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Iyari Limon - About her career - Afterellen.com Interview Part 2

mardi 11 avril 2006, par Webmaster

AE : Oh yeah. IL : I know. (laughs) Well that was one of the scenes I had to do, and in it I’m sitting on Kate’s lap. In the rehearsal I said to her, ‘Okay, what can I do ? Can I kiss you ?’ she said, ‘You can do whatever you want.’ So I thought great, I don’t have any limits. Not that I was going to attack her or anything, but as the role was written she was more dominating. I didn’t go in to read for it until I watched the first season because I wanted to know what I was going to test for.

But before I knew anything, they told me, ‘Shane is kind of untouchable. Everybody wants her, everybody falls in love with her but she doesn’t get close with anybody. But this time, you’re playing the game. This time, you come in and play her game.’ So that’s what I did, a little dominating, trying to keep her there.

So in the audition, I whisper something in her ear in Spanish. Something a bit vulgar, you know, dirty. (laughs) She was like, ‘Whoa !’ Kate got totally thrown off. So when I was sitting in her lap in the audition, when the whole network was there, I had pins on my pants and she had this meshy sweater and my pins got stuck to her sweater and I couldn’t unstuck myself from her in the middle of my reading ! (laughs) So we’re just looking at each other saying, ‘Okay !’ and trying to keep going and not let this distract us but it was really funny.

And then they had us on hold for a couple of weeks. Actually, Sarah wasn’t there at the test, so my assumption was that they put us on hold, I think they told my manager that I was first or second choice. Then I think-I’m assuming, because I know how Hollywood works, that they saw us all and thought, ‘Maybe what we want IS beautiful, maybe we want to draw in the guys. Maybe we don’t want androgynous.’

And feel like they went and probably offered it so Sarah, because for them to make us wait for that long, it felt like they were waiting for something. They were waiting to see if someone else accepts the role first before they go with one of us. A lot of times they do that, they’ll say ‘Let’s try and get so and so, and if we can get so and so then we’ll test other girls.’

So it didn’t come through and it was fine, and things happen for a reason. And then.. you know in one of the last episodes where Carmen is whispering something into Shane’s ear ?

AE : Yes. IL : Do you remember what she whispered ?

AE : Yes I do. IL : That was what I had whispered to her in the audition.

[Note : The words Carmen whispered were, “Quiero lamer te hasta que te vengas en mi boca mil veces.”]

AE : (gasps) IL : Yeah. (Laughing) that was my reaction. Are you kidding me ? I thought, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe that they took that ! Oh my god !’

AE : Were you angry ? IL : A little, but at the same time, whatever. I guess if it’s gonna work, whatever. But you know what did make me a little bit angry was the fact that in the breakdown they said ‘She must be Latin and she must be fluent.’

And Carmen is not Latin, and she doesn’t speak Spanish. And her Spanish when she speaks it on the show-I mean I love the character and I think she’s hot and does a good job-but honestly, she’s got the worst Spanish. It’s embarrassing.

The whole family is so stereotypical. I have hundreds of Mexican family and friends here-I mean I’m Mexican, I was born in Mexico , you know ? I have tons of family there, tons of family here, all over- Las Vegas, Oklahoma, Texas—and none of my family is like that, or my friends’ families. That’s just so...wow, are you kidding me ? I was really disappointed.

And I think from that episode on I just became so disappointed, I kind of stopped watching and then I started traveling.

AE : We actually did an article about that very issue recently-about the portrayal of Latinas on The L Word. IL : I don’t think they should have given her Spanish dialogue if she couldn’t really speak it and have us Latins buy us. You don’t have to speak Spanish, you could be still be Latin and speak a word here and there. But the dialogue...it was just really bad. (laughs)

And I thought, you know it’s funny how they emphasized that she needs to be Latin, fluent, androgynous, and then they go completely with voluptuous, not Latin. That’s how the business works, they don’t know what they want sometimes.

AE : When you were auditioning for the L Word were you out ? IL : Well, let me back up a little. I’m just going to give you the whole thing on me.

When I was in high school, I had a best friend-I was 15-who fell in love with me and let’s just say there was some intimacy, but I got really scared. Being from a Latin family and having these morals inflicted on you, I kind of pushed her away, I didn’t know what to do. That friendship ended when I was 21 and I kind of wanted to forget it. I remember going, ‘Oh my God, forgive me God !” and then, things happen for a reason.

