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Dream role: Latina actress ‘hooked’ on character in ABC series ‘Grand Hotel’

Justina Adorno is enjoying the ride.

Latina actress Justina Adorno snagged a leading role in the ABC series “Grand Hotel.” (Courtesy of Alex Stone)

After nearly a year of waiting, the actress is finally getting a chance to see the fruits of her labor with the TV series “Grand Hotel.”

“It’s been kind of crazy,” she says. “We filmed the pilot for the show over a year ago, and it’s finally airing. The anticipation kept building, and I didn’t know what to expect because this is my first real lead role.”

“Grand Hotel” premiered in June and is averaging around 4.5 million viewers each week.

The series is loosely based on the Spanish series “Gran Hotel,” which ran for three seasons.

It follows the extravagant lives of the Mendoza hotelier family: the charismatic Santiago Mendoza, played by Demián Bichir, his glamorous second wife, Gigi, played by Roselyn Sánchez, and their adult children.

The hotel’s loyal staff and patrons round out a contemporary, fresh take on an upstairs-downstairs story.

Adorno plays Yoli, who is the kindhearted spitfire daughter of Gigi, who is constantly compared to her thinner and more beautiful twin sister, Carolina, played by Feliz Ramirez.

She is used to being called “gordita” by her family but isn’t afraid to stand up to prominent guests who try to do the same.

The series, executive-produced by Eva Longoria Baston, airs at 9 p.m. Mondays on ABC.

Adorno says being able to play Yoli is a dream come true.

“Honestly, it was the character I had auditioned for,” she says. “My heart was with another pilot, but once I got the role of Yoli, I was immediately hooked. She’s very much part of me, and I had to play the character.”

Adorno says that during the season, Yoli goes on a journey and is able to hold her own.

“Yoli is pretty direct when it comes to her outside circle,” she says. “She’s a little more direct than me. Yoli struggles throughout the season. She’s a genuine person, and I feel like she’s a better version of me. I could learn from her. Yoli is able to think before she speaks, and I admire that.”

Adorno has come a long way from her upbringing in the Bronx, N.Y., where she attended Catholic school.

As a preteen, she moved with her mother to South Carolina and attended a magnet program for acting called PCA (Palmetto Center for the Arts), where she fell in love with theater and later auditioned and attended South Carolina Governor School for the Arts and Humanities to fully begin her pursuit in acting.

She attended Coastal Carolina University, graduated with her BFA in acting and moved back to New York City.

“I’ve always gravitated towards roles with compassion,” she says. “I find it interesting to get to know somebody and understand where they come from. That’s what draws me to each character I’ve played.”

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



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