It took Calexico actress and casting coordinator Adela Tirado years of hard work and sacrifice to see her career result in the opportunities she had dreamed of when she decided to pursue it.
Tirado said she feels fortunate to have been raised in Calexico with strong morals, principles and the cultural traditions she has been able to carry with her.
One of the most vivid memories of her childhood, she recalls, is her family spending almost 30 minutes mingling with friends and family each Sunday when leaving church services. She also loved that all of her relatives were so close by so she would see them regularly.
“My family was especially instrumental in all of my accomplishments. Especially, my parents and siblings,” Tirado explained. “Our parents taught us the importance of discipline and a strong work ethic at a very young age. They held down full-time jobs while caring for five children. Most importantly, my parents taught us the importance of helping others.”
Tirado graduated from both Calexico High School and then Imperial Valley College with an associate degree in arts. She pursued a bachelor’s degree in political science at California State University, Fullerton. There, she was a high jumper on the track and field team and member of the Model United Nations Program.
Pursuing an acting career was always something she wanted to try but conceded she didn’t know where to begin.
“I was in countless plays at IVC under James Patterson’s program and also performed at our local Church in Calexico,” she explained. “In fact, when I was first accepted to CSUF, I was admitted under the theater program. That said, the track and field schedule conflicted with the theater course schedules so I made the choice to change majors and take theater courses,” Tirado said.
After graduating from college, Tirado was involved in politics. Being born into a local political family, it seemed like a natural progression for her. However, in 2004 her father passed away and she decided to quit her job as an aide to U.S. Rep. Edward Royce of Anaheim and come back to help her family.
Upon returning, the movie “Jarhead” was filmed in the Imperial Valley. That was the break she needed to start her film career.
“I was fortunate to get a job (as an extras casting coordinator) working on the film and the rest is history. Jarhead literally broke me in this business and haven’t stopped working. I began traveling all over the country working,” Tirado said.
Tirado began to master her craft attending several acting schools in Los Angeles and Atlanta, as well as training with many private acting coaches.
She has worked as a casting coordinator for background actors on major motion pictures and quickly jumped into principal casting when she moved to Los Angeles.
Her work as a casting coordinator in major films includes The Last Airbender, Valkyrie, Jarhead, Snow White and the Huntsman, Inception, Devil, and The Green Hornet. As far as television goes, Tirado began working for the long-running soap opera, “The Bold and the Beautiful” in 2011 where she worked as a casting associate for five years.
Her acting credits include The Bold and The Beautiful, MacGyver, Snowfall, The Bay and Criminal Minds.
“As actors, we never really get to see the other side--the casting side. However, I did. I got to see it all. I was able to learn from the process and took mental notes every day. It also taught me how much more diligent I had to become in this business to succeed,” Tirado reflected.
One of her biggest opportunities came this year as she was called to have a big role in the TV series “MacGyver” on CBS. She immediately flew to Atlanta to film the show.
“I remember I was totally freaked and said, ‘Oh my God, who’s going to watch my dog?’. I immediately called my Mom and she calmed me down and met me in Palm Springs to take my dog as I headed back to Los Angeles to literally board a flight. It was the most difficult job I’d ever done and the most rewarding, “ Tirado recalled.
In that show, Tirado worked with show stars Marco Rodriguez, George Eads, and Lucas Til.
“I can’t even begin to express how wonderful it was to work with them. It was a huge learning curve for me and one of my most notable accomplishments thus far. I am beyond grateful for the experience” she said.
Her goal now is to have a recurring role as a guest or series lead on a network show.
“Success to me is being able to do what I love while helping others. I could work on every major motion picture out there, but if I weren’t somehow contributing to mankind or the betterment of our society as a whole it would mean nothing to me. I would feel empty,” she said.