ALISON ARAYA will be seen in the new Netflix musical comedy Julie And The Phantoms.
In the live-action series, Julie, a high schooler loses her passion for music after her mom dies. But when the ghosts of three dreamy musicians from 1995 suddenly appear in her mom’s old music studio, Julie feels her own inner spirit beginning to reawaken, and she’s inspired to start singing and writing songs again. As their friendship with Julie grows, the boys convince her to create a new band together: Julie and The Phantoms. Alison plays Julie’s Aunt Victoria.
AC: What can audiences expect from Julie and The Phantoms?
ALISON ARAYA – Audiences are going to gag over Julie And The Phantoms! This show is the full meal deal…heart and soul, music that crosses an array of genres, grounded with elements of magic, it is a visual feast and the cast is so extraordinarily talented!
AC: How does your character fit into the story?
ALISON ARAYA – I play Julie’s Aunt Victoria or Tia Victoria in Spanish. In the show Julie’s mom, my sister, passes and in the year since her passing I have become a bigger part of the family’s day to day life. Offering some form of normalcy and practicality, Victoria’s intentions are always good and straight from the heart, but she can be a little tiring. But only because she cares!
AC: What do you think is your character’s ultimate goal?
ALISON ARAYA – I believe Tia Victoria’s ultimate goal is to stay strong for the family and hold the space left empty since her sister’s passing. Although she could never replace her sister, nor is it her intention, I believe Tia Victoria’s aim is to hold love and support for every member of the family. And also, she’s a ‘Tia Latina’, which, if you know, then you know. They don’t hold back!
AC: Can you recall any funny moments from on-set filming?
ALISON ARAYA – My family is originally from Chile and Carlos Ponce who plays Julie’s Dad had me in stitches with his perfect Chilean accent! Anyone who has traveled through Latin America will know, each country has a distinct sound or accent. You can practically tell where someone is from by the way they speak Spanish, so Carlos has perfected his Chilean and it is legit!
AC: What was it like working with Kenny Ortega?
ALISON ARAYA – It’s not every day you get to work with a living legend and Kenny Ortega is just that. But he is so much more, he is so kind and supportive of his cast and crew, watching him direct is a masterclass. I remember being on set one day and being in awe of his ability to oversee such a complex sequence and make everyone in the room feel vital and a part of the magic. That’s what he does! One of the hardest things I have ever had to do is walk into my call back and not totally “fangirl” over him, I mean he choreographed Madonna’s Material Girl and that was jam! I knew that dance by heart! Don’t even get me started on Dirty Dancing! I’m showing my age now, right?
AC: As an actor, what are you still trying to learn?
ALISON ARAYA – I love this question! I have and will always believe that learning is growing and growing is learning who we really are. That is why I have invited myself to grow beyond my comfort zones in all aspects of my life, especially my acting. A dear friend once told me in the end, it’s all about the journey and to be honest, at first, I didn’t like that but now I know it to be true. So, to answer your question, I’m still learning about myself and the more I learn about me, the more I feel I can share as an actor, and artist.
AC: How can you tell when you’re reading a great script?
ALISON ARAYA – I can’t put it down. And time seems to have slipped into that void, where all of a sudden, it’s hours later but you’ve been so thoroughly absorbed that you don’t notice.
AC: When did you begin to see acting as a potential career avenue?
ALISON ARAYA – To be honest, I knew this is what I wanted to do since I can remember. It became real for me, when I was in high school back in my hometown of Sydney, Australia studying at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts, that there was nothing I could do that would come close to fulfilling my joy like acting. And I did try to run away, it is a challenging career path. I worked for Greenpeace, I worked in hospitality, but all paths lead back to my one love – acting.
AC: What do you want the world to look like in 10 years?
ALISON ARAYA – Big question. I love it! More humans actively participating in their own healing journeys, so that we, as a whole, can emerge with greater consciousness, love and awareness, to be the highest versions of ourselves. Thus, creating a field of love so powerful, we’d all be like “Care Bears” shooting beams of love from our hearts.
AC: If you had the chance to put something on billboards worldwide next week, what would it be? Or what would it say?
ALISON ARAYA – “Our Mission is to Heal, Our Nature is to LOVE”.
AC: How important is social media to you right now?
ALISON ARAYA – I will admit that social media holds a unique place in my life. I have had to adapt to social media and that is not the case for generations after me. And, while I see how powerful and beautiful so many aspects of social media can be, I am nostalgic for the analog days. That said, social media is a platform that molds to your intention, so I maintain an open curiosity to how I can evolve and open up my relationship with social media.
AC: What’s the biggest realisation you’ve had this past year?
ALISON ARAYA – I’ve learned how powerful a seed is. During lockdown I grew a garden from seeds, and I remember looking at these teeny tiny tomato seeds and thinking how they will grow into anything. But, they did, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch. A garden has been a long-time analogy for life for me, but actually growing a garden made me appreciate that analogy even more.
AC: Everyone seems to have an app idea at the moment, what’s yours?
ALISON ARAYA – My first response was an app that will help me find my “analog” keys but then I started really thinking about it, and here is my app idea. An app that turns your detailed recount of your dream into a short animation. Boom! Did I just become a gazillionaire?
AC: What makes you feel nostalgic?
ALISON ARAYA – I’m sentimental by nature, so it doesn’t take much. But I have to say Christmas, I live so far away from my family, they’re in Chile and Australia, and with the world being where it is, not being able to go home for Christmas this year, that gets me nostalgic for all the holiday traditions. However, I make sure, no matter where I am in the world to always make my mum’s traditional Christmas bread (a recipe that has been passed down generations) and “Cola de Mono’, which translates to “Monkeys Tail”. It’s actually Chilean liquor, kind of like homemade Bailey’s if you will.
AC: Do you have a personal fear you’d like to conquer?
ALISON ARAYA – I’d like to think one day I’d muster the courage to bungee jump, but I’m ok if I don’t! I went skydiving once, that will suffice!
AC: Aside from your upcoming projects, what are you excited about for the future?
ALISON ARAYA – Peace. Love. Equality. And the dismantling of paradigms that have held us back from our truest potential.
PHOTOGRAPHY: DANIELA CUIFFA
INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES