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Rising Star Judy Cerda: “I wish someone had told me that finding a balance between the two was important; that I could have a social life still but needed to cut back on it some to put the time and work into an acting career”

Stay busy in your social life, keep in touch with loved ones and friends, go out and have fun, and keep other interests such as dance, exercise, shopping, singing, reading, etc. and whatever interests you in your life so that acting is not the only thing important to you. Having hobbies, taking vacations and creating […]



Stay busy in your social life, keep in touch with loved ones and friends, go out and have fun, and keep other interests such as dance, exercise, shopping, singing, reading, etc. and whatever interests you in your life so that acting is not the only thing important to you. Having hobbies, taking vacations and creating other things to look forward to are so important. You only live once and you need to keep other interests in your life and find other things that make you happy. If you only focus on acting, then when you are not busy with a project, you can get really depressed and feel empty inside. That’s why I continue to do things I love and spend time with loved ones. Having other priorities is good too as it keeps you balanced and makes you a well-rounded person. That helps in your acting too to have had real-life experiences.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Actress Judy Cerda. She has acted in approximately 200 films, tv shows, music videos, industrials, web series, and commercials, and is not stopping. She also continues to do print modeling, promo modeling, and dances in many major music videos in addition to all her acting work.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

As a little girl, I watched tv shows that inspired me to act out those scenes on a tape recorder with neighborhood kids. I actually directed the kids to act in my “movies” on the tape recorder and put myself in roles that I dreamed of playing on tv. I knew then at 5 years old that I wanted to be an actress. I started out taking dance classes at 5 years old which included tap, jazz, ballet and tumbling. Then I started performing in dance troupes and getting into plays and musical theatre. After some years of that, I focused on what I really wanted which was acting in films, tv shows, and commercials.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

There are so many! Every shoot is interesting and different which is one thing I love about this career. I would have to say that the most interesting shoots were some sci-fi tv shows I used to do regularly in Santa Cruz for a tv station there. We would film in a mountain looking area to look like outer space as all our tv shows were about being in space and the different happenings there. I played some characters several times in certain tv series but then also played other roles in solo tv episodes for this company. The roles were great and every shoot was different.

As for a really interesting experience, I played Mrs. Marshall, a school teacher, in a tv show called “Childhood USA” and the woman who played the grandmother in the show was Kathy Garver. She actually played the role of “Sissy” in Family Affair, a tv show from the early ’70s as a child actress. Before I even started school as a very young child, I would watch the reruns of this show and liked the character she played. Little did I know that I would be working with her on a tv show someday! When I was cast, someone mentioned her to me and I did not know who she was until they told me about the show and her character, and then I remembered! I looked up the show on Youtube and saw it again which got me really excited. It was quite interesting to work with someone you saw as a child on a tv show and never knew you would meet.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I didn’t really make any funny mistakes per se, but I did make some mistakes along the way. One that comes to mind is turning down a role I was offered at the Monterey Aquarium as the host for their video that plays in the aquarium. This would have paid me well, been a door opener for me, and I was going to be put up in a nice hotel in Monterey for a week to do this. All that sounded great but I had a full-time job in a law office and could not take a week off on a moment’s notice without possibly losing my job. I regret that I didn’t just take the time off anyway and give up the job as I ended up leaving it anyway a year later due to too much work, too much stress and a crazy jealous female attorney I was forced to work with along with three other attorneys. If I could go back in time, I would have accepted the acting job and let the chips fall where they may. I might have gotten so much more acting work after this shoot that I wouldn’t have to go back to working in offices. Who knows what would have happened! That’s a mistake I will always regret.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I recently did a movie called “Villain” playing a lead role of Daisy, an evil wife, who is up to no good regarding her husband and his young child. This movie shoot went great and I loved the role! It will be out in film festivals soon. I also have a sci-fi movie coming up wherein I’m playing another evil wife with a suspicious husband and a baby. I can’t give out any more details about this film but it will be a good one as I have worked with this director several times before and her films get worldwide distribution and get distributed on Amazon so I’m really excited about it.

Recently two movies I’m in played in movie theatres. One is called “Final Sprint” wherein I played Katia Ross, and the other is called “Line” wherein I played “Tracy”, a stuck up receptionist. Final Sprint is now on my youtube channel and a scene from Line is on there also for those who would like to see them.

I am in another movie called “Fog” playing “Starr”. This movie will be released soon.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

As I mentioned before, I got to work with the famous Kathy Garver (played Sissy on Family Affair) on a tv show, and I have worked with some great rappers and musicians in music videos. I get cast as dancers and different roles in music videos a lot which is great as I love music.

I worked with the famous 3pac on several music videos and it was always a good time and the videos turned out well. We had plans for other live performances and a new music video coming up in October 2015 but unfortunately, he died tragically in a swimming accident at San Jose State. It was devastating and a really hard time for me as I admired him both as a person and a performer. He was talented and intelligent and I have no doubt that we would have done so many more videos together and he would have obtained the record deal he wanted. I learned so much about promotions, confidence and speaking up for yourself from him. He did what he wanted, he used the words he wanted and created the videos he wanted without caring whether anyone else liked it or not. This led to him being famous and adored by so many. It really taught me how short life is and how we never know when our time is up. That’s why it’s important to accomplish what we want, have fun with life and treat those we care about with love and kindness but at the same time be ourselves. Don’t follow what society thinks you should do and don’t pretend to agree with others when you don’t. Speak up and state your opinions even though they may not be the popular opinion with some groups. Be real and true to yourself.

