Mirtha Michelle Castro Mármol, actress, artist, good friend and author of the poetry book "Letters, To The Men I Have Loved", sat down with me in 2014, one sunny Summer afternoon in L.A., for a glass of rosé at Joans on Third. There we discussed life, fashion, traveling, empowerment, men and her recent book. Mirtha and I have been friends for seven years. We met on the set of the ABC show Ugly Betty. Each day, on set, Mirtha would bring in different poems she had written and or share different stories/saga's that we'd always look forward to hearing. Now, she is an accomplished author, "Letters, To The Men I Have Loved" is a best seller and was the #1 poetry book on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble; an accomplished actor, her independent film Awol72 is out now; and she is a world traveler, among many other things. Her second book "Elusive Loves Amores Esquivos" will be available to purchase November 2015. Mirtha Michelle Castro Mármol is gorgeous inside and out. She is layered in love, passion and spice, and is always a joy to be with. Mirtha's truth, through her writing, has inspired many people, including myself, and she is also sharing her message by speaking publicly at colleges around the globe. Without further adieu, please enjoy segments from our two hour conversation:
MIRTHA: My book is titled "Letters, To The Men I Have Loved" and it's a poetry book. Aside from poetry I wrote stories, in the form of letters, to the men whom impacted my life. Not only men that I was involved with, but also men like my father, my grandfather, my brother, my nephew.
EVA: Men that you still love?
M: I still love them, you know I loved them then and I love them now, I'm always going to care for them. It's about these relationships and stories of the feelings they evoked in me. It feels like a little short novel of a girl becoming a woman.
M: And it's very relatable and most readers have really--it has sort of like a little cult following now and I think it's because a lot of readers especially female readers-- relate to a lot of the stories and emotions I tell about, because we all live similar experiences, we all live stories of lust, resentment, and passion.
E: We all do live similar experiences. It's incredible even William Shakespeare's work, which was written so long ago, dealing with a lot of the same circumstances, is very relatable to this day. The human condition and love are amazing things.
M: Because love is relatable, it's the one thing, The human need. It doesn't matter where you are in life where in the world you live, your social economic background or your race we all experience love and we experience loss. Because that's what I talk about in my book as well, I experienced love, loss and hope, because I believe that after you experience any sort of loss the most important thing to have is hope. You can always love again. It doesn't matter how many things happen to you or how you thought you were broken, you can regroup and find your purpose. I think my book can be a little sad at times, but a lot of people have written to me and said "oh my god I cried so much but at the same time I healed through it."
E: That's a good thing.
M: I never intended for people to cut their veins or anything like that, but I did intend for people to feel.
E: Yea, I was just going to say that.
M: I am a feeler.
E: Me too.
M: And I've been one my entire life. I got into acting cause I'm a feeler. For me feeling is much more important then almost anything else, it's the one thing that keeps me human.
M: And with writing... I started writing when I was a kid. I wrote my first poem at 6years old about things I dreamt of. So for me the book is not about men particularly, in the sense that I don't really describe how they look, I describe the way they made me feel, at certain times. I do wish I had described more of the happier times, but sometimes when things end you don't remember all the happy times, you remember the bad things, like why it ended.
E: And often we remember the bad times so we don't make that mistake again.
M: So you won't make that mistake again, but it's really about personal realizations, it's all a journey of finding yourself.
E: Do any of the men know, other then your family, do they know you wrote to them?
M: Of the three men I wrote about, only one of them doesn't, I didn't tell him, if he happens to read it, then so be it.
E: So you are an artist all the way around, you're an actor, you're a writer, you're... what else have you been doing lately? Are you focusing right now on writing or are you acting too?
M: It's interesting I always say yes I'm an actress and I fell in love with acting. When I was twenty years old I decided to pursue it and I have credits and so forth, but I've been writing technically before I decided to become an actress, so in my heart, in my heart I've been a writer all my life.
E: That's fantastic. And you also love Paris? You were just there recently right? Does traveling affect your work?
M: I do love Paris. It's one of my favorite cities. I actually wrote part of my book in Paris. I mention Paris in my book in one of the last letters. There's something about Paris that I absolutely love. I think it's very special, especially when you travel alone. You get to know yourself so much better. You don't have someone to constantly be communicating with, right next to you, so when you're walking the streets of a beautiful city, alone, you're asking yourself a lot of questions. Questions you normally wouldn't ask yourself if you were around people and I think that's the key to understanding yourself. We take all this time to get to know other people, by asking them questions, like what's your favorite color? Do you like reading? Do you like books? What's your favorite movie? We ask our friends all of these questions when we're getting to know them, that's how we get to know them, by asking questions, but do we ever really do that with ourselves? Those internal conversations always occur when you travel alone.
E: And being stimulated by something outside of you.
M: Yes the environment. Its not the same for me to ask those internal questions, for example, living in Los Angeles. I live here and I have so many friends and distractions. So when you're in another country you're sort of forced to be by yourself and learn more about yourself.
E: How has being raised by "great men" affected your love life and expectations?
M: You can't be raised by great men and not expect more.
E: Why do you say that?
M: Because your perception, my perception, is that men should act a certain way, men should protect you, men like my father for example, he always allowed me to have my own opinion on things and is very adamant on me reading and researching and having my own beliefs and whether it was religion or history or anything, he never told me what to do. Instead he gave me a lot of knowledge in order for me to make my own decisions. My grandfather is another example of character and dignity and integrity. So when you're raised with men that are all like this, you end up having expectations on how other men should be.
