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Photo Credit: Brian Parillo, courtesy of Sol Romo

My Casting Story: Sol Romo on ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Before landing an emotional guest star spot on the long-running procedural Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Sol Romo’s résumé mostly consisted of short films. The actor sat down with Casting Networks via Zoom to share the story of how she skipped a few steps on the traditional TV-acting career model in order to land her “biggest role to date.” Spoiler alert: a straight-from-self-tape booking may or may not be included, along with some audition wisdom that our actor readers might find particularly insightful.

It is great to virtually meet you, Sol. Before we dive into your casting story, I would love to hear how you’d sum up your character on Law & Order: SVU.

I play Daniela Cruz, an 18-year-old girl from the Bronx. She’s a former lifeguard who was sexually assaulted by a predator in charge of the city’s lifeguard program. The character is sweet — a girl-next-door type — but she is also strong in the midst of dealing with the trauma from the rape she endured. When the SVU turns to her as the only possible witness in their related case involving the antagonist of the episode, she really wants to help but ultimately fears retribution.

Thanks for sharing that insight into the role. What can you tell us about the process of booking it?

I received the audition at the end of August, and the turnaround on it was really quick. I had to get the self-tape in within 24 hours. I started breaking down the sides the same night I received the audition notice since it was due the following day, and I remember feeling immediately invested in Daniela’s story. I was intimidated by the material a bit at first because of the heavy subject matter, though, and I was worried about being able to properly prepare for the role in such a short amount of time. But I’ve come to learn that the things I fear the most typically bring me the most growth. So, I tried to just keep my focus on the performance and on grounding my character. Once the work was done and submitted, I tried my best to put the self-tape out of my mind.

Why is that?

As actors, we never have any control over what kind of response we will get to an audition. It is so easy to get your hopes up about a desired outcome, but that can be the death of your performance. [Laughs] At least for me — I am so much less free when my focus lies there. I think that, as an actor, when you make it more about the work and just have fun — by allowing yourself to play and not worrying about what will happen next — things just tend to fall into place.

That is such a great piece of advice for our actor readers. So, after such a quick turnaround with getting in your self-tape, how did you end up booking the show?

A few days after submitting the audition, I got a call from my manager telling me I had landed the part straight from the tape. I was thrilled because it was my biggest role to date. Plus, it was extra special because he called while I was having coffee with my friend Lucia, who had actually read with me for the audition. So, I got to find out about the booking with the friend whose assistance helped me land the role. And I’ll say that the moment the news came through, it just immediately felt like a big milestone in my journey.

I would imagine it’s a moment you won’t quickly forget. And how about your experience filming the episode? Can you share a bit about it with us?

It was amazing — the cast and crew were incredibly welcoming and supportive. And Jean de Segonzac, the director, was wonderful. I came to the floor with ideas, which we built on together, and that made the experience so enjoyable. Then there were my talented scene partners, Octavio and Molly, who encouraged me. Considering that I was a newbie, I’m especially grateful they fostered such an open and accepting environment on set. When you are going into a project with as long of a history as SVU, it can be a little intimidating. But getting to work with such a great group of people who wanted to all succeed together just set me up for having a positive experience as soon as I walked onto set.

It sounds like you were living the dream! And before we wrap, can you share how working as a guest star on Law & Order: SVU has impacted your career so far?

Getting that exposure to the process of working on a production of this scale had a big impact on my work. It helped me see firsthand that regardless of the size or budget of a production, the most important thing is the work that you come to set prepared with. In this case, especially, I appreciated the importance of being ready. On a show like this, you are working with multiple cameras at once. You need to be keeping in mind the marks each camera is set up to capture — and hitting them — while still delivering your performance. SVU definitely helped me build up the skills required to work on a production of its level.

From her work in short films to a meaty guest star role on a primetime procedural, this has been a window into the actor’s breakthrough career moment. Those interested in following the continued journey of the Law and Order: SVU actor in life and in work can respectively find Romo on Instagram and IMDb.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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