Interview

ICYMI: Sasha Calle Interview

Sasha

Credit: JPI

Y&R’s Sasha Calle Didn’t Allow Tough Times To Slow Her Down

“I can buy food!” proclaims Sasha Calle happily about how her life has recently been impacted since she started playing Y&R spitfire Lola. “I used to look at my bank account and everything had a concern, and now it’s just so different. I was struggling a lot before I booked Y&R. I was couch surfing at the beginning of the year and then I moved into this little living room at my friend’s place. I actually still live there, but it’s a goal for me to have my own place next year and I’m paying off my credit card first. But now I can go into a grocery store and not worry about how much it’s going to cost.”

Scraping by was a reality that the actress knew well growing up in Massachusetts. “At that time it was just my mother and me,” Calle says. “She worked very hard to make me happy.” And she was, especially when it came to two of her favorite activities. “I just wanted to sing and dance,” Calle smiles. “I would dress up and put on a show for everyone. One Christmas, I remember waking up and there was a whole band set for me. I was jumping from the drum set to the guitar to the microphone and trying to perform all these instruments by myself. I loved it.”

Sasha Calle

Glory Be: Of her mother, Samira, Calle (here at age 7) praises, “My mom is one of the strongest people I know. She inspires me every single day. All I want to do is make her proud.”

However, Calle’s situation changed dramatically when her mom, Samira, decided to relocate to Colombia. “Her side of the family is there and she just had this spur of the moment, ‘I wanna move to Colombia!’ ” explains Calle, who was 10 years old at the time. Adapting to the new surroundings was a challenge, Calle admits. “It was a beautiful place but there was a language barrier,” she points out. “I knew Spanish and I could write it, but not to the extreme that everybody else could because that was their day-to-day.”

School was quite an adjustment, as well. “The education in Colombia was a lot different than America,” Calle recalls. “I would say that it was a lot more strict and the curriculum was a little more advanced there. For example, here in the U.S. you would have seven subjects, they had 15! There were so many subjects: religion, English, Spanish, math … It was just endless amounts of work and I had to study a lot.”

However, Calle’s passion for music didn’t wane. “My school had a singing competition and at that point, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL was out and I was obsessed with it,” she remembers. “It was a very large school, so [the competition] was held in this stadium and there were so many people. I actually dressed up like Vanessa Hudgens; I wore this vest and ponytail. When I stood on the stage and sang, one of the judges was telling me to move because I was frozen. He’s like, ‘Move, move!’ and I shook my head no and kept singing. I walked out shaking but I actually won!”

It was the validation she needed (“That was the moment when I was like, ‘Oh, you’re good at this. This is what you love to do and you should continue to do it’ ”), but after two years in Colombia, mother and daughter pulled up stakes to head back to the U.S. “At that point, we were living in a basement at a friend’s house in Boston and struggling financially,” Calle shares. “My aunt in Florida was like, ‘Just come live with us,’ so we ended up moving there. And that was right after my brother was born. He was born in Boston, as well, and then a month later we moved to Florida.”

In middle school, Calle received a guitar as a birthday present and soon songwriting became another pastime. However, her first year of high school was anything but a musical fantasy. “My mom was unemployed and it was really hard for her, she wasn’t really wanting to do a lot, so I started to challenge her,” Calle admits. “I didn’t do drugs or any crazy stuff, I just wouldn’t go to school. I was an honor student and suddenly I was failing. One day, I went in to change a class because one of my teachers didn’t like me and I never knew why. I walked into the principal’s office and he said, ‘How do you expect me to take you out of this class when you’re failing all the other ones?’ That was a big moment and I started crying. I cried so much because my family was going through a rough time. He said, ‘Look, I’m gonna help you.’ He changed me to regular classes and became a father figure in my life. He would wait for me every single morning at the front of the school until I arrived. After that, I started getting straight A’s. There was a time where I had to also take several online courses to catch up and I ended up graduating with honors.”

