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In just six years, María Pedraza (Madrid, 1996) has built a very solid career ('La casa de Papel', 'Elite', 'Top Boy'...) and has seen an absolutely insane fan phenomenon emerge around her, as evidenced by her 11 million followers on Instagram. She, who wanted to be a dancer, has ended up in chaos. "It got out of hand. I was at the conservatory studying dance, my day went wrong and I ended up here, but blessed coincidence, "jokes the actress, who premieres on October 11 the science fiction film 'Awareness', on Prime Video.

The title of the movie means to be aware of what is happening. Are you really aware of what's going on with you? I try, but there are times when what happens to me is so strong that my body does not have time to assimilate everything. When time has passed and I have been able to sit down and think about it, I have been a little more aware of how lucky I have been for everything that I have had to live and learn in such a short time. I'm very happy, but the truth is that it's impressive. I hallucinate with what is happening to me and what it is giving of itself.Do you feel vertigo? I am a very normal girl who does everything possible to have an equally normal life, within the peculiarities of this job. I need that normality on a day-to-day basis to have my feet on the ground. I'm learning to look at myself and value myself, but I still really have a hard time appreciating the amount of things I've achieved. I don't know if it's because I have a very humble attitude and I don't give myself much credit. The only thing I feel is gratitude, towards all the people I work with and give me opportunities, and desire for more. Always more and forward. You are very strong in this movie, you punch me and dress me as a bullfighter. Yesterday I saw the movie and surprised myself: "Oh my God, was she so crazy?" I had been practicing kickboxing for about seven months before the film, because mentally it stabilizes me a lot, helps me release energy and calm the stress and anxiety that this frantic job often gives you. It gives me something that I used to feel with dance: they leave me so exhausted, in a gratifying way, that I can't think or be overwhelmed with other stories. The fact is that when I saw that the character of Esther had those action scenes, I said to myself: "Since I've been crushing myself for seven months, let's take advantage of it." And I took advantage of it, I took advantage of it.

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"I have the feeling that the industry sees me as a brainless"Esther is a brave, strong and independent woman. Notice that I didn't take it for feminism, but that's it. Esther is a strong woman, but I feel that she has no gender or that she can be defined in many genders because I have worked with a very masculine energy that, simply, has arisen from me. I really like that it has those two faces, feminine and masculine, because it can be a synonym for equality, a reminder that everything can coexist in the same being. I feel that things are evolving very slowly, but we are becoming more aware of the inequality that exists with women in society. And I also believe that to generate real equality it is necessary to take the struggle to the limit for a while. I want to say that if for so long there has been machismo, now a more extreme feminism is necessary so that everything ends up balancing in the end. Symbols and referents are needed in that struggle. The players of the national team are being, for example. Yes, it is still very important. I admire a lot what they are doing. That's what I was saying, they had to take the situation to the extreme so that noise is made and so that people are aware that female power has a lot of value. Women can reach as much as any man and they are a demonstration of this. When you rebel as they have done and go all the way, you are setting the necessary limits to generate real change in society. Personally, this year has been hard for you. A lot, a lot, yes. Life is curious. We talk about extremes and it has been the worst personally, due to the death of my father, and the best in the workplace. It is incredible how this life takes everything from you and, at the same time, gives it to you. It somehow rewards you and makes you feel at your worst that there are good things to keep fighting for. Everything with love is cured and my passion for acting is there and, at least, it is smiling at me.How do you manage a stage of so much shock of emotions? For starters, with therapy. I've been going for quite some time now and I think it's super necessary. I needed to find a space where I felt like no one is judging me. Emotions have to be expressed and I have taken tools to do so. Many times I look at myself and say, "But how can I have this strength?" I don't really know how I can endure as many things as have happened to me. I suppose that the first thing is the basis that my parents have given me and, the second thing is that I have done my homework with myself. I have faced my ghosts, my lights, my shadows and I have been listening to myself a lot. I've also spent a lot of time alone, which is something I didn't know how to do. Before I did not know how to face my emotions and I always looked for noise with my friends, in groups, in places ... Now I try to spend a lot of time with myself and know what's going on inside, what I need at all times. I have learned to face the anxiety I suffer and to understand that anxiety is your friend because it is a way that the body has to tell you: "Auntie, stop a little and listen to yourself because there is something that is not right." Not at all. I really am where I want to be and my education has always been based on pursuing my desires no matter how hard it is. Dance has been a huge sacrifice, an immense discipline from minute 1 that I set foot in that conservatory, but I would repeat it again because it was a master's degree in discipline, education.n, concentration and knowing how to be. In the end it is an attitude that has given me a lot to be an actress and fight no matter how difficult it is. This profession is my passion, it is my life and I feel very free when I am in it. I love it. You said before that you needed a place where you didn't feel judged and searching for you on Google I understand. Your physique, your photos, your relationships... How do you support it? It's tremendous and I've had bad moments, because nobody prepares you for this or gives you an instruction manual on how to survive being judged by so many people without knowing you at all. They see a facet of you through a social network and imagination leads them to draw conclusions about how I am or stop being. I assume it in part because I am human and I myself have done it sometimes, but with me sometimes they pass. I've been judged harshly a lot of times and I've had a lot of very nasty comments. In the end, you just accept it and say, "Well, they beat you, you don't know me and I can't like everybody." What else can you do? They are judgments that do a lot of damage and do not deserve it, I put my focus on the people who really know me and will always tell me the truth. My goal is to continue in this profession all my life and whoever does not like it, then do not look.

