Check out our interview with actress Elena Goode who stars in the highly anticipated HBO Max original series “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin” from acclaimed executive producer / writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (“Riverdale” and “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”).
“Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin” begins twenty years ago, when a series of tragic events almost ripped the blue-collar town of Millwood apart. Now, in the present day, a group of disparate teen girls — a brand-new set of Little Liars — find themselves tormented by an unknown Assailant and made to pay for the secret sin their parents committed two decades ago…as well as their own. Goode is known for her work on soap opera “As The World Turns,” the role of Nicole Young, Dr. Dre’s (Corey Hawkins) wife in the Academy Award-nominated film STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, and as ‘Ma’ in the HBO Latino original film ELLIOT LOVES.
Follow Elena @ElenaGoode
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, spirited, adventurous
How did you get started into acting?
I’ve always had an interest in people and their personal stories. This is what attracted me to the theater. When I was young my parents would take me to the theater to see performances by Sweet Honey in the Rock, Alvin Ailey and John Leguizamo. Our faces would hurt so hard from laughing! Thankfully the public schools I attended had theater programs which allowed me to explore my passion, that’s where I began acting.
How has this changed your life?
It’s shaped my life rather than changed it. The Arts opened my eyes to a world outside of myself. It taught me to see the unifying aspects of the human experience.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part is being able to experience someone else’s emotional life. The worst part is sometimes not being able to shake off those emotions.
How do you prepare for a role?
I prepare for a role by daydreaming about the person’s life, if it’s applicable I will do research. I identify with what brings this person joy or pain. I find a way to make it simple and truthful. I commit the lines to memory and then I let my instincts guide me.
Tell us about your work in HBO Max original series “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin?”
Working on the series “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin” has been a thrill! Shooting lasted approximately nine months. It’s been surreal to finally watch the show. It is a joy to join this new chapter, the style of “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin” is relevant and fresh. I look forward to seeing the fans’ reactions!
And about your character “Marjorie?”
Marjorie may be considered a victim or villain depending on your perspective. She struggles with addiction which puts tremendous pressure on her daughter “Noa”, played by the super talented Maia Reficco. Marjorie is tough, vulnerable and persistent, even if she feels all hope is lost.
What other projects have you been part of?
One of my favorite roles was “Nicole” Dr Dre’s wife in “Straight Outta Compton”. I had recently moved to LA so it was an amazing way to experience west coast music and culture. Additionally I played the role of “Ma” in an indie called “Elliot Loves”, a coming of age film about a young boy coming out and his love adventures in NYC.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
Roles that have inspired me are Selma Hayek in “Frida”, Michelle Rodriguez in “Girlfight” and Kate Winslet in “Mare Of Eastwood”. I think it’s important to tell stories about women that are layered, ones that break away from how women have historically been scripted. I would love to play a role that is a villain or a role in the action genre.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my job is getting to work with such talented and fun people! I cherish the friendships I’ve formed over the years with the people that I’ve worked with.
What’s your advice for the newer actors?
The advice I would offer would be to connect with a creative community that inspires and supports you. Read books from artists of all different disciplines for insight. Two of my favorite books are “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, and Rita Moreno’s memoir, both are rich with wisdom and helpful tips.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
To perform for the joy of performing and release the need for approval. Do your best and forget the rest!
What did you learn from your biggest failure?
That failure is an illusion, there are only opportunities to learn from. Some of the biggest challenges I’ve experienced have led to my biggest successes.
The most important thing when you are shooting is?
To forget that I’m shooting. (and yet remember where the camera is)
How would your best friend describe you?
Haha I should ask! I would guess, risk taking, loving, and generous.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
Mmm, “The Journey”. I used to think in terms of achieving goals and arriving at a sense of completion. Now I think in terms of enjoying my path as it unfolds.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
To always play, and have fun making mistakes! Performing is playing, when I catch myself becoming too serious, I stop to remind myself to relax and have fun, just the way kids do.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
“The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks
What’s next for Elena Goode in 2022?
More joy, adventure and peace. I wish to continue to work with inspiring and diverse actors and directors and play interesting characters. I also aim to be of service to causes that are working to create a greener and safer planet.
What is your favorite healthy food?
Cauliflower steak with sofrito. And I’m obsessed with anything from Cafe Gratitude!
And your favorite cheat food?
Donuts, pancakes and fries! Not in that order…
What is your own definition of happiness?
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Krishna Murti, it would be inspiring to meditate with him!
Best advice ever given?
Do it easy ( it meaning life )
Do you support any charity?
I support three: ECPAT, Save A Sato and Heal the Bay. These three organizations bring voice to the voiceless and healing to those in need. ECPAT works to protect every child’s right to grow up free from sexual exploitation and trafficking through legislative advocacy and education. Save A Sato is a non-profit organization dedicated to easing the suffering of Puerto Rico’s homeless and abused animals. Heal The Bay is dedicated to making the coastal waters and watersheds in Greater Los Angeles safe, healthy, and clean.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I see myself spending more time in Puerto Rico, and who knows, playing Marjorie on PLLOS could be a part of my career that far in the future. Pretty Little Liars was on for almost 7 years! I also see myself working on more fun projects and with artists that I love, like Jordan Peele…
Favorite song? Why?
Auganile, Marc Anthony’s live version makes me dance and reminds me of Puerto Rico. And 528HZ Anxiety cleanse by Emiliano Bruguera, the vibration is sooo relaxing.
What do you think of Social Media?
The show “Westworld” sums it up!
Where can we follow you?
Follow me on Instagram:@ElenaGoode
Book: “The Fifth Agreement” by Don Miguel Ruiz
Quote: “You are here just to be, for no reason. You have no mission except to enjoy life, to be happy. The only thing you need is just to be the real you. Be authentic. Be the presence. Be happiness. Be love. Be joy. Be yourself; that’s the main point. That’s wisdom.” ― Don Miguel Ruiz, The Fifth Agreement:
Movie: My Octopus Teacher
Tv Series: “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin,” of course! Or See
Favorite Food: Can’t live without burritos!
Travel Destination: Costa Rica!
Sports Team: I’m more on top of the Olympics lol I love to watch snowboarding! And even better to hit the mountains myself! I also love to watch epic surfers.
Cover Photo Credit: Anouk Morgan
Standing Photo Credit: Susan Bowlus