Interview by Ashton Samson
Actor Iliana Guibert did a mid-life career pivot from successful furniture executive to successful actor, and now she can be seen in several TV shows, is starring in a summer production of Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz in the Hamptons and is also co-host of a new online talk show for women. Ashton Samson sat down to talk to Iliana about how she got where she was, and just how much she is enjoying this new chapter in life.
City On a Hill and White House Plumbers
Mr. Samson: What kind of roles have you taken on most recently?
Ms. Guibert: Most recently I played a federal judge in a courtroom scene for a show on Showtime called City on a Hill, which is Kevin Bacon’s show. He plays a corrupt former FBI agent, so on one of the episodes, I’m the federal judge and that’s great because I was saying to myself you know, I’m at that age where I should be playing a judge and I’ve never auditioned for a judge before. (Editor's Note: See Iliana in Episode 3.)
I’ve had the opportunity of auditioning and playing attorneys, U.S. attorneys, newscasters, hospital administrators, nurses, caregivers, those types of roles. But I had never auditioned for a judge and all of a sudden, this opportunity came up and I got it and I was thrilled.
And it was just wonderful watching Kevin Bacon work up close like that, he’s really just magnificent and he was so kind and giving. That was one role that was recent and I just got to play on HBO’s five-part miniseries which is not out yet called White House Plumbers.
I get to play Clara Barker, who is the wife of Bernard Barker. Bernard Barker was involved in Watergate. That’s what the piece is about, it’s about Watergate, about the White House plumbers. And it’s funny, her character doesn’t have a single line, but there was an audition process and callbacks and everything. She has three scenes that she’s in even though she doesn’t speak, so that was interesting. I’ve never had a role like that - that was so prominent, but she has nothing that she says.
Anna in the Tropics
Ms. Guibert: Oh sure! Anna in the Tropics is written by Nilo Cruz, a magnificent Cuban playwright who is just incredible with language. This man is a genius and this is one of his many plays. This is a Pulitzer so that tells you a lot about the level of writing for it to win that type of award. And it’s being performed here at the Baystreet Theater in Sag Harbor, New York, which is in the Hamptons.
Mr. Samson: That’s good. It reminds me of what Steven Spielberg just did for West Side Story, not with Cubans, but he had the characters portrayed by those of their proper ethnicity.
Ms. Guibert: Exactly. And you know, it’s funny because as actors we say well you know, I don’t have to be a serial killer to play a serial killer, I don’t have to be Cuban to play Cuban, but there is something really magical about being given that opportunity to play something that you know so well.
Ms. Guibert: Yes, Suzanne Ordas Curry is the lead host. This was her brain child, her idea and she just wanted to have a couple of women with her to co-host. As co-hosts, we ask questions and sometimes we help produce an episode. I helped produce an episode that had to do with bereavement.
Mr. Samson: You briefly touched on it, but what are some of the topics that you are thinking about covering on the Libby Show in the future?
Ms. Guibert: So I specifically was thinking of covering caregiving because I have an elderly mother and again, the ages that we are-the Libby group-those are things that are happening for us. One is being empty nesters, so talking about things like, what will you do now that you are an empty nester, how do you keep busy? You just lost your full-time job, which was caring for your kid who’s not home anymore, so what do you do? That could be an episode.
Ms. Guibert: Sure! So after college, I took on this little job and the little job ended up becoming a monster job. It just kept sucking more and more of my time and it just kept making me busier and busier and they just kept promoting me over and over. Before I knew it, I was running the whole East Coast Sales Division for this high end office furniture manufacturer. So that’s why I call it my detour from the acting, because I never even got my feet wet.
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