Orlando native, Jessica Marie Garcia can currently be seen as ‘Willow’ in Disney’s “Liv and Maddie,” opposite Dove Cameron. The show airs on the Disney Channel every Sunday. Jessica has previously been seen as Becky in ABC’s “The Middle”, as Sierra in ABC Family’s “Huge” and Vicky Santos in “County.”
Jessica has an amazing personal story – she was diagnosed as being pre-Diabetic about a year ago and lost over 70 pounds which, in turn, saved her life. Jessica would love to get this story out there as an inspiration to other girls that may be going through something similar.
Jessica currently resides in Los Angeles.
Hi Jessica, tell us about you?
Hey! I was born in Orlando, Florida. My parents are both latin, my dad is Mexican and my mother is Cuban. I have wanted to be an actor my whole life, since I was a little kid putting on plays for my stuffed animals. I went to a high school that had a Visual and Performing Arts magnet program, to start learning about acting and the theatre. I moved to California right out of high school and have been working hard to make it in this industry ever since!
Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?
Hands down, my mother. My mom has been a fighter her whole life. She escaped communist Cuba at 8 years old with my entire family. They had to risk their life in order to fight for a better one. The battle for a better life didn’t stop there for my mother, she recently battled stage 3 breast cancer. She had a very rare type of cancer and she never stopped fighting. She didn’t even miss a day of work during her chemo. She is now cancer free, and I am so proud of her. She is my hero, and I hope to be half the woman she is.
What has it been like to be part of Liv & Maddie cast?
In a nutshell, a dream come true. I have wanted to be on a Disney show, my whole life. I remember growing up watching Lizzie McGuire every week, and daydreaming of one day being a part of that world.
What has been your most memorable experience from the Liv & Maddie set?
It would have to be filming Rate-A-Rooney. Being able to help girls and boys who are being bullied is so rewarding, because I know what that’s like. The fan mail and tweets that I still get from that episode is so surreal, and I will never take for granted that I was a part of helping our viewers get thru hard times.
How did you start on this show?
My agent emailed me with the audition, and I danced around my apartment, because it’s DISNEY! Who doesn’t dream of being on a Disney show?! I was stoked, and I worked really hard on the script and the rest is history!
Tell us about your character Willow?
She is a firecracker! She is a tough cookie, with the biggest heart. She is super athletic and loves being a part of a team. She also has a small crush on Joey Rooney. Ok. Ok. She has the CRAZIEST crush on Joey Rooney! He is her “little man” and she won’t take “no” for an answer, and I love that about her.
How has your life changed after the TV Show?
Well, I’ve had to leave a yogurt store not too long ago, because a bus of middle schoolers mobbed me like I was a Beatle! So that is always strange, but so fun! My life has changed a lot, actually. I feel very blessed to have fans and to be getting more opportunities in my career because of Liv and Maddie. Just very thankful.
What are your other hobbies and interests?
Movies and television are my whole world, so on my off time I like to make my own. I really enjoy writing and directing my own films. I hope to have my own production company one day. Aside from the industry, I really like to make vision boards. I really believe you should focus on the things you want in life or want to achieve. So being able to see a board in your room with all the positive things you want in life is very powerful, and encouraging. I like to go “shopping for my future” in a way. I also love to meditate. It really helps me to calm my mind, relax, and focus on all the positive things.
What do you do in your free time?
I love going to see stand up comedy, sketch comedy shows, and plays. I also enjoy going on hikes,lounging on the beach, theme parks, and going to concerts with my friends.
What do you like to watch on tv?
So much! There are so many wonderful shows right now!
Fresh Off The Boat, Ghost Adventures, American Idol, Game of Thrones (with subtitles, because I never know what’s going on), New Girl.
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
My cell phone, Lipstick ( bold color, my staple) & My healing stones. I have stones (quartz), that support health and positivity.
What music we can find in your iPod?
– Angel Haze
– Stromae (Belgian R&B and rapper)
– Jessie J
– Taylor Swift
– Kelly Clarkson
Any future plans you want to share with us?
I am writing my first short film. I plan on filming this and sending it off to festivals by the end of this year! fingers crossed!
Who you would love to work with?
I want to surround myself with incredibly talented women.
– Meryl Streep
– Cate Blanchett
– Viola Davis
– Tina Fey
– Ava DuVernay
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress and why?
Elizabeth Taylor. She has been my inspiration since I watched Cleopatra when I was 8 years old. She demanded so much respect and attention with her mere presence, and that is incredible. Her acting ability has always captivated me and I would have given anything to have met her.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
I see myself working regularly on a series, or transitioning and working more on films. I know that this business is where I belong, so I look forward to seeing where Hollywood takes me.
Any advice for upcoming actors?
Welcome to the club! I love being an actor, but know that you have to work really hard. You really need to be taking classes, regularly. I compare acting to being an athlete, if you’re not working out everyday, you won’t be at your best. The same with acting, you never stop learning how to be a better actor. I would also recommend any new actor to ask themselves this one question. ‘Would you do this for free?’ I think most people come out to Hollywood to be “famous” or make tons of money, and that is not always a reality. If you wouldn’t act for free, than acting is not for you. Acting has to be something you have to do.
What’s a normal day in your life?
I wake up at about 8am every morning, and workout. I like to do about 30-45 minutes of yoga,pilates, or weights every day. I have been so lucky to be busy, so if I am not working, I typically have interviews, auditions or a really cool gifting suite to go to, so always fun things to do. I am also a voice over actor, so I may have a recording session at some point in the day. (Tune into your radio, you might hear me sell you things!) I also have to squeeze in a rehearsal with my scene partner at least 3 days a week. I have been taking the same scene study class for years now, and I have to rehearse scenes with a partner for that class. But I always end my day talking to my friends. I have a core group of friends, and we do everything together, so we always meet up and talk about our day. We may go to dinner or just all hang out at my place. They are also actors, so we are each other’s biggest fans, and we help to encourage and support each others journeys.
What’s your go-to accessory?
I love accessories! I feel like the right accessory can make or break an outfit. I am obsessed with flash tattoos right now. They are silver and gold temporary tattoos that are just gorgeous. They last for a couple days and just really make any outfit a stand out.
Any other hobbies?
I am a huge sports fan! I love going to professional hockey, basketball, football, and baseball games.
How important is Social Media for you?
I love sharing what I am doing, or just a day that I look good, honestly! (haha) I feel like it is important for a performer to be able to let their fans know when they have shows or movies out. I really enjoy knowing my friends and fans are just a click away.
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “She needed a hero, so that’s what she became.”
Food: Everything! I love cuban food the most! (puerco asado, black beans and rice,yuca con mojo, fried bananas)
Drink: Strawberry and mint infused water. So healthy and refreshing!
City: Boston, Massachusetts
Movie: Lord of the Rings ( trilogy)
Sport Team: Boston Bruins (hockey team)
Song: Something (George Harrison and The Beatles)
Photo credit: Josef Haley