The talented actress, singer, and dancer shares her formula for a rich, healthy life.
She’s made you laugh, she’s broken your heart, and she’s welcomed you into the family. Singer, dancer, and actress Renée Victor has conquered stage, film, TV, and streaming networks. She was the tear- jerking Abuelita in Coco, wisecracking housekeeper Lupita—“I’m nobody’s maid”—in Weeds, and now plays Marta Delgado in the Amazon romantic comedy series With Love. “I love playing Marta!” Victor declares.
“In the first place, it is not a stereotypical role, and although I am playing a grandmother, I don’t wear my hair in a little bun in the back. I’m not wearing an apron and sandals. The show gives the audience the chance to see the wide spectrum of an enormous group of people in this country, which is the Hispanic community. We weren’t made from a cookie cutter.”
Marta is a lot of fun and even a bit naughty—with her husband—while also taking her role as matriarch seriously. “Nobody says you have to behave a certain way because you are a certain age. I hope Marta inspires women of all races to say ‘Hey, I’m still alive and very alert and very healthy and very capable.’”
Acting helps Victor stay that way. “It keeps everything sharp. Memorization, blocking, wardrobe, hair, makeup, and the process of getting into your character requires constant investigation and imagination, because the more you do with your character, the more you discover.”
That willingness to explore extends to her healthy living habits, both in body and spirit. During the pandemic, she transitioned away from aerobics and yoga classes and going out for weekly salsa or tango dancing. She started making her moves at home.
“I play very danceable music, and I dance in my socks by myself in my living room. I lift small weights three times a week, and do some yoga. I also use a hula hoop, and darling, I think I could do that for a month. I have to stop myself!” (She’s a bit less enthusiastic about walking 20 minutes in the courtyard of her condo building to replace her time on the gym’s treadmill.)
Healthy Living Habits
The regimen she sticks with no matter what is her spiritual practice. “I begin my morning with a daily meditation from A Year with Thomas Merton. Then I say my mantras,” she explains.
“I’m a Catholic, but there’s a lot about Zen that I admire; it is a wise and calming way of life. I go to my little Catholic altar, I light my candle, and I speak to the angels and the saints. Sometimes I’m a little annoyed with one or two of them, and I give them a scolding. I’ll joke, ‘Well, I’m not talking to you today, you haven’t answered my prayer.’ Then I light incense right outside my door, so that anyone who enters my home enters with good will.”
As Renee points out, living in these challenging times, “you’ve got to have some security for the soul and for the mind, because sometimes that’s the only thing that’s going to pull you through the day.”
Catch Renée Victor as Marta Delgado in With Love, now streaming on Amazon.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of Clover Living magazine. Want to see more articles like this? Subscribe to Clover Living magazine for free (if you aren’t already subscribed) here.
Published on 1/5/22
First photo by Omar Pineda; second photo courtesy of Amazon Studios