Gloria Calderón Kellett is the executive producer and co-showrunner of One Day At A Time, currently streaming on Netflix. Before that, she wrote and produced on such shows as CW’s iZombie, ABC’s Mixology, Lifetime’s Devious Maids, and CBS’s Rules of Engagement & How I Met Your Mother, for which she won an Alma Award for Outstanding Writing for a Television Series. Before joining a Smithsonian/Zócalo “What It Means to Be American” panel discussion in Los Angeles asking “Can Television Bring America Together?” she spoke in the Zócalo green room about time travel, the joy of eye shadow palettes, and wearing a corset on stage.
Q: You’re best known for your work behind the scenes, but you’ve acted too. What’s your favorite role you’ve played?
A: In grad school I played the Marquise de Merteuil, the Glenn Close role in Dangerous Liaisons. It wasn’t funny. It was very dark and dramatic and I got to wear a corset and it was pretty great.
Q: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A writer. I wrote a novel when I was in second grade. It was called The Story of My Life. My mother still has it because she saves everything.
Q: What would you do if you had one more hour in the day?
A: I’d work out. I’d be like, they gave that to me as a special gift for my health. I have to.
Q: What superpower would you most like to have?
A: Time travel. Actually the ability to stop time. I would love that. I would stop time and do stuff and then start time again. Oh my god, that would be so good.
Q: What are you reading right now?
A: I’m reading plays—I love reading plays. I just re-read Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee, which I hadn’t read in a decade. I also read with my daughter every night. We just finished a book series called The Familiars. It’s sort of Harry Potter but with animals. We both loved it so much. It’s a magical cat and a frog and a bird and they go on adventures and save the world.
Q: What Southern California beach could we find you at?
A: You’d think the one a mile from my house. But I never go, to be perfectly honest. I think the last time I was there was three years ago. I like to know it is that close, though.
Q: What’s your favorite condiment?
A: Hot sauce. Whether it’s Tapatío or Sriracha—very different hot flavors—I like to have both on hand.
Q: What’s your hidden talent?
A: I’m really good at makeup. There’s a world where I could have gone into makeup—I own far too many eye shadow palettes for a television writer. I have a whole makeup station.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: That the world might not be as safe for my kids. And what can I do about it? Can I do anything about it?
Q: How would you describe yourself in five words or less?
A: Hustler (not in a whore-y way, in a mover and shaker way), grateful, spunky-moxie (that’s one word), ebullient, and I don’t take myself too seriously (also one word).