May 31, 2017 Author’s Addendum: It is with much sadness I write this, as I learned today of the sudden and untimely passing of Margaret on May 30th, 2017. I didn’t know Margaret personally, but my interactions with her for this interview left no doubt that she was a joyful human being, who was a pleasure to know on a professional and personal level, in addition to being a talented actress and singer. Needless to say, she will be deeply missed and never forgotten by her family, friends, colleagues, and fans. The Texas indie film community lost a very bright star.
– Chris Charles
Margaret Ann Garza began her show biz career competing in pageants in her native Texas, where she earned the crown as Miss Texas Latina. She subsequently caught the eye of a marketing director and was soon appearing on billboards and in print ads in and around her hometown of Laredo. She’s since branched out to acting, where she’s currently among the several talented ladies appearing in Twitchy Dolphin Productions.
Bright, outgoing, and personable, Margaret would get very nervous when she first started doing interviews but now says she loves being interviewed, thanks to all her pageant experience. It was no surprise to hear that she also loves horror movies, as most of Twitchy Dolphin films are of that genre, but it was a big surprise to hear that she doesn’t even like shopping and malls. Read more about Margaret in my exclusive interview with her, that follows.
CHRIS CHARLES: It’s a pleasure to have you here, Margaret. You’ve done a lot of work with our mutual friend Carlo Rodriguez, who introduced me to you.
MARGARET ANN GARZA: It’s my pleasure! I’m honored to be a part of this. CHRIS: I understand you’ve been modeling for 11 years. How did you get started?
MARGARET: It all began as a dream of mine. At age eight, I sang Selena songs at a local talent show, which was televised around Harlingen, Texas, and it became a part of my life in school. I attended drama classes every single day! Most of the time my teacher had me conduct class and choreograph. I moved back to my hometown of Laredo, Texas and for a couple of years did nothing. I just put on shows at home. Then, one summer I decided to go after it. Enough was enough! I sat in my room in front of a computer searching agencies, pageants, etc. At this point (middle school), I was in that awkward stage; bullied. I hated school! But that summer before high school, I promised it would all change. My braces came off and I would sit for hours on my vanity in my room practicing hair and makeup on myself. My mom, who was one of my number one supporters, heard an ad on the radio for a local pageant, “Miss Tejano and Proud,” which was also the first pageant I ever won. I continued competing in other pageants, started meeting people and getting noticed locally. As a matter of fact, my first big gig was because a man who worked for a dealership as a marketing director saw me compete in the Miss Texas USA pageant and somehow, I forgot how, got a hold of me and asked If I would be their spokesmodel. (Commercials, billboards, etc.) After that, I was asked to do billboards and commercials for the City of Laredo, which which appeared at the hospital and the airport.
CHRIS: Well, that was some serious exposure. So, what would you say has been the most difficult photo shoot you’ve ever done? MARGARET: Definitely my first one. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. So nervous. Posing is much different than walking down a runway with a smile on my face.
CHRIS: What was the best advice you got when you were just starting out modeling?
MARGARET: Unfortunately, I didn’t have other models or actors to look to. A lot of the times people didn’t understand me. But the best advice I have been given is from my parents, and that was to always follow my heart and keep faith. Period. No matter what I go through, look to Christ. It’s worked wonders!
CHRIS: What advice would you now give to a girl just starting out?
MARGARET: For starting out; get out there and network. Meet people, find photographers who are starting out themselves and work with them, get those pictures and take advantage of Facebook, YouTube etc. Work on yourself. Practice your makeup and hair, act the part. Trust yourself and yourself only. This business is crazy. Stay humble and look to family If you need someone to talk to.
CHRIS: You’ve also competed in pageants. In fact, you were a Miss Texas USA contestant in 2006. What was competing in that one like?
