Berta Hernández has become one of our favorite actresses thanks to her role as Cristina in Tierra de Lobos. The Andalucian actress has captivated us as part of Crisabel, one of our favorite lesbian couples on TV.
We’ve interviewed her this week so she could tell us how she’s living the international impact Isabel and Cristina have had, what she thinks about the censorship her story has suffered in Italy and the projects she’s involved in right now. Are you ready to know her better? Well, let’s go!
Lesbicanarias: How did you arrive at Tierra de Lobos?
Berta Hernández: Through a casting. Like the ones we usually do to get on a show. Oddly enough, I had two castings that day with the same casting director. The other project was going to take place outside Spain and I had much more information about it than about Tierra de Lobos. It was important to do well in both, but I remember that, since I knew the other one better, unconsciously I had all my energy concentrated on that one. I got the news at the same time. My agent told me: “I have good and bad news…” What I didn’t suspect was that the good news would turn out to be so good…
Lesbicanarias: What caught your attention about the project?
Berta Hernández: They sent me the scripts shortly alter finding out I would be on the show. I think I remember receiving the first four episodes. I drank them. I couldn’t stop reading them. I was hooked on the story from the first minute. I pictured the colours, the costumes, the locations… As soon as I read the scripts I was anxious to start shooting… I sensed it was going to be a great show.
Lesbicanarias: How would you describe Cristina? Introduce her as if we didn’t know her.
Berta Hernández: Cristina is a brave woman, a go-getter. She’s bold and strong. She has to live in a man’s world playing the worst part… being at their service. And yet, she’s managed to get the best spot, where she feels more privileged… she’s non-conforming and clever. And at the same time, she’s tremendously sensitive and honest. A woman who has suffered loneliness and lack of love… and who has known how to recognize and, what’s more difficult, accept and fight for true love, even by risking her life and breaking the rules of “the forbidden”.
Lesbicanarias: Cristina is a complex character because of the era and her profession. How did you get ready for the role?
Berta Hernández: Well, prostitution has always existed… it isn’t hard to find documentation about that era. The scripts and the situations were really well written and the setting (make-up, hair, costumes, props) made you travel in time. You need to know how society worked in that era and in different social classes, especially the low social class, which is the one I belong to. I’ve let myself be wrapped in everything the different teams on the show offered me. I think it’s been really a group effort. It’s been an interesting journey and I’ve felt I’ve been in very good company.
Lesbicanarias: What do you feel when you play her? Is there something of Berta in Cristina?
Berta Hernández: When you empathize with a character, that’s a wonderful sensation. You feel a connection and sometimes you reach some conclusions and have some thoughts that aren’t yours, but you understand her and you’re enriched by them. It makes you grow. When you create a character you have to search in you, what you can give it from your nature, from your personality, from the way you see life. It’s the starting point. It’s also interesting that sometimes you find things about yourself you’re not even aware of and they surprise you. It’s also funny to play and to experiment emotions and situations very far from your life. Every character I’ve played has something from me… and undoubtedly I’ve kept something from them along the way.
Lesbicanarias: Cristina has evolved a lot as a character from the beginning of the show until now. Tell us how you’ve lived that evolution.
Berta Hernández: Every time I discovered something knew about Cristina, it was a step towards her for me. When I’d receive a new script I would read every new scene with anticipation. The excitement grew. In season two they decided that Isabel and Cristina would have a relationship. One day, Adriana called me to tell me about it and I started jumping out of joy. She’s not only my friend, I admire her a lot and I knew that by her side, I’d travel a road where only beautiful things could happen. Cristina’s evolution has been a gift and I can only give thanks and enjoy everything it’s brought me.
Lesbicanarias: Right now, Cristina’s living a very difficult moment in her relationship, because of Isabel’s marriage. What awaits us in what’s left of the season?
Berta Hernández: I’d love to be able to tell you that you can relax, that everything will be alright and that it will be a relationship full of peace and happiness. But unfortunately, it won’t be so. What I can say is that there will be a lot of love. Always, love will be above everything. Which is what matters in the end, isn’t it? But yes… we’ll keep suffering.
Lesbicanarias: What would you say is the main trait that’s made people empathize with this couple?
Berta Hernández: Adriana and I have taken great care with our characters, their relationship and everything that’s happened between them… in every scene and in the face of every new adversity. We’ve worked very close together, we liked to take decisions together and talk about every line of script. As I’ve said many times, I admire Adriana as an actress and I adore her as a friend. It’s so easy to work with her that this couldn’t have turned out any other way. I think a mix of all that is what’s gone through the screen and what’s moved and reached all of you.
