting between myself and my dreams. Ironically, he really gave me the push that I needed to get out of a toxic relationship and chase my dreams.

Did you find it difficult to break into the industry?

My friend Camillo was studying theater in college and hooked me up with a bunch of books. Big shout out to him, because he really introduced me to the world of acting and said 'This is what you need to do, get to work'. I started booking commercials and met a casting director in Miami who mentored me and then introduced me to my agent; thanks to him I'm where I'm at because he really took a shot. I moved to LA in 2015 and booked my second audition, which was the lead of a show called StartUp. There's a lot of 'when luck meets preparation' for me; the work is everything but you gotta be a little lucky.

How was the experience of filming the show Connecting…, which is about a pandemic, during the actual pandemic?

When I first read it, I remember thinking 'Are people going to be offended?' But I decided to audition and I'm honestly glad that I took a chance because I got to meet these incredible creators. We shot it remotely from home, which was absolutely insane! I had a whole crew's worth of equipment in my house; I was setting up the camera, pulling focus and doing my own hair and makeup. It was a show that allowed people to laugh a little at the things we did early [in the pandemic], like run to the grocery store and buy all the toilet paper, and say 'Look how far we've made it'.

Cuban American Actress Otmara Marrero
Cuban American Actress Otmara Marrero
| Credit: Courtesy

As a young Latina in Hollywood, what kind of roles do you want to see more of?

For me being a young Latin woman in this business is very important because each one of us breaks down a different door. Just being here is a door that opens to somebody else that's coming up behind me. I don't want roles that are just tropes and stereotypes. It's important that a girl who looks like me can see herself as the lead in a rom-com.

What's the one thing you're most looking forward to doing post pandemic?

Going to a movie theater. I love a good movie and popcorn; I miss that.

For more with Otmara, look for the May issue of People en Español, on stands now.