Melissa Carcache is much more than a pretty face. Over the past several years, she has established herself as a young actress on the rise in Hollywood and leaves herself poised become a breakout star in 2014. Carcache is an incredibly expressive young actress who pours her heart and soul into each and every role. She is currently showcasing her tremendous talents with captivating and spirited performances as part of the cast of Nickelodeon’s hit Television series ‘Every Witch Way’.
A career as a working actress is something she has feels has always been her path. She is anything but an overnight success but has had no fear when it comes to working toward her goal. At fourteen Melissa enrolled in Miami’s Inner Focus Acting School and quickly became its shining star. At eighteen she was encouraged to leave Miami for Hollywood, where she landed her first big job for a National Intel commercial. When she returned to Miami she landed several hosting jobs for Ice TV and the Royal Caribbean Shopping Channel and her first major television role came not long after, as ‘”Lily” Iridium High School nurse and lead character Emma’s witch guardian in ‘Every Witch Way’. Her hard work and dedication to her craft, coupled with her infectious smile and have begun to turn the heads of critics, fans and industry insiders alike.
Her work isn’t limited to acting alone as she is also exploring her philantophical side with her work with the kids at the Miami Children’s Hospital. After her Brother became sick and spent time at Miami Children’s Hospital, she developed an affinity with the Hospital and its amazing staff. Founded in 1950, Miami Children’s Hospital is South Florida’s only licensed free-standing specialty hospital exclusively for children. The not-for profit 289-bed hospital is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with several specialty programs ranked among the best in the nation. Melissa recently introduced a special premiere screening of the show for hospitalized patients at Miami Children’s Hospital. It was an amazing day of smiles and laughter that both the kids and Melissa will remember for a very long time. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Melissa Carcache to discuss her journey in the entertainment industry, bringing her character on ‘Every Witch Way’ from script to screen, what the future might hold for her and much more!
How did you get started on your journey in the entertainment industry and what made you choose acting as a career?
I have always wanted to be an actress. I did my first play when I was about 5 years old in Kindergarten. I begged my mom to let me start auditioning and things like that! She actually didn’t let me until I was a bit older. She didn’t want me to miss out on my childhood by working so early. After many years of begging her, I was about 14 years old, I was able to get an agent who had me fly out to Los Angeles for a competition where you do monologues in front of agents, managers and casting directors. Out of that competition, I won third place as a comedic actress and I got 13 callbacks. I signed with my first agent around that time and moved out to LA at 18. I ended up booking a lot of stuff in Miami, so I ended up moving back there. In Miami, I booked “Every Witch Way” and now I’m back home! To be honest, acting is something I have always wanted to do. It isn’t a situation where I woke up one morning and said, “Oh, let me try it.” It is something I have always been extremely passionate about and I have always known this was what I was going to do for the rest of my life!
Who would you cite as your biggest influence as an actor?
I grew up watching a lot of Nickelodeon, which is funny because that is the network I am on right now. [laughs] That was definitely a big influence on me. Since I wasn’t able to do acting professionally as a kid, I was kind of learning by watching. A lot of the movies and television shows I watched taught me how to be an actor in a way; whether it was memorizing lines or the expressions actors used in what they do. I haven’t had a mentor who I call and talk to about the business. As a matter of fact, I have kind of done everything on my own. I was never one of the lucky ones who were discovered. I have always tried to wedge my way into getting into the business and meeting different people. As far as actors go, Angelina Jolie is one of my favorite actresses of all time. I feel like she is someone who can be believable in anything she does. As a kid, I don’t know how my mom let me watch this movie … “Girl Interrupted” was one of my favorite movies! [laughs] I learned a lot about drama watching that film. That was a big movie for me and an influence I learned a lot from.
As you mentioned, “Every Witch Way” is your latest project. How did you get involved with the project and what intrigued you about the character early on?
It’s funny, they were searching for someone to play the part of Lily for many months and couldn’t find the right person. They were just about to start shooting the show. I got a call from my agent and she said, “Have I submitted you on this?” I was like, “No! You haven’t!” She sent me over the script and asked if I could go the next day. I was thinking it was kind of crazy because I had all these scenes and the audition was the next day. I said, “Sure!” [laughs] I read it over and I really fell in love with it! Growing up I really loved “Sabrina The Teenage Witch” and things with magic. I thought it was so neat they were bringing something like this to a new generation of kids. What I love about Lily is that she and I are similar in our quirkiness! Some of the funny moments she has are kind of my own. I really love that about her. I also love that even though she is Emma’s guardian, I see her as her big sister. I am actually a big sister to a younger brother and sister in real life, so there was a lot to relate to there and experience I can pull from. I went on the audition, got the part two weeks after my audition and then I was on my first table read! Everyone was in Miami ready to shoot and I was the last person to dive in and started shooting right away. It was a very quick process for this role.
