Exclusive Interview: Actress Karen Bethzabe Talks Fear The Walking Dead

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Originally from Mazatlan Sinaloa, Mexico, Karen Bethzabe landed in North Carolina in her early 20’s, not speaking a word of English or knowing anyone. She eventually made her way to Los Angeles and began studying acting with renowned coach Howard Fine. Television audiences first got to know Bethzabe as Paulette Vazquez in the popular CBS show CSI, and from her appearance as Eufemia Garcia in the hit ABC Family/Freeform series Switched at Birth. She has also appeared in numerous indie films, including producing and starring in the film Death and Cremation alongside Oscar nominee Brad Dourif.

Fear The Walking Dead just wrapped up its epic second season and Karen was one of the new faces that joined the ranks in the second half where she became a major player. She plays Elena who is introduced as the Rosarito Beach Hotel Manager. A strong woman now living in an unraveling society, Elena will stop at nothing to protect her hotel and family. Karen was nice enough to take a break from her busy schedule and let me ask her some questions. Check it all out below.

Alien Bee – First of all, how’d you get into acting?

Karen Bethzabe – It was clear as a child that I wanted to do something with the performing arts, but it got buried away for many years due to the lack of resources available to me as a young girl. When I moved to Los Angeles, I had to learn English and I was asked to act in the short film “Reward” without any previous acting experience. While working on that film, I realized that this was what I always wanted.

Alien Bee – You guest starred in the second half Fear the Walking Dead this season. Tell me some about your character.

Karen Bethzabe – Elena is a survivor, a woman that has overcome classism, machismo and lack of education to get to where she at now. The hotel is her life and she will stop at nothing to protect her nephew. She is a strong character that seeks to establish some rules in this chaotic world.

Alien Bee – Can you give me any spoilers about your character or any big shocker coming up?

Karen Bethzabe –  We just finished the season and things got even crazier towards the end. But, since there are some people who haven’t watched it yet, I don’t want spoil it for them by saying too much! But, some crazy chaos is about to happen.

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Alien Bee – How are the sets, locations and the zombies y’all get to work with? Did things ever get creepy on set?

Karen Bethzabe – I love being in Tijuana and in Rosarito. The people, the food — they have some mad lobster in Puerto Nuevo that everyone should try. The sets are mind blowing specially when they have to build an exact replica like the one you saw in the elevator during the “Do not disturb “ episode.

Alien Bee – How has it been working with everyone on Fear TWD?

Karen Bethzabe – Amazing! No egos…only willingness to work in harmony. All the way from the executive producers, writers, directors and actors to the drivers, extras, catering and more – everyone only had passion for the work. It was very impressive to witness that and be part of it.

Alien Bee – Things can get pretty sick on the show. Has anything grossed you out yet?

Karen Bethzabe – Yes, one time on set, I took a break and I was not in character and I opened a door to find an infected one was there growling — I screamed frantically!  It was funny and embarrassing at the same time. All my hard work for my character Elena was gone in one second.

Alien Bee – Do you have any other projects coming up?

Karen Bethzabe – Yes, the film “Listen” from director Erahm Christopher. It tells the story of nearly every high school in this country, where young students are struggling and hiding their pain, as the adults are too overwhelmed to stop and listen. I’m proud to be part of this film and it’s currently screening in various locations throughout the US and Canada.

Alien Bee – You also do the convention circuit! Do you have any stops coming up where fans can see you?

Karen Bethzabe – At this moment, I don’t have any dates. But as soon as I have some…I’ll let you know.

Alien Bee – Finally, would you like to add anything to all the Fear TWD fans checking this out?

Karen Bethzabe – It’s been such and incredible experience to get first hand the love and support of the hard core fans of “Fear The Walking Dead”. Thank you for welcoming me into the family. You guys are the best and most passionate fans out there! I’m serious — I love it!

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You can follow Karen Bethzabe on Twitter @karenbethzabe

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