Waking up in sunny Los Angeles isn’t always picture perfect but actress, Gabriela Lopez shares about how she learned to adapt to Los Angeles’ lifestyle compared to her home state of Alabama. Although after her move to Los Angeles, she admits it was well worth it.

Can you tell us a little bit more about The 5th  Wave and your role in it as Lizbeth?

GL  The 5th Wave is based on a best selling novel by Rick Yancey. It’s about Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) trying to desperately save her brother and ultimately the planet as the Others continue to take over Earth in a series of waves. I play Lizbeth, Cassie’s best friend, and I like to say she’s a fun-loving boy crazed teen.

How did you prepare for the role?

GL — I read The 5th Wave, a lot of teen magazines and listened to music I listened to when I was 16.

What is your favorite thing about your character?

GL — I love that she has a great sense of humor. I feel like that is her coping mechanism to get through anything but in this story, the world as we know is ending.

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How has growing up in Alabama influenced your writing and acting style?

GL — Interesting, I haven’t thought about that. I think my family has more of an influence on my writing and acting than Alabama because they are both in the mental health industry. So growing up, I learned about human behavior and the human mind and being able to develop compassion for people no matter who they are because of understanding humanity. There is a certain culture in Alabama, and an accent I had to shake, but I don’t think that culture has influenced my writing or acting just yet. It’s given me some good ideas now though.

What was the transition from college student to movie actress like for you?

GL — It was certainly a huge, scary transition. I was still attending Auburn University when I booked my first role as Carlita in Teen Spirit. So I literally dropped out of college, failed my classes from not being in school, to be in the film and start living my dream, and then moving to LA two weeks after filming. It was a scary leap but it had been my dream since I was 9 years old, so 10 years later of course I was going to make that leap.

Was it hard to make the move from the South to Los Angeles?

GL — Certainly. I didn’t have many friends in LA at all. I was too young to “go out” so I had ample time to do some soul searching and really getting to know who I am. Also, I moved to Koreatown, a very urban part of LA that was too much for me to handle, so I moved out very quickly to a more residential part of LA. The energy of the South is a much slower pace than it is here, but after the first 2 years of adjusting and making friends, I love it so much here.

How has your experience as a stage actor helped you with film roles?

GL — Being able to go big with a character and be fearless with that in a room full of people, I think helps unleash all the ways to play with a character in the subtlety of TV/Film. I believe if you’re able to go “big” and be truthful, you bring it in for the screen and it is that much more full and believable.

In addition to acting, you also wrote, acted in, and produced Unrelated. What was it like taking on so many roles?

GL — It was a bit overwhelming and took up a lot of energy but it was a lot of fun too. I was working with some of my closest friends and it was very enjoyable as my first time wearing some of those hats. I realized that I don’t enjoy as much producing but perhaps with more resources I would. Writing, I really love. And I recently discovered, I love directing as well.

You’re in the middle of promo for The 5th  Wave, what is that experience like?

GL — It’s been an experience I will never forget. It’s hard to let go of because this is my first time at this sort of thing. Another dream come true. I look forward to what the future has to bring now.

How was it to work alongside Chloë Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson?

GL — Wonderful! Chloë and I had instant chemistry that I hope was felt by the whole cast and crew. We had such a blast. Nick is a charmer, didn’t have as many scenes with him but he was always complimentary and kind.

You’re also starring in Skate God, can you tell us anything about that role?

GL — Skate God is still in development, and I believe there’s been some script changes. So keep an eye out for details on that and other upcoming projects.

What is your advice to young actresses out there looking to get into film?

GL — Commit to your dreams. Know that you are beautiful as you are and you are worthy of following your desires. Never stop believing that you can, therefore you will.

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