Fortunately, life for Calle’s mother improved (“She did get a job and things got a lot better”), but college would have to wait. Calle adds, “My mom was like, ‘You have to get a real career,’ so I went back to Boston for a little bit and shadowed my cousin, who’s a nurse.”

That only fortified Calle’s desire to become a singer. As if on cue, a friend who was attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles suggested she join, as well. That meant also studying acting but Calle was game. After two auditions, she was accepted and headed West. “I had never been to L.A.,” she marvels. “I came here at 18 and found out that Hollywood’s not really what it looks like on TV.”

This new exposure made Calle realize her true calling. “Even though I wanted to sing, everyone was like, “But you can act!” she chuckles. “When I looked back on my childhood and how I liked to dress up and put on shows, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve always wanted to do this!’ ”

Calle graduated with a BFA in Performing Arts. Movie and TV auditions followed, including a previous try for another Y&R character, and reading for DAYS and GH before landing the role of Lola, which is still a dream come true. “It’s a huge blessing to be here,” she nods. “I’m so grateful every day that I get to walk in, joke around with these people and give them hugs and make them smile. I’m so inspired by everybody’s work every single day. I think that little girl would be very proud of who I am right now and who I’m becoming.”

 

JUST THE FACTS

Birthday: August 7

Born In: Boston, MA

Boy Wonder: “I have a little brother, Jacob, and he’s 11. I actually gave him his name. I love him so much.”

Sasha Calle

Sibling Revelry: Calle with her little brother, Jacob, before she moved to the West Coast. “I think he’s one of the most intelligent little boys I’ve ever met,” she boasts. 

Relationship Status: “I’m very single! My career is what’s important.”

Initial Contact: “Michael [Mealor, Kyle] was the first person I met at Y&R because he did my testing with me. When I got here, he was like my tour guide at the beginning. I was a little girl, basically, and he was just guiding me through everything. It was fun.”

Performance Envy: “I got to witness some of Eileen [Davidson, ex-Ashley] and Peter’s [Bergman, Jack] scenes and I was in awe. I mean, they were out-of-this-world amazing! I remember Michael saying, ‘Hey, do you wanna see Peter throw a chair?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah!’ I didn’t know what I was walking into and I remember watching them, thinking, ‘Oh, my God!’ ”

Dream Musical Role: Candela in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. “She’s this flirty, manic woman and her song is one of the fastest songs you will ever hear!”

 

JPI

Brotherly Love: “I’ve gotten really close to my [TV] brothers on set,” attests Calle about Jordi Vilasuso (Rey, l.) and Jason Canela (Arturo). “I’m always giving them hugs.”

 

State Of The Union

After years of being a single parent, Calle’s mother, Samira, is now happily married, thanks to her daughter’s matchmaking efforts. “My stepdad, Kevin, was actually my manager at this Italian restaurant that I worked at in Florida,” Calle explains. “My mom would visit me while I was working and my manager asked, ‘Who’s this lady talking to you?’ When I said that’s my mom, he was like, ‘Wow, she’s so beautiful.’ Then, every single day he’d ask, ‘So, how’s your mom?’ and, ‘Send these cookies to your mom.’ Finally, I told him, ‘You have a crush on my mom, you need to ask her out.’ I put my mom’s number in his phone and I told him to text her. It was still two weeks before he did!” Samira had a surprising reaction. “She said, ‘Sash, I don’t wanna go out!’ ” Calle chuckles. “I was like, ‘Mom, it’s a free dinner. Go have fun,’ and that’s where it all began! When I was in college, he called me and asked my permission to marry my mom. He’s a very sweet man. He’s really loving and kind.” The couple tied the knot two years ago and Calle also played an active role in the wedding. “I did everything,” she reveals. “I was the maid of honor, I walked her down the aisle and  I sang. I even made the soundtrack for walking down the aisle. It was church music and then midway, it changed to a Pharrell song. It was really cute.”

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