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Rising Through The Ranks: Andrea Porras Madero

December 18, 2019

For Andrea Porras Madero, showrunner’s assistant on the Starz drama Vida, showing hustle and building relationships are keys to finding success in Hollywood. She has firsthand experience as it’s helped her thrive and move up the ranks within the industry.

Porras Madero, 27, began her journey after moving to the United States from Mexico when she was just 16 years old. Her family settled in Moreno Valley and Lake Forest, California, where Porras Madero attended El Toro High School. Porras Madero said that at first, she felt unwelcome and rejected by American society.

“I always felt left out when I moved here,” Porras Madero said.

“It was hard because I didn’t fit in.”

A video production class at El Toro influenced her to set her sights on the ultimate career goal: Hollywood writer and showrunner. But as an immigrant, she wasn’t sure how to accomplish her dreams in a land where she didn’t feel accepted.

But there was something that saved her.

“For me, film is like mathematics,” Porras Madero explained.

“You don’t need to speak the same language to do it. And I loved film. I learned how to use a camera, editing software and it created a safe space for me where I appreciated myself because I was trying hard to learn.”

As she got older, she also realized she could use her voice to create more diverse perspectives in film; perspectives like her own that she never saw on television or in the movies.

“I want to make film and TV seamless,” Porras Madero said.

“I want to make content that doesn’t have to explain why someone has an accent or why someone looks whatever way, and they just are who they are and it’s accepted.”

Porras Madero gets a taste of originality and diversity on Vida; her main role is to assist showrunner Tanya Saracho. It’s her second gig in the industry and requires her to do everything from read scripts to administrative and clerical duties and even personal tasks — as Porras Madero said, ‘anything to make Saracho’s job easier.’

“I shield my boss, I am like her protection,” Porras Madero said.

“Everyone who needs or wants to talk to her has to come through me first.”

As a Latina herself, she said it’s a special experience working on Starz’s Vida, a Latinx show about two Mexican-American siblings from East Los Angeles that employs all Latinx writers and personnel.

“Being a part of Vida is so important to me because I get to see someone who has a similar background to me making something so important. This is a very special show,” Porras Madero said.

“The fact that Tanya was born and raised in Mexico and I’m from there, seeing those similarities and how she is succeeding is inspirational to me.” 

Porras Madero has been the showrunner’s assistant on Vida since November. Before that, she worked as a showrunner’s assistant from May until October on the Marvel show Ghost Rider before it was cancelled. She got both jobs on her own merit but was highly recommended by a writer she met during one of two fellowships she received as a college student at UCLA. It’s a testament to her advice about building relationships in the industry.

 “She sent my résumé to Marvel. I had three interviews and got the job. After the show was cancelled, I reached back out to her and she sent my résumé to Tanya,” Porras Madero said.

That’s why, according to Porras Madero, making an impression on people as a human being first and foremost is important in the industry.

“People will remember that you are a good and nice person. They will remember that you are passionate and hustling to pursue your dream.”

Porras Madero’s passion is obvious by the multiple projects she’s written, directed and produced on her own and during film school. She is also working to write a pilot and feature. She feels compelled to create meaningful art — art that will ultimately tell a story using diversity, inclusion and social justice.

“I hope I can contribute to the change and make Hollywood more inclusive, diverse and better,” she said.

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