I also got to work with the famous Egyptian Lover in a music video last year. He is well known for many great songs from the ’80s through today. I got to be an Egyptian dancer in his video which will be released shortly. The song is called “International Freak”. It was a fun whole day of dancing and hearing great music when we shot this and I’m really excited about it.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Stay busy in your social life, keep in touch with loved ones and friends, go out and have fun, and keep other interests such as dance, exercise, shopping, singing, reading, etc. and whatever interests you in your life so that acting is not the only thing important to you. Having hobbies, taking vacations and creating other things to look forward to are so important. You only live once and you need to keep other interests in your life and find other things that make you happy. If you only focus on acting, then when you are not busy with a project, you can get really depressed and feel empty inside. That’s why I continue to do things I love and spend time with loved ones. Having other priorities is good too as it keeps you balanced and makes you a well-rounded person. That helps in your acting too to have had real-life experiences.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I think the whole Screen Actors Guild Union needs to be changed. It costs an excessive amount of money to join which I believe is around $3,600 now and anyone that can get three vouchers as an extra can join. This means that extras are getting in the union because of doing extra work in movies and earning the vouchers while experienced actresses like myself (over 200 credits) are not eligible for the union because of not doing extra work and getting lucky enough to receive vouchers. Extra work has nothing to do with acting and therefore should not count towards the union as far as I am concerned. An actor can become Taft Hartley by doing a principal role in a SAG movie, commercial or tv show and that’s all good but it should also count how many acting roles an actor has had and what movies they have been in that played in theatres and made it on Amazon. That shows how qualified and experienced an actor is. If someone does not have much acting experience and works as an extra, I don’t think that should qualify them for the union as union actors are supposed to be experienced real actors, not extras. But that’s not the way it works and it’s totally wrong. I also think the price should be lowered for actors to join once they receive eligibility status.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?

I wish I had been advised to put all my attention on the acting business even though I was working in a law firm as a legal assistant when I started out. I turned down too many auditions and opportunities for paying roles due to a full-time job. I should have worked part-time or found a job with more flexibility at that time so I could go further in my real career choice. I lost agents because of turning down auditions and I wasn’t regarded as being serious enough about my career then. Now I am very serious and I put my career first.

I also wish I had been advised to show more emotions in photos rather than just smiling and posing. I didn’t realize that showing a character or emotion in the photos helped with casting choices. That has taught me to take better headshots and modeling shots. Showing personality is so important.

I also wish that I had put aside my social life which was a great one to travel more to auditions and push myself further. I wish someone had told me that finding a balance between the two was important and that I could have a social life still but needed to cut back on it some to put the time and work into an acting career.

I also wish that my parents had gotten me a talent agent when I was a young child as it’s much easier to get an agent if the child has the talent while they are very young. I was already acting with my dolls and around kids at home as a young child so I was practicing. If someone had told my parents about talent agents, that would have helped a lot.

I wish that someone had advised me to get over my shyness of performing on stage as a singer and helped build my confidence so I could do what I needed to do as I did have a terrible shyness problem which developed at about 10 years old. I finally read a book on self-assertiveness which helped me push myself to take Public Speaking in high school and start performing in theatre and in talent shows. I wasn’t that confident but I pushed myself to be and practiced a lot before auditions and performances so eventually performing in front of audiences became easier. I also took some years of film acting and commercial acting classes in addition to taking many different actor workshops. That gave me more confidence and helped me learn a lot of acting techniques that work well on camera.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss you’ll be among the stars”.

That is a quote that I live by not only because it does emulate the experience of actors but because it reminds me that even if I’m not a lead in a major motion picture movie or have a regular role on a network tv series, I am still in the running, still in movies that play in selected movie theatres, still have an excellent IMDB profile with great credits, and am in many movies that are on Amazon, sold in stores and that have worldwide distribution not to mention have been in several tv commercials, tv shows, and in famous music videos. I am also making money doing what I love and having the greatest experiences ever in different roles and productions. So in other words, I am “among the stars” and still “shooting for the moon.”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yes. My mother has helped me tremendously since the very beginning. She paid for my dance lessons, followed me to auditions for theatre productions, paid for my headshots, and assisted me in many ways when I was growing up and as an adult. She has inspired me, had confidence in me and shows me love in a big way. She is my biggest supporter. I also have a husband who supports me, has driven me to many film shoots and waited patiently in the waiting room while I acted, has complimented me and my talents constantly which gives me confidence in myself, and showed support in many ways which help me to keep going with my career. Both of them have been a big influence and kept me from quitting when I had sad and frustrating times.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

I’d love to meet Jennifer Lopez! She is a talented woman but is also very smart. I have read articles about her and how she feels about so many subjects, and I have to say that I agree with her on most of them. She thinks the way I do about a lot of issues and she has the confidence and talent to persevere no matter what. It would be great to meet her, talk about my career, get some advice from her and dance in one of her music videos of course! I like her music and would consider it an honor to be in a music video of hers. By the way, my cat is named Jennifer. That’s a favorite name of mine.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Please do subscribe to my youtube channel. I post all my music videos, commercials, short films, feature film scenes, singing videos, tv episodes and anything I’m in that finally goes online and I have permission to share, on there. I’d love to have the audience as subscribers and would appreciate the support. Here is the channel link: www.youtube.com/c/JudyCerda.

People can also “like” my fan page and follow me on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/singinganddancingforlife/

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