I got the role on Buffy, and when I got it I didn’t know where it was going. All I knew is that I was gay and I was flirting with Willow. That’s all I knew. And after I auditioned, my manager said, ‘You know you’re going to have to kiss a girl.’ And I said, ‘Well it’s a little late because I already auditioned so why are you even telling me ?’ (laughs).

And as the character evolved I had to do this bio. I went to an acting coach, because I realized when we did the “The Killer in Me” episode that she was much more substantial than I thought.

So I did this whole biography on her and had to figure out her history, her past. When did she realize she was gay ? What was her first sexual experience ? I had to do all of that work on Kennedy, and to do that I had to go into places in myself and unlock things that I probably wouldn’t have ever done otherwise. And in that, I went, ‘Holy shit !’ Now that I’m in my 20s I feel very confident in who I am. I don’t feel suppressed by my family or like I have to be any which way. I just have to be true to me. I went, ‘You know what Iyari, if this is you, go figure it out and be true to who you are.’

So I have a lot of gay friends I started going to gay clubs, just hanging out, and nothing drew me. So I thought ‘This is great ! At least I know I’m not gay, you know ?’ (laughs).

At that point, as I accumulated all of these gay friends, at one point I went out just to hang out with them and one of the girls that was in the group, I was really attracted to her. And before you know it we were hanging out, we went to Coachella together last year, and it was great, but we realized we were more friends than anything.

Then, at another club, the DJ-her name is Sandra-I really dug her. I loved how she was just in her own little world, and she was so cute and my friend knew her. I like androgyny. I love androgyny, androgynous women, you know, short hair, really don’t have to wear a lot of make-up, pretty face, just cool and confident and know who they are. But for some reason, the really girly girls, with the long curly hair, always come up to me (laughs) and I always wonder, ‘Why don’t the other ones like me ?’

So I thought, Sandra’s SO not into me. Finally one day I went up to her and started flirting with her. And that was it, we went home that night and my friend said, ‘Sandra just needs a distraction because her ex-girlfriend broke her heart and she’s been broken up for a year.’ And I thought, ‘Great ! I’m her distraction. Beautiful ! I love it !’ (laughs).

I’ve dated a lot, but I’m really picky. I love people but I guess I didn’t really want anything serious. And then we started going out the next day. I didn’t want anything serious, she wanted a distraction. And before you know it one month goes by, two months go by, it’s great.

Now it’s been 10 months and she’s great ! She is great. We went to Mexico together last month. I was in Mexico and she flew down and we went to Las Vegas and had a great time. She’s a DJ—DJ Sandra Edge—and she’s being flown in around the world to DJ.

AE : Well so much for my question about Buffy playing a part in your coming out process ! IL : (laughs) You know what, it did ! I think I needed that. It came at the right moment and I think things happen for a reason, and that was one of them. And now I’ll be having lunch or something and a girl will walk by and I’ll be attracted to her and I’ll be like ‘Oh my god ! I’m totally checking out girls !’ (laughs)

AE : Do you identify as lesbian or bisexual ? IL : I think on my way to Dinah Shore Weekend I was in the car and thought, you know what, I am bisexual. It totally became clear to me.

Because up to that point, I thought it’s not that I’m gay or straight or bisexual. If I like somebody and I dig their energy and I get along with them, I’m going to be drawn to them and whatever body they’re in I’m going to love that body they’re in because I love that being. I have this connection with that being, because this is just a body that we’re in. I feel like we’re spiritual beings and this is our vehicle. I could love a woman, I could love a man, it’s whoever I choose to be with in that moment.

AE : How has this been for you career-wise ? any changes in how people in the business treat you ? Any pleasant surprises ? IL : (laughs) this is the first time I’m actually speaking about this openly, so—

AE : So this is a scoop ! IL : Yeah ! Because people didn’t need to know my private life. I like keeping it private. But at this point, I’m just so...

Okay. This is another huge thing. I was married before.

AE : I didn’t see that on your IMDB bio ! IL : (Laughs) I know ! That’s what I’m saying ! Did you see Napoleon Dynamite ?

