As well as being a tour de force in telenovelas, Mexican-based actress Ana Layevska has made inroads in Hollywood. Debashine Thangevelo spoke to this vivacious talent when she was in the country recently, to find out about her latest undertaking as the heroine in Labour of Love.
WITH those gorgeous blonde locks and her sparkly eyes complementing that effervescent personality, it is easy to understand why Ukranian-born actress Ana Layevska was cast to play Ignacia Santamaría in Labour of Love. She really stands out – in a good way.
What’s more appealing is her down-to-earth disposition – she doesn’t subscribe to those starlet delusions of celebrity.
And this despite her Holly- wood exploits in The Time of the Butterflies (with Salma Hayek), Disney’s Tired of Kissing Frogs, Road to Fame, The Fighter and Heights Dweller.
The synopsis of Labour of Love reads like a Mills & Boon romance. It centres on Ignacia, who gets cold feet about marrying her long-time architect boyfriend Tomás Villamayor (Fabián Rios) when she meets Pedro Pérez (José Luis Reséndez), who is a far cry from her social circles.
Of the premise, she points out, “It happens in real life too.”
Funnily enough, this is the third time she is working with both her male co-stars.
Layevska smiles, “Fabián is very intense and focused. We never had any romantic relationship on screen before, though. In the series, we have been in a 10-year relationship. But both of them use each other. Their relationship was routine.
“Then Ignacia realises that she never actually knew him… He has a drinking problem and starts to lie and become aggressive with her. She decides to take some time off and then she meets Pedro.”
She shares, “We worked together three times too. One of the first roles José had was with me many years ago. Off screen Fabián is the funniest guy. He just jokes all the time.”
Not wanting to delve too much into her co-stars as “actors are very sensitive”, we push on with talk about her character.
“She is a hard-working woman. And Ignacia is a really good engineer. She dedicated her entire life to her career. But she never had a father. She has been manipulated by her mother her whole life. And when she falls in love with Pedro, she finds her real essence.”
As with any love triangle, more twists spice up the drama. In this one, it is Mireya, Pedro’s girlfriend, who works hard to keep him from straying.
Layevska hints, “A few years ago, she (Mireva) lost her legs in an accident… apparently.”
Of her roles to date, the actress, who revels in historical projects, says her most challenging was playing 12 characters in El Fantasma de Elena (“Elena’s Ghost”).
She laughs, “I played a man, an old lady. The character was crazy – she had multiple personalities. Plus she was on the run from people looking for her because she burned down a house with 40 people in it.”
These days, however, she is gravitating towards playing “common people”.
Layevska expands, “I think that is the hardest thing for an actor. I had the opportunity to play explosive, intense characters. Now I want to play a real person – minus the exuberance.”
Given her Hollywood credits, she offers, “I think chances in Hollywood are completely up to luck. But if you get exposure in other countries, you might have a chance too.
“A few years ago at the Oscars, mostly foreign actors won awards, like Javier Bardem.”
She adds, “I believe in talent. Talent usually leads to good opportunities. If you are American, it is easier obviously.”
Fortunately, Layevska’s labour of love (pun unintended) for her profession has worked in her favour.
• Labour of Love airs on Telemundo (DStv Channel 118) weekdays at 6pm.