Three Great Things: Cecilia Suárez

The star of ABC's Promised Land and the new horror thriller The Passenger on the stuff of life that brings her joy.

Three Great Things is Talkhouse’s series in which artists tell us about three things they absolutely love. To mark the June 3 release in theaters of The Passenger, the Spanish horror film starring Ramiro Blas, Cecilia Suárez, Paula Gallego and Cristina Alcázar, Suárez – also the star of Overboard, Spanglish and NBC’s Promised Land shares some of the things she loves most in life. — N.D.

Rock Music
Right now, I am digging into the world of rock music – reading about it, watching videos about it, listening to songs and full albums. I’m really enjoying it. There is a creative reason for my delving into this topic, but aside from that, I have a genuine interest in understanding this world and what it embraces, the way it embraces it, how it looks at life and at certain events in life, and how it communicates those events through music.

At the moment, I’m reading a book on the Sex Pistols, so that’s a trip in itself. It makes me think about how little we’ve changed or moved forward, and how young people were feeling back in the ‘70s, what they were rebelling against, what they thought about life, how they viewed their future. I wonder how different it was from how young people are feeling today, particularly with everything that is going on right now. What I do think has changed is people’s stamina for speaking out, for saying what they’re going through. I don’t know if young people have that today, unless it’s through social media.

I’ve also been revisiting the music of my generation, the ’90s, with bands like Nirvana. I’ve also been delving into the different Spanish-speaking rock movements, which have references from British rock and American rock, but have their own identities, personalities and shapes, because of the country they each come from, and particularly the political situation of those countries.

I’m a junkie for research, which is probably my favorite part of being an actress. It educates me. It entertains me. It makes me curious. It makes me more curious. And it leads me to learn about other topics, not just the one I’m researching, so I end up learning about stuff that otherwise I would never come across. Curiosity is at the core of who I am as a person. I get bored easily, so part of my medicine is to maintain my curiosity and to constantly try to be in contact with stuff that is a stimulus for me – for my brain and for my heart and for my soul and for my overall understanding of what it is to be here.

My Family
Family is crucial for everybody. My family is not perfect, but it’s unique, it’s mine and it’s the one I’ve got. I find it so nourishing. Family is the one place where you cannot hide; that’s why it can be so difficult at times and so obnoxious at times, too. I feel very proud of the family I have; I’m fortunate enough to say that the members of my family would be my friends, even if they were not part of my family. I like them. I like talking with them. I like the way their brains work. I like how they feel. I like how they live. I have plenty of admiration for my family members, and that, for me, is a big gift. Spending time with them – and with my child, in particular – is an ongoing lesson. And whatever I might be doing with my family, it is always humbling. I have to be open if I want to continue to grow and learn and shift and change and evolve into a better person.

I think it’s impossible for family life and work life not to bleed into one another, especially if you’re an actress. If I were in an office, maybe it wouldn’t happen as much, but because I am my own tool, it is impossible for the two lives not to overlap and feed from each other. I try to keep them separate, though, when it comes to my privacy, which I’m very protective of and is very important to me. Having privacy is crucial for what I do. I would not be able to be an actress without it.

Becoming a mother was an absolute shift for me, as it completely opened up an entire universe of how I felt and how I connected and the importance of being alive and in good health and in a good state of mind. It changed that enormously. But also when I have losses, they can be processed in a very different way through art. It’s a way to heal. I hate using art as a healing process, but I cannot deny that it is a healing process.

Walking the Camino de Santiago
I have a soft spot for nature, but I am not that fond of camping, because of bugs. However, once we were out of lockdown, I shot a series on the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage road in Galicia, Spain, and discovered that I love hiking. It has changed my whole perception of the world, having this immersion in nature and how it brings my whole body, my thoughts, my self into a very different feeling, into a very different mood, into a very different quality. The more I do it, the more it gives me. I started taking long walks with my son and it became almost like a meditation for both of us. And then he started taking photographs on these walks and I noticed he has a real talent for photography. It’s given us another way of being together – of enjoying each other’s company, even in silence, but also of having a deep communication with our own selves. It has been beautiful, an amazing discovery.

Cecilia Suárez walking the Camino de Santiago in 3 Caminos.

I had heard about the Camino de Santiago so many times before, and a really close friend of mine came to stay at my house right after he walked it, but it’s hard to fully grasp the experience when someone else is telling you about it. You do not truly understand it till you go through it yourself. It was breathtaking. First of all, the locations where we were shooting were stunningly beautiful. When I had days off, I started doing the walks on my own; it was so gratifying. It allows for so much silence, but at the same time, for letting you feel what’s happening inside of you in such a clear way, in such a peaceful way. It was amazing to me. I love it. I need it now.

Cecilia Suárez can currently be seen in the indie horror-thriller The Passenger, directed by Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez which is out now through Dark Star Pictures, and the ABC drama Promised Land, opposite John Ortiz. For three seasons, she starred in the hit Netflix series set in Mexico, La Casa de las Flores, and became the first Mexican actress to be nominated for an international Emmy® Award for her role in the HBO series Capadocia. Her other recent TV credits include Amazon Prime’s 3 Caminos and Lifetime’s For the People and her past film work includes Overboard, James L. Brooks Spanglish, and Tommy Lee Jones’ Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Based on her long track record of public advocacy for gender equality in her home country of Mexico, Suárez was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to be a U.N. Global Advocate for the Spotlight Initiative, the world’s largest targeted effort to end all forms of violence against women and girls.