When I read The Rock was making a TV show about his life, I instantly knew it would be a hit. Being a fan of pro wrestling at an early age, I knew a little about his life. The phrase “Rags to Riches” is thrown around a lot when talking about someone who came from no money to wealth, but when talking about The Rock, it fits perfectly.
Young Rock tells Dwayne Johnson’s story from the different times in his life – as a child, teen, and young adult. Throughout his life, he is surrounded by love from his family and the crazy characters one can find in the pro wrestling world. One of the people Dwayne meets as a young adult is Dany Garcia, who goes on to be his wife and business partner.
Arlyn Broche plays Dany Garcia on Young Rock and is receiving a lot of praise for playing Dany and as a fan of the show, I agree with those sentiments. I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Broche and she’s as inspiring as anyone that can be found on the show.
As my phone rang for the interview, chaos erupted in my house. While holding the buzzing phone in my hand, I jumped from room to room, trying to appease all my kids’ needs. I was failing at it. I had one kid leaving, another one yelling about the Playstation not working, and another kid being annoyed with the other kids. I jumped into the bathroom to answer Ms. Broche’s call, and she sensed the tension in my voice and graciously suggested she call back in 10 minutes. As a working mom, she understood my predicament.
And so, 10 minutes later, the interview began.
(JG for Jason Greene and AB for Arlyn Broche)
JG: I understand your dad was an actor.
AB: Yes, he was like the Cuban Brad Pitt. He’s the one that gave me my first acting book when I was 8 years old. He was always telling jokes.
JG: Was there any pressure to follow in his footsteps?
AB: No pressure at all. I was so little… I remember when I was 6 years old; I was standing on this rock in front of this old home I grew up in. I spoke to the garden and nobody was there! I had this feeling of wanting to express myself and tell stories. My dad always said, you read and you work on your craft. You work on your voice. Read a book and pay attention to how you feel. It was more so that vibe.
JG: What was it like growing up in Miami?
AB: Oh my gosh! Miami is a vibe! Born in raised in the 305. Miami is a cultural melting pot. There are so many people that I grew up with that are from different nationalities. A lot of Latinos, Latinas, Cubans, Guatemalans; that was more the culture, the vibe. But Miami is Miami! I travel for leisure and for pleasure. I travel for work and I always love it when I fly back to Miami. Miami is very fast-paced, not as fast as New York City, although it is getting there. It’s fast-paced, but there are beautiful areas where you can relax and unwind. Miami is part of who I am. My natural accent is very Miami.
JG: I love Miami and spent quite a few vacations there, especially during my college years, and I love bringing my kids to Miami. What’s it like raising kids in Miami?
AB: There are very good schools. Miami is a great opportunity to understand and meet people from different cultures and different nationalities. You can go to all these diverse areas or you can go to the beach. You get to experience all these different things. I talk to my kids a lot, but I also expose them to different experiences and I feel that even in schools, the experience for kids in Miami is richer than in most other places. Life can be hectic in some areas of Miami. You know, like in Manhattan, it can be fast-paced. If you go to the outskirts of New York, it’s kind of like the same thing. I don’t live downtown or in a high transit area, but I enjoy having the best of both worlds where my kids can experience the hustle and bustle and stay in tune with nature and go to the beach and go to the park. I think it’s a great thing. I don’t see myself living anywhere that’s not Miami long-term.
JG: I completely understand because I get this a lot from people. I get asked a lot, “What is it like raising kids in New York City?” and I always say it’s great because I’ve got the world right outside my door. They can have any food they want. They can experience all cultures. And it seems Miami is like that.
AB: You know what I also love about Miami? I’m a night owl. If I have to wake up early, I’ll wake up early. But if it’s late, 8:30 or 9:00, I say, “Let’s go to dinner.” Restaurants here are open late. When I travel and I want a late dinner, I’m like, “Why aren’t places open late?”
JG: And Miami is like New York when it’s late and you’re hungry, but you don’t want to go out, you can order and have food delivered. And it can be whatever type you want.
I’m always intrigued by parents that are actors and can be present with their children because I was an actor 20 years ago and then I started having kids and it was too hard for me to do it all. Before I ask this question, I want to apologize because I know moms get asked this question a lot and dads do not, but I asked Mark Ruffalo this question. I’m not just asking moms, but I’m genuinely curious. How are you able to be a parent and an actor with a demanding schedule?
