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Texas Actress Sandy Valles Lands Big Role in ‘Queen of the South’

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Up and coming young Texas actress Sandy Valles is no stranger to the acting world. At a very young age, Valles never envisioned doing anything else but acting. Although the road has not been a smooth one and at times paved with challenges, her tenacity and determination have brought her through to the success she is garnering today in USA Networks new hit series-“Queen of the South,” filmed in Dallas, Texas.

With the support of family, her training and her dedicated focus, Valles is very well set to be a pioneer and leader of a new generation of actors breaking down barriers and opening doors of opportunity.

Training Ground

Claire McAdams Photography

Photo courtesy of Claire McAdams

At the tender age of 3, Valles was already showing her acting roots by putting on small productions with her little brother for her family. With the support of her parents and having them “install and foster that love and creation of imagination,” she began training at 8 years old with Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS).” TUTS is a world-renowned and award-winning training ground in Houston, Texas for actors of all ages. Many go on to perform in hit Broadway shows, television, and film jobs, just to name a few.

“Just going to TUTS became my life,” shared Valles. “I absorbed everything I could, from teachers and students.” Valles credits her love of acting from the classes she took, in particular, her class with Ms. Rozie Curtis. “That class stood out from all the others,” said Valles. “If I’m somewhere where I’m competing with singers and dancers I would lose,” shared Valles. “But if you put me in acting, I was so confident in acting that if you told me to act with Meryl Streep I would say ‘ok, I can do it.’” It’s this confidence in her craft and herself that led Valles to take a leap of faith and join the ranks of thousands of actors in Hollywood trying to land that big role.

Auditions

Sandy Valles

Photo courtesy of Sandy Valles

Throughout her time in Los Angeles, Valles went on thousands of auditions with many roles turning her away. “Going through the process of auditions I would get, you look so young but you have a very adult energy to you,” shared Valles. “I would audition for Disney and Nickelodeon and it would never work out because of that same feedback.”

The irony of the role Valles plays in “Queen of the South” is Isabella Vargas, a teenager forgotten and put on the back burner with her parent’s attention. A role tailor made for Valles and one in which she was more than prepared and exactly right for the casting. “When I got back the description for this role it said looks very young but has a maturity to her,” shared Valles. “Of course, this was tailor made for what I had been doing wrong in other auditions, but was cool with this character for me.”

Breakthrough

With the script for the “Queen of South,” the character spoke to Valles. “I knew this was my baby and I never felt more connected to the writing as I did with the script for Queen of the South,” said Valles. With the call for the audition coming in the day before, Valles jumped on the plane and felt really good about her audition process. “I really cared for the character, I felt her pain and felt where she was coming from and didn’t want anyone else to portray her wrong,” shared Valles. Not hearing back for two months may have seemed a bit discouraging, but that same energy and positivity led to her landing the role.

On Set

Sandy on Set

Photo courtesy of Sandy Valles

Filmed in Dallas, Texas, “Queen of the South” is one of many film projects putting the Lone Star state on the map. “QUEEN OF THE SOUTH tells the powerful story of Teresa Mendoza, a woman who is forced to run and seek refuge in America after her drug-dealing boyfriend is unexpectedly murdered in Mexico,” states its website. Valles plays the daughter of actors Veronica Falcón and Joaquim de Almeida, the main drug lords of the show. “The series is an adaptation of the successful telenovela La Reina del Sur on sister network Telemundo and the book of the same name,” states Wikipedia.

According to Valles, there are many local actors and crew on set. “It’s nice to come back to my roots and film here in Texas,” shared Valles. When asked if she felt Texas was becoming a great place to break into the film business she shared how others on set opened her eyes to how big the film world is in Texas with so many projects being filmed right in our own backyards of Houston, Austin, and Dallas. “I think it’s easier to enter in your field while in Texas rather than be in New York or Los Angeles and have to pass through so much red tape,” shared Valles. “It’s oversaturated with people wanting to do the same thing as you and here in Texas it’s kind of a boutique tailored feel in the entertainment field and you’re not just a number. Everyone is rooting for you.”

The Future

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Photo courtesy of Sandy Valles

So what’s next for this young Texas beauty? Season two of Queen of the South quite possibly if the series continues its successful launch. Working with such seasoned actors on set such as the multi-talented Veronica Falcón, whose career spans almost three decades, and Alicia Braga, niece of Brazilian-born actress Sonia Braga, and who starred opposite Will Smith in “I am Legend,” could be quite intimidating. However, for this young, up and coming actress it was a walk in the park. “Not an ounce of nervousness went through my head,” said Valles. “They took me in and talked with me, they knew it was my first project on set. Everyone on set was so professional and so kind to open up and share their experiences.”

Valles will continue on her journey searching for another role that represents something that she wants to stand for. “I want to use acting for showing others the good in the world,” shared Valles. “I want to look for another role that will be positive, and for young Latina girls that have dreams of acting.” Her advice to others trying to break into this industry-“Believe in yourself, always look for places to work in your craft, and read everything you can.”

With the charismatic charm, the poise of a seasoned pro, and opportunities waiting ahead, this young actress, wise beyond her years, is surely set to create a name for herself and break-down barriers as a positive role model for others.

Catch “Queen of the South” on USA Network Thursday nights at 9pm central time!