‘Graceland’ Star Jamie Gray Hyder Had A Blast Playing Latina on TV: ‘I Even Got A Little Salsa Dancing In’ (Exclusive)

by | August 20, 2014 at 10:04 AM | General, Graceland, Latino Entertainment News, True Blood, Xfinity Latino Entertainment News, Xfinity TV Latino

Jamie Gray Hyder on "Graceland" (Photo: USA Network)

Jamie Gray Hyder isn’t Latina, but the talented actress told Xfinity Latino this week, she’s had a blast playing one on season 2 of USA Network’s hit show, ‘Graceland.’ Still, despite all of the fun she’s had on the show, Hyder says her character Lucia probably won’t be having fun in the finale.

Hyder discussed her character’s past, channeling her inner Latina, and how she hopes the HBO supernatural drama “True Blood,” where she played a werewolf, wraps up next week.

You’ve had the chance to work with two great casts on “True Blood” and “Graceland.” As a newcomer on both shows that were already established, was it difficult to become part of the team? 

“I was definitely nervous about being the new kid at school, but in both cases, I was pleasantly surprised by the welcome I received. The “Graceland” cast and crew could not have been warmer. Much like on the show, we are one big dysfunctional, happy family. In both cases, I’ve had the opportunity to watch and work with an incredible group of professionals and have learned a lot.”

Did it help to channel your inner Latina by shooting in Miami, where the USA Network hit is filmed?

“Absolutely. It’s such a vibrant and fiery culture. It’s rare to have the opportunity to be so immersed in your character’s world, both onscreen and off. I even got a little salsa dancing in!”

Do you know background on Lucia that explains how she came out so good with a family so involved in criminal activity? 

“My mom is always saying how hard it is for her to watch because Lucia’s situation is so heart-breaking. I think Lucia’s mother has a lot to do with the way she’s trying to live her life. We’ll learn more about what happened to her in tonight’s episode.

It’s clear her father loves her, but perhaps lacks the gentle touch her mother provided early on. As much as Lucia wants independence and normalcy, she also feels an obligation to take care of her family, especially in the absence of her mother. It’s that conflict that I think makes her such an interesting character to watch. The Solano’s may be criminals, but they are still human.”

Audiences have reacted so well to Lucia and Johnny’s love connection. What has it been like working with Manny Montana and is he a good kisser?

“It’s been great working with Manny! He welcomed Erik [Valdes] and I with open arms and showed us the lay of the land. When you work so closely with someone, it’s so important to have trust and respect, and I found both in Manny – not to mention we can be total goofballs together. Haha, let’s just say I never had to dread the more intimate scenes. And I use the word ‘intimate’ lightly considering you’re surrounded by at least 30 people at any given time!”

The more complicated the storyline gets with the cartel, it will become tougher for Manny to protect Lucia without revealing his true identity. Since you can’t spoil whether or not she does find out, can you tell me how you think she would react to the news?

“I think having grown up in the cartel world, she’s used to being used by others to get at her father. She carries a healthy amount of skepticism into every relationship. And even though she loves Johnny, she doesn’t completely let her guard down – she’s been protecting herself her whole life. I think, if she were to find out, she would be more concerned for Johnny’s well being than her own.”

At this point, is it even possible that Lucia could have a happy ending? How would you like to see her story arc wrap up?

“I don’t think Lucia even knows what a happy ending feels like. As much as I’d love for her to run away with Johnny and live out their lives in paradise somewhere, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for her. But both Lucia and myself are holding on to a little glimmer of hope.”

There’s only one episode left of “True Blood,” and I have a feeling a lot more lives will be lost. Are you still following the show? How would you like to see it end?

“I have to catch up on the last few episodes, but overall, I think they’re delivering the explosive final season the fans want to see. I can’t decide if I want a blood bath or a “happily ever after”!!”

Catch an all new episode of “Graceland” tonight at 10pm on USA Network. If you missed last week’s episode of entitled, “Gratis,” catch up below.