Gabriela Milla on returning to acting in Acapulco

Gabriela Milla and Enrique Arrizon in "Acapulco," now streaming on Apple TV+.

Gabriela Milla returns to acting in season two of Apple TV+’s hit bilingual comedy series, “Acapulco.”

The show follows Máximo Gallardo, whose dreams come true when, in 1984, he lands the job of a lifetime as a cabana boy at the hottest resort in Acapulco. He soon realizes the job is far more complicated than he ever imagined as all his beliefs and morals come into question.

Gabriela joins the cast in a standout role for season two as Isabel, Maximo’s outspoken and mischievous new love interest that soon knocks him off his feet.

Check out our interview with Gabriela!

Photo credit is Jonny Marlow
So how did you first become involved with Season Two of “Acapulco” and with your role in the show?

Gabriela: Well, Susan Vash is a casting director for “Acapulco” and an amazing casting director. She’s cast so many comedies and I’ve auditioned and tested with and for her several times. She called me in to send a self tape and I was actually taking a break from acting so I wasn’t auditioning very much at all. Really, I was saying no to everything, but as soon as I saw it was Susan, and as soon as I read the script and saw the character, she just jumped right off the page. So I was like, “Yeah, I definitely have to send the tape,” and then everything else kind of came from that.

In mentioning that you took a break from acting, can you explain a little bit about what went into that decision and what inspired you to start a podcast?

Gabriela: Yeah, for sure. I just felt that at the time, and it had been going on for a while, I didn’t really have the healthiest relationship with acting, with auditioning, with my career. I think I was over prioritizing it and under prioritizing myself, and over prioritizing, like, the time that I gave to that and under prioritizing self care and I’m just kind of looking after myself and my well being. It was really something that I really struggled with, a decision I struggled to make because I felt like– I feel like every actor feels like if they take a break or take a step back, they’re giving up or they’re never gonna come back. But I just felt like– I just knew I was going through a transition in my life where I was growing a lot, like expanding my spirituality and all these things and I just knew it was the right thing to do. And then a pandemic hit so it just kind of felt right in so many different ways. When I left, you know, I moved back to Miami, I was around my family and and I realized that even though I was taking a break from acting, I still love creating content, and I love entertaining and I still loved acting, so I just decided I would do it on my own terms and create my own content. And I was going through a really gnarly breakup, and just learning so many things and again, growing. So I was like, let’s put all these lessons that I’m learning to use and help others through the content that I’m creating. And that’s how THANK YOU EXX, my podcast that I co host with a friend, came about.

Are you coming back to acting fully, now? How would you describe the comeback?

Gabriela: Yeah, I feel like it’s a comeback. But it’s just– I’m such a different person. So to answer your question, am I prioritizing myself still? Yeah, absolutely. And I will, I hope, for the rest of my life. Acting is something that I’m so passionate about and I love but I just don’t see myself going back to the dynamics that I used to have with it for it just wasn’t really healthy. Still, to this day, I try to always, you know, walk the walk and talk the talk like I’m gonna put my money where my mouth is and if something, you know, if an audition comes up, and I’m not really passionate about it or or it just doesn’t work with my schedule, and it’ll be too overwhelming and just not good for me, I say no. And I try to make sure to do those things so that I’m attracting things that I actually love, especially after a character like Isabel that I love playing so much. I know that it happened also because I was open to the things I loved as opposed to just doing things I thought I had to do. So yes, I mean, I’m back, but I’m back in a completely different way because I just know that I don’t need to be an actress to be happy and so many other things in my life fulfill me as well.

You said the key word, healthy.

Gabriela: Oh 100%. Yeah, balanced and healthy for sure. Yes.

So what was it about Isabel and the show that inspired you to come back?

Gabriela: You know, I felt like Isabel was just such a beautiful combination, but really she’s the girl that I aspire to be or that I was becoming and really the show is such a beautiful, heartfelt and talk about healthy, healthy show. It has so many beautiful messages. And one of the things that I loved the most about it was that it’s bilingual. And the content that I create, including my podcast, is 100% bilingual. My co host and I, we jump from English to Spanish to English to Spanish, back and forth. So I just thought, if there’s ever going to be a project that is going to get me back into acting it’s going to be something like this. And it was such a beautiful way to come back to acting because Isabel, as a character, encapsulates everything. Not only that I want to embody and try to embody but also she’s learning, in the show, in season two, she’s learning a lot of things and you know, has a few bumps along the road, which I think is also just so genuine and true to what I go through.

