14-year-old Isabella Sobejano has played many roles in her life – loving daughter, doting sister, science wiz, tennis player, and world traveler – but come June she’ll be taking on a totally different persona: sassy shape shifter.
The Wilkes-Barre Academy student has been cast in the Christian Grillo-directed film “Sugar Skull Girls,” which begins filming in Philadelphia in a month’s time.
Sobejano is no stranger to film, however, as she began her career at the age of 2 with modeling for print, her first gig being with the locally-owned Boscov’s. She began landing small roles in short films at the age of 9, though it wasn’t until she turned 11 that she began auditioning for bigger roles.
“Sugar Skull Girls” is being billed as a family film that centers around “three demonic sisters who resemble neo-goth voodoo dolls [that] are accidentally conjured from the other side during a failed attempt to raise a little girl from the dead,” according to the movie’s IMDB page.
Sobejano is one of the three sisters, Venus, a shape shifter with attitude.
“She has a bratty attitude; she’s kind of the mean one,” the actress said. And despite such shortcomings, there is one aspect of the flytrap-owning teen that’s a bright spot – almost literally.
“She’s pink,” Sobejano said with a giggle. “The makeup takes a while to do for her because they have to airbrush me everywhere, but it’s a lot of fun.”
In a world where teenagers are enamored with all things supernatural, it’s no surprise that “Sugar Skull Girls” is in line to be the next film in that genre. What is a surprise, however, is that Sobejano has never really had an interest in the supernatural.
“I know that werewolves and zombies are really big right now, but it’s something I was never a big fan of, though I do like horror movies,” she said. “‘Sugar Skull Girls’ has that element to it, but it’s also unique. It’s going to be cool to do something like this, like I’ve never done before. I’m really excited to see all the special effects that come along with a film like this.”
Sobejano is certainly not one to shy away from roles that are different – and challenging. This summer Sobejano is also working on a crime drama called “Trafico,” which is about human trafficking, allowing her to get into a dramatic, and very heavy, role.
“I enjoy having such different roles because it gives you more experience,” Sobejano said. “It also makes you more ambitious, because you really want to be able to get that character.”
It’s clear in speaking to her that Sobejano is wise beyond her years, mature for her age and a young woman full of ambition and a willingness to make the most out of life. She even allows for a dose of realistic thinking when it comes to acting which, though she considers it a big part of who she is, she also looks at as more of a hobby.
“I’d actually like to study sciences,” she said of her future plans. Her favorite subject is biology, and she recently participated in the competitive Science Olympiad, during which she placed 5th among 36 schools in “Shock Value,” an event dealing with electricity, and 8th in another event titled “Disease Detective.”
“I don’t expect anything to happen with acting,” she said of her future. “If anything does happen, it happens, but I know that it’s a tough field to break into.”
Sobejano’s love for tennis also fuels another hobby of hers.
“Next year I go to Wyoming Seminary for high school, and I want to be a part of the tennis team,” she said. “I’ve been playing for a long time.”
It’s evident that a huge part of Sobejano’s drive and Renaissance woman personality is her family, who she said helps her critique her acting as she prepares for roles and who has helped open her eyes to new experiences, providing unwavering support no matter what she does.
Her father and mother, Dr. Antonio Sobejano and Dr. Paola Bianco, are university professors of Spanish literature and published authors.
“I believe her enthusiasm and dedication comes from both of us, as we go beyond teaching; we are published authors and wrote several books and textbooks used in universities around the United States,” Bianco said. “She sees us as accomplished, dedicated, and passionate about our work. This example has influenced her a lot. She loves reading and literature since we talk much about it, and we have visited museums in art, history, and sculpture when traveling abroad.
“We are very proud of Isabella, as well as [her brother] Claudio.”
Sobejano and her 12-year-old brother, who also models and acts, have been on adventures around the world, spending summers abroad in Latin America or Europe. Sobejano said it’s made her an open-minded person.
“I’ve always traveled. When I was little, I went to Morocco when I was in my mom’s tummy,” she said with a laugh. “Every summer we go abroad, and it’s fun because it’s so different. It’s made me well-rounded. You learn as you travel because there are so many different cultures and traditions that you’re exposed to.””
Sobejano also has a dual citizenship, Italian and American, as her mother grew up in both Rome, Italy, and Santiago, Chile. She’s also fluent in both Spanish and English.