María Pedraza, during the photo shoot. Angel Navarrete.

What they attack you the most, in the middle of 2023, is for uploading more or less sexy photos to Instagram. I don't care. If someone is scandalized by seeing a bikini or a little ass or the shape of a breast, it is because they have very old prejudices. We all have the same thing! You may like more or less a photo on Instagram, but if I feel like showing me naked, you don't have to be shocked. What else does it give you? Move on from the photo and leave me alone. If I have done it at that time it is because I wanted to upload a photo as my mother brought me into the world. I say you've seen a nude at some point in your life and we all have the same pieces [laughs]. There is also intensive monitoring of your partner changes. Yes and there I have set very clear limits. I own my life, the relationships I want to have, my privacy and I know how far I want the press to go. Obviously there are things that escape you, because you can not go on a trip or go out to dinner and hide. I do not do it and I will not do it because I have promised, and it is something that I carry to the letter, that what Maria likes to do is what I will always do, I get caught by the paparazzi, take a picture of me or judge me a stranger. As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, I'm going to keep living my life the same, what I'm not going to do is tell it. My privacy is kept under lock and key.Do you manage to go out for a drink with some friends with some normality? I go, I go anywhere. A little while ago I went on a trip to Jávea and I got dressed in the water and I started dancing with everyone watching. Because, quite simply, I felt like it and because that's the level of freedom I feel. You said that you had suffered and overcome anorexia when you were a dancer, but then it hurt you to have done it. What happened? I didn't like how it was treated, it hurt. It is a very delicate issue and many times, with how the media and networks work today, more importance is given to it being a super news than to how that person is feeling. I opened up and told it in a genuine way, thinking that maybe I could inspire other people with the same problem to get ahead, but all that mattered were the eye-catching headlines. This is very hypocritical because now we are full of mouth talking about mental health and how important it is to end the taboo and that people talk about their problems, but when we express them they are used as something morbid. Both are worthless. If we want to defend a topic we must defend it honestly, not to look good in front of the public and then use a serious problem of another person to generate marketing and morbidity. You're at that absurd age where you're insultingly young, but you start to think it's approaching 30 as if that's a drama. [Laughs] Total, but I'm the weird one who wants to turn 30 a lot. I think the 27 are being beautiful and I am reaping the fruits that I have sown on an emotional and personal level, but I am sure that the 30 will give me that mature and calm Maria who will know how to enjoy life a lot.

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