AB: The biggest challenge is traveling. I was recently shooting Young Rock in Australia, and it was for 5 to 5 ½ months, so it was difficult. I was lucky enough to fly back for the holidays. When something takes priority as far as career-wise, or when it’s time to be home and be with family, you have to be very present. It’s putting the phone away and being intentionally present. I was face-timing a ton when I was in Australia. I’m blessed that my husband is extremely supportive and is a great parent. He was there for my kids and made sure everything was taken care of. It is very challenging. The first time I had ever been away for so long and so far. I would say, “When I get back home, we’re going to do this and we’re going to do that.” We time manage. We plan and go on family vacations together. But it’s also about showing my kids when you have dreams and a goal and aspirations, dedicate time to that as well. That will help you be a more well-rounded person. I had tons of time with them and had booked nothing for a couple of years. I’ve been on over 700 auditions in the span of my acting career. It was tough. I was home and was spending a lot of time with the kids. I was with them all the time; that was challenging too. Then, when I booked these two roles on Young Rock and Gravesend, and they were lead roles or supporting roles, I was like, “It’s time to buckle down professionally. This is what you were working for. This is what you are ready for.” And my kids understand that because they see the work that I’ve put into my career. I talked to them about it and they understand. And they think, “if I hustle and work hard enough….” It’s role modeling. It is challenging. You’re totally right. It’s a lot prettier on paper than it is in real life. It takes work. A kid has a doctor’s appointment and you can’t make it and then dad can’t make it, you call grandma or somebody. That takes hustle and bustle too to get done.
JG: For those on the outside and watching The Rock on Instagram or in interviews, he seems like an enormous ball of energy. When I see his Instagram stories, I want to hit the gym as hard as I can. I’m not sure how much time he spends on set with you, but I imagine he is an inspiring person to be around.
AB: I met Dany and Dwayne about 20 years ago in Miami before he blew up in Hollywood and a bit afterward. And then I ended up working with him on Ballers. He is so nice and incredibly humble and almost has a vibrational frequency. He’s got such charisma, and he’s a nice guy. It was definitely a pleasure meeting him 20 years ago as a teenager and then working with him on Ballers and now working on Young Rock. It’s a full-circle moment. When I would see Dany and Dwayne around Miami, I always thought, “Man, it would be great to work with Dany in her management company.” And later, I sent a letter to Seven Bucks (Dany and The Rock’s production company) that said, “Dear Seven Bucks, I am an actor and whatever,” and I asked my husband, “Should I send this? Is it crazy?” And he was like, “What’s the worst that can happen?” So now, full-circle moment. Working with Dany; her energy is insane and is positive. They make you want to do things. You talk to them and get a contagious good vibe. When you’re around them, you would think that they would be corporatized with all they have going on, but the human side to them is incredible and comes out. Dany is such a strong woman and nice and so beautiful, and so admirable. A lot of times when I meet people at that level, they could be directors, producers, or whatnot, they can be focused on the project and that’s fine too. Everybody is different. But I love that about them and would love to work with them on different projects. And I feel like what we see on TV and on social media is what you see is what you get. Dwayne’s not a different person behind the scenes. He’s the same guy.
JG: That has to be a lot of pressure to play Dany. In a lot of sitcoms or TV shows, actors are playing a fictional person. But you’re playing someone that is alive and so successful. How much pressure do you feel in getting her right?
AB: My background is in business, so I understand that side of her. Dany is so successful and so driven and is this global strategic enterpriser, and she’s also a mom and also a wife. And she’s also a weightlifting athlete. She’s all these things. So, for me, our journey and our lives have been different, but I see the similarities in that I’m also a mom. I’m also a wife. My background is in business. For me, it was more important to portray the relationship that Dany had with Dwayne, and then let everything else exist. For example, If I’m a businesswoman, I don’t have to push that I’m a businesswoman. It just is. If I’m a mom, I don’t have to say, “I’m a mom.” I just am. We’re a lot of things and not just defined by our careers. I feel like the power and presence I had to work on playing Dani was being this high multifaceted woman that wasn’t just a businesswoman shark; it was about being a whole. And when I’m playing her, it was 1995, and she wasn’t a mom yet. They had just met, and she was working at Meryl Lynch. It’s about bringing that forward and also her hustling. For me, playing her was more about the totality of life. She’s like, “We’re not making money and we’re putting all of ourselves into this career. I’m here for you on a human level. I love you. What do you need?” They’re being there for each other. It’s a story of two underdogs that overcome. They don’t come from money. It’s about these two young kids supporting and loving each other, and that was what I was focusing on.
JG: I’ve been watching the show since the beginning and I’ve enjoyed your performance and enjoyed watching Dany and Dwayne’s relationship develop. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out in future seasons.