Angelique Rivera’s Breakout Performance in ‘American Crime’

Angelique Rivera’s Breakout Performance in “American Crime”
Exclusive Interview by Michael Aaron Gallagher of StayFamous.Net

Angelique Rivera

Angelique Rivera. Photo courtesy of Kevin Thomas Photography.

Forget everything you’ve been told about how moving to LA to become a Hollywood star is an impossible dream. Television newcomer Angelique Rivera is proof that it doesn’t always have to be an uphill battle. With the right mix of talent, hard work and determination, achieving the impossible can happen in record time.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Angelique says she moved around a lot growing up, before she eventually settled in Kissimmee, Florida, a town she now considers home. After graduating from the University of Florida in 2014, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. It wasn’t long after her first big callback that she found herself in Austin, Texas taking on the role of Evy in the highly-anticipated second season of ABC’s critically-acclaimed drama American Crime.

Angelique’s inspirational journey as an actress, began as a child. Like many of her friends, she was enrolled in dance. But it wasn’t until she saw her friend perform in the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” that she felt compelled to try acting for herself. She recalls thinking, “If she can do this, I can do this.”

Recognizing Angelique’s newly discovered interest in becoming an actress, her mother enrolled her in community theater. As she gained more experience in high school plays, she says it was her drama teacher who suggested that she consider a career in television and film.

“I didn’t really think anything of it at the time,” Angelique said, “And partly because I was like, ‘There’s no one like me on television or film… There’s not a lot of Hispanic people doing that.”

It was in college, while she was continuing to pursue theater, that she began to fall in love with the process of movie-making, through her participation in student films.

Although she was initially concerned about finding substantive roles, given her ethnicity (Latinos are currently one of the most under-represented minorities on screen in Hollywood), Angelique couldn’t deny her passion to follow her dream, despite the challenges.

Angelique Rivera as Evy in American Crime

Angelique Rivera stars as Evy in “American Crime” on ABC.

In her new role as Evy Dominguez, in the second season of American Crime, Angelique joins a powerhouse cast of new characters (played by returning stars Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, and Regina King) in an all-new storyline.

“It’s a very intense show,” Angelique said. “It deals with sexuality and physicality and there’s a lot of socio-economic issues… there’s so much being covered and touched upon in this season, that I think it’s going to really resonate with a lot of Americans about what real life is like in America.”

Angelique plays a high school student who is central to the unfolding drama. “My character, she is very strong, and she goes to a public school,” she said. “She’s also financially in a really rough spot. There’s just a lot going on for her. And she has to be kind of mature for her age. You see that throughout the season and then you see how my decisions affect the central crime and everything that’s going on…. I’m one of the only witnesses that could give a valid testimony for the crime.”

Angelique Rivera on Instagram.

Angelique Rivera on Instagram.

Angelique explained that her role is very character-driven and physically downplayed. If you take one look at Angelique’s real-life Instagram photos (click here), it’s easy to see the striking transformation that was necessary to downplay her natural beauty in order to project a more understated role.

“I don’t wear any makeup [on the show],” Angelique said. “John [Ridley] told me from the beginning – this character is de-ephasized in look and physicality… My hair is always pulled back and it’s messy and I’m wearing baggy clothes.”

As she talks about her new role, it is easy to sense Angelique’s enthusiam and the gratitude she has for the opportunity she has been given. Throughout the process, she had the chance to work closely with actress Lili Taylor, whom she has a deep respect for both on screen and off.

“Oh my gosh, working with Lili Taylor is just an absolute joy,” Angelique said. “She is just so brilliant at what she does… I go to her and ask her for advice about certain things and she is just like an open book. She has helped me tremendously, find my own voice… acting with her is like a dream.”

As she prepares for the next exciting steps in her acting career that will no doubt follow this role, Angelique shared her hopes for the future.

“I would love to continue to do strong character roles – people that are different from me,” Angelique said. “It opens my eyes so much as an actor, as a person, to step into another person’s shoes and live in their world. That to me is so much fun. And that’s why I do this. You know, I never want to play myself or someone that’s similar to me. Even though maybe one day I’ll have to. But I think the goal is kind of to just stay on this route of playing really deep, complex characters that are different from me and that I can learn from, at the end of the day. Because that’s what I love, when I have a role, that I always take something away from that role, from living in those shoes for months. I love to take something away for Angelique to have forever. And to learn from whatever I discovered throughout that process of creating this character.”

American Crime airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. You can follow Angelique on Twitter @angeliqueivette and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/angelique.i.rivera/

Angelique Rivera’s Breakout Performance in “American Crime”
Copyright 2016 by Michael Aaron Gallagher
Photography courtesy of True Public Relations and ABC Television

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