“Every Witch Way” has a great cast. What have been some of the highlights of working alongside this talented group?
What is so great about our cast is everyone is pretty much fresh-faced. Everyone has their resumes but they are all pretty fresh. It is really cool because all of these kids are like my brothers and sisters. With the girls, we are always talking about makeup and having fun. Then with the boys, we talk about their cars and this and that. It is fun to see everybody going into this new experience and really learn along the way. We are all learning from each other. This year we actually got to work with Clayton Boen, who is a really big director at Nickelodeon that has directed “iCarly” and “Victorious.” He is so great to work with! I feel everyone has learned a lot from him whether it be how to shoot Nickelodeon shows and what to grasp onto when shooting. I have definitely learned a lot from the director this season. He was a big help and influence for me and everyone else.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced with your role on this series?
In season one, the biggest challenge I had was being turned into a monkey! [laughs] In that scene, there is a transition between being human and being a complete monkey. In between my lines, I was literally saying a word and screaming like a monkey. I thought, “How am I going to make this believable and not make it seem like it was a costume?” I went to the zoo and did some research. I listened to the monkey screams, watched their mannerisms and studied their movements. Google and YouTube were also a big help! It’s funny because that scene was really short, only about four or five lines, but I did so much research for a month beforehand just to get it right! I think for me, in season one, that was the biggest challenge. In season two, there is definitely a little more drama for Lily. She still has her comedic moments but there are a lot of serious issues being touched upon this season. That was a big challenge, how to balance it, make her fun and not so serious or big sister-like to Emma.
Where do you hope to see Lily go in the future? What are some of the hopes you have for her?
To be honest, I would love to see her get some powers! Lily, as a guardian, is a powerless witch. All guardians that come from the magic realm are powerless but I would love to see her get some powers. This season, she is recruited as a council member. Her nurse responsibilities are kind of put in second place and she is more of a witch but without powers. I think it would be super interesting if she does get powers at some point to see how she would handle it!
Looking back on your career so far, how have you evolved as an actor?
It’s funny because this is my biggest project to date but I feel like, through it all, I have done small to large things, I have really changed. My confidence level has changed a lot. I trust myself more with the choices I make as an actor. When I first started, I would really listen to my teachers. There is nothing wrong with that and many teachers have great advice. I feel like I really relied on that and maybe my choices weren’t the right choices. I really didn’t trust myself that much but now I am very confident. I am very focused on what my choices are and what I think is best for the character versus what someone else thinks is best. Always on set, the director and acting coach are usually giving pointers here and there but I feel like I trust my gut more. That is my biggest evolution over the years.
Is there a particular type of role or genre you are anxious to explore in the short and long term?
I would definitely love to get into film. That is something I have always wanted to do. I am the type of person who just loves challenges! I feel that is one of the many fun things in life! When things are hard, once you overcome the obstacle it is so exciting and you feel like you have really fought a battle to get it. I feel like with film, every role you get is a new challenge. It is still a challenge in TV but you start evolving the character as you go throughout the years but in film you only have a few months until you are done, on to the next character and your research starts again. I just feel like it is more of a challenge. I am very creative by nature, so the creative process for me is definitely more hands on and fun to do. I would love to do some dramatic roles, that is what I grew up watching and something I have always wanted to try, so that is definitely something I am looking forward to doing in the future, along with film.
I know you recently used your celebrity to bring smiles to the faces of others recently. Tell us a little about how you became involved with the Miami Children’s Hospital and how you premiered the show to the kids.
