News Column

Hollywood career begins to take off for former El Pasoan Yvette Yates

August 17, 2014

By RamÓn RenterÍa, El Paso Times, Texas

Aug. 17--Yvette Yates bet on a career in Hollywood instead of a career in medicine. Little by little, her gamble is paying off.

Yates, an actress with roots in El Paso, has been embracing increasing success in the super-competitive film industry.

"I want to continue working as long as I can. You just have to believe in yourself and surround yourself with the right people," Yates said in a recent interview and during a question-and-answer session at the Plaza Classic Film Festival.

She came home to El Paso to introduce "In The Blood," an action film in which she has a small part, at the festival. The film, starring actress, television personality, fitness model and former mixed martial artist Gina Carano, had a theatrical release and recently was released in DVD and Blu-ray formats.

Yates also has a part in "Inherent Vice," a major motion picture that will be released in December with a star-studded cast that includes Josh Broslin, Benicio Del Toro, Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix and Martin Short.

Yates' contract does not let her speak about her role before the movie is released, but the credits list her as a character named Luz. The film, adapted from Thomas Pynchon's 2009 crime novel, will have its world premiere in October at the New York Film Festival.

"For me, it's about continuing to evolve and challenging myself," she said. "I feel fortunate that I continue to work in different genres and different roles."

Earlier this year, Yates was invited to co-emcee a major fundraiser for the National Mexican Museum of Art in Chicago with ABC News'John Quinones, a fellow Texan. The event, which also honored Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, helped raise a record $600,000 for the museum.

Yates' trajectory in Hollywood, first in film shorts and now in feature films, is being noticed.

"I've been surprised by how successful she's become," said Carlos Corral, the owner of MindWarp, an El Paso Web design, video and film production company. "It's great that she can come back here and tell us what it takes not only to be successful but to survive in L.A."

Yates tells aspiring young actors and actresses that it helps to be in a place like Los Angeles, where many of the film studios, producers, directors and writers are based.

"Like anything else in this business, relationships are very important. You have to treat people right," she said. "The important thing is just to learn as much as you can, whether it's in school or whether you just jump right in."

Yates set out to become a medical doctor. She earned a bachelor's degree in physiological science from the University of California at Los Angeles. But after college, instead of pursuing medicine, she started acting in short film projects.

Yates has appeared in "Without Men," a 2011 film starring Eva Longoria and Christian Slater. She also played the female lead opposite Scott Adkins in the action film "El Gringo."

Doug Pullen, the program director for the Plaza Classic Film Festival, said Yates' presentation at the festival was part of an effort to include more people from the film industry who have El Paso ties. He asked Yates to share insights about what it takes to get ahead in Hollywood, insights that might help El Paso area actors pondering a similar career.

"I've been aware of Yvette for the last few years. She's been in a succession of movies, mostly indies. When a mutual friend contacted me about her, I jumped at the chance to bring her back home for the Plaza Classic Film Festival," Pullen said. "She has a new movie coming out in December, 'Inherent Vice,' which was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, whose considerable body of work includes 'There Will Be Blood,' 'Boogie Nights,' 'The Master' and 'Magnolia.' "

On the road, Yates often tells her fans that family keeps her grounded. Her father, Carlos Yates, teaches at El Paso Community College. He was once president of Azteca Films in Mexico.

"I love that I get to return home and connect with the community," Yates said about the recent film festival gig.

While in El Paso, she also served as mistress of ceremonies for an event arranged by Rabbi Stephen Leon at Congregation B'nai Zion. Her paternal grandparents in England were of Jewish ancestry and later migrated to Mexico.

Yates' passion for staying connected to El Paso as she continues to embrace more attention in Hollywood impressed Victoria Molinar, a 25-year-old El Paso actress and freelance writer.

"For me, it's inspiring to see someone from El Paso who is successful and humble," Molinar said. "... You can go to school and work your whole life and not get to that point where she is. You have to really love the art. You can't be doing it to be famous. She did it because the work was interesting and fun."

Yates will also next appear in "Blood Sucking Bastards," described as an action-packed horror film now in post-production. She also is exploring television work.

So far, she has no regrets about sidestepping a career in medicine and diving into entertainment without an agent or academic credentials in film.

"I've found what I love," she said.

Ramon Renteria may be reached at 546-6146.

A short list of some of Yvette Yates' more notable recent film projects.

--"Nina Quebrada" (2008)

--"I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell" (2009)

--"Without Men" (2011)

--"El Gringo" (2012)

--"Free Ride" (2013)

--"In The Blood" (2014)

--"Inherent Vice" (2014)

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(c)2014 El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)

Visit the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas) at www.elpasotimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: El Paso Times (TX)


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