Wanted: A Young Latin
Girl with a Fresh Quality
Soap Opera Digest, November 1977
by Geri Jefferson
Article Provided By Wanda
Ana Alicia (Alicia Nieves, Ryan's Hope) arrived in New York a few short months ago and already she's in love.....with New York, that is!
"I'm in love. I love the energy. My mom used to tell me 'you have too much energy - slow down!' So I called her and I said, 'Ma, I found my city!'"
Ana, born in Mexico City, lived there until she was six. After her father passed away, her family moved to El Paso, Texas where she attended school. Always a bright and studious child, it should have come as no surprise when Ana received a full scholarship to the acclaimed Wellesley College, in Massachusetts.
Always drawn to acting, Ana felt 'too scared' to pursue it and decided "I've always liked law, so I'll study it and see what happens." When she arrived at Wellesley, she felt as though she were in a 'dream world.' The college had exchange classes with Harvard and academically it was pressure, but for Ana, it was a beautiful growing up period. During her first year there, she took general studies and latched onto just about everything. She would study computer programming until four in the morning; so she was captivated by political science. There was an almost insatiable need for learning.
During a school break, Ana came to New York. While there, she saw some Broadway shows and that turned the tides. "That (stage) is where I want to be," she said, "It all came back, and I realized you can't hide from what you really want to do. Follow your dreams, don't be scared or you are going to miss out."
With that, Ana returned to Wellesley, but somehow she knew it wouldn't be for long. When summer came, Ana returned home (to El Paso) and one of her former instructors suggested she audition for a new Equity theater. She went, was accepted, and decided to take a leave of absence from Wellesley in order to continue working in the theater. She was accepted to the University of Texas and for about a year or so, she worked, with, among others, Dana Andrews. It was Ana's first real taste of professional theater and she loved it.
After receiving her degree from Texas University, she decided it was 'time to try my dreams.'
With every penny she'd saved, she packed her suitcase and drove out to Los Angeles.
Once there, she decided that getting an agent should be the first order of business, So.....
"I walked into their agents' offices and they kind of looked at me."
'Can I help you?' they said.
So I said, 'I'm Ana Alicia Ortiz, I just came here from El Paso, Texas.'"
"And they said....'but you just don't do this.'"
"So I started to walk out and they asked if I had any pictures."
"No" I said, "I've never had any taken.'"
"So they said, 'well, do you have a resume?'"
"And I said,'well, a little one.' So I guess they were really shocked but they signed me."
Again, she was accepted into an Equity company. She toured with the company and when the show was sent to Alaska she had planned on going too, but then Ryan's Hope happened.
She was pleased with her work in L. A. and was, in addition to everything else, teaching adults in the areas of multi-cultural history and creative dramatics.
However, Ryan's Hope was an honest-to-goodness dream come true and she couldn't pass it up.
Ryan's Hope was the only daytime drama Ana ever followed. "I watched it from the day it started and I told my mom I'd really like to work on that show, but then I said to myself 'never!'"
So when her agent called her to audition for a part on her favorite show it began a whirlwind episode. A week after the screen test - (on a Friday to be exact) Ana got a call saying she should be in New York on Sunday!
It was all such a strange and wonderful culmination of events, just a week before, Ana's brother had called her and said he felt something wonderful was going to happen to her - sure enough it did!
So...Ana arrived breathlessly in New York. Her luggage was lost, her arrival was frenzied, but there she was--lost luggage and all!
"I had never been in a studio before and when I met the people (on the show) it was funny because I walked up to them and said, 'wow, it's really neat to meet you,' just like a fan, because I was!"
"There is something even more incredible, I was accepted into law school! N.Y.U. is asking me to go to their school because they got a hold of my records!"
Ana isn't sure if she wants to be a lawyer---but she would like to study it. "It fascinates me and kind of propels something different in me."
Ana firmly states her love and belief in the United States and what it stands for - but she believes there are a lot of ignorant people in the government. She'd like to learn all about the basics upon which this country is built - law.
I asked if, once armed with this knowledge, she feared becoming cynical.
"No, because I'm not that type of a person...if I had been I would have become cynical in Hollywood. You learn to be touched and yet never lose that thing that makes you special."
Ana is indeed, a special kind of woman so I asked her about 'that special kind of man.'
"I"m strictly a 'one man woman.' Because I come from a very loving home, I am a loving person. I love people and I need them and with a man there's got to be that ultimate love and understanding between both of us. It's got to be a culmination of everything....not only a lover or a best friend....even like a kid brother sometimes, maybe even a father at times. When you need a little bit of guidance or understanding, there has to be everything there.
"Loving, feeling, understanding - if he can understand my way of life - and respect. I think if there's understanding and communication, there's respect. At time you're almost willing to settle for less, but in my life I've never settled for less than what I really wanted....At time, it's lonely....But if I can't share with the kind of person I want, then it's not worth it to me - and I may have to wait and wait....but I know it's going to happen."
"The thing that keeps me going in my life is my family and I feel I have something important to do in my life. I don't know what it is, but - I feel each of us does. I think each human being has something vitally important in their life, no matter what profession they are in, no matter what they are doing, it's very important. And because God has gifted me with whatever intelligence, or whatever drive or strength that I have, I can go with it as far as I should, as far as it will take me."
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