True, true- what everyone goes through.

Gabriela: What everyone goes through, yeah. Part of the reason why I was so burnt out with acting before was that a lot of the things that I was auditioning for, I just didn’t really connect to. It was, you know, it was like the drug trafficker’s girlfriend or the girl that gets kidnapped, and even though those stories are important to tell, there’s so many other facets to Latino women, like myself. We’re bilingual, we’re feisty, we’re smart, we’re funny, and I wasn’t seeing as much of that on screen. I’m surrounded by women like that every day so it just felt like such a confirmation as to what my life, my personal life was going through. If that makes sense.

Photo credit is Jonny Marlow
It does. Are you noticing more of an accurate representation for Latina women, especially with shows like Acapulco?

Gabriela: Yeah, well, definitely in “Acapulco” because, for example, the actress Vanessa Bauche, who plays Nora, she’s such a loving woman and she’s such a Latina mom, like so many aspects of her, even my mom will make comments like, “oh, yeah, that’s a totally normal reaction,” or like, “of course, that makes total sense that she said that.” And so I see it in her, I see it and other characters like Sara, you know, Regina (Reynoso), and Julia (Camila Perez) who’s, you know, one of our leading ladies. I definitely see it in “Acapulco.” I am seeing it in other shows, not enough. I definitely feel like there’s more work to be done because I would like to see all kinds of stereotypes, but it is growing. I mean, I can’t deny that it’s growing. And I’d love to see, you know, I’d love to audition for things where she could be white, she could be Asian, she could be Latina because I think that there’s a lot of truth in that too. The things we all go through are universal no matter our race.

What is something that you’re most excited for viewers to see this season?

Gabriela: Oh my gosh, well, just how much joy it brings people. I think that’s the number one thing that viewers have told me, that fans have reached out and told me, just, “I watched it with my family.” And I think that’s it we all feel so lucky that we get to not only be like, this cool thing that only kids watch, it’s like no, everybody watches the show. And I think that just goes to show how broad our appeal is, you know, it’s something you can watch as a family. So, I’m definitely excited for people to realize that and for people who haven’t watched the show to realize that you can watch it; everybody can watch it and have fun watching it. And just how much the writers and the actors have brought this to a whole other level. Like it’s just so much funnier, it goes so much deeper, so much more colorful. Everything is bigger, the hair gets bigger. And yeah, it’s something everyone can watch. 

Is there anything else that you’re working on at the moment?

Gabriela: I’m working on getting back to my podcast because, you know, my co host and I– and I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but we met through our ex boyfriends. That’s how we met and decided to start the podcast. And we’ve been talking a lot about ideas that we have to talk about dating, Instagram, and all these things, we have just so much that we want to talk about that. I definitely want to get back to that because it really centers me. And I do shoot comedy sketches as well, so I want to do that and continue auditioning again for things that I love. But again, as I said, there’s so many other projects that I really enjoy. I’d love to get back to the Miracle Project which is like the organization that uses improv and theater to help children with autism communicate, and you know, just those things that really kind of fill in my cup.

If our readers want to follow you, your podcast and just kind of stay up to date with you and your projects, where can they find you?

Gabriela: Yeah, well, you can look me up on Instagram @gabrielamilla. And I have my YouTube link right there in the profile as well. I have an Instagram account for my podcast, @thankyou_exx, and I have a YouTube page for that as well as on Spotify. And yeah, I think that’s the easiest way to find me.

All right, before I let you go, is there anything else that you would like to add about Acapulco Season Two or your podcast or anything else you’re doing?

Gabriela: I guess I’m just with “Acapulco” season two, just I’m so grateful that it’s doing so well and that it’s reaching so many, again, like I said, families because it’s the kind of content that I really feel like uplift the world. Like, I get that, right now the trend is, oh everything has to be dark or just really twisted, but I feel like shows like “Acapulco” really uplift everybody’s energy and vibe. And I feel like right now we really need that in this world. And so I’m just so grateful that “Acapulco” really strives to do that and has achieved it in season two.

Fernando Carsa, Enrique Arrizon and Gabriela Milla in “Acapulco,” now streaming on Apple TV+.
“Acapulco” season two is currently streaming on Apple TV+