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Five Questions with 'Grand Hotel' Actress Amaia Salamanca

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On "Grand Hotel," Spanish actress Amaia Salamanca plays Alicia Alarcón, the independent heiress of the Grand Hotel. KCET caught up with the actress to talk about her character, social norms, Alicia's relationship with Julio, and more.​ 

What should American viewers know about Grand Hotel before starting the show?

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Amaia Salamanca | Courtesy of ramonpilaces.es​

Amaia Salamanca: In Spain it was the first thriller on T.V. set in the early 1900s. It was a great success for all 3 seasons. The show is one of the projects that I have better memories of.

How would you describe Alicia’s character and how does she evolve over the course of the show?

AS: Alicia is like most of the women of her time. She comes from a high class family that has given her the best studies to be a good woman and a good wife. But her mother obliges her to marry a man that she doesn’t love, so she begins to fight her family so she can be with the person that she really loves.

How does Alicia defy gender and social norms of the time?

AS: Even though she comes from a family with money, she has always been kind to everyone and every worker at the hotel. She believes that everyone deserves to be treated equally. That’s what she loves about Julio — he is an honest man with a huge heart and she doesn’t care if he comes from another world.

Alicia and Julio have a special kind of bond in the show, how would you describe this bond and what attracted Alicia’s character to Julio?

AS: Alicia loves how natural Julio is and how he is capable of doing anything to find out want happened with his sister. She also loves how romantic he is and how he tries to find time to spend with her, and both will try to find out what happened with Alicia’s father and Julio’s sister.

How was it filming a period piece that is set in the early 1900s and did you have to do anything in particular to prepare for the role?

AS: Every 2 months we used to go to Palacio de Magdalena in Santander to film all the exteriors and it was awesome to live the experience in a place as beautiful as that. I believe that the hardest part is to speak and move like people in that time because right now we have completely different manners.

Interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.​ "Grand Hotel" airs Sundays at 10:00 p.m. on KCET and will be streaming for one week on our website.

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