E: I'm really interested in the fact that our thoughts can create our reality, whether we realize it or not. We all have these different aspects to ourselves, for example, women are just as masculine if not just as feminine as men can be, whether or not we want to acknowledge it, it's there. We all have these different qualities, like we "could" be a douchebag guy or girl, but we're not necessarily looking to be that kind of person so we don't "choose" that card, but at the same time, if we want something, just like your book, we just have to go out and do it and go out and find it or be it. I think what holds us back, a lot of times, are just these ideas, or little negative thoughts, like "there's no good guys in LA", little things like that or "the world got me" or "I'm too old" or "this is too hard." And these thoughts don't make us any less of a person, but it's just interesting once we have this awareness of our thoughts and consciousness, how this awareness can change our lives for the better and steer us in the direction we want to go in, while still honoring all sides of ourselves.
M: I think it's good to know what the world is about, but I also think it's good to wake up with a positive outlook on your day and of the world you want to create. I do believe, like you said, our thoughts do become reality. It's all there in our hands and the energy is right there and we hold it, but our human doubt instills fear and fear keeps us from flying. Our fears keeps us away from all the greatness we are capable of achieving. Imagine if I would have succumbed to my fears, I perhaps wouldn't have released my book. Instead I wasn't afraid of judgment from other people and their thoughts.
E: So in regards to "Letters, To The Men I Have Loved", writing about all of these men that have made you feel certain ways and helped you grow, would you say your growth is due to them primarily? Or do you think that your growth is due to the circumstances or yourself or....
M: I think my growth... I think everyone's growth really depends on other people, because of the interaction we experience with other people. If we didn't have interaction with other people, we wouldn't notice certain things about our own lives; we wouldn't notice certain mistakes and we wouldn't be challenged to grow. We wouldn't be challenged to become better people. I think this book shows different sides of whom I was, whether it was the girl finding herself or the girl who decided to change. I've grown a lot, because of many women in my life too, but I did direct the book towards the men in my life, simply because, there's this saying that you end up marrying a person like your father. The opposite sex has a lot to do with how we think about life in many ways. We want to be with them, we want to please them, but I can honestly say that my growth has come from both men and woman. My creative inspiration is always from love. I am completely inspired by love. I am a lover. I love love.
E: How did you start? How did you begin the process of making this a reality?
M: I decided to put out my poetry book. That was my first decision. It was a goal of mine since I was a kid. So I compiled my poetry, and one night I wrote my feelings. When I woke up the next day and I read it I thought it was good. It felt like a letter and I decided ok I think this is a really cool idea, so I wrote a couple of more letters and it became "Letters To The Men I Have Loved".
E: Would you say you have a stronger female audience?
M: I do have a stronger female audience and I think it might be because of the title of my book. I think some men were alienated by the title and that's why for the next book I don't want to alienate anyone with a title.
E: Having any kind of audience or fan club or followers, even on social media, etc. is an amazing thing. And although I've only written one blog post, thus far, the response from friends and family and people I've never met before really makes my heart full. That's one of the reasons why I love being an artist, even with acting, because we have the ability to affect other people. We all have so much power we don't necessarily realize we have and the fact that we can vessel art or experience through ourselves and or into something we make, and inturn have that influence another human being, is flabbergasting to me! And makes me want to create more. I can only imagine the responses you are getting with your many followers.
M: It's really amazing how people can relate or have a desire to relate.
M: It's incredible. I constantly try to say on my social media how thankful I am, but I don't think I say it enough. It's overwhelming. Really it's amazing. I must say that I've been really blessed, but I also think it's been ruminating. It's been years of me working towards "something" and I feel I now have really fully understood my purpose. For a long time I thought my purpose was just simply to help people and I thought "oh if I get involved in the entertainment industry and have a voice I can help people." But I've understood that my words of encouragement have the influence to help others as well.
E: So is there something... If you could have anything right now, like with your book, with anything going on with your life, with acting, with traveling, love, spirituality, with anything, is there something you you specifically want now?
M: Oh my God! I want so much Eva. To be honest, with my goals, right now for the next year, I will continue acting. I want to continue to focus on my writing of course; I'm working on my sequel and my column.
E: Pretty exciting. And for any curious readers, are you single Mirtha?
M: I am single. Open to love. I go on my dates and I kiss boys here and there.
E: Even though you experienced down falls and relationships didn't work, you grew so much from these pitfalls and you wrote an amazing book, that has affected thousands and thousands of peoples lives, maybe millions of peoples lives. That alone, making a negative into a positive, is incredible.
M: I actually always say this and it's kind of like my motto, "Turn pain into greatness." I think we go through difficult things, but it's either you stay at the bottom, suffering and complaining about how someone did something to you or you turn it around and become a better person because of it.
E: Cheers to that!!! Thank you so much Mirtha. This has been so wonderful.
M: So good to see you
E: So good to see you. You're such an inspiration to me and to so many women and men out there. Just keep doing what you're doing and keep thriving.
M: Thank you.
Photo of me with my copy of #LettersToTheMenIHaveLoved #MMCM Taken by Gina Sinotte ginasinotte.com
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