I love the Sharknado TV movies. Yes, it's because Ian Ziering starred in them and that's what sucked me in. I also love people who can express themselves through writing. I've been a writer my whole life and am overjoyed with the fact I get to do it everyday with "Call Me Adam." Both these passions lead us to Masiela Lusha, actress, writer, and wife. When Masiela was brought to my attention, I fell in love with her story...leaving her home in Albania as a refugee at the age of four and making her dreams come true as an actress, including her breakout role as "Carmen Consuela Lopez" on ABC's George Lopez show.
Most recently, Masiela was seeing as "Gemini" in Sharknado: The 4th Awakens and her latest book of poems is set to be released on November 19 entitled The Living Air.
1. Who or what inspired you to become an actress/writer? While some mothers sing lullabies to their children, my mother read me her poetry. As a result, I consider poetry as the most authentic and intimate way of connecting with another person. It is a form of art that does not require rules to breathe; it simply requires a desire to connect on one’s own terms and understanding and can be reevaluated with each new experience. Because one poem can be read in an infinite number of ways, and be translated through many, even contradictory, emotions depending on the reader’s vicissitudes of experiences, I consider poetry to have absolutely no boundaries, and to be the bedrock of honesty.
2. You were born in Albania, but left as a refugee when you were just four years old. What do you remember about that time? My earliest memories as a refugee are on a bus, being driven to Hungary with the other refugee families. We were lead to believe that our bus was threatened with a bomb while exiting Albania. I remember the faces, American volunteers from the Red Cross. Upon hearing of the threat, I later learned that they had put their lives on the line to sit by the window, striving to ensure a safe escape out of the turmoil that engulfed our beautiful country at the time. This selflessness, this sense of humanity aimed at us has been the catalysis behind my humanitarian efforts throughout my life. I never feel I am doing enough to ensure safety and comfort for families in our society, there is always more that I can do. After all, I owe my life to complete strangers who simply disappeared after their assistance, like angels.
3. You are known for starring as "Carmen Consuela Lopez" on ABC's George Lopez show which aired from 2002-2007. What was it like to be on a hit show? Where were your top three favorite moments on that show? How did you adjust to the recognition that came with being on such a popular show? I spent my most formative years on the George Lopez show, learning from an early age how to navigate a series, while also learning how to navigate simply being a teenager. My favorite moment consistently every week was hearing the audience find their seats and cheer near the stage. From behind the curtain, their energy was electric, and the fuel behind my enthusiasm to dive into our scenes. My other favorite moment was turning 18 on the show, with the audience there to celebrate with us. George and his family carried out a puppy during the birthday song. It was a birthday I will never forget, and to this day, my absolute favorite. My other favorite moment was filming the very honest and raw scenes as "Carmen." "Carmen" endured a lot during her growth on the show, and performing the real emotions of a teenage girl, questioning her identity, her worth, was the most rewarding experience for me as an actress. To this day, I am approached about "Carmen" being more than a sitcom character; for many girls, including myself, she was a beacon of sincerity, shining truth about American life during those thoughtful storylines. On a number of occasions, young fans would hug me, crying, revealing that they never felt understood in their life but watching "Carmen" go through the same experience helped them through a difficult time, and made them feel included in something.
4. You also starred in Sharknado 4 alongside Ian Ziering. What was it like to be the newcomer in a franchise that already had three previous movies? What was the best part about being in this film and what were some of the more challenging moments? As someone who performed her own stunts, how do you decide which ones you are going to do? Do you ever worry it will be too much? I was apprehensive about stepping into an already defined family unit. Especially since my character, "Gemini," wasn’t fully fleshed out during the first few days of filming. She was written as the babysitter, then re-written as the family friend, then eventually a "Shepard" family member. This was the journey Anthony Ferrante, the director, and I took together, defining this girl and her purpose within the Sharknado family. I have to say, however, there was not one day that I did not feel completely welcome on set, as if I've worked with the cast many films prior. It was an incredible experience to immediately belong and this feeling made filming that much more rewarding.
My favorite stunt has to be diving off 855 feet from the Stratosphere Hotel in Vegas. It felt like a little victory because leading up to the stunt, from the first week of filming, I was assured that I could not do this, that I would not, that I would be far too afraid. I am one of those oddballs that immediately commits to something when others determine it impossible. Perhaps the producers sensed this, and used it to my advantage, or perhaps they sincerely thought I could not jump off the hotel. Either way, 4am, there was I was peering down the Vegas skyline, strapped in with wires, realizing how much I love my job. Anthony requested that I not scream as I dive down, and we ended up filming it twice. Not that scary, and I have yet to commit to a stunt that truly worries me. Knock Knock.
5. In addition to acting, you are also an author of your poetry. What do you get from being a writer that you don't get from being an actress? I feel fortunate to have multiple avenues of expression. I feel acting and writing complement each other quite seamlessly. As an actress, it is my duty to close read the script, find the hidden meaning behind each line of dialogue, find the symbolism in each object, piece of clothing worn, and plot twist that my character endures. Poetry is close reading as well. One must read each line deliberately and with intention. No word is by accident or loose enough to strike out from the poem. I consider acting just as sacred. Each line must be lived with intention, with purpose, and with an overarching mission that stitches the whole script together. Each object carried by the character has its own wealth of wisdom, backstory, and meaning. When I need to cleanse a character out of my system after we wrap, I often write a poem, framing my feelings into an experience. It’s my way of letting it go. When I build a character, I often write her diary as a poem. It simply opens up her world more easily for me.
