January 25, 2008

Martha Higareda charms in ‘Niñas Mal’

By Kiko Martinez

Mexican actress Martha Higareda says she’s a good girl and a bad girl depending on the situation.

“I’m basically a good girl, but sometimes I just try to play the bad girl,” said during a phone interview from Los Angeles. “I’m a mixture.”

Her edginess, however, is what attracted her to audition for a role in the Spanish teenage comedy “Charm School” (AKA “Niñas Mal”), which comes to DVD in the U.S. Jan. 29. In the film Higareda, who is originally from Tabasco, Mexico, plays Adela León, the punk-rock daughter of a Mexican politician who is sent to charm school to learn how to act like a lady. It’s Adela’s spontaneous nature, which she found similar to her own personality.

“[Adela] is always getting in trouble,” Higareda said. “She does what she feels like doing and I admired that. I’m more like a rough girl. I like risky stuff.”

The biggest risk Higareda has taken over the last year was when she decided to move from Mexico to Los Angeles in March 2006 to find work as an actress. Her first audition landed her a role on a TV pilot called “Skip Tracer,” which was created by two-time Oscar-nominated director Stephen Frears (“The Queen”).

Although the show didn’t get picked up by a network, Higa-reda decided to stay in L.A. to learn more English and keep trying out for parts. During her next audition, she earned a role in the upcoming thriller “The Night Watchman,” which stars Keanu Reeves (“The Matrix”) and Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”).

“Everything happened really, really fast,” Higareda said. “[The Night Watchman”] is a very important step in my career.”

Higareda says she understand how difficult it is to work consistently in Hollywood especially with others sharing her same dream to become the next big movie star. She hopes, however, to offer something different to each character she auditions for in the future. If anything, she feels her impulsiveness will keep her on her toes and fresh in the minds of each filmmaker she meets.

“There are so many great actresses here from a lot of places in the world,” Higareda said. “They all want to start their careers here and so do I. I’m taking this very seriously and want to prepare myself all the time.”

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