Ana Maria in Novela Land could be thought of as Lost in Austen meets the telenovela. A woman becomes a part of her favorite telenovela and realizes more about herself in the process. Edy Ganem plays the lead roles of the telenovela fan, Ana Maria, and the show’s star character Ariana Tomosa, and I was excited to be able to learn more about the roles from her. In an email interview, she explains more about the film, her opinions on the rise of the telenovela in American pop culture, and her favorite telenovela.

Ana Maria in Novela Land is now available on VOD. 

How did you get started in acting?

I just decided to move to LA and give it a shot. I had no prior experience or training and I also didn’t know anyone here so it was a bit of a slow start. I got my headshots and started out by getting some small auditions on my own. I also took scene study and audition technique classes every week and I kept networking and learning more about the industry to make sure I was taking the necessary steps to move forward with my career. It really
makes a difference once you finally start working with a good agent or manager.

What drew you to Ana Maria in Novela Land?

Several things:

I knew about Georgina Garcia’s work so I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with her. Also, I though the script was original and very cute and funny and it actually proved to be even funnier once we started shooting because the chemistry of the cast was amazing. Finally, I was being offered to play not one, but two lead roles! They were two different types of characters and I had never played something like either one of them before so that really sealed the deal for me. I am always looking to try new and different things.

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How would you describe your characters Ana Maria and Ariana?

The thing is that at first glance we think they are very different but it turns out Ana Maria and Ariana have a lot in common. Yes, they are different in the sense that Ana Maria is always getting fired from her jobs, arguing with her mom and acting a bit immature and almost child-like and Ariana appears to be very confident and have everything under control but in reality they are both trying to discover who they really are and what they want from life. It’s really funny to see them go though this process of self-discovery when they find themselves in a “different world.”

What was it like working with the cast?

So much fun! I didn’t know who had been cast for the other roles until I showed up to shoot. I had been out of town filming Devious Maids and came back to LA to start working on Ana Maria one week later so I knew very little. I think that would have been a big draw for me to join this project, had I known beforehand. I just got lucky I guess. I got to share very special moments with great actors Luis Guzman, Elizabeth Peña, Michael Steger, and really the entire cast. Everyone was very friendly and happy to be a part of the team.

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What do you think viewers will love about the movie?

That it will make them laugh no matter who the watch it with; their significant other, children, grandparents, parents, dog, etc. It will be a good time for everyone and it’s got a message so it’s a win win.

Telenovelas are becoming extremely popular in American television. What do you think about telenovelas’ crossover appeal?

I think for the most part most telenovelas deal with family and the importance of true love. Those are are very simple but universal themes. I think that American television had been focusing a lot on friends, school, careers, superpowers, etc and now it is wanting to go back to the simple but very meaningful basics and it is happening via this new telenovlela influence. I personally think it’s great and I can definitely see the appeal. I mean, I grew up with these stories and I think we all have that romantic side of us that enjoys watching a good love story that’s got to go though lots of hardships to finally prevail.

Do you have any favorite telenovelas?

Yes, there was this Brazilian telenovela called O’Clone which I watched when I was younger and my entire family and I were highly obsessed.

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