Lorenza Izzo: "I’ve had a lot of failures, and I mean A LOT"

Penny Dreadful star Lorenza Izzo talks inspirational women, the importance of living in the moment, and breathing the same air as Brad Pitt in this fantastic edition of Lockdown Life

Lorenza Izzo

Like many of us in lockdown, Lorenza Izzo has become "this very popular functional drunk overnight."

(OK, maybe we don't relate to the 'popular' part – our Zoom calls tend to be missed. C'mon, mum!) 

Izzo has learned the importances of being "IN the damn moment", something that lockdown offers ample opportunity to try. 

The Chilean actress shares plenty such insights in this generous and very funny interview, which covers everything from inspirational women to Tiger King. 

Her new show Penny Dreadful: City of Angels premieres April 26 and promises to be essential escapism.

Izzo pitches it as: "Natalie Dormer plays a devilish shape-shifting goddess who preys on the human race... I play her sister, Santa Muerte, a less evil goddess."

Yeah, we're sold. 

What upcoming project(s) are you most excited about?

“Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.” It’s a whole new show under the original favourite name that takes place in 1930s Los Angeles. A story in which our amazing lead, Natalie Dormer (Magda) plays a devilish shape-shifting goddess who preys on the human race to show just how evil we are. I play her sister, Santa Muerte, a less evil goddess loosely based on the original Mexican version.

This was a brand new experience for me as an actress. On one hand, balancing the expected judgment of taking on a very well-known figure in history and making it my own, and on the other hand, it was my first time working with prosthetics, contact lenses, an incredibly intricate wardrobe and make up. It required over three hours of effects daily, which I actually really enjoyed!

You pair that with the masterful writing of John Logan and well, it was one of the best experiences and I feel truly special to get to talk about it. 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

This is a tough one. Besides breathing the same air as Brad Pitt? (like I was WITH him, breathing the SAME air, for many hours).

OK but if I’m really honest, which I’d like to be, I feel more inclined to say I’ve had a few proud accomplishment moments and they’ve all been the same or about the same thing. Let me explain…

I feel like the job of an actor is quite strange, and it can go from being very dry and nothing happening, (and wanting to quit every other day) to everything happening all at once and then back to nothing again. There’s very little stability so getting that rare (in my case) call for a role is a huge moment, yet very fleeting.

SO, for me, it’s the moments when I’m on set or in an audition, and I feel stuck and in my head BUT I manage to get out, and be IN the damn moment, be free. When I can truly and honestly tune everything out and just be there. I get real proud.

If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?

I mean, so much and nothing at all. So much in that I would’ve liked to beat myself up less (a lot less) and trust myself a lot more.

I’ve learned that the industry is tough enough, but then again that’s the process – for the same reason, I wouldn’t change a thing. 

What do you hope to achieve that you haven’t yet?

JEEZ, no pressure. I’m very superstitious and kind of have a passive manifestation thing going on. I like to stay quiet about things until they’re REALLY happening and I’m actually on set and it’s getting filmed. I do this because I’ve learned the hard way (I’m stubborn), to be humble and just do my own thing (this is an ongoing process).

I’ve had a lot of failures, and I mean A LOT. I’ve learned so much more from my failures – in fact I’ve learned everything from them – which has inevitably put things in perspective for me. I stopped trying to achieve a specific thing, my achievements became a less tangible thing and a more “in the moment feeling.”

All this to say – I want to do good things you know? Great things too, but mainly just me.

Outside of your family, who is / was your biggest inspiration?

Today I find myself inspired by women (that I’ve never met by the way) – women that make me want to be me. I think those are the best people to feel inspired by.

I’ll make it more specific to these times (feeds I’m scrolling through to laugh or cry or both):

  • Jameela Jamil – Her “I Weigh” campaign is on another level of steel balls.
  • Cardi B – her realness is just so needed today, and always.
  • Olivia Wilde – her use of celebrity status to help.
  • Angela Manuel Davis – her instant switch to be there as a community is incredible.
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – she makes me feel really good about our future.
  • Francisca Valenzuela – a Chilean singer I’m really proud to be friends with.

I could go oooonn but let’s leave it here, for now.

Tell us something nobody knows about you…


An interesting fact about me is that I was born without toenails! I was super self-conscious about them my whole life because they were so tiny (they did end up growing – it’s a fairly uncommon condition but it does happen). Now I love my toes and have embraced my tiny toenails.


How are you finding lockdown?

I go from being OK with it, to snacking, to hating it, to snacking, to panicking, to back to snacking, to loving it, toooo….. snacking again. Of course.

Best thing about lockdown?

How social distancing has evolved into happy hours all day while avoiding FaceTimes. It’s like I became this very popular functional drunk overnight.

I’ve been waiting for this moment – in sweatpants of course.

Worst thing about lockdown?

Missing all the little things that, when we were free, I thought I didn’t take for granted but really I kind of did. Like the DMV.

Top tip for surviving lockdown?

WINE, lots of it. At any moment. Cheers!

If you could be locked down with one person, alive or dead, who would it be?

CAROLE BASKIN…. PSYCH! I’m locked down with my favourite person, who I hope doesn’t feed me to the tigers by the end of this.

What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?

Starting my own YouTube channel, learning to play the piano, talking to Oprah, learning to tap dance, professional gaming, writing a play, conquering the world, meeting R2D2 – little accomplishments you know?

Fuck, maybe I am losing it.

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Penny Dreadful: City of Angels premieres on Showtime on April 26