MARGARET: (Sighs) Where do I begin? It was an amazing experience. It was televised state wide. A huge production, DAYS of practicing our routines in heels. They definitely prepare their Miss Texas for the (Miss) USA and Universe pageants. That’s for sure. For me, it taught me A LOT! I never won that pageant and looking back, I was not even close to being in front of the panel of judges. Getting interviewed was the worst for me! Ugh, I would get crazy nervous! But not now! (Laughs). I LOVE getting interviewed, at jobs, TV, in front of people or not, it comes easy for me now. Why? Because of these pageants. For that I’m forever grateful.
CHRIS: Tell me about some of the other pageants you’ve been in.
MARGARET: Yes sir. I competed in Miss. Texas USA for 3 years, and was about to give up when someone reached out to me about a Miss Texas Latina pageant. Held in the valley (away from Laredo) that’s what I needed. So, I decided to go for it, and with God’s help and years of practice, I brought the Texas title back to Laredo. My first runner-up was actually the winner of Miss Laredo and I was her first runner-up. So, I was a little surprised that I won. When we were both standing (the last two standing) I thought “my girl got this, she won Laredo so why wouldn’t she win Texas?” but to my surprise, I won. Then I was flown to Orlando, Florida where I competed in the international pageant. Now, this was the big momma. I competed with 55 or so other contestants. My Goodness, these ladies were gorgeous Latinas. I thought “I don’t stand a chance.” Of course, I didn’t let that show on stage (gives a wink). Again, to my surprise, I was titled as the international winner and again brought the crown back to Texas and Laredo. I was also awarded Miss Elegancia, (most elegance), Miss. Photogenic and top model.
CHRIS: Mmm, your trophy room must be pretty full. So tell me, pageant contestants all seem to get along very well during public appearances, but that’s not always the case. Ever experienced any behind-the-scenes drama during any pageants?
MARGARET: Unfortunately, yes (sighs). It was the very reason why I wanted to give up. There are a lot of nasty people out there. Will do ANYTHING to bring you down. My dad got a threat from one of the other contestant’s fathers that said he knew people and would ruin my name. He wasn’t lying (sighs). This is something I normally wouldn’t want to talk about, but I feel my story needs to be told. Because of these two sisters I wouldn’t leave my room, I’d cry myself to sleep every night. This man put me on the news with false accusations. I was on the cover of my local newspaper, and on Texas Monthly. I had to laugh at this one because I was put right beside Jessica Simpson for thinking “Chicken of the Sea” tuna was chicken. That’s when I thought “well, this is the business. God is just preparing me for what’s to happen.”
You know, tabloids and such. It’s all a memory now, and truth be told, a happy one because it made me a stronger person. You know the saying “after a storm comes a rainbow”? Well, it’s true. Right after that, I won Miss Texas Belleza Latina 2007 and Miss Belleza Latina International 2008. I want to end with this: Those girls aren’t bad people, they are beautiful individuals who at the time, just like all of us have done in the past, made a bad decision.
CHRIS: Whenever I interview a girl with many or no tattoos, I’ll usually ask what made her decide to get them or not get them. Since I see from your photos, you just have one very small tattoo on your back, what kept you from going tattoo crazy?
MARGARET: Eek! Well, I see nothing wrong with tattoos. They are awesome pieces of art, especially the ones that tell a story. I do have a family symbol on my side, where no one can see. My family means a lot to me, so this symbol is something I cherish. It’s an “8g.” “8” is for my dad and uncles, who total eight. All hard working, loving men. So proud of each one of them! And “G” for our last name.
CHRIS: You don’t do nudes but do implied nudes. Ever consider “crossing the line” and doing a nude photo shoot?
MARGARET: At this time, no. I don’t think I’m far enough in my career to do that and I just think something is sexier about a woman who doesn’t show a lot.
CHRIS: You were in Twitchy Dolphin’s Snatch N Grab. I interviewed Terissa Kelton, another lady who appeared in that one. What was working with her like and did you enjoy your experience making that film as much as she did?
