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Danielle Larracuente was born to play a cop.
The actress, daughter of two retired NYPD officers, was recently cast as rookie Paulina Calderon in “Bosch: Legacy.”
“This is such a big milestone for me,” the 30-year-old told Fox News Digital. “It was a dream come true for my parents to allow them to see me as them and portray their stories. And I learned a lot of advice from them before I was on set.
“I had two viewpoints because my dad dealt with a lot of tactical things in terms of how he approached situations. There’s a certain way to approach a car or hit a trunk. And my mom, she’s five feet tall and in the She was talking to the person she was stopping and trying to calm them down.
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But getting into uniform, even on set, came with challenges.
“That belt is heavy,” chuckled Larracuente. “What about those steel boots? How did they even run in them. I was sweating every time. I had a fan nearby and had to splash water on myself the whole time. I don’t even know how they did it I got a taste of what it was like.
Throughout her childhood, the star said, her parents taught her the importance of being involved in the community.
“I always knew growing up that they were police officers,” she explained. “They always made their presence known and they taught us to stay safe and be careful around us. It was a big part of our lives.”
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But Larracuente was eager to perform under the bright lights of Hollywood.
“Every time I saw a camera I had to smile,” she said. “I watch home videos now, and I was always putting on a show. I was performing in front of a mirror and acting out scenes. If I had a new outfit, I was begging my parents to take a picture of me. One day, we were going to the mall, and someone approached us. This person said, “You should enter her in beauty contests. So I did that for a while, and then we left make advertisements.
“But my mother was not a stage mother, far from it,” Larracuente continued. “We lived in Westchester, and we used to go to New York all the time for concerts or auditions. My parents were so supportive of my dreams. They always took the time to get me where I needed to go. They were my backbone and kept me positive when I was feeling down. And every time I was like, ‘Mom, call my agent because I haven’t had an audition in weeks,’ they made it happen.
Larracuente’s father was on the force for 20 years before retiring in 2001. His mother worked for 10 years and retired after being injured in the line of duty. She described how her parents were willing to let her continue acting, but always made sure she felt comfortable with whatever job came her way.
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“My parents were always watching me – all the time,” said the mother of a five-year-old son. “They were like, ‘Hey, is this something you really want to do? Are you sure? How are you feeling today?’ They were 100% behind me but also made it a point not to push I still had school and I still had my friends.
At 15, Larracuente asked her mother if she could move to Los Angeles to boost her career. After a few months of pleading, her mother finally agreed.
“It was me all the way,” she said. “I realized that being in New York there was a lot of theater and I did a lot of it, but I wanted to pursue more television…There was a change because my mother was long retired. She said: ‘You know Danielle, I want to be a lawyer. My brothers were already adults and out of the house.
“So she finally said, ‘Okay, you keep acting on TV and I’m going to be a lawyer. She’s now a successful civil rights lawyer in Los Angeles, and I’m a television actress. Pursuing our dreams has always been important in our household. For us, it’s never too late and you never give up.
Although she got her parents’ approval to become an actress, Larracuente noted that education always came first.
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“I was 18 at the time and becoming a woman,” she explained. “I was learning who I was in the world. I had been doing theater since I was four years old, but was it going to be me forever? Is there something else that will also bring me joy? I wanted to grow out of the limelight, as a person.
“I wanted to make sure I had something to build on and grow from. So I went to college and got my degree in psychology. I worked in the field for about a year. Then , I wanted to learn a new beauty skill and I got my license in cosmetology and worked in this field for a year.
“I learned so much along the way and I still use those skills as an actor, but they weren’t for me,” Larracuente added. “And once I became a mom, I was like, ‘How can I tell my son to do what he loves when I’m not doing the same thing?’ “So in 2019, I took over. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I feel really strong in who I am now. But I’m also proud to have studied along the way and to continue to grow as a person.”
And his psychology degree came in handy as a TV cop.
“One of the most important things I wanted to emphasize about my role is that you’re there to protect yourself and others, but you’re also there to listen and understand,” Larracuente said. “When you’re in intense situations, there’s a lot of emotion. People want to be heard. It can be dissolved more quickly just by talking to them, expressing their feelings.”
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Larracuente said tears flowed when her parents first saw her performance.
“It was such a beautiful moment,” she recalls. “And it was so surreal. I remembered my dad saying, ‘Oh my God, that’s what your mom looked like. My mom got so emotional. She immediately took a side-by-side photo of us in uniform, and now it’s showing everyone. They are very proud parents. And, you know, they were always supportive of what we wanted to do. “My siblings and I are not in law enforcement. They were a bit worried about this possibility because it’s dangerous. You protect society and put yourself in difficult situations.
“Playing a cop on TV is much safer,” she added with a laugh.
Larracuente also described how grateful she is to be part of a cast that, like her parents, has been supportive.
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“In this industry, every set is different and you never really know what to expect,” she said. “But this set treats you like family… My girls [from ‘Bosch’] and I go eat Taco Tuesdays once a week. We have become so close. We support each other. And we all want to tell a great story.”
Larracuente hopes his personal story will inspire others to pursue their goals, whatever they may be.
“My dad always tells me this, ‘Whatever you want to do in life, look at it like it’s the DMV,'” she said. “‘At the DMV, you grab a ticket and stand in line. But if you get impatient and step out of line, they’ll never call you. But if you stay in that line and keep going, eventually you’re going to get called. That keeps coming back to me. The message my parents gave me has always been the same, and it’s the one I share now: you put in the work and you keep going.”