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Herizen Guardiola, AnOther Magazine S/S17Photography by Ben Toms, Styling by Robbie Spencer

Herizen Guardiola on the Light at the End of the Tunnel

“Focus on the peace that is,” the defiantly optimistic actress and musician tells AnOther, alongside exclusive imagery from the new issue

Lead ImageHerizen Guardiola, AnOther Magazine S/S17Photography by Ben Toms, Styling by Robbie Spencer

In celebration of the new generation of actresses determined to leverage their fame for the greater good, Ben Toms and Robbie Spencer’s fashion story, published in AnOther Magazine S/S17, featured young women from Rowan Blanchard to India Menuez; Sophie Kennedy Clark to Maddie Ziegler. Writer Jack Sunnucks spoke to each of these women on set, for a series of interviews running over two weeks exclusively on

Herizen Guardiola seemingly found fame overnight with her role in Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix series The Get Down, which chronicled the late 70s disco scene in The Bronx. As Mylene Cruz, the girl from a religious family with a big voice who dreams of becoming a disco star, she shone. Guardiola, who decided to try acting on a whim, got the part after a particularly pertinent rendition of Alicia Keys Fallin’ during her audition – here, she reflects on her career thus far, and what is next to come.

Jack Sunnucks: Who’s your hero?
Herizen Guardiola:
My hero would be my mom, because she is incredibly strong and patient. She is a supermom and she does it all: she is the momager, she is the housekeeper, she is the chef, she is the personal trainer and the meditation leader, the guidance counsellor, the best friend that you need to talk to, the crazy fun person that you can do random things with, and she is very accepting. She supports my sister and me: my sister’s dreams; my dreams. I mean, she just puts up with a lot of shit and she is still super dope. I probably can’t do half of the stuff that she can do.

JS: What was the role that changed your life?
HG: The Get Down. I’m a musician – I wasn’t acting before – but that was my first break pretty much, and I’m so ecstatic and grateful for it. It has changed my life drastically in many, many ways.

JS: Your EP is coming out early next year, right?
HG: Yes, I’m so excited! Excited to release it and share it, get feedback and hear it – because it is inside of me. The music lives inside me! It’s nerve-wracking, but exciting. 

“There are always people like: ‘God, don’t say this stupid cliché Herizen!’ but I’m gonna say it: there is always a light at the end of the tunnel” – Herizen Guardiola

JS: What is it that you want to say with your music?
HG: Well, I write music because it is my way of expressing myself and when I write I don’t think about other people. I just think about what’s happening inside, because it is a way of healing myself. It’s a personal and complex process, but what I hope is that it will be a positive movement when I release my music. I wouldn’t want it to be anything other than that. When I hear a song which speaks to exactly how I feel, it helps me breathe, it helps me carry on and smile. So I hope that’s what my music does for other people.

JS: What is your advice to someone who had a really difficult 2016? How would you reassure them about the year ahead?
HG: Well, I can’t reassure anyone that it’s gonna be better; you have to reassure yourself. What I can say to try and make it better is that you should surround yourself with people who never stop making you smile, do things that never stop making you smile and focus on the peace that is. There are always people like, “God, don’t say this stupid cliché Herizen!” but I’m gonna say it: there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Hair Marki Shkreli for Marki Hair Care; Make-up Samuel Paul at Forward Artists for Marc Jacobs Beauty; Set design Bryn Bowen at Streeters; Photographic assistants Vincent Perini, Geordy Pearson and Kaleb Marshall; Styling assistants Louise Ford, Johanna Burmester-Andersson, Bonnie Macleod and Sabrina Terlink; Hair assistant Kelly Oliphant.

This photograph originally appeared in AnOther Magazine S/S17.