PHOTOS: Heather Koepp
STYLING: Audrey Brianne
MAKEUP: Sean Harris for The Only.Agency using M.A.C. Cosmetics
HAIR: Lucy Gedjeyan
LOCATION: ArtLab Studio
WORDS: Parker Schug
Young and vibrant Lilimar Hernandez has been chasing her dreams since childhood. Even as a little girl living in Venezuela, she knew that performing was her passion, and made it her mission to explore that. With the support of her close-knit relatives, and her friends made along the way, Lilimar is achieving her greatest aspirations at only eighteen years-old.
Lilimar’s career as an actress took off as soon as she moved to Miami. “Once I got to the United States, I started to get into modeling, and I did commercials.” She was aware of this natural ability she had to simulate characters’ personalities, and worked hard at becoming better at her craft. She sought out opportunities near her home while her parents and grandmother searched for new jobs and studied in the medical field. “I took my first ever casting type of class. That’s when I figured out, this is the type of performing I really like to do.” Lilimar’s love for acting was evident. She recalls knowing that this was the profession she’d be in for the rest of her life, at only nine years-old.
Eventually, Lilimar got chosen for the role of Sophie Delarosa in the Nickelodeon series, Bella and the Bulldogs. This drew her and her family to Los Angeles, where she would now be working. “Once we did the big move to LA, that was like starting new all over again. We thought we had understood the United States by now.” Due to the fact that Lilimar had been living amongst people of a similar culture to her own in Miami, Los Angeles seemed to be extremely different. “This was the first time we experienced ignorant comments, and ignorant behaviors. People sometimes don’t understand Mexican culture versus Cuban versus Venezuelan. We’re all very different even though we speak Spanish.” Although this was a challenging time for her family, they got through it with help from each other.
Always see that big future ahead and always keep striving for it
In the meantime, Lilimar adapted to her role of Sophie. This character’s no-nonsense type attitude was something Lilimar had very little trouble taking on considering she has very little tolerance for nonsensical things in her day to day life. When asked how she felt connected to Sophie’s personality in the show Lilimar said, “I definitely won’t get into any physical fights, any time soon, or ever, but we have that same kind of attitude.” She also expressed her belief that this attitude has helped her get far in the world of acting. “This industry’s very harsh on a lot of people. Fight for you, and what’s right for your career.” Lilimar also expressed how being a young actress has forced her to grow mentally stronger, a trait she has seen in her other female relatives. “At one point, I had to learn to not be afraid to voice what I want in order to get where I want to.”
Lilimar’s role as Sophie also helped her in emphasizing her belief in the importance of girl power, and the endless capabilities of women. Sophie is Bella’s best friend in the television series, Bella and the Bulldogs, a show about a young girl, Bella, who joins a boys football team, and ends up breaking the divide between the two genders. As a major part in the show, Lilimar felt that there was a huge impact on the viewers. “Girls genuinely felt like watching it, and they felt like they could relate to Bella or to Sophie.” She also expressed that just as important as the message of girl power was the message of boys supporting girls. “Males also can be a support system, and see women alongside them.”
In addition to this exciting role, Lilimar has also been playing Sage in the Nickelodeon series Night Squad. Despite her trouble-making demenior, Sage is a caring loyal friend. Upon receiving the role, Lilimar saw an incredible message in her character’s actions. “What she teaches kids is there are different types of people, but if you get to know them, you’ll see their good side, and how you can get along with people no matter how different everybody is.” Lilimar also saw this role as another opportunity to promote female empowerment considering Sage’s responsibilities as a knight in training. And just as Lilimar has taken on her duties to become a stronger actress, Sage does everything in her power to achieve her goals. “She has this strong dream she wants to pursue of being a knight. She honors the Knight’s Code.” As for season two, Lilimar said that viewers can look forward to learning the back stories of more characters.
In all of her roles, Lilimar has had fun but faced minor challenges. For the most part, her career as an actress has been “smooth sailing” because of her family’s support. “The most important people in my life are my mom, my dad, my grandma, and my sister. My family is what has gotten me to where I am.” Even at the beginning of her career, Lilimar’s support system pushed her to never give up on her love of acting. “They were the ones telling me that this would be hard, but this is what you want, and you need to let that passion flourish.” To this day, Lilimar relies on her family for reassurance in everything she does. They are the ones she goes to when she doesn’t understand something or needs to talk. “They are always there to provide that emotional support. It’s a privilege to grow up with that.”
Lilimar has felt sure of herself since a young age, due to the support she has experienced. Just as she was becoming a teenager, Lilimar realized that this was not a reality for all people her age. As her social media following grew, Lilimar began to receive comments that were no longer just compliments. She noticed that people were comparing themselves to her, and their lives to hers. “Yes, they were technically complimenting me, but they were bashing their lives, or themselves.” She decided that she wanted to change this, and created the hashtag #FreshFacedFriday, and every Friday, she posted a picture and caption in which she only spoke positively about herself. “#FreshFacedFriday started when I was younger, thirteen or fourteen. I wanted people to enjoy social media, and enjoy taking pictures as much as I did.” As time went on, Lilimar saw the incredible effects of her action. “Over the years there were more and more people tagging me in #FreshFacedFriday.”
While it does seem cliche to say never give up, or keep working hard, or keep learning, that really is the reality of it
Lilimar also decided recently, to begin using her platform as a forum for beliefs with the hashtag #StargazerSaturday. “Every Saturday I (post about) a different topic, whether it’s a controversial topic or a serious topic, or racial issues, or immigration. I wanted that to be there so people could see my opinion, and talk with me about it.” By doing so, Lilimar has noticed the connection she is forming with her followers, as well as the connections they are forming with each other. “In the comments they could find people just like themselves.”
Vivacious Lilimar has not only worked hard to live her dream, but has touched the lives of others along the way. When asked what advice she’d give to others hoping to do the same, she said, “while it does seem cliche to say never give up, or keep working hard, or keep learning, that really is the reality of it.” As for the future, Lilimar plans to continue her career as an actress, and a performer, always keeping her passion alive. There’s a lot in store for the unstoppable Lilimar. “Always see that big future ahead and always keep striving for it.”