In Her Own Words: Actress Carolina Moreno on Culture, Art, and Ambition


July 10, 2024

Kacey Perez

A hispanic woman facing the camea with her hair sleeked down behind her shoulders standing in front of a white wall wearing a white suit jacket.
Actress Carolina Moreno. Photography by jSquared Photography.

Describing Carolina Moreno as simply an actress and dancer hardly captures her full impact. The star of Apple TV’s “Acapulco” goes beyond performance, reimagining the very essence of storytelling through her art. From her early days in the vibrant streets of Mexicali, Baja California, to her academic pursuits at Sorbonne University and Loyola Marymount University, Carolina’s journey is a reflection of dedication and passion. Recognized for her role in the Sundance-acclaimed short film “The Barriers” and her dynamic performances on prestigious stages in Paris, Los Angeles, and New York, she continues to captivate audiences with her versatility and depth in the world of performing.

In our interview with Moreno, she opens up about the cultural influences that shaped her artistic foundation, her experiences in theater and film, and how her dance background enhances her acting. She shares her reflections on balancing her cultural roots with a global career and offers advice to aspiring artists. This interview offers a look into the mind and heart of a visionary artist who continually pushes the boundaries of her craft.

The House Interview with Carolina Moreno:

Can you share more about how your early life in Mexicali influenced your passion for performing arts, particularly Flamenco dance and acting?

Growing up in Mexicali, a small town near the US border, I was immersed in a blend of American and Mexican culture. Being just a three-hour drive from Hollywood, movies were a significant part of my life. My dad loved “real cinema” and would play his favorite movies for us from a young age. Classics like The Godfather 1 and 2 became a staple, and we still watch them almost religiously every Christmas. He also introduced me to Almodóvar’s films, and when I saw Volver, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. 

But performing felt like an impossibility back then. There weren’t many programs in my schools to explore theater. 

Dance became my gateway into that world of fiction. I started Flamenco when I was six. If you’ve ever seen Flamenco, you know how passionate and dramatic it is. My teacher, Yisel Beltran, was fantastic and taught us to feel and interpret the music. The intensity and emotion of Flamenco spoke to me on a deep level, and that’s when I got hooked. Through those dance lessons, I began to understand the power of performance and the magic of storytelling.

Actress Carolina Moreno posing for a full body portrait with her hair down with slight waves wearing denim jeans with a black cropped tank top and a gold chain necklace.
Actress Carolina Moreno.

Who or what were your biggest inspirations growing up, and how did they shape your career path?

One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting with my grandmother, watching old Mexican movies. I remember being mesmerized by Enamorada by Emilio Fernández with Pedro Armendáriz. La Doña, María Félix, had this incredible presence and grace that felt almost untouchable. I wanted to be just like her—always dressed up and elegant. My grandmother even started calling me “María Félix” whenever we went on trips because I’d pack so much, just like a movie star. I was always drawn to other worlds different from mine. I loved watching strong female movie stars like Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren, who had a clear sense of identity and style. Godard’s movies were also a significant influence, with their mix of sophistication and rebellion. Frida Kahlo’s paintings captivated me with their raw emotion and vivid storytelling. These early experiences made me realize I didn’t want to be confined to one culture or perspective. I tried to speak different languages, travel, and let the world shape me.

How did your time at Sorbonne University in Paris contribute to your development as an artist?

My time at the Sorbonne in Paris was a turning point for me as an artist. Leaving home in Mexico and discovering a new culture was exciting and scary. It was my first taste of absolute independence.

At the Sorbonne, I took a French cinema class that changed everything. I fell in love with the Nouvelle Vague and became a total Francophile. That experience didn’t just ignite my passion for movies; it transformed how I approach my art.

Your role in “The Barriers” received recognition at Sundance. How did this experience shape your career?

Playing a role in The Barriers was incredible. It was my first time on camera, and I couldn’t have asked for a better project or experience. I was nervous about portraying an immigrant arriving with nothing, as it’s such an important story, and I wanted to do it justice. 

