It’s usually cliché when an actress says, “But what I really want to do is direct.” In the case of Rose Hernandez, the sentiment is a heartfelt understatement. The Sacramento-based actress has been acting since high school. Her work at Univision 19, the Sacramento affiliate for the Spanish-language television network, gave her extensive experience in technical production and producing. Hernandez recently wrapped filming on You, a love story about a flesh-eating alien, that’s headed to the Sundance Film Festival in January. The 30-year-old mother of two says she’s glad to be making Hollywood inroads, but the real goal is to bring it back home.
When did you start acting?
I’ve always been into the arts and hip-hop dancing and pageants, but then I started [studying] drama and wanted to pursue it. I was 17 and [signed] with an agency here in Sacramento and got some work. Then I moved in with my boyfriend and we started working, so [acting] became hard to do.
Are you from Sacramento?
I was born in Miami, but moved here as a teenager. I went to Del Campo High School and then started working full-time and ended up finishing high school through home study. I met my husband when we were in high school, and he was in living in Los Angeles and moved up here—then his mom passed away, and we moved in together. We both joined the military after high school, and I wanted to stay in the field of acting, so I completed a certificate for television production. We both served for three years and had our daughter and moved back to Sacramento in 2003, and I started working at Univision.
What did you do at Univision?
I worked in engineering and then as a technician, behind the scenes. Working there really helped me tap into the film industry in Sacramento. I got into production. Then I started getting into acting again and signed with an agency and left Univision because I started getting work. It was like, “Maybe it’s time to let go and focus on this.” So this is all I’ve been doing since June, working as an actress.
Do you still have an interest in doing both?
With the acting, I have an interest of being all these different characters, of doing things I wouldn’t normally do in my life, with my family. But it’s frustrating, having production experience, to see how things are run—I can’t help myself. When you’re part of a production, you want it all to be the best it can be. I start out coming into a [production] as an actor then end up co-producing or managing or taking care of an area that’s not being taken care of. My strengths are in management; I just want things to turn out well.
What is You about?
It’s about a vampire—or, really, a creature—that starts to blend in with humans. There was this accident and [my character’s] family takes her home, but then she’s different. She can’t eat what other humans eat—she actually feeds on humans for survival. It’s actually a love story … and it was awesome.
This was really my first time working on a Screen Actors Guild film. It was a personal test for me—so different than just doing commercials. I told myself, if I pull this off, I’m going to push this forward and continue.
You’re also a coach at a youth acting camp?
I have a 9-year-old daughter who is interested in acting, but a lot of acting camps are really expensive, so it can’t be an ongoing thing. I was taking acting classes at [local acting studio] Back2One and saw that the facilities there weren’t being used during the day. That was in May, and we kicked off the camp in June. We had 20 kids, and it was so exciting. Some kids had experience, but many were shy—and they all came out of it acting. At the end of the camp, they shot a film and had their parents come out and watch it.
Did your daughter attend the acting camp?
Yes, [but] Trinity is quite different—she’s into science and math. But after the camp she loved [acting], and now when someone calls, needing a little girl for a commercial, she’s like, “I’ll do it!” She’s interested in acting for the moment, but I’m not going to push her. I’ll allow her to do it as much as she wants, but she’s really interested in becoming a scientist.
What’s next? Any plans to move to Los Angeles?
I’m working with a director out of Sacramento who’s getting funded to do a film in New Mexico, and then I’m working on a film with Bryan Martin from Back2One; it’s a horror story. I see a lot of potential in Sacramento—there are so many people here interested in being part of a crew or acting and producing … I have a goal to get more film money coming to Sacramento, so there are more opportunities here. Even if I did move to L.A. at some point, the goal would be to get the experience and then bring it back home.