Edy Ganem started her acting career with small roles in independent movies and short films like, Ghost Maker, Like Crazy, The Loneliest Road in America and more. Eventually, she landed a highly coveted spot on Lifetime’s Devious Maids.
Ganem plays Valentina on the sexy night time soap, a young woman dealing with a controlling mother and a complicated love life. But in real life, Ganem is a go-getter who enjoys charity work, traveling, ballet and living her best life but that doesn’t mean she can’t relate to her character on the show.
We caught up with the Devious Maids break out star to chat about the show’s highly anticipated season two premiere airing on Sunday, how she identifies with Valentina, what it’s like working with Susan Lucci, Eva Longoria, who directed an episode from this season, her plans for her acting career and more. –Starrene Rocque
There’s a lot of drama coming up so what can fans expect for this season?
I don’t even know if they can expect anything! It’s a totally new situation. We solved the mystery in season one so we’re totally having a new mystery come up. There’s criminal activity happening in Beverly Hills that affects the rich and the famous, and this is kind of what opens up the doors for all the new changes that are gonna be happening with the characters, and at the same time there’s a few new characters. One of them is gonna be this boy that Valentina, my character is gonna meet. So, there’s this new boy in Valentina’s life and there’s a new man in Marisol’s life who is a new love interest. It’s kind of like a Prince Charming sort of situation but we realize there’s more than meets the eye for him so it’s a little bit of a sketchy situation with this guy as well, which again brings up another mystery at the same time. And Valentina is gonna be working for a new household, so for Valentina specifically, there’s gonna be a lot of new changes and exciting changes.
What’s her relationship going to be like with her controlling mom since there’s so much tension?
We left off with Valentina leaving to go to Africa to go after Remi, and not in a good situation with her mom because Zoila was the one that orchestrated Remi leaving without Valentina so, Valentina is definitely not happy with her mom. For season two, we’re gonna see Valentina return and Zoila tries to patch things up with Valentina but some how she’s just not getting it right. She’s really having issues with trying to control everyone, not only just Valentina so, it really starts to take a toll on Zoila’s personal life. With Zoila, we‘re gonna have a little bit of an up and down situation. We’re gonna see Valentina experience some things where she wants to remain angry with her mom but at the end of the day, she loves her and values her opinion so, Valentina will be asking Zoila advice. I think it’s nice we get to see that love relationship between mother and daughter. Even though there’s drama between them we see that they love each other regardless.
Will Remi pop up again at some point?
Remi will definitely be coming back, and he’ll be part of the equation as well. We are actually gonna have a little bit of a love triangle situation with Valentina. There’s this new boy that she’s gonna meet and he’s gonna be really, really sweet to her and it’s gonna be a little bit difficult to try to decide who’s better for her. It’ll be a tough decision and I think we’ll have teams like #TeamRemi and #TeamEthan [laughs].
Does Valentina have traits that you can relate to in real life?
I think that Valentina and I have several things in common but at the same time, we’re not equal. There’s many things that sometimes I’ll be reading the script and I’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, what? Why would someone do something like that?” and then I really have to sit down analyze the whole situation and understand where Valentina is coming from so that I can actually be the most truthful Valentina that I can be but I think we have a lot of things in common. She’s a romantic girl. Love kinda rules her life and I’ve always been very romantic. Valentina is a dreamer and I’m a big dreamer. I think she has these dreams and works really hard toward her dreams. She doesn’t really limit herself. She’s like, I want to be a fashion designer so I’m gonna become a fashion designer and she’s going for it. She doesn’t think, “Oh, my mom’s a maid and this is what I do and I’m just gonna be a maid and I don’t think I can have a career,” so she doesn’t really limit herself. She also went for the rich guy so she didn’t think, “I’m the maid, I don’t think I can go for this guy.” I am like that as well. I feel like I don’t really put limits on myself, and I guess at the same time we both can be really stubborn too [laughs].
You get to work with Susan Lucci, who is the queen of soap operas so, what are some lessons you’ve learned from her?
I so respect her. She shows up on the set always ready, always memorized and she’s so respectful to everyone around her. I think from I’ve learned from her to be—not that I’m not—but she’s just so down to Earth and I like to see that, especially coming from an actor that has been working for so long. Everyone calls her “the diva.” She’s a diva in an essence but not in an attitude sort of way. She doesn’t act like I deserve this or that or give me this and give me that, and that’s what makes her such a diva because I think she’s beautiful to everyone around her and I’m really inspired by that.
In the same vein, Eva Longoria directed a season two episode so, what was it like working with her?
It was so much fun. Eva is just a blast to work with. She’ll be joking and goofing around when we’re waiting for the DP to set up the lights or whatever, and then as soon as they’re ready she’s like, “Alright, let’s do this!” She’s so fast, she knows what she wants and she’s just productive. She’s a productive woman and she gets it done and the fact that she’s worked with Marc Cherry before, she understands his stuff, she knows what he wants, and she’s such a smart woman. It’s fun to be around someone like that. Again, she’s inspiring and I look up to her.
The show is obviously doing well and it’s getting a lot of love and acclaim but on the flipside you have some critics who feel like the roles are stereotypical. What are your thoughts about that?
I feel like that’s not happening anymore. I feel like that was more the case during the first season, before we actually premiered because a lot of the critics hadn’t really had a chance to look at what Devious Maids was really about, or they hadn’t really seen the pilot or the show so, they didn’t really understand what the whole thing was all about. I think now, it’s kind of faded away and we’ve even had some apologies for some of these writers, or editors, or critics, because now that the show went through a whole first season I think people realize that it’s the catchy fun title. It’s Marc Cherry, he’s risky, it’s his style and yeah, we play maids but it’s beyond that. It’s five women who are trying to do something in their lives, whether it’s to provide a better life for their child in a better country, or to put your child through college or to give your daughter a better life than you had so I think it’s gone beyond that and now everyone sees the show for what it is and we’re actually getting really good feed back now, it’s changed. Before the first season started it was kind of crazy because we were like, “Oh my god, we didn’t expect all this negativity,” and then it all went away and got better so now when we do interviews and press everyone’s just so excited for the show or a fan of the show, so it just feels good to know that people are understanding what the show is all about.
What else are you working on?
I would like to mention that for anyone that wants to keep up, I and most of the other cast members we do live tweetings on Sundays with the fans, so we’re always tweeting the episodes when they’re airing, and I post pictures on Instagram and Facebook—like behind-the-scenes of what I’m doing, so that’s how I keep up with the fans and try to stay in touch. Besides this, I’m actually auditioning and hoping that once we wrap, which will be the first week of June, I’ll be coming back to LA so we’ll see what happens. I would love to start working on something else, so im already looking to hopefully book a movie or more TV. I would like to stay busy. Fingers crossed, we’ll have a third season of <em>Devious Maids</em>, but other than that I’ve been getting myself involved in charity work and I want to keep doing more of that as well.
You do some advocacy for Latinos in the arts. Is there a specific organization that you work with?
It’s kind of really thanks to Eva Longoria that I got involved with MALDEF. They do a lot of advocacy for the Latino community. It’s been through them that I’ve been doing the most stuff and also some events that I get invited to for youth or, sometimes it doesn’t even have to be only for Latinos, and I’m just trying to learn more so that I can also do more in which ever ways I can, and with MALDEF specifically, they have their yearly gala and I spoke. It was my first time and these people are wearing suits and they’re donating money and it’s a serious thing so I’m trying to be better at speaking publicly and addressing people so that I can lend my voice whenever I can lend it.
Devious Maids season two premieres on Lifetime on Sunday, April 20 at 10/9c.