May 23, 2017 Author’s Addendum: It is with a heavy heart I write this, as I learned today of Deborah’s passing, just one year after I had the pleasure of interacting with her for this interview. Deborah was one of the few ladies I stayed in close touch with after her interview published and it honored me that she considered this to be one of her best interviews ever. Even though I can’t say I was one of her close personal friends, Deborah, with her optimism, love for life, and knowledge about what she believed in, was someone I could even turn to for help, and she was happy to give it when I did. May she rest in peace and I’m sure that someday soon, Deborah’s spirit will oversee the completion of Touch My Heart.
– Chris Charles
Actress and model Deborah Funes began her career performing in elementary school plays in her native Argentina, where she acted to an audience of teachers, parents, and nuns. As an adult, she began modeling professionally at 18 and went on to appear in television commercials and popular shows on Latin TV before moving to the US. Now calling Miami home, Deborah has appeared in several independent films, alongside some big names in the industry, while making quite a name for herself. Her growing list of credits include a lead role in Jim DeVault’s Jebadiah’s Axe, as well as prominent roles in Joe Hollow’s Disciples and Lawrence W. Nelson’s You Found Me.
Probably the most noteworthy of Deborah’s accomplishments, wasn’t before the camera. Two years ago, doctors found a cancerous tumor in her breast. Despite recommendations from her doctors to undergo conventional treatments, which involved chemotherapy, Deborah recovered using natural remedies. After a long road and dedication to her course of action, in March of this year, she is almost cancer free and the tumor is almost completely gone. She’s currently working on a film based on her experiences and her healing process entitled Touch My Heart. Read on to learn more on this and other topics covered in Deborah’s exclusive interview with Idol Features. Above photo by Dmitry Chernomazov.
CHRIS CHARLES: You were born in Argentina. Do you still have family there?
DEBORAH FUNES: Yes, I am from Argentina and my entire family is there. They did not want to move to the United States. That was the most disappointing thing that happened in my life. I have no family here, so to have real friends is very important to me and at the same time, it’s so difficult. Also, my fans and followers are super important to me because they give me great support.
CHRIS: I understand you studied metaphysics. Was that in college?
DEBORAH: No, I studied advertising with marketing orientation at my university. My spiritual awakening was back in year 2000. I took classes in metaphysics with different professors in Miami. I bought all the books available on the market at that time. I remember that almost nobody was talking about the power of the crystals, aromatherapy, numerology, astrology, etc. Nobody was able to understand the laws of the Universe, so they thought I was crazy. Now everybody is on the awakening, but I am already ahead, talking about the power of self healing, the power of reversing aging, etc. I consider myself a researcher and a non-stop learner. I can’t be stuck in one knowledge. I always want to know more and more.
CHRIS: That’s very interesting. So, on to your modeling career. You started modeling at a young age. How old were you when you did your first professional shoot?
DEBORAH: I did my first professional photo shoot at the age of 18. I was in lingerie. When the photographer of my family saw those pics, he said to me; “Who did this? Throw those pics in the garbage. If your father see this will kill you!!” (Laughs) He didn’t know that my father is very open-minded and he never said NO to me about modeling or acting.
CHRIS: You’ve done a lot of bikini modeling. When you go to the beach or pool just for enjoyment and not for a photo shoot, what is your favorite style of swimsuit to wear?
DEBORAH: I wear thong bikinis as I don’t like big tanning lines in my body. I can not feel happy having my butty white and the rest of my body tan.
CHRIS: I see. So, do you have a regular workout routine you stick to, to always stay in “bikini shape”?
DEBORAH: I recently changed my diet, so I had to change my routine. I used to do a lot of strong cardio, and a lot of machines. Now, I do only 10 to 20 minutes of moderated cardio. I do some machines, a lot of stretching, some yoga and Pilates.
CHRIS: What have been some of your favorite photo shoots?
DEBORAH: I used to have a photographer at Pompano Beach. He had an amazing studio and the best equipment. His entire house was decorated for photo shoots. We used to shoot almost every month for many years. None of those pics were retouched, as the lighting was absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, he got married to a jealous woman so we can’t shoot anymore. Definitely, his shoots are great and many are part of my calendar.
CHRIS: Do you often get offers to do nude shoots?
DEBORAH: I used to be top model for 5 Stars Art Nude Gallery. My images are still in some exhibitions. Playboy TV interviewed me and showed me naked in an amazing video documentary that was all over the world for many years. After that, I couldn’t do any nudity because when you reach the top, you can’t go down in quality. Sometimes they offer me roles in regular movies that require nudity. I don’t do nudity in films. Maybe if somebody offered me the money, that will tempt me to do it. Still, it has to be a good cinematographer to make it look classy and not cheap. I did a topless scene in the feature film Disciples. That was challenging!
CHRIS: Ah yes, the scene with Debra Lamb. So, I read that you were also a singer early in your show biz career. Do you still sing?
DEBORAH: I grew up singing for 12 years in a choir and I also performed as a singer with a rock band at the age of 16. But it was not a career, it was a hobby. I always wanted to be a singer, a dancer, a performer, a painter, etc. because I am an artist.
CHRIS: Moving on to your acting. You were in Joe Hollow’s Disciples alongside some Scream Queen icons. Namely; Brinke Stevens, Linnea Quigley, Debra Lamb, and Debbie Rochon. What was it like to work around those ladies on that film?
DEBORAH: It was interesting. When they saw that I had some dialogue and strong parts with Debra Lamb, many of those actresses changed their attitude and gave me a little more attention. Also, in that movie were the legends Tony Todd and Angus Scrim. For some reasons, male actors are always nicer with me.
CHRIS: You were also in some pretty good company in You Found Me. What was shooting that one like for you?
