8 Things With ‘Dexter’’s Aimee Garcia
Featured in Bello Mag #47 June 2013 Summer Fashion Issue.
Aimee Garcia, in her own words, is “livin’ the dream”. Her dream. The actress’ journey from finance worker to a pivotal part in the final season of Showtime’s hit ‘Dexter’, proves that when things are meant to be, life has its ways of making it happen.
You went to North Western University. How’d acting come about?
I started dancing as a kid. I probably took my first ballet class when I was three years old. And then I had my first professional performance when I was about seven or eight, as a dancer. They needed a dancer for a commercial, so I went in and tried out and got it. One thing led to another. I got into theater classes when I was about 13 and kept working in theater during my high school days in Chicago. I ended up going to Northwestern University for Economics, Journalism, and French, but I was still working as an actor around Chicago while still a student. When I graduated, I worked in finance for about a year. It was then that I decided that I actually loved acting, and so I went back to it. In a way, it was more of a return to what I did as a child, rather than a big switch.
How was that year of working in finance?
When I think back on that year, I think of the energy of New York and how all you have to do is get onto a subway to hear the sounds of a violin, or African music, or see dances. There’s art all over. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had. Even though I didn’t have a dime to my name, t a lone for rent.
How’s your experience been working on ‘Dexter’? You come in at such a crucial time in his life.
I really feel like they’ve welcomed me with open arms. Lauren Velez, the first day I was shooting, gave me a great big hug and said welcome to the family. So, I have to say, I felt so welcome, and everyone was just so good. It’s an environment that is really hard to not do your best work in. It’s such an environment of professionalism and artistry and every actor is trained and a lot of them are from New York. Michael C. Hall graduated from NYU’s graduate program. On ‘Dexter’, you’re really working with real actors. And they really bring that kind of expertise and professionalism to the show. It’s like playing tennis. If you’re playing tennis with someone who’s better than you, you usually catch up, and then it’s much more fun of a game. I can only imagine after eight years, the bond they’ve built. I’ve been there only for the past three, and it’s great. I totally could’ve been that awkward new kid. But it wasn’t the case.
￼Did you know the gig was a longterm deal, or was your character’s stay a shock to you as it was to viewers?
I was only supposed to be on for a year. So, I was sure I was going to get it at some point. My boss is a serial killer, so I thought it would only [be] a matter of time before my head was on the chopping board. It ended up not being the case. Jamie ended up being instrumental in the nuclear family that is ‘Dexter’. She essentially became a mother figure for Harrison, and the closest thing Dexter has to a wife. Without her running the show at home, he can’t go out and do his hobby. I don’t know when the decision was made to kill her off, but I was ecstatic when they asked me back for the next year. And then when they made me a regular for the last season, it was a dream come true.
The show’s known for its twists and turns? Regarding this upcoming season, what can you say?
The writers are so good that even after eight years they still throw curveballs at you. Even for someone who’s behind the scenes. I’m there every week at the table reads. I get the scripts, and it never fails, I’m always saying “OMG. I can’t believe they did that!” “How do you guys come up with this? How do you guys come up with all these curveballs?”
Do you miss your finance days at all?
Oh, God, no [laughs]. I miss New York. I haven’t been for a while. New York’s always nicer when other people are paying for it. But, I love what I do so much. I get to go to work and just play opposite someone like Michael who has done Broadway, who was been on ‘Six Feet Under’, and brought that character to life and has now brought this character [Dexter] to life. I get to work on a network that is taking home Best Drama Emmys. And I get to play a role that gets to represent and educate the all American girl, which I am so grateful for. I did go to college. I have three degrees from Northwestern, and it’s nice to be able to play a grad student, who is all American and just happens to be Latina I also get to shoot in LA. It’s really nice to not have to fly out and pick up my entire life. I’m kind of living the dream over here, and I can’t believe we’re almost finished. So, no, I definitely don’t miss living in the closet, in the ghetto of Brooklyn. I love the city. I miss the city, but I definitely don’t miss that.
Was Finance at all what you expected it to be?
There’s a lot more predictability, I feel, in finance. You know what you’re getting. It’s a 95 job; I knew what I was getting paid, which was nothing. I didn’t bring work home with me. I feel like with what I do now, you digest it. I just did a film in Toronto, and I lived there for four months. I was playing a dentist, so I went and visited my friend who’s a scientist in her lab. Read a bunch of books. Did so much research. What I do is sort of all consuming. At least that’s how I approach the craft of acting is. But any freelancer will tell you. Know how to invest your money, and know how to make one month’s worth to last five months. Regardless of whether you’re a freelance writer or consultant, whatever your field is. That has come to be very useful because it’s important to know how to save and invest, and I learned all of that in school and in my year of working in New York.
You’re a Gold player. How’d that come about?
One name: George Lopez. He literally gave me a golf club and asked me to hit a ball. I had never hit a golf ball in my life. That’s kind of where it started. I was sort of thrown into it, and ever since then, probably like four years ago, I still really love the game. It’s a good way to get my mind off of work. I see it as very therapeutic, meditative, and it’s really nice to be out in nature. Golf helps me do that.
Photography Aleksandar Tomovic
Styling Tess Callner
Hair and makeup- Mathias Alan
Production Leslie Alejandro
Interview Dio Anthony
Location Venice California
This fashion story from Bello Mag Issue #47 with Aimee Garcia is available to purchase worldwide on iTunes Newsstand for iPad and iPhone.