Photo by Esteban Calderon

We had the good fortune of connecting with Gilda Mercado and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Gilda, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“The minute you start caring about what other people think, is the minute you stop being yourself.”  — Meryl Streep

I love this quote, and I try to apply it to all the areas of my life, but mostly in my creative process. Caring what others might think of my performance or me as an actor only feeds the whisper of doubt inside of me, creating a cacophony of insecurities that hinder my imagination and limit my creative potential. Most importantly, it stops me from enjoying the process and the journey of discovery. I stop having fun.

This is particularly true in my industry, where you are expected to act in a certain way and told what you can or cannot do. Sometimes, it feels like I’m swimming in a sea of people competing for the same job. It’s as if I were in a popularity contest, trying to be liked and hoping I’m chosen. However, I’m learning how to stop caring and to focus on the work. I’m learning to choose myself, love the challenges that come from being out of my comfort zone, and to take risks and be bold. As an actress, I am always looking for the truth; the truth of the character, the story, the scene, the truth in myself and others. When I work, I continually remind myself to stop trying to please others and to be open to failure, because by failing, I’ll become a better performer, creator, and human being. My failures allow me to learn what works and what does not. My failures allow me to understand myself and what it means to be human.

Being unafraid of what people may think of me allows me to be my true self.

Photo by Esteban Calderon
Photo by Esteban Calderon

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a Mexican actress, theater maker and creative. For most of my adult and professional life, I’ve lived and performed all around the world in places like NYC, Maine, Glasgow, and London. My profound love for the arts and for acting is what has led me to live in so many places and experience so many different cultures and languages. For me, storytelling and collaborating with extraordinary artists inspires me; it allows me to learn about the world, humanity, and myself.

I’m a classically trained actor, and most of my experience has been from working in theater. As an actor, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of off-Broadway productions and perform in venues such as Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (NYC), Shakespeare’s Globe (London), and The Tron Theater (Glasgow). My passion is in theater and in live performance however, I’m starting to venture into film, as well as creating my own projects.

When I hear the question, “What sets you apart from others?”, it makes me uncomfortable, because I think everyone has something to offer the world. In my case, I believe what makes me different and unique is the way I view life including my experiences and how I use those to express myself. I have a great love for life, humanity, and the art of expression. That’s what makes me good at what I do. It is my particular view of life that has led me to not only be an actress and a performer, but also a creator. These last three years have been the most challenging and proudest years of my life. Last year, I had the opportunity to not only participate in several projects as an actress but, I also created a show called, “Ella y Yo”, a piece I wrote, directed, edited and starred in. I’d never created something by myself from the ground up. However, I’m extremely proud of it. “Ella y yo” was selected among many to be part of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater’s Global Forms Theater Festival and is currently being shown at United Solo Screen, a revolutionary new platform for artists to stream their performances to audiences around the world.

I wouldn’t describe my journey as easy, however, my work ethic, thirst for growth, infinite curiosity, and childlike playfulness have propelled me far and taken me all over the world. These qualities keep me motivated during difficult times and allow me to enjoy the present moment. Some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way are: don’t take it personally, rejection is protection, focus on the things you want and, not on the ones you don’t. Trust the work, and patience, patience, and more patience.

I have a long way to go and a lot of things I want to accomplish in my career. Normally, I am not someone who celebrates their accomplishments. However, it is something I’m learning to do, and it has helped me enjoy my work more. Presently, I am working on several projects in theater and film. I’ll be performing with Blind Cupid Shakespeare Company in 2023, as well as collaborating with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.

Photo by Esteban Calderon

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
To be honest, I’m always working, because I enjoy my work, so I don’t get out much. However, my perfect weekend would include taking a hike at The Griffith Observatory and perhaps entering the Observatory and seeing an exhibit. At night, I’d like to watch a film at the historical movie theater in Los Feliz.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people I would like to give a major shoutout. So many people have been crucial to my success and growth as an artist. Countless people have supported me throughout my entire journey in all kinds of ways. From my parents, to friends, collaborators, theater companies like Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in NYC and The Blind Cupid Shakespeare Company. Mentors, teachers, and coaches have been fundamental in my professional life. They’ve always believed in me and have taken me out of my comfort zone. I don’t think there’s enough praise for teachers, especially in the acting industry.

Photo by Esteban Calderon



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