Lesbicanarias: In Spanish shows, we’ve had two lesbian couples with great international repercussion: Maca and Ester in Hospital Central and Silvia and Pepa in Los hombres de Paco. How do you feel knowing that Isabel y Cristina have managed to make the same impact. Did you expect to cross borders?
Berta Hernández: You never expect that, to tell you the truth. When we started shooting this storyline we never considered that it could achieve all this. You just start discovering it and opening your eyes each time a little more with a surprised face. I think we lack real role models in society and we inevitably replace them with fiction. It’s a small window of light towards acceptance, equality and a mirror in which those who unfortunately suffer this repression can see themselves.
Lesbicanarias: How’s your relationship with your castmates and, especially, with Adriana?
Berta Hernández: There’s always been a good energy between all of us. We watch almost all episodes together, the hours spent shooting were very funny… but you obviously get closer to some than to others. Although I adore all of them, Elisa Matilla is very special to me and she’s been really supporting since the beginning. And Adriana is undoubtedly my girl. I don’t want to repeat myself about our relationship. We’re friends and she’s become someone very important for me.
Lesbicanarias: Can you tell us some funny anecdotes about the shooting?
Berta Hernández: It’s really funny to work with animals. I remember a scene with a donkey. The actors, I think they were Elisa, Junio, Alex and Jordi (I wasn’t there), had to laugh and suddenly the donkey got caught by it and started to bray non-stop. They had to stop shooting because everyone got infected by laughter. And the donkey didn’t stop, he locked like he was having a laughter attack. I think it was so natural and so funny they kept part of that shot.
Lesbicanarias: Italy airs the show. Did you know that your storyline has been censored? The TV channel has cut all references to the relationship between Cristina and Isabel. What do you think about that?
Berta Hernández: I think that it’s horrible to live in a society that allows a double standard. That they don’t have the right to omit such a pure and beautiful love story. That it’s really sad that these things happen and that we have to comply with the decision. And that they’re the ones missing out… I could say a loooooooot more. But I’d rather leave it at that… yes, it’s better.
Lesbicanarias: Besides acting, you also sing, dance and play the guitar. We saw you in the musical “Hoy no me puedo levantar”, also in «A» and in “En tu fiesta me colé”. How important is music for you?
Berta Hernández: I wake up with music. I shower with music. I play the guitar when I’m sad, when I’m bored… I cook with music… And I drive with the music very loud and singing like crazy. I love that my life has a soundtrack. It makes you see things differently. If I wake up in a bad mood one day, I press “play” and everything becomes easier. I love music.
Lesbicanarias: If you could play any character in a musical, which one would it be and why?
Berta Hernández: I don’t consider myself a musical theatre actress even if I’ve been in some. For me, going back to musicals requires a project that would really fit me, the way I sing, my tastes… I admire the people who work in them a lot. I guess I would meet “Maria” again, the character I played in “Hoy no me puedo levantar” when I was younger. I’d love to share with her what I’ve learned.
Lesbicanarias: You’re playing Begoña in “Amar es para siempre”. How are you experiencing this new character?
Berta Hernández: My character in Amar isn’t a good person, so I’ve had a blast. It’s been hard to adapt. A lot of Castillian dialogue, long scenes and a very, very fast shooting. It’s a wonderful school. It’s been really interesting being a part of it.
Lesbicanarias: Are you considering any other projects?
Berta Hernández: I’ve just shot a wonderful short movie with Asunción Balaguer, directed by Judith Hidalgo, a young director who’s written a wonderful story. I’m very excited about this new project: Lala y Lola.
Lesbicanarias: You’re very active in Twitter. How has this social site changed the way you interact with the audience?
Berta Hernández: It’s very beautiful to have such a direct contact with people and have them thank you and congratulate you for your work… it’s a way to receive applause and also to give thanks for all the love. We work for the audience, it’s important to feel their support and their warmth, it means you’re doing something right.
Lesbicanarias: What message would you send to all the women that are reading us?
Berta Hernández: Thank you, thank you and a thousand times thank you. You’ve made this couple so great. Thank you for loving them so much, for loving us so much. We’ve really been very fortunate and it’s your fault. And I send a kiss to each one of you.
Lesbicanarias: And to finish: What’s the question you’ve always wanted to answer and you’ve never been asked?
Berta Hernández: UUUf, that’s hard. … I don’t really know. The truth is I know very well what I don’t want to get asked and what issues I don’t want to talk about… but it’s hard to know what I would like. As a rule, the interviews I make are very complete, I talk about a lot of things and I don’t feel like there’s anything missing. I will think about it for next time.
Translation by: Casquita de Sueltos Edition by:
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