When Killer Women—a promising new series about a Texas Ranger and the female criminals she encounters—premieres January 7 on ABC, some viewers will be seeing Marta Milans, the Spanish-born actress playing Becca Parker, for the very first time. Other viewers, however, will know her from Whole Foods.
While the 31-year-old Milans has appeared in films including Shame and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, her most recent gig has been as a vice president and spokesperson for her family’s Santa Gadea Organic Goat Cheese. The role that has found her not just extolling the virtues of chèvre but getting really involved—indeed, just days before DuJour caught up with the rising star, she had visited a Manhattan grocery store herself to hand out samples.
Here, Milans talks about finding a role that fits, faking Texas with New Mexico and the surprising way she spent her holiday break.
How did a lady like you, a world traveler who speaks seven languages, end up playing a rancher’s wife?
I went to L.A. to audition for pilot season and this was one of the first auditions I got. It made me laugh because I got the script and it was another Latina part and I thought, here we go with another woman I don’t look like—I’m pale with freckles and my eyes are green—and I’m never going to get a role like that. I told my manager I didn’t think it would work. Weeks went by and I didn’t hear a word, but then I got a callback. I went in and auditioned again; I approached it like I get this woman; whether or not I look like what people want her to look like, I understand her.
The series is based on a show that aired in Argentina. Did you watch that to prepare?
I didn’t want to do that. They just bought the concept, which boiled down mostly to the title, so it has nothing to do with that show. We’re about a woman who’s a Texas Ranger in Austin and I’m her best friend, married to her brother. The only parallel concept with the other show is that we have crimes committed by women. I didn’t want to be influenced by other things. I knew who my character was and I just wanted to be her.
There’s a really funny moment in the pilot when the entire congregation of a church pulls out guns at once. Did you learn how to shoot for the show?
Welcome to Texas! No, I haven’t had to learn to shoot yet; I play a good wife, a mom. For my character, there’s more comedy than crime. At least in the beginning.
However Texan the show looks, you were shooting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. How was that?
Getting to travel around New Mexico was amazing. I went to Santa Fe most weekends; I went to Taos. One of the things that surprised me most about New Mexico is that after New York and L.A., Santa Fe has the most artists in the country. The light—the sunrises, the sunsets—is spectacular and there are the most beautiful starry skies at night. Other than that, it was working, going to the gym, going to kickboxing, that was my life.
Not too many green chile cheeseburgers?
No! Have you seen the clothes I have to wear? I can’t afford to do that.
Speaking of food, you’ve got a pretty interesting second job working with your family’s cheese business. How’s that going?
Good! We launched in Whole Foods in New York last month. And since I was in New York during the holiday and my family as here with me, I spent five hours in a store with my own booth and my cheeses. I brought my mom and my dad and we sold out of everything in two hours. I had to send my mom back to my place to get extra cheese so we could sell more. It’s hard to get yourself established, to make a name for yourself, so I am always calling stores and scheduling demos.
Did you feed the folks on set?
I did bring it around to the wardrobe girls, the crew, the cast members. People were like, who are you? This is Marta, this is what you get.
Killer Women premieres January 7 on ABC.