This experience confirmed that acting is what I want to do. It showed me how powerful storytelling can be, especially for those whose voices aren’t always heard.

Performing at the Underground Theatre and Labyrinth Theatre must have been exhilarating. How did these experiences contribute to your growth as an actress?

Theatre is my first love and my safe haven. It’s like shutting out all the noise and stepping into a different world—the best feeling ever. These experiences were instrumental in my growth as an actress. They taught me the importance of community and companionship, showing me how vital it is to connect with my fellow actors and crew. I learned to truly listen, both on and off the stage. Being in those unique spaces also showed me how a setting can deeply influence my interior life as an actor, helping me tap into emotions and states of mind that I might not have reached otherwise. 

Actress Carolina Moreno posing in front of a white wall wearing a white colored suit jacket set with no shirt underneath.
Actress Carolina Moreno.

You’ve worked across various mediums—film, TV, and theater. Which do you find most fulfilling, and why?

I love this question because each medium does have its magic. Film, TV, and theater bring something unique to the table, but what truly stands out is the incredible sense of collaboration. There’s something so special about a group of people coming together, each playing their part to create and tell a story. That feeling of unity and teamwork is my favorite aspect of this profession. It’s like we’re all part of a big, creative family, and that’s priceless.

How does your background in dance influence your acting performances?

My background in dance profoundly influences my acting performances. Dance is all about body awareness and connection, and that’s where I always start with any new role. When I dive into a character, I first explore how their emotions, experiences, and scenes feel in my body. This physicality helps me internalize their story on a deeper level. It’s not just about thinking or memorizing lines—it’s about embodying the character completely. Dance has taught me to listen to my body, and in turn, it guides my acting.

 “Acapulco” on Apple TV has brought your talents to a global audience. What drew you to this particular project, and what do you hope viewers take away from it?

What drew me was the soul of the show. Acapulco is about family, and it portrays my country in such a positive light. I was yearning for something like this to come about in the US. I am so grateful that I got to be a small part of this beautiful show that evokes nostalgia, humor, and heartfelt moments. It celebrates culture, community, and the connections that make us human. I hope viewers walk away with a sense of joy and appreciation for the vibrant tapestry of Mexican life and perhaps a bit more love in their hearts for the warmth and resilience of its people.

Are there any particular roles or projects you aspire to take on in the future?

I’m excited about diving into the world of movies. I love playing characters from all walks of life and cultures and interpreting them in various languages. That’s why I moved to Paris to learn French and live in the US now—it’s a great mix of cultures.

Right now, I’m learning Italian, and I love it! There’s something so beautiful about the language and the culture. I’d be over the moon to work on projects where I get to use Italian. Each language gives me a new way to understand and portray different lives; I can’t wait to bring that to the screen.

How do you balance maintaining your cultural roots with the demands of a global acting career?

Balancing my cultural roots with a global acting career is like growing a tree. Mexico gave me my roots and the trunk, the base of who I am. It’s like adding another branch to my tree whenever I live somewhere new. But those roots? They’re always there, solid and proud. I love where I came from and return often, staying connected to my roots while letting the world shape me.

What drives you to continue pushing boundaries in your acting and dance career?

It’s the dream of inspiring people to chase their dreams, no matter who they are or where they’re from. I’m all about showing that it’s possible to break through barriers. Like we say in Acapulco, “DREAM BIG.” Helping others see that their wildest dreams aren’t just possible but within reach—that’s what keeps my fire burning.

How do you hope to impact the entertainment industry and the portrayal of Latina actresses on screen?

I want to shake things up in the entertainment world. By taking on diverse roles and telling real, compelling stories, I want to break some of those tired stereotypes. It’s all about showing the rich, vibrant reality of our culture. Plus, inspiring other Latina actresses to chase their dreams and bring their unique essence to the screen would be fantastic.


Written by Kacey Perez | @studioblume_co

Photography by JSquared Photography | @j2pix

Hair by Courtney Housner | @chousner

Makeup by Marina Gravani | @marina_gravani

Styling by Ananda Rose | @anandarose