DEBORAH: I enjoyed the beach house at North Carolina. Really nice location. Many things happened during those days. No comments. As a producer and cast director, now I know with whom I want to work with and with whom I don’t want to work with in the near future. To be a good actor is not only about acting, it’s also about respect for the rest of the cast and crew.
CHRIS: Is horror your favorite genre?
DEBORAH: Horror is one of my favorites genres but I like suspense better. I think suspense is more realistic than monsters wearing masks (laughs). I used to love it when I was a kid, to be honest.
CHRIS: You played Police Commissioner Gray Williams on the 2013 TV series Wisp. Did you study any characters or do any special research to prepare for that role?
DEBORAH: I studied those types of roles watching the TV series CSI. I did not expect to perform as good as I did. I was into character all the time and I received a lot of congratulations. Honestly, I surprised myself, and if I get another role like this, it will be awesome because now I know that I can do it well.
CHRIS: Are you a fan of TV police dramas?
DEBORAH: I don’t like most of police drama TV series. I don’t like to watch them, but I like to perform in those types of scenes.
CHRIS: According to your IMDb page, you’re cast in several films that are currently in pre-production. Do you know which one you’ll begin shooting scenes for next?
DEBORAH: Yes, I have around 12 film projects between this year and 2018. We will shoot the trailer for Vendetta Vette. This is an amazing action feature film project that will be shot in Arizona. This year, we will shoot some scenes for the trailer of Key Revenge, which is a drama feature film that will be shot in Florida around Key West. We will also shoot Candles, another feature film, this year around the Kentucky area. The Blueprint Saints TV Series is already shooting pre-production scenes that are really amazing. This fantasy TV Series is scheduled for next year. I do not have any confirmation about the shootings for the other projects yet, but I can’t wait.
CHRIS: So, that’s great you’ll be busy for at least the next couple of years. Who are some people you’ve enjoyed working with, on either side of the camera?
DEBORAH: I enjoyed working with Larry Laverty, John Thomassen, Camden Toy, and John Baran. Like I said before, men never gave me problems. There is a lot of competition and jealousy between women. The good thing is that I know who is who.
CHRIS: You have also been getting more involved with writing and producing, correct?
DEBORAH: Yes. My university prepared me to produce TV commercials and videos. So I am ready to take the next step and produce my own movies.
CHRIS: What projects are you currently working on?
DEBORAH: I am writing for two movies that I will produce. One is called Touch My Heart, a feature film, and the other is 54 and Collins. Both movies are based on episodes of my life. I am also working as a cast director for some other projects that are not mine.
CHRIS: Shifting gears now; you’re a breast cancer survivor, who beat it without chemotherapy or surgery. Your story about that and your recovery, are really remarkable. Did it surprise your doctors that you recovered without more conventional forms of treatment?
DEBORAH: Thank you! Doctors wanted to remove my ovaries, they wanted to give me chemo, they wanted to put a permanent tube coming out from my lungs going to a plastic bag, etc, etc. I rejected all! They were angry at me, but when I accepted the hormone treatment they were happy, thinking that this way I could survive around five more years or even more. I told them that I want to live longer, that I was reversing cancer at home without any doctors for almost two years. I told them that taking my natural approach more seriously, plus the hormone treatment, I would heal completely. They did not believe me. Now they do because the tumor is almost gone and I do not have any other cancerous cells around. I am still healing, trust me, but I am almost cancer free. It is all about timing and dedication.
CHRIS: You’re writing a book about your experience and how you recovered?
DEBORAH: I am writing a book with details about my diet, supplements, exercises, state of mind, and other very important tools that helped me during the process of healing. To finish this book should be my priority right now because I have so many friends and people whom I don’t know, asking me for help. They all need to learn how to heal with harmless natural treatments for a full and successful recovery. This type of change in the diet and lifestyle will also help everybody to prevent cancer and other diseases, and will help to lose weight and reverse aging. It is all connected, believe me.
CHRIS: I know that experience also inspired your film Touch My Heart, that you previously mentioned. What is the current status on that?
DEBORAH:Touch My Heart is in the process of changing the script right now. Strong things happened with my health recently, so the story will be much more interesting and twisted than what I originally thought.
CHRIS: I understand you also paint. Have any of your works been in any exhibits or galleries?
DEBORAH: Unfortunately, my parents did not let me become an artist, so my paints where limited to stay at school exhibitions. Now I paint a little, but I never tried to become a professional painter. Maybe in the near future I will dedicate more time to this hobby that was forever one of my biggest passions.
CHRIS: Do you have any other hobbies or interests that aren’t on any of your bios?
DEBORAH: I would love to go back in time and become a big performer. I love to dance and I been doing that for many years in some TV shows and sometimes at dance clubs. Maybe one of my biggest frustrations was not to became a top Vegas or Broadway showgirl. My passions are way too many, so that one life was not enough to achieve success in all of them. To be on the top of any art is so difficult. I decided to keep focused on acting and producing, so here I am and there I go.
CHRIS: With that, I thank you again for doing this, Deborah. In closing, any shout-outs to anyone?
DEBORAH: Thanks for the nice interview, Chris! I would like to invite everybody to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Links below)
CHRIS: Oh, just one last question: Is that naked old man scaring you in the haunted house in Scream Farm still the strangest thing that’s happened to you while filming a movie?
DEBORAH: (Laughs) No. The strangest thing that happened to me while shooting was to run through the woods at midnight. It was definitely scary and dangerous because there were all types of weird animals from the Texas area: Scorpions, snakes, wolves, etc. I got a lot of bites from insects and I had the obligation to fall on the floor between spider webs. It was really one of the most disgusting experiences of my life. Now I know that I was risking my life and I won’t do it again.
Demo reel featuring clips from the film Jebadiah’s Axe and the TV series Wisp
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.