Savannah Nicole Ruiz for Teen Alist
Teen Alist Magazine July 2022 Issue
Photographer Rowan Daly
Tell us a little about yourself.
I've always been passionate about different forms of art, whether it was painting, singing, dancing, or acting. In elementary school I started doing plays and musicals and that continued all through middle and high school. Right before I turned 16 years old, I booked the role of Emilia Castelli on the show Gordita Chronicles. Landing this project so early on in my career is something I'm so grateful for.
What are some of your interests outside of acting?
When I’m not acting, I love traveling to new places all over the world with my family. Some of my favorite places to visit are Dubai and France! I also enjoy theme parks. You can always catch me riding the biggest roller coasters I can find. I’m also an avid reader. I usually buy 15 or more books at a time and YES, I read them all!
Tell us about the day you found out you landed the role of “Emilia”.
When I heard that I landed the role of Emilia for the pilot of Gordita Chronicles I was in LA with my dad for a small role I had booked on the show “Gentefied” when my mom & team called me with the good news. I was elated! The moment was so special because my childhood dream of becoming an actor had finally come true. I cried when they told me I got the part, and then I called everyone in my family and we all cried together.
Are you similar to Emilia, in any way?
I definitely see a lot of myself in Emilia. I relate to her because we are both older siblings. In real life I have a younger brother, so it was easy to tap into that annoyed older sister role and also be loving and supportive too. Underneath the teenage drama, Emilia has a strong bond with her family, which is how it has always been for me. And of course, I can’t forget about the fashion. Emilia loves experimenting with makeup, hair, bold accessories, and clothes which is something I’ve loved doing for as long as I can remember.
What’s the dynamic on set with your family?
I am incredibly blessed to be working with such a talented and loving group of people. We are like a real family. From the first time we all met in LA and did a read through of the pilot episode, you could tell that we had great chemistry. I really think those natural connections plays through on screen. For my first big production, collaborating with these talented actors makes my job feel like a dream come true.
What did you absolutely love about shooting your show in Puerto Rico?
Everything! Puerto Rico is such a beautiful island and the people there are just as lovely. Even though we are all working hard there is a magic on the island that makes it feel like a family party. We find any reason to celebrate. On set, the crew would play music all the time whether it was between takes or us jamming out in the makeup trailer. And, of course, the food. Puerto Rican food is my weakness. Mofongo, Alcapurrias, Empanadillas, Croquetas- it was all I wanted to eat every day. It was such an amazing opportunity to be immersed in my family’s culture for this experience! On most days when filming wrapped, I would walk to the beach right outside where I was staying and relax.
What’s your favorite social media app?
My favorite social media app is definitely Instagram. Almost everyone I know has an IG so that makes it really easy to follow up with the people I miss when I'm away filming. It also allows me to share some of behind-the-scenes content with my followers.
Do you have any special plans for the summer?
In honor Gordita Chronicles releasing this summer, I’ll definitely be watching and rewatching the show with my family! Another thing I love to do during the summer is spending time in the sun, in whatever way I can! That means you can catch me at the beach, by the pool, or at a theme park.
We know Gordita Chronicles is your first show and you booked it right at the start of your career! What was it like to land such a huge project?
It was surreal! At the time I had been auditioning for a bunch of different things for months, so when I got the audition for Gordita Chronicles I had no idea I would actually book it. When I learned that I got the part, I remember thinking “when are they going to tell me this is a prank?”. I was ecstatic, but also nervous. I was so new to the filming world, and I wondered if I would be able to handle such a big project. But the moment I met the cast and the people working behind the scenes, all my worries faded, and I couldn’t help but be excited to get started! I also gained more confidence when I realized what I had learned in theater helped me on a professional set. There are so many skills that I had been practicing for years like memorizing lines, receiving direction, taking what’s on the page and bringing it to life, developing chemistry with cast mates, comedic timing (the list can go on and on) that really helped me with the role.
What was your reaction and who told you?
It was late on a Friday night when I found out the show got greenlit for season one. I remember my mom calling me into her room and saying Eva Longoria, Claudia Forestieri and Brigitte Munoz-Liebowitz were all on the phone and needed to speak with me. They told me that the show was officially picked up for season one. I was overcome with emotion and probably said ‘thank you’ about a million times. Soon after that I found out we would be filming in Puerto Rico. Wepa!
We Heard you’re from Florida? What city do you live in and what do you like most about it?
I was born in New York but now live in Tampa, Florida. I love that Florida has a mix of sunny days and rainy days. I'm not sure which type of weather I love more. When it's hot and sunny I can do all of the outdoor things that I enjoy. When it's storming outside, I can chill inside with a good book. It really is the best of both worlds in my opinion. Another thing I love about living here is that I have my grandparents close by. They moved from Brooklyn, New York to Florida and as soon as I was born, my mom decided to follow them down south. I love spending time with my family getting to see them whenever I want!