The Heroine’s Journey of Gilda Mercado

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

Two things come to mind. I love submerging myself in the character, and I also love collaborating with extraordinary artists. My profession allows me to learn about the world, about humanity, and about myself which is pretty cool. When I’m acting, performing, or creating something, I feel that I’m a part of something bigger than myself.

What is my idea of happiness?

My idea of happiness is doing the things I love the most with the people I love and admire. It’s finding balance in life, fulfilling my purpose, and continuing to grow as an actress and human being. I want to create and act till the day I die.

What is my greatest fear?

Failure and mediocrity. I’m not afraid to make mistakes. I associate failure with not fulfilling my goals, dreams, objectives, and purpose in life. It’s being stuck and not
growing, and, worse, being average or boring, not having any impact on others. I’ve been thinking about this constantly during the pandemic. I guess what I fear the most is not leaving behind a legacy.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

Recently, I’ve been dealing with envy. That’s something I dislike about myself. I didn’t used to be envious, but, in this industry today, it’s hard not to compare yourself with other actors and their journeys, especially with social media around. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a race. However, the root of envy is lack of confidence. That’s something I’m working on- having patience and believing in myself and my journey.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

I admire people who are bold and fearless, who take risks, who create something of substance and truth, who mirror life, who disrupt and cause people to question themselves and their reality. Some artists and creators that come to mind include Akram Khan, Gary Oldman, Viggo Mortensen, Joaquin Phoenix, Glen Close, Steve McQueen, Denis Villeneuve, and Andy Serkis.

What is my greatest extravagance?

I sometimes order food on the weekend – either Japanese or Chinese – and watch films all day in bed. It might sound boring and mundane, but I rarely have time to do it, so it’s very special to me.

On what occasion would I lie?

I try not to lie, and I do my best to be as honest as possible. I only lie when I’m embarrassed about something I don’t want people to know about me. However, you do yourself and others a great disservice by lying, which is why I always prefer to tell and hear the truth.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

I dislike the business side and political side of the industry. I enjoy building a character, creating and collaborating with fellow artists, but I dislike the commercial side of things. Sometimes it seems your ability to work as an actor is determined by variables that have little to do with your ability to create and play a character and more so about your popularity, who you know, your looks, or how many followers you have. It’s such a shame.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

Every time I’m on stage or at rehearsal. The space between action and cut. The moment when I discover something and surprise myself and my fellow actors. When I’m creating. When I’m lost in a scene, in the moment. When I’m in sync with the other actors and the director. I’ve experienced this several times. The ones that stand out the most are when I performed “As You Like It” and “Tis Pity She’s a Whore” at Shakespeare’s Globe.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

To be more patient and relaxed, to be more fluid and flexible, to be more present in my everyday life, as well as more confident in who I am and what I have to offer.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

Creating new work. Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to create two shows: “Blue” and “Ella y Yo.” Two of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I’d never created something by myself from the ground up. However, I’m extremely proud of both shows.

Where would I most like to live?

I would love to live in both New York City and in London. I’ve actually lived in both cities. Both are huge and overwhelming. When I’m there, I feel like I’m at risk of being devoured – and I love that. I love the fast pace. In both places, I feel an electricity coursing through my veins. Everything is possible. I’m a part of a bigger organism. I love that feeling.

What is my most treasured possession?

That’s a difficult question to answer. On one hand, I would have to say my friends and family. On another, I would have to say my memories and creativity. My life and success would be impossible without these things.

What is my most marked characteristic?

My imagination, curiosity, and discipline. I like to dream about life, discover, and search for the truth. However, at the same time, I’m someone who likes to grow and achieve goals. It’s this side of me that helps me ground my dreams and go for them.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

I currently live in Mexico City, where there are many beautiful and inspirational places. However, I feel most at peace, creative, and imaginative when I’m in nature, especially in my garden. I have a wonderful garden with plants, trees, and flowers. The jasmines and gardenias are currently in bloom. They fill my garden with a delicious scent in the mornings. During the afternoons, lying in my garden greatly inspires me.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Mexico City has an extraordinary gastronomy. It’s one of the best cities in the world for food. You can find cuisine from all over the globe! Oddly enough, I am obsessed with Japanese and Chinese cuisine – actually, food from the entire continent of Asia. Some of our best Asian restaurants are Hunan (Chinese), Suntory (Japanese), and Fuji (Japanese). Other places where I love to eat are Meson del Toreo (Mexican), El Correo Español (Spanish Food) and Ojo de Agua and Giornale (Breakfast)

What books influenced my life and how?

Moreso than books, fairytales, mythology, and fantasy novels have had a huge impact on how I view and process life. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been intrigued by magic, creatures, and what those stories can teach us. They are complex, a mirror to culture, time, and different ways of thinking. If I had to choose a couple books, they would be the following: J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” Shakespeare’s Complete Works.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

Lorenna Mckennitt, Jeff Buckley, The Weekend, Rihanna and Sabrina Claudio.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Aragorn from “The Lord of the Rings”, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Juliet from “Romeo and Juliet”.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

I don’t have heroes so much as people I highly admire. I really admire Jessica Chastain, for example. I admire the type of actress she is, the risks she constantly takes, how she’s navigated her career. Besides being a bold and talented actress, she produces projects of great depth and complexity that are not only engaging to watch but that also make you reflect about your own life. Freddy Mercury is another artist I admire. He was unapologetic and authentic to himself regardless of the circumstances.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

The trilogy of “The Lord of the Rings,” directed by Peter Jackson. I see it at least once a year. The films feature great performances and beautiful cinematography. They are also full of depth, adventure, and complex characters.

What role play stories in my life and work?

Storytelling is my life’s work. It’s what makes me happy. There is nothing as impactful or exciting as storytelling. It is how we learn, experience, and understand both life and ourselves. I find the concept of putting a group of strangers together in a room with the shared goal of telling a story that will entertain and hopefully make an impact pretty incredible.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?

You are the architect of your own life. You are in charge of your own narrative. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the stories you tell yourself. If you don’t like your story, then change it.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My mother, my father, and two of my best friends. They are always supporting me and encouraging me to be better.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2022?

There are so many companies and people I want to work with. Here are some of them: The National Theater, Shakespeare’s Globe, The Public Theater, Polly Bennett, John Logan, Baz Luhrman, Akram Khan, Steve McQueen, Sam Levinson, Denis Villeneuve, David Lowery, and the list goes on and on.

What project, in 2022, am I looking forward to work on?

I’m really excited to be collaborating with The Blind Cupid Shakespeare Company on several new projects for their upcoming season next year.

Where can you see me or my work in 2022?

Fall 2021 to Spring 2022, you can see “Ella y Yo” at United Solo Screen, a revolutionary new platform for artists to broadcast their performances worldwide. “Ella y Yo” is a bilingual piece that combines text, imagery, music, and movement to illustrate the struggle of finding oneself. It follows a woman’s journey to healing and acceptance, as she learns to embrace all the parts that make her a complex human being. This solo work explores the questions and thoughts that every human – particularly women – can identify with.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

I think Jack London expresses it best. “I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

Which creative professionals should Peter invite to tell their story?

Dorothea Gloria, Sofia Magdalena, Giulia Rose, Amanda Erixon, Alice Lussiana Parente.

How can you contact me?
Instagram: @gildamarianamer

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