"She is goals!": 'Grand Hotel' star Justina Adorno reveals what it's like to work on an Eva Longoria set
Justina plays the role of Yoli, the black sheep of the extravagant (extended) Mendoza family that owns the hotel.
‘Grand Hotel’ is one of the most anticipated shows from the upcoming slew of ABC shows and it is helmed by new mom and the multi-talented Eva Longoria. Set in the "the last family-owned hotel in multicultural Miami Beach,” ‘Grand Hotel’ has a stellar cast to boast of, including the up-and-coming star Justina Adorno.
The young actress plays the role of Yoli, the black sheep of the extravagant (extended) Mendoza family that owns the hotel and has a pivotal impact on the show. Adorno tells Meaww all about working on the sets of an Eva Longoria project, the funniest behind-the-scenes moments, the impact of the #MeToo movement and her upcoming projects among other things.
Here is an edited transcript of the interview:
How was the experience of shooting on those beautiful sets? How much of it was studio magic?
Shooting the pilot was all real, and now our crew is recreating a lot of those beautiful places from the Fontainebleau so I would say it’s a bit of both. It’s all magic though—you can feel it, and hopefully, the audience will too.
Could you tell us a little bit about your character Yoli and how she will be pertinent to the story? Are there any spoilers you can give us about her character?
No spoilers! But I will say Yoli is very relatable in many ways. She is part of the family that owns the hotel and is kind of the black sheep, but you’ll find out more about her as the story progresses in the season.
Were you able to show off your acting chops to Eva Longoria? As an executive producer, how hands-on was she on this project?
Of course, she saw me in my element. She is such a great director. She really knows how to give a note so that the actor truly understands her direction. Eva is very much involved with this production in more ways than one. She wears many different hats, and I’m so grateful for that. We get to see how multi-talented she is on and off screen. It’s incredible. She is goals!
What is your most favorite aspect of this project? If you could sell it to the audience in three distinct words, what would they be?
Oh my goodness, I think the trailer hit it on the nose with 'Sex, Scandal, and Secrets'. Our show simulates life in the sense that in the darkest moments there is humor to be found as well as mystery and scandal. I love it because you’re always on your toes. I feel like we are a blend of many different genres.
What has your journey into this project been like? Have you taken on the odd jobs – waitressing or hairstyling - that most actors have boasted of doing en route to stardom?
This journey has been a journey! I mean I’ve been wanting this since I was a kid. I moved back to New York right after college, and it took a moment for me to wrap my mind around everything I’ve learned and the sacrifices I needed to make in order to reach my goals. I’ve absolutely been a waitress at many places. Most of them I actually loved working at. But in NY, I only had one waitressing job. I didn’t want to be a waitress in the city unless I loved the restaurant.
So my first job was at Starbucks, and then I worked at a kids-based DIY arts and crafts center. I’ve dog-walked, which changed my life. I was a concierge, which helped me learn the city. I did background work for lots of shows (I totally paid my dues) and commercial work. Every job that I had and everyone that I had met shaped me into the person that I am today. I have learned so much.
How much of a fun cast was this? Could you reveal one of the funniest things that happened on set?
This cast is just stellar. I ask myself often, how did I get so lucky? I think maybe [shooting] the beach scene in the first episode [was the funniest]. We had so much fun that day. I can’t really reveal much, but I’m pretty sure once you see the scene, you can only imagine how much fun was had behind the scenes. It was so hard not to smile and laugh.
What are some of the projects that your fans can look forward to?
Well right now, I’m focused on the 'Grand Hotel'! which everyone needs to watch! But you can find me on Netflix’s 'Seven Seconds', and I should be making a cameo in Jeremy Allen White's new film coming out called 'After Everything'.
What are some of the things you can’t check off from your career bucket list? Actors/ directors you want to work with? Genres or projects you want to explore?
Wow, that’s a loaded question. Of course so many. I’d love to work with Baz Luhrmann, Quentin Tarantino, Ruben Östlund, James Cameron, Elizabeth Wood, Derek Cianfrance, Martin Scorsese, Kate Winslet, Eva Mendez, Leonardo DiCaprio, Dwayne Johnson, Elizabeth Moss, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez—I mean I can’t stop. So many that I need to work with! I really want to work on critically acclaimed projects. I want to dabble in the indie film world! Projects that challenge the audience about their morality are my favorite.
As a young actress in Hollywood, what kind of hope and inspiration does movements like Me Too and Times Up give you?
I’m grateful that I’m walking into a safer environment. I feel supported, and I do trust that our voices are louder than ever. I’m so very proud to be a part of that movement so that no one has to go through it again.
How do you as the future of the industry hope to facilitate the advancement of these movements?
By speaking our truth, honoring justice, and never turning a blind eye from situations. An open conversation without judgment is always key. We are all in this together. One person's hardship is all of ours, and until we start acting as a unit, there will always be a separation. I hope to unite us as much as possible with love and compassion.