Playing sassy, quick mouthed Maria isn't much of a stretch for Majandra Delfino. "I have a very hot blooded family, we're all Latin. I take bits and pieces of things we all do and it's really funny. We're a little overexcited. And I take all these excitable reactions that I see everyday and I put them in Maria."
Maria is best friends with Liz Parker. The two are virtually inseperable--They eat lunch together in the school cafeteria, they socialize, and they both work at the Crashdown Cafe. Oh yes, and they are both attracted to aliens! The friends complelent each other very well--while Liz is soft, sweet, and shy, Maria is bold, brassy, and opinionated.
Majandra once said, "When someone is headstrong and gutsy, I am immediately attracted." So it's no wonder she can relate to her television alter ego. Maria is someone who defineately likes a challenge, which could explain why she fell for Michael Guerin. "My character is the most relastic," Majandra says. "Everyone else kind of takes the (alien) information inside, while she is the only one who acts the most human, as in freaking out. I think anyone in that circumstance would freak out." While Maria and Michael aren't a dating on the show as of now, during the first season of Roswell, they were actually dating.
Majandra's ability to emote passion stems from her loving family upbringing. Majandra Delfino was born on February 20, 1981. She is the younger of two daughters born to the Venezuelan father and a Cuban-American mother in Caracas, Venezuela. Her real birth name is Maria Alejandra, but when her older sister, Marieh, had trouble pronouncing it, she created the nickname Majandra, which has stuck ever since.
Majandra, the person, her family soon discovered, was turning out to be as unique as her nickname. When she was she three, the family moved to Miami, Florida. By then, Majandra was already entertaining her family, singing and dancing to songs she heard on the radio.
She was a natural born performer, and her mother, Mary, was proud of her young daughter's talents. She enrolled her in ballet lessons, then acting, singing, and piano lessons. Majandra's schedule was power packed with activities, and she couldn't have been happier. It seemed like Majandra tried, she was good at. When she wasn't belting out a tune, or twirling in a tutu, Majandra enjoyed going to the beach; ice skating; and hanging with Marieh and her friends.
Thanks to her supportive family, which now included a new stepdad (her parents split when she was young), Majandra was able to satisfy her appetite for performing. They encouraged her to explore her artistic side, and took pride whenever she performed, whether it was at home, or in school plays like: Peter Pan. As Majandra talents expanded, so did her audiences. Soon, she branched out into local community theater productions of Grease and Oliver. When she was ten, she landed a prestigious role as a dancer in: The Nutcracker with the Miami Ballet.
At the same time as she was excelling extracurricular performing, Majandra saw her usually high grades drop. "I went through lower school getting good grades, but then in the fifth grade, I started doing badly. My parents were like, 'Now, you have to do your homework,' and I remember it was impossible. It was so not routine. I had to go back to relearn everything." Majandra's parents recognized that their daughter needed little focusing on her school work, so they hired her a tutor. "They put me together with a tutor, and made sure I could do all this, because I was doing so well," Majandra explains. "What happened what was up until the fourth grade, they put me in advanced math, and I wasn't really ready for it. In fifth grade, was when it became impossible for me to keep up, and that is where I started getting frustrated. I still hate doing homework, but it defineately made a difference."
Majandra's determination to get her grades back on track (which she did), equaled her passion to perform. The bilingual Majandra became a huge fan of the Latin music scene, which was thriving in Miami long before it became the main stream success in the late 90's.
One of Majandra's best friends back then was Samantha Gibb, whose father was Maurice Gibb of the legendary pop/disco group: The BeeGees. The two girls shared the love of poetry, songwriting, and singing,and became fast friends--and collaborators. They formed a singing group called China Doll, and began performing around town. The highlight came when the BeeGees were performing a benefit concert at Miami's Fountainbleau Hotel, and asked the girls if they'd like to open for them. Naturally, they accepted. The evening was a magical experience for Majandra.
"They gave me six months to try it"
While Majandra and Samantha continued to write, perform, and record, Majandra's ever growing interests in the arts expanded toward acting. Her parents wanted to be supportive of their daughter's yearning desires, but at the same time, they were skeptical of the whole "Hollywood scene".
