In an interview with Xfinity, Bitsie Tulloch, who plays Juliette Silverton on NBC’s Grimm, discusses her hispanic roots, Grimm’s inspiration in other cultures, the episode “El Cucuy”, plus more. Source: Xfinity
“Grimm” gets to have a lot of fun with storylines thanks to it being part of the fantasy genre. The writers are able to delve into the lore of many different countries. How much fun is this to be a part of as an actor?
It’s so much fun! Growing up in Spanish-speaking countries to a mother whose family is Spanish, I had been told several of the stories we have incorporated on Grimm, such as “La Llorona” and “El Cucuy.” So it was a blast reading those scripts and seeing how our wonderful writers were re-interpreting those tales. Reggie has a great episode coming up – episode 14 – that focuses on a well-known Filipino tale. It’s been a joy getting to know other cultures’ legends and tales.
We were surprised to discover your family background is partly Hispanic. Do you consider yourself Latina?
It depends on how hot-blooded I’m feeling! But yes, I am part Latina on my Mother’s side – they are almost all Spanish but I found out recently that my great great grandmother was Mexican. My mom’s family goes back 8 generations in San Diego and they gather every Día de Los Muertos to discuss the family’s history in Southern California. I grew up in Spain, Uruguay, and Argentina because my Dad was doing Latin American finance. Spanish was my first language but I don’t consider myself completely fluent anymore – when we moved to the States I lost a lot of it. When I’m visiting Spain (my favorite country) it all comes back pretty rapidly.
There’s been a lot of controversy in the media lately about bilingual Americans speaking Spanish on television; some even consider it un-American to do so. As a bilingual American, do you think people would benefit from learning another language? How has being bilingual made a difference in your life?
I no longer consider myself completely fluent in Spanish – my reading and listening comprehension is fluent, but my speaking tends to be a bit garbled as far as grammar and tenses. But yes, if the tools are available to people, I do recommend learning another language. For example, Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in the US and one of the fastest-growing. The US is the fifth largest Spanish-speaking country in the world (after Mexico, Spain, Colombia and Argentina).
Spanish aside, knowing any other language probably makes you more valuable at your job. As an actress I have had great storylines that have evolved from the fact that our showrunners know I speak Spanish. Reggie has an upcoming episode where he speaks Tagalog. Sasha has spoken Russian and French on “Grimm.