Sarah Adela Tirado

CALEXICO — Calexico-born actress and casting coordinator Sarah “Adela” Tirado hopes to make a difference in the future of aspiring Imperial Valley actors with a seminar on acting.

Tirado is interested in hosting a special seminar as she feels there is still the idea that acting is unattainable, but knows there is a growing movie scene and wants to be there to help students and adults.

“When I was down in the Valley, I would have loved to have someone with the knowledge that I have now to share that with me,” said Tirado.

This seminar is much like the ones she hosts in Los Angeles, where she helps people through the leaps and hurdles that is the LA movie scene. Tirado will review resumes, discuss how to maintain an online presence and profile, and how to study a script for a part.

Tirado was born and raised in Calexico where she was first bit by the acting bug. When she was little, she and her sisters played background roles in “His Last Days,” a play put on by Our Lady of Guadalupe in Calexico every Christmas. That day made her realize she liked acting and wanted to keep at it so she took drama classes through high school.

“I always had a drive for the stage, I always had a tenacity for it,” said Tirado. “It was just always something that I enjoyed.”

She attended Imperial Valley College after high school and continued her interest in theater, landing leading rolls every year. Tirado moved on to Cal State Fullerton to pursue a theater major, but due to conflicting schedules with track and field, had to switch to political science.  

The Tirado family is known for their involvement in politics, according to Tirado. Her uncle Tony Tirado was the mayor of Calexico for 17 years and went on to be the supervisor for District 1. Her father also ran for city council. She naturally drifted that way as well, working for Congressmen Edward Royce and Bob Filner during her time in the political sphere.

Tirado’s big break into movies came at a difficult point in her life with the death of her father in 2004. Tirado had to quit her political career in order to move back home to help out with her family. It was then that the movie “Jarhead” was being filmed in the Valley. Her IVC theatre professor, James Patterson, recommended her for an interview and she was hired on the spot.

From that small start, Tirado has been the casting director for many films including “Jarhead,” “Valkyrie,” “Lady in the Water,” “The Green Hornet,” “The Last Airbender,” and many more.

“I loved it and it kept me constantly working, but I wasn’t sufficiently happy because I wanted to be on the other side of the camera,” said Tirado.

In 2011, Tirado began working as a casting associate for the long-running soap opera, “The Bold and the Beautiful” for five years, as well as acting in the show. She has also worked on “Criminal Minds” and “Snowfall.”

“It was incredible for my career because I knew where to study, knew who the cast was, I knew who the directors were, and I learned about production. I learned about the directors, and I learned about everything,” said Tirado, referring to the soap opera.

Her favorite role was Maribel Vargas in “MacGyver,” and she has recently been in an independent horror film “Smile.”  Tirado said it has quickly become her second favorite role in her career.  She even had a small part in “Future World,” the film made in the Imperial Valley in 2016.

Tirado also gives acting seminars and tutoring in Los Angeles and Atlanta, sharing her knowledge with up-and-coming actors.

Tirado says she hopes to inspire some kids in the Valley.

“I love where I grew up, but I remember that I never felt like a lot of this was attainable. I remember thinking, “Gosh, I wish one day, but that will never happen,” said Tirado, “And I’ve grown to realize, wow, you can make anything happen, you just got to work.”

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