Mia Xitlali is an actress, known for her roles in Max (2015), Selling Rosario (2014) and Flight (2015). Mia recently played the character Carmen in the movie Max that focuses on a dog that helped US Marines in Afghanistan. The movie follows Max on his adventures as he returns to the U.S. and is adopted by a family after suffering a traumatic experience. Mia talked to Latinitas about her experience on the movie set.
Latinitas: Where are you from?
Mia Xitlali: I am from Los Angele,s but I have Mexican roots on my mom side, she is from Guadalajara, Jalisco; and my dad is from El Paso, TX
L: What does Xitlali, means?
M: It means star in Nahuatl, which is a native language in Mexico.
L: Do you speak both English and Spanish well?
M: I speak better in English… Necesito practicar (I need to practice Spanish), but I am working on it.
L: When did you first know you wanted to become an actress?
M: I started acting since I was 7 years old. I started with small performances in plays. Because my family members were also involved, I decided that I wanted to follow my parents’ foot steps. I knew that I wanted to become an actress when I did my first play called South Pacific. I realized that the way I felt at that moment I just wanted to keep feeling it. It is the best feeling so far.
Did you have the opportunity to study acting or did it just come naturally?
M: My entire family is made up of performers. They are musicians and dancers. So, I just follow them. I learned it from both of my parent and also my tias, tios and cousins.
L: Which actress or actor would you like to work with in the future?
M: An actress who I would like to work with is Meryl Streep. She has been working constantly. She is always changing her style of acting and she is super good on what she does. I just want to be able to get awesome roles that she has had the opportunity to play in movies.
M: I am actually a dog whisper in real life. I mean I was also in the movie, but those scenes that I did with MAX where natural. I have conversations with dogs and they actually understand me. I play games with them and give them directions and they just follow them.
L: What is the best part of being an actress?
M: The best part is that I enjoy what I do. I love this amazing feeling and the rush. I like knowing people and getting new experiences. I learn every day and it is just a great thing that I enjoy.
L: What is the scariest part of an audition?
M: It is not knowing what they are looking for.
L: Was was it like auditioning for the MAX movie?
M: On the MAX movie, I had to wait almost a month. I thought that I didn’t get the part. I thought I had to move on to the next casting call. After all that time of waiting they called me and got the part. It was pretty exciting.
L: What did you learn about playing Carmen in MAX movie?
M: She had a very though life and see was kick-off out of her dad’s house for getting a tattoo and at such as young age… I mean she was 14 years-old and to go through all of that she was brave and knew a new family that supported her.
L: Do you think that this movie is going to touch the hearts of those families who have a relative who are in the army?
M: I think yes. I recently saw that military families have the same situations as the ones that are shown on the screen. Some of them were crying or very emotional. MAX is a great movie. I think that it does have the power to touch people’s hearts and not just the ones that have a relative in this situation, but also many kinds of people.
L: Is the movie base on a true story?
M: It is based on a true story, actually it is a book. It did happen some time in the past, and it is about this dog hero.
L: Did you enjoy acting with a dog?
M: I did enjoy acting with him. He is just an awesome animal and beautiful. It was interesting because he was a very good actor, and I had so much fun being with him. His name is Carlos and he would follow me everywhere. It was so funny.
L: How do you feel that more Latinas are gaining roles in the Unites States?
M: I am very excited that I could actually be one of those Latinas that can make a change. I don’t know where I could be right now if I didn’t land this opportunity. I mean I am in the perfect time when I am 100% Latina and we need to take advantage of these kind of opportunities.
L: Did you gain more experience from you past work through now?
M: Yes, I have. I did the first film Selling Rosario, which was a short film and I did good on that one and I got the role on MAX movie right after that one. I had to learn very quickly and change the way I usually am to what the character is.
L: Can you share some advice for young aspiring actresses?
M: I just have to say to follow your dreams and if you know that you have support you can make it. If this is something that you really want to do, follow it and go through it 100% if you want to be successful and take it with courage.