In anticipation of the launch of our new destinations, this week is all about Ecuador! Plan South America met up with top Ecuadorian actress Marcela ‘Mache’ Ruete to discuss the under-appreciated beauty of her homeland.
By Carolina Beresford
Ecuador has been underestimated for a long time, but there has been a burst of tourism recently..
“People have started to realize how special and beautiful Ecuador actually is. Before, foreigners only travelled to Montañita; they are now discovering that there are many incredible beaches in that area still left to explore. My favourite place is a beach called Los Freiles – white sand, turquoise water, palm trees.”
Just our kind of place! Where else would you send people on their first adventure in mainland Ecuador?
“Lago San Pablo and Laguna Cuicocha are two places that really stand out. Cuicocha, in Otavalo (70 miles north of Quito), is a volcano that erupted, leaving a crater that formed the lake; it’s a stunning place. When you visit you have to stay in La Mirage Hotel, which is situated between the two lakes. I spent a night there and didn’t want to leave.”
What do you like most about Ecuador?
“The beaches! Guayaquil is an hour away from the beach so my family and I used to go every weekend. Good weather means that the beach is accessible all year round. I love the food as well. My favourite thing to eat when in Ecuador is Bolon de Verde. It’s green banana, before it has matured, cooked, mashed with cheese and butter, and then moulded into a ball. Bolon de Verde is typically had for breakfast with a cup of coffee. Maduro is also delicious (cooked yellow banana eaten with cheese), and Chifles (fried slices of banana).”
In what way did growing up in Guayaquil affect you as a person?
“Guayaquil is a very cheerful city; its people are positive and simple, and so am I. I’m very proud of where I come from, I go back whenever I get the chance – I head straight to Plaza Lagos with my friends. It’s a square full of restaurants that serve local delicacies. You have to try the seafood. Delicious!”
Why did you start acting?
“I started acting from one day to the next. I don’t know why, but our drama teacher chose me to be in the school production of ‘La casa del qué dirán’, by José Martínez Queirolo. I was 15 years old and had never acted before in my life! I was nervous and messed up every rehearsal, but when the show came I got up on stage and everything turned out perfectly. It was as if something just came out of me; my blood boiled with excitement at seeing the crowd. From that moment, I realized I wanted to be an actress.”
What do you like most about acting?
“You have to know yourself very well before you can get to know another character and play a role; I enjoy analyzing the human being in that sense. I love being able to do or say things that perhaps I wouldn’t in real life. A project usually lasts 3, 6 or 10 months, and in that period you become someone else. Through acting I learnt how to make people laugh, something I never thought I could do. I’m naturally quite shy, but when I started doing comedy and saw that I could make people laugh, it really encouraged me.”
What was your favourite role?
“It was for a series I did in 2007 called El Cholito; I played a character called Cococha, who later became very well known in Ecuador. The series was huge; it had higher ratings than the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Football World Cup. It represented Ecuadorians perfectly, especially people who live near the coast in a city like Guayaquil. Cococha was a typical dumb blonde, and my last character, Lulu Lagos, part of a series I filmed in Ecuador this year called Three Families, is similar in that sense.”
Why did you choose to come to Argentina?
“Even though I was born in Ecuador, my parents are Argentine, so I have always had a connection with the country. After being crowned Miss South America I started getting calls offering me television roles. When I saw myself on TV for the first time I thought I was a terrible actress, so I decided to come to Buenos Aires to study acting.”
Have you spent time anywhere else in South America?
“I lived in Lima for 10 months; I was there filming a TV series. What really stood out to me about Peru were the people. They are incredibly kind-hearted. The city is slightly chaotic, but the people make up for that. I regret not visiting Machu Picchu while I was there, it’s definitely at the top of my list of places to visit – Brazil as well, I have never been and am dying to check out their beaches.”