Q&A – Emily Rios (Andrea)

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The Breaking Bad actress describes growing up in the gang world and inhabiting the world of the series.

Q: Andrea seems very quick to let Jesse into her life. Are you that open?

A: No, not at all. I think growing up where I grew up, I always feel like somebody wants something. I don’t want to be rude, but I’m not that social. When I say, “I never go out,” I mean, “I never go out.” I would love to have a conversation with you when we’re working, and if I’m at a basketball game I’ll probably talk to everyone there. That’s different. But on the outside world, if I don’t know you and you don’t know me, I probably cannot sit there and have a conversation.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: El Monte, California. This might sound crazy but I cannot go to sleep without hearing the sounds of sirens blaring outside my window. To me that’s normal. I grew up with the biggest known gang bangers living right next door to me, and I used to hang out and play basketball with them not knowing what they did until I grew up and was like, “Oh my God, so that’s what they did? Really?” I knew prostitutes by name at the corner of the street. I had no idea what was happening in my own back yard

Q: How does Breaking Bad‘s depiction of drug gangs compare to your experience?

A: It’s showing a kid on a street corner. That’s really what happened. They recruited my junior high friends. I remember the year before we were doing drug free campaigns, saying no to drugs and here we are. They were kids.

Q: What was the most challenging moment for you on Breaking Bad?

A: Playing a mother who is a recovering addict. I’ve seen it too many times. I wanted to play it in a more heartfelt way but you have to let go of “I’m a good mother,” because recovering addicts lose that natural ability to say no. She is trying to recover but when Jesse offers her some [meth] she’s open to it. That’s very heartbreaking to play.

Click here to read an interview with the actor who plays Andrea’s new love interest, Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman).

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