6. Your latest book of poetry, The Living Air is about to be released on November 19. What is like to put your poetry out there? Do you ever feel exposed and worried as to how people might react? What is it like to hear from your fans? I always feel vulnerable talking about my poems. They are little diary entries for me, and I am both mortified and relieved if a reader can tap into the inner mechanics of the poem and discover its truth as I personally intended. That’s always terrifying. Though, I would like to think that each poem carries a unique fingerprint for each reader who can interpret its words and rhythm in an authentic way that fits perfectly into his or her own life. In this way, I value poems as a medium for healing and expanding on some inner understanding. Hearing my fans write about my poems, and how they interpret the message, and how it made them feel is an experience I cannot articulate in words. It feels like fulfillment wrapped up in understanding and sheer appreciation. That’s the only way I can describe it. Their healing is the reason why I continue to write. I believe art serves a purpose that transcends the moment. It should exist as energy for healing and growth, defining our time and our philosophy as a society for decades to come. Art is the true ambassador of time.
7. You also recently got married. How did you and your husband meet? When did you know he was the one? What's it like being a wife and having to balance family and work? How do you do it all? I knew from the day I met him we would marry, though I waited for him to admit this, and propose :) Through trial and error, I’ve learned that the best balance for family and a career is routine, and carving out an intractable schedule for family time. For me, this means always enjoying dinner and breakfast together. Ramzi traveling for a day to watch me film also fulfills a purpose. It allows us to be on the same wavelength and experience, even just for a moment.
No one offers a handbook on how to be a good wife. We’ve learned that any mundane or truly difficult conversation can and should be approached with a purpose to heal and grow together. No topic is off limits for us, and I find this to be our greatest strength. Our connection as a couple is living the same reality together, with an innate understanding of each other’s inner process. We both try to fully immerse ourselves in each other's lives, by asking specific questions, and not settling for vague responses.
8. As if acting and writing aren't enough, you are also quite the chef! When did you fall in love with cooking? What are some of your favorite dishes? If you had to cook a dish for a successful life, what ingredients would you put in that dish? Oddly, before Ramzi and I married, I was suspicious of boiling water. I was convinced that to boil water, one must add salt, perhaps, anything but just water. Then I took it upon myself to cook one new dish a day for a year, until I could confidently prepare a meal without a recipe book or measuring cups. Another desire of mine was to cook international meals, because Ramzi and I both come from internationally diverse cultures. We’re also health oriented so I rarely prepare dishes with carbs. When I prepare my favorite All-American burger, it’s sandwiched between sweet potato buns. Stir-fry is usually prepared with grated cauliflower, which tastes just as delicious as rice! And when I’m baking pizza, its usually with cauliflower dough. My favorite recipe has to be the simplest with only 2.5 ingredients. It’s Macaroons. One standard bag of sweetened coconut flakes, one can of condensed milk, and a dash of vanilla. Mix and roll each serving into an 2'' ball and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. By far, a universal favorite. Often, my friends devour the pan of macaroons before they’re cool enough to place on a platter and eat.
My recipe for life would be 2 cups of passion, and a dash of courage, baked with intention, and served with love :)
9. What is something about Masiela that you haven't revealed to your fans that you would like to share with them? I read predominantly nonfiction and rarely read novels unless they are based on true stories. I often read two to three books at a time.
10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? That’s a really good approach and question! I believe each of us carries positive intentions, even in the most toxic disagreements. I do not believe for one moment that anyone actively chooses to be an antagonist in life. I attempt to expand my understanding and appreciation for other people’s struggles each and every day. Communicating with various personalities, it can be far too easy to close off into a preset expectation of what their inner workings and intentions are, and as a result it can be far too easy to settle as the victim. I make an active choice to breathe during confrontations and imagine what their struggles are to lead them to this conversation. What could the underlying misunderstanding be to lead to such a big disagreement by two people who do not consider themselves to be such negative energy? My greatest growth comes from never accepting the victim role. Never. We all have the power to contribute to a positive or negative experience. While we cannot predict or change a person’s behavior, we have the bigger power of reacting, redefining, and reorienting the result.
Masiela Lusha is an American actress, author, producer, and humanitarian. She is best known from her first major role as "Carmen Consuela" Lopez on the ABC’s globally syndicated sitcom George Lopez; a role which earned her two consecutive Young Artist Awards for Leading Young Actress in a Comedy or Drama. She immigrated to America with her mother at a young age. English is Masiela's fourth language and at the tender age of twelve, Masiela began a modeling career in Michigan. After a few months of professional modeling and acting, a Hollywood agent discovered her from an open call. From there, she and her family moved to Los Angeles. Upon moving to LA, she did print work with Ben Affleck, was featured in a multi-national back-to-school JCPenny commercial, and starred in Alanis Morissette's music video, "Hands Clean."
Masiela’s transition into film include starring roles in Sony Picture's Blood: The Last Vampire and SyFy's television movie Sharknado: The 4th Awakens. Other projects include Anger Management (2014), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2006), Clifford Puppy Days (2003) Lizzie McGuire (2001).
In 2010, Masiela was appointed Ambassador of Prince Harry’s charity, Sentebale. The cause helps vulnerable children in Lesotho, Africa through various grassroots efforts. Her humanitarian passions involve women’s rights and children’s rights. Masiela was also appointed as an Goodwill Ambassador for World Assembly Of Youth.
As an author, Masiela has written four books of poetry, Inner Thoughts, Drinking the Moon, Amore Celeste, The Call, a novel The Besa, and two children's books. Masiela has also written and translated poetry in English and Albanian. She has also translated poems and prayers by Mother Teresa. Currently, Masiela is set to star in the upcoming Lifetime dramatic thriller Forgetten Evil.