But Sharknado is something that everyone seems to want to be a part of. Every celebrity that we can think of seems to have taken a guest role in the movies. I have to admit I was intrigued when Dance Mom’s Abbie Lee Miller took part in the series.
We had the pleasure of talking to Sharknado’s own Masiela Lusha, who plays the role of Gemini. We loved her on George Lopez. One thing that we didn’t expect to find out is that Masiela Lusha is also an accomplished author and philanthropist. The girl can do it all.
Sharknado movies have such a cult following. Can you tell us a little about your character and why you like playing her?
Gemini was a work in progress during the filming of Sharknado 4. Even midway through filming, we still did not fully flesh out her role within the Sharknado universe. Eventually, we settled on making her a Shephard, and thereby solidifying her place as family. I love her heart, more than anything. She fights for a purpose, and her mission, above all else, is to heal, to restore, and to grow. This is what drew me to her character: her fierce love for family and for humanity. Such a delicious role to play!
What do you have most in common with your Sharknado character?
She lives for a purpose and is sensitive to other people’s vulnerabilities. I find myself drawn to this sense of compassion, and the lion-like fierceness that protects the victims.
Can you tell us your favorite memory from set?
My favorite memory on set is definitely leaping off the Stratosphere Hotel in Vegas at 4am. Because of this scene, Vegas will always hold a special place in my heart. A lot of fond midnight memories filming in Vegas!
I truly believe Sharknado is such a success because it does not take itself too seriously. Yet, in all the fun mayhem, there is a core value of family that glues the films together. It’s a release, and a reason to cheer. As Cassie, the actress who plays Nova says, it has become a summer event, a movement. I agree, and find that it pulls families together. In all my projects, Sharknado is by far the most demanding and yet carefree project I have worked on, and this juxtaposition really shows through on screen. It’s all play and terror!
You probably get asked this all the time, but do you actually like sharks? And if so – do you watch Shark Week? What did you think about Michael Phelps racing a shark?
I think Michael Phelps racing a shark is pretty legendary. What a larger than life feat! I love sharks; I think they’re beautiful creatures, and find that there is a majesty in their power. Strength is beautiful. I actually wouldn’t mind cage diving with sharks at some point in my life; I’m sure the experience would be perspective shifting.
What’s more challenging – working in TV or in movies? Which do you prefer? Why?
I consider film to be far more challenging. First, by virtue of it being a limited-time production, we need to dive in with a full understanding of our character, because we have such a finite number of days to get it right. Usually, within the first pass, we must get it right because of budget. Rehearsal is also very brief, with one or two passes before filming. Filming also requires a soldier-like dedication at all hours of the day. Within five days, it isn’t uncommon to have two night shoots and three day shoots, with minimal recovery in between. Also, in films, we are required to film in exotic, global locations for months on end. Wonderful if you have no other proprieties waiting for you at home, but can be an issue for actors with families!
Sitcom television is usually predictable, often set in one sound stage, with a solid 9-5 workweek, with the exception of filming which usually takes one day a week. Because shows can last for years, this gives the actor a lot of time to process the character, factor in the growth and trajectory, and evolve together. This allows the acting to feel seamless. Because I grew up on a sitcom stage, I feel most comfortable in this element of storytelling. I love the immediate reaction from the fans, it reminds me why I love acting.
I love both, actually. You absolutely have to love what you do in this industry otherwise it can drain you dry within two years.
You are actively involved in charities, which we admire. Can you talk a little about the charities that you are involved in and why it is so important to be involved?
Absolutely! I am currently involved with Uncommon Good. We work closely with entire family units, hoping to elevate them onto a higher plane of perspective and success. I love the element of mentorship that we provide our students. For example, only 41.5% of our students are projected to graduate high school. 41.5%! We mentor our students and have a 100% success rate in college acceptance! Imagine the impact this has on our society.
What are you most passionate about in life?
I am passionate about art, in any form. This is where I find my strongest inspiration, relief, and restoration. Art, whether it be on a canvas, performance, song, or poem, has the ability to heal and to frame memories into beautiful little feelings. I am also passionate about learning, and usually read two to three books at the same time, throughout the year. I simply become restless if I do not have a book to dive into at any time of the day. Oftentimes, the book is either an anthology, or nonfiction. The more I can learn about our world, the happier I feel.
You have written 5 books of poetry. Can you tell us what you love most about poetry? Which one of your books should we start with to read your poetry?
Each book carves out a chapter in my life. I would say to begin reading DRINKING THE MOON. I wrote this collection at 16 years old, and found it to be the most inspiring to write. I was truly understanding poetry for the first time. My recent book THE LIVING AIR is by far my most challenging collection. I wanted to find my boundaries, and test them. I wrote poems in German, and translated each back to English, and I translated poems by Mother (Saint) Theresa.
What do you fangirl over?
Blake Lively! She emits such grace and charm, balancing a solid family life with a successful career.