"I was fourteen at the time, and we were living in Miami, and I really wanted to try acting," Majandra explains. "So my mother said, 'Okay, you have six months to try this. But you have to book something big'.''
Nothing like a little pressure! Majandra knew that her parents wanted her to be happy, challenged, and fulfilled, but at the same time they were worried that "the business" of Hollywood would be a negative environment for their daughter. It was their way of telling her that if she really wanted it, she'd have to give it her all. Majandra decided to go after acting with the same zeal that she'd applied to the other important things in her life--schoolwork, music, and dancing.
Ready, Set, Go!
With the parentally imposed time limit set, Majandra had her work cut out for her. A local Miami talent agency signed the fourteen year old, and within three months, she got one of the lead roles in the feature film: Zeus and Roxanne. That totally qualified as "big". The decision to forge ahead on the film seemed like a no-brainer, with one exception--school. Majandra had been accepted to New World School of the Arts, Miami's prestigious performing arts high school. Ironically, she couldn't do both--attend the school and go away on location for the movie. After discussing the pros and cons of each scenario with her family, Majandra decided to stick with her regular school, and have a tutor.
Majandra played a fiesty teenager named Judith opposite actress Kathleen Quinlan (Apollo 13) who played her mother, Mary Beth. Majandra's real life parents, who had been skeptical of the business, now felt more at ease with their daughter's career path. "My mom was pretty supportive after that," Majandra recalls. "I know I'm pretty lucky because things don't normally happen that fast."
Majandra had lots of fun on the family-oriented movie about how a friendship between a dolphin and a dog starts a romance with their owners. The film was shot in the Bahamas, not too far from Majandra's home. But she also learned the downside of being an actress. "It was really exciting, but not at all what I expected. It wasn't glamorous," Majandra says bluntly. "It required waking up at four in the morning everyday, and it ruined the whole aspect of seeing movies and believing them for me."
So maybe the illusion of Hollywood story telling was stripped away, but the reality of remaining a working actress remained appealing. Not long after Zeus and Roxanne ended, the budding star was called out to Los Angeles to audition for several producers who were developing new television shows. Once again, Majandra got a lead role--this time on a new NBC comedy: The Tony Danza Show. Majandra's family decided to set up house in Los Angeles (they kept their Miami digs, too), and she began the arduous task of balancing schoolwork and a weekly television series.
Majandra played Tony's rebellious daughter Tina DiMeo. The role was very appealing. Majandra explained at the time, "Tina is very emotional, strong-willed girl with a good head on her shoulders, and she's defineately not naive."
Tony was very popular with televison audiences thanks to his prior roles in: Taxi and Who's the Boss? It looked like Majandra's television debut would be on a show that had all the makings of a hit--a big name star, a big name network, and a talented writing staff. But the show, which premiered in fall of 1997, received mixed reviews and less than desirable ratings. It was cancelled that December.
Disappointed, sure. But down and out? Not Majandra. She and the family continued to split time between Los Angeles and Miami, and Majandra continued to land guest roles on shows like: Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. As for as feature films go, she appeared in: I Know What You Screamed Last Summer (a spoof on the teen horror flick that starred Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar), The Secret Lives of Girls (a coming-of-age drama that starred Linda Hamilton), and The Learning Curve.
In early 1999, months after she graduated from high school, Majandra got the call to audition for the producers of Roswell. The show instantly appealed to her--as did her new friends. "Everyone in this cast is crazy!" Majandra announces. "I have the best time at work, and we all like each other and get along."
Majandra is very into Roswell, but she hasn't abandoned her musical roots. The 21 year old actress is still plugging away, writing, singing, and recording in hopes of landing a still-elusive record deal. "Acting for me is like a fun job," Majandra said recently.
MAJANDRA QUICK FACTS:
FULL NAME: Maria Alejandra Delfino
ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Pisces
FAMILY: Mom: Mary, Stepdad: Leopoldo, Sister: Marieh
PETS: Gertrude, a standard poodle Tattoo, a Pekingese
HOBBIES: Shopping, music
SNACKS ON: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Charmed
FAVORITE MOVIE: The Last Unicorn
MUSICAL TASTES: Bjork, Portished
ADVICE TO TEENS: "Be happy with being you."