My family has been involved with Miami Children’s Hospital for many years. My brother, when he was younger, was extremely ill and we spent a lot of time there. They were so good to him. Actually, he used to hang out in the playroom where I premiered the show. It was nice to give back to the kids that are now spending time there and bring some joy to them when they aren’t feeling so good or in the most positive frame of mind. My brother is going to be 21 years old. He is feeling fantastic and healthy. My sister, Stephanie Carcache, is a recording artist. She did a concert to benefit the children in the hospital that were being transported from Haiti to Miami after the big earthquake. They were being brought to Miami Children’s Hospital to get help for the injuries they sustained from the quake. She decided to do a concert with not only herself but local artists to help continue the medical care. She ended up raising over $30,000 for the hospital so the kids could get better. I decided it would be really cool to premiere the show with the kids. We shoot the show in Miami and the city is a big character in the show, it was nice to include the local kids in being a part of it. I like to say that it is part of the magic we get to do! I just thought it would be kind of neat to spend some time with them and get to know them on more of a personal level. We talked a lot about food! [laughs] I am a foodie and my favorite food is pizza. After all the conversations, we all wanted to order pizza! The nurses were like, “I don’t think we can do that!” [laughs] It was so much fun and we had a great time! It was a terrific experience and I would love to go back and hang out with them all some more!
Your family is a huge part of your life. With everything you guys have been through over the years and supporting each other every step of the way, what is the best lesson we can learn from your family?
It is very cliché but it is to never give up! My parents are Cuban and they came from Cuba when they were very young. They didn’t know the language at first. My father was able to build a successful construction company without having much of an education or much of anything to be honest. He tried several businesses and failed. To me, looking back, I think about how many times I have failed in my career in the beginning. I thought, “Wow. Wouldn’t you just want to give up? Why would you want to start a new company after you have failed before?” He just kept saying, “You don’t give up!” When you believe in something, believe in it and are passionate about it, you don’t give up! That is the lesson I have learned from my parents. It is a lesson they have instilled in me and my siblings. My sister is a recording artist, my brother is a drummer and we are all very artistic. That is something my parents have always been very supportive of. It is just that simple sentence that has been said over and over again and means a lot to me. I feel like the only way you fail in life is if you actually quit. If you give up, you will never be successful at anything you want to do. All the failures you encounter that seem like the end of the world are just pieces of armor for your suit to continue the fight and move forward with anything you want to do in life! That is something that is very special. It sounds so simple and has been said a million times but I feel it is really what has brought my career forward and made me stronger as a person to handle anything that comes my way. This career for me was not easy and like I said, I really had no one to help me push forward. I have always had to wiggle my way in and try to find opportunities, call people and do the leg work. It is something I have always known I was meant to do but I had a different path than many other actors. I am totally fine with that and I feel it totally helped me grow as a person. I love that!
Looking to the future, what do you have in store for us both short and long term? Any projects we should be on the lookout for or you aspire to do in the years to come?
Acting will always be my number one passion but over the years I have really gravitated towards writing. My dad and I actually write screenplays together. It has been a lot of fun and a great way to generate ideas. That is something I definitely want to pursue in the future. I would love to create my own things. I wouldn’t necessarily star or be in the projects but create things for other people like me, who when they first started didn’t have certain types of roles, being Latin or bilingual. I also have a pilot that has been finished for the past four years that is waiting for whenever the opportunity comes. I am definitely interested in writing but I think acting will always be my number one! I would love to be like Betty White. I would love to be still acting at her age and doing so well! That is something I definitely aspire to.
You keep very busy with developing your career. How do you spend your free time and unwind?
[laughs] That is hard to do! I love to work hard and I am definitely a workaholic. That is something I got from my mom! [laughs] In my free time, I love to be at the beach. My friends have a boat and I will go out there to relax and read a book. I also have a dog! His name is Romeo and I have had him for nine years! I love spending time with him! I will take him out to the dog park or the beach! He is my little buddy! [laughs] I also love spending time with my family. I am a very family oriented person and a homebody too. I love to stay at home and watch movies and stuff like that! I am definitely a simple gal and definitely not the nightclub kind of girl. The most I would do is go out to dinner because I love to eat! I am definitely a very simple girl!
Where are the best places for people who are just discovering you to learn more and interact with you online?
The best place to start is my website, www.melissacarcache.com. My biography is there, along with pictures and videos. My Twitter and Instagram accounts are also great ways to see what I am up to. My Twitter is twitter.com/melicarcache and my Instagram is instagram.com/melicarcache.
Thanks so much for your time today, Melissa. You have been terrific and I thank you for giving us a glimpse into your world!
Thank you, Jason! I appreciate I and will talk to you soon!
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.