George Lopez’s daughter is all grown up! Masiela Lusha, who starred as Carmen on the ABC series George Lopez for five seasons, started a production company and is now an accomplished author of poetry and children’s books. She also plays “a young mother for the first time” in the film Fatal Instincts.
Celebrity Teen Scoop chatted with Masiela about how the George Lopez cast “felt like a second family” to her, why she “was never part of the Hollywood scene,” and her most memorable experience portraying Carmen Lopez. She also opened up about why she considers writing her “sanctuary.”
CTS: You played the rebellious daughter Carmen Lopez in the series George Lopez – what was it like to work with the rest of the cast? Do you still keep in contact with George?
Masiela: “We’ve shared such an important part of our lives together. The cast felt like a second family to me, and I will always feel a sense of attachment to our history as actors and characters. Always.”
CTS: How did you keep yourself grounded while growing up on TV? Were you part of the Hollywood party scene?
Masiela: “I feel fortunate to have had my mother stand by my side throughout all my experiences in the industry. Not only did my mother keep me grounded, but also she helped preserve my life dream by reminding me on a regular basis that my goal was bigger than myself and bigger than my current experiences on set. It was also essential for me to keep a strong and reliable group of friends around me at all times– an authentic group who knew me better than I knew myself and who kept my feet firmly planted on the ground.
If the Hollywood party scene consists of clubbing every weekend, and perhaps during the week, then no, I was never part of the Hollywood scene. It was a world away from my priorities and dreams. For me, Hollywood is an industry, not a lifestyle.”
CTS: What was it like being the only non-Latino on an all-Latino cast?
Masiela: “My most memorable experience portraying Carmen was when a South African fan of the series approached me and revealed that Carmen being bullied impacted her greatly, because she had endured bullying in school. This brave girl admitted that Carmen’s situation helped her through her own predicament, and the series offered her a sense of empowerment and peace. I cannot imagine a greater validation for any actor. That is why we are blessed with the opportunity to perform…our responsibility is to impact society in our own little way, to reflect and showcase all the vibrant facets of our humanity. If we can help heal the fractures in the process, then our mission is truly fulfilled.
Because the George Lopez show was such a brilliantly written series, I never felt constricted by the fact that Carmen was of a different nationality. She had a beating heart to me; she was an amalgamation of my dearest friends from different nationalities. Furthermore, she was such a brilliantly rounded character. I heartily believe, as I have personally experienced, that Carmen was and will remain universal in her strengths and vulnerabilities.”
CTS: Did you ever experience having to avoid the casting couch?
Masiela: “If any actor has to experience even the threat of a casting couch scenario, then that production is not worthy of a Hollywood affiliation. Thankfully, the utmost professional cast and crew surrounded me. They were individuals who thrived on the art of Hollywood and creative geniuses who did not trivialize its craft.”
CTS: There have been so many child stars who fall apart by using drugs – what advice can you give current young actors at the moment to avoid the pitfalls?
Masiela: “It is heartbreaking to witness kind-hearted and incredibly talented souls feel tormented by private demons, individuals who literally feel weighed down by the sheer power and brilliance of their craft. It would be impossible to confine their heartache into a practical rule book of advice for anyone, as each situation is different. I would much rather share what I have come to learn. In my experience in the industry, I have learned that Hollywood, true Hollywood – that Magic-Making Machine – is not a lifestyle, but an industry. I have come to learn that one ought to pursue Hollywood as one would pursue a career in any field- with resistless dedication, unapologetic persistence, unquenchable passion to reach one’s potential, and unaffected work ethic. Do not apologize for a dream, and do not validate someone else’s insecurities by giving up on that dream.”
CTS: You also started a production company – what made you decide on starting it?
Masiela: “I love all elements of storytelling – the script, the cinematography, the soundtrack, and the actors. Starting a production company was my way of exploring all of the facets of production. I loved being involved and articulating a dream in more ways than one.”
CTS: How did you become an accomplished author of poetry and children books? Did you have to seek a literary agent?
Masiela: “Growing up, it was a natural development for me. I come from a line of poets who appreciate the figurative elements of the written word, who find art in all practical elements of life. For Boopity Boop Writes Her First Poem, the publisher directly approached me about collaborating on a book series. The illustrations, the editing, and holding the physical copy of the book is an experience I will never forget. I have written over 200 poems that no one has yet to see, and I am also on my second novel, The Journals of Olympia Pole. I love to write for the sheer value of writing. I absolutely love keeping that other artery of creativity open. It is my sanctuary.”
CTS: You’ve lived in many countries. Do you have a favorite residence?
Masiela: “Choosing a favorite country would be impossible! Each country holds a little dream of mine, a little bit of growth, learning, and evolution.”
CTS: Congrats on your engagement. Can you share how he proposed? How did you two meet?
Masiela: “Thank you! Ramzi and I share the same group of friends, and it was only natural that we should meet. He is an incredibly caring, reliable, and affectionate friend, and everyone absolutely adores him. He is a true gentleman.
While I would love to share the details of our proposal, the experience was so intimate and perfectly tailored to our personal growth as a couple, that it would be impossible to relay back all of its sentimental detail. However, I will give you a clue–I had two hours to get ready for a surprise trip!”
CTS: Can you share any upcoming projects you’re working on?
Masiela: “Fatal Instinct is a film I cannot wait to see released, because the entire cast is absolutely brilliant! Our director, Luciano Saber, truly carried this production. I play a young mother for the first time, and my character is so brilliantly crafted, that her depth is unreachable. She is torn by conflicting ideologies and vulnerabilities. I am also involved in The Weight of Life, which follows my character as she rationalizes and fulfills a lost dream. I am also excited to launch into my newest film, Branded, which is a literary experience of inescapable human tragedy that I would compare to Dante’s The Divine Comedy. I am so thrilled to gain even more experience from these productions! Their depth and meaning is the reason I strive to work in the industry.”