MARGARET: Oh my goodness yes!! I love Terissa! She’s an amazing individual. Extremely talented. I pray that one day we will be at the Oscars together remembering these good days. My experience with ANY Twitchy Dolphin film is always a fun one! Never a dull moment with those guys!
CHRIS: So I’ve heard. You were also in a short last year entitled Blackout that I haven’t seen. Please tell me about that one.
MARGARET: Wow! I can’t even begin to explain. A: I loooove horror flicks and always wanted to be in one. So that itself was a treat. B: I was able to work with a dang good group of people! The crew would always make sure I was comfortable on set. Even though it was 102 degrees and we filmed in an olllld school that was obviously never used. Actually, I take that back. It was used one other time for The Tree of Life starring Brad Pitt. But other than that, there was dirt everywhere, spider webs, etc. No AC and we filmed in the basement where absolutely no air would come through. There were lights everywhere so that made it even hotter. I was in makeup for almost two hours a night. Ugh, I looooved it! Great experience! Lost my voice after that from all the screaming, but man, was it worth it!! Our days started at 5:00 PM (earlier for the crew) and ended at around 6:30 or 7:00 AM. My makeup artist actually was nominated for an Emmy and well deserved, too. So again, all around amazing experience! I will never forget coming back to ATX that Monday morning after the shoot to go straight to work without a voice and with some blood here and there. I was dead tired and sore because I did my own “stunts” and got bruised, but will never forget how I was on a high all day and couldn’t stop talking about it. Man oh man, I need to get on a set like that again!
CHRIS: Are there any indie actresses you’d especially like to work with but haven’t yet?
MARGARET: I’d like to work closely with Terissa (Kelton). We worked together, but never closely, if that makes sense. Like I mentioned before, she’s extremely talented and I think I could learn a lot from her.
CHRIS: Do you see yourself focusing on an acting career or will you primarily stick to modeling?
MARGARET: Modeling is fun, but acting is my love and truthfully, singing would be my number one choice. If I could do all three, I’d be the happiest woman alive! Right now, I’m working on a couple of songs. Just to experiment. Maybe make a couple of music video and see where that goes.
CHRIS: What are your hobbies and interests?
MARGARET: I absolutely love horseback riding. We have four horses back home, and when we get the chance, my dad and I can ride for hours, talking, reminiscing, enjoying each others’ company. I also enjoy dancing and cooking for friends. I use to have company every Tuesday for dinner. Haven’t lately, but I definitely need to get back to that.
CHRIS: Anything interesting about you that you don’t include on your bios that you’d care to share with me?
MARGARET: It’s a secret! (Gives a wink and laughs) Hmmm …good question. I’m not that interesting ….other than I absolutely hate malls and shopping! No one believes me, but it’s the worst for me! I wish I could pay someone to go shopping for me!
CHRIS: Well that was an answer I sure didn’t expect. Do you plan on Texas always being your home?
MARGARET: Absolutely! Texas will always be my home. I’d love a home up on the hills of Austin. You know, where the rich live? And Sandra Bullock? I’d love to raise my children here but I also want to be in a position where I can have a house in LA. A place I can stay when working.
CHRIS: What upcoming events will you be appearing at where fans can meet you?
MARGARET: Well, today actually (September 23rd) I’ll be at a publicity photo shoot at Zilker Park. In the near future?? Not quite sure yet, but we’ll definitely keep people posted.
CHRIS: Well, once again, it’s been a pleasure, Margaret. Any shout-outs to anyone in closing? MARGARET: Thank you so much for your time, it was fun! I’d love to give a shout-out to God for all his blessings, and to my parents, who are always there to support me. Chris Swan, for always listening to me ramble about everything and also supporting me! And last but definitely not least, all my Facebook friends who always show their support by wishing me luck, congratulating me, and showing me love. Thank you all SO much!
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English, traveling, and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the monthly magazine, Effective.
I first caught actress Debra Lamb on video in a little-known gem entitled The Stripping Telegram: Special Delivery, which was shot in Hollywood in the mid-80s. In it, she played a pizza delivery girl who