AE : Yes. IL : Do you remember the Latin guy in it ?

AE : Pedro ? IL : Yup.

AE : You were married to Pedro ? IL : I was.

AE : He’s a folk hero ! IL : It’s crazy right ? It was years ago, and we still talk. His name is Efren Ramirez. And if you go to his IMDB page and see the picture with him and Paris Hilton-from a year or so ago. He’s wearing a necklace and on the necklace is his wedding ring.

We’ve been separated for about three years. Actually I was married to him, but I got an annulment. But I still stayed with him 5 years after that.

He just took me to Vegas and I just couldn’t say no and then afterwards I was like, ‘Holy Shit, what did I do ?’ and it’s not that I didn’t love him, but it was a secret ! Nobody knew we were married ! I had to be home by 11, he dropped me off at home and here I am married.

AE : How old were you ? IL : I was really young. (laughs) This was at least five years ago, but I stayed with him.

AE : Do you still talk ? IL : We still talk but when I moved away and started working on Buffy, I felt that I needed to put him in the world and go live. So we separated and I told him, ‘You need to let me go, because the minute you let me go, you’re gonna start working. If you let me go all of these doors will open for you.’

Then he started working, and he got Napoleon Dynamite. And he called me and said, ’Honey, thank you. Thank you telling me to let you go.’ Because all of these doors started opening for him and recently he said, ‘Thank you for being so wonderful and for being my friend.’ It was really hard for him to let me go, it took him 3 years. He is the best.

But it’s been really hurtful for me over the last couple of years because every time I was working I would always take him to the set, I would always introduce him to everybody. Now he goes to the Oscar parties, he’s buddies with Paris Hilton, he’s buddies with everybody and he goes everywhere.

And I told him, “I don’t care if you have a girlfriend, just invite me once and awhile to some of these things. Let me be, I’ll walk around alone, introduce me to somebody.” But he saw how hard I was struggling in the last 2 years in the business and never did. And that was really hurtful to me, because that’s what this business is-helping each other. And I do that for all of my friends in any way I can, introducing people, because that’s how people move forward in the business-who you know, friendships.

I call him and he’ll respond to my calls and he’ll talk to him, and he calls me ‘Easter Bunny’ still. It has nothing to do with Easter, I don’t know how it came about. (laughs). I know he loves me and I’ll always love him, and he was an angel to me and really wonderful. But it was really hurtful that he never took me into account for anything knowing how hard I was struggling. But I guess it’s okay, you accept people for who they are.

And he met Sandra. One day he came over and I told him about her and everything. They got along great and I thought, Wow, this is really cool. (laughs) They are so similar, their personalities are so similar. I even think they look alike a little bit.

AE : So he’s pretty accepting of your new identity, your new life ? IL : Yeah, he knows that I’m just...

People that know me always say that I should write a book. They say, ‘Oh my god. You’re life is movie.’ Because every couple of years...I can’t surprise anyone with anything. I could tell them all, ‘Goodbye, I’m leaving tomorrow for China to live with the monks.’ And they wouldn’t be surprised.

So that’s my story. I’m getting ready to do my film, I’m going to culinary school., I may do a cooking show when I’m done with culinary school. Everything’s great now-it’s good to be back in LA because I’ve been in and out. I went to Peru, Christmas day I decided to go to Peru and I left that same day.

AE : How was that ? IL : It was great. I hiked the Amazon, I slept in hammocks in the jungle, fished for piranhas, got attacked my mosquitoes, climbed Machu Picchu on New Year’s Day, did a ritual with a Shaman on the Amazon, I did it all. (laughs) And I only had a backpack. Just me, my friend Paula and our backpacks, not knowing where we were going next.

AE : You’re a swashbuckler ! You have more in common with Kennedy than I thought. Do you go to the Buffy conventions ? IL : I do, I’m only scheduled for one more, next month in Amsterdam And then I’m thinking of going to the Cannes Film Festival, stopping by for a few days.

I’ll be doing my first cycle of culinary school, then right after that I’ll go to the Cannes Film Festival, go to the convention in Amsterdam, come back and shoot the film, and then two weeks later I go to the second cycle of culinary school.

My friends always tell me, ‘You always go after what you can’t have. You like a challenge.’ And I guess I do.

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