‘Dream come true’: ‘Night Shift’ star feels fortunate to work in Albuquerque

Alma Sisneros is grateful for her journey in film.

The New Mexico native has been seen in many local productions.

From modeling to teaching fourth and fifth grade, her journey has led her to be part of the booming New Mexico film community.

For the past four seasons, viewers have been able to see Sisneros as nurse Jocelyn Diaz on NBC’s medical drama “The Night Shift.”

The series airs on Thursday nights on NBC and has been averaging more than 4 million viewers this summer.

The locally filmed program follows the lives of the doctors and staff members who work the overnight shift in the emergency room at San Antonio Memorial Hospital. The majority of the doctors and staff are back in the civilian world after a life in military.

Sisneros sat down with me on the final day of filming for the fourth season.

Sisneros says being part of “The Night Shift” has been “a dream come true.”

Not only does she get to film in the Duke City, but she also is part of a TV show that shows diversity.

“I’ve seen it grow with each season,” she says. “With the diversity, it’s very important for children and young adults to see someone who looks like them on TV. Jocelyn is important. She brings the Latina side of things, the Hispanic side of things. Another one is Shannon (Rivera played by Tanaya Beatty). She is from Canada, and that’s big. (The show) talks about her coming from the reservation. And I think both of those tie in especially well in the state of New Mexico for our youth to see. … It’s important for them to know that we are doctors and nurses. These kids need to see this.”

Before starting her full-time acting career, Sisneros taught fourth and fifth grade. Parents often lauded Sisneros for being a great role model to their children.

After a few years of hearing from parents, “It hit me, I’m representing something and I need to let these young Hispanic and Native American girls know, ‘You can graduate from high school and you can go to college and you can be anything you want to be.’ ”

Being able to film in the Duke City is also overwhelming for Sisneros.

“There is not a second that goes by that I do not realize how fortunate I am to be doing this here,” she says. “I 100 percent realize it; I know it’s not the norm.

“And I really know my journey is not the normal journey. I don’t have a background in acting. I didn’t have any training of any kind. I fell into it by God’s graces, you could say. It’s going good, and I know I’m fortunate to be where I’m at and it’s nice to be able to come to work and be able to go home to my family.

“I see what the other actors go through, and I see their struggles and how they talk about their spouses and children and how much they miss being away from them, and so in that aspect, I realize how lucky I am to be home.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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