The ballet mystery Netflix series premiered on December 14. Dubbed “Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars,” the show follows an elite Chicago ballet school as students are willing to do anything to become the prima.
Based on a novel of the same name, Tiny Pretty Things gives a glimpse into the drama of ballet academies. Bayardo De Murguia plays series regular Ramon, a bad boy dancer turned visionary choreographer who uses non-traditional methods to teach his teen pupils.
The Netflix star sat down with The Knockturnal to discuss how he prepared for the role, the importance of representation onscreen, and what fans can expect from the series.
The Knockturnal: What originally drew you to Tiny Pretty Things?
Bayardo De Murguia: During the audition process, I didn’t know what I was reading for, or even that it was a Netflix project. Once I was cast, the first thing I did was read the original novel by Sonja Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton. I was immediately fascinated by the world of ballet.
View this post on Instagram
The Knockturnal: You are a former college football player at the University of San Diego, and an active boxer. Is ballet similar to your two sports passions?
Bayardo De Murguia: I already had huge respect and love for the dance community, but this show made that grow exponentially. Boxing is more of an individual sport. You learn how far you can push yourself while someone is punching you in the face, as well as how to control your body and mind while being under intense pressure. Football taught me about working collectively as a team. Ballet taught me a bit of both: the important of partnering and understanding one another’s bodies and minds, and pushing the limits of what you individually you can do. In my experience, the fighter mentality resonates in both the fight game and in dance.
The Knockturnal: Your Hollywood journey as an actor is rare in that you started out without industry connections or guidance. Can you share a little about your time performing Shakespearean plays in Balboa Park to UCB improve, and now starring in a Netflix series?
Bayardo De Murguia: I was always used to the performance aspect of being an athlete, and around my sophomore year at the University of San Diego, I took a theatre class and was hooked. The same principles in training I learned in college football translated over to the preparation of mind, body, and voice for theatre. The third play I ever took part in was for the Shakespeare Festival at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. The moment I set foot on stage in front of an audience of 300 people, I knew that’s what I wanted to continue pursuing. My role was small, but I was the best “Soldier #2” that I could be, and I haven’t looked back.
Although I didn’t know anyone when I moved to L.A., I was a sponge and asked questions. I learned to differentiate the good from the BS and just kept my head down, working my ass off. Every artist has a different journey. You see people come and go, and take what you can from every experience. To now be on a Netflix series is a blessing, yet I also know I have to work even harder.
The Knockturnal: You have previously said that you’re passionate about sharing Latinx stories in the U.S. What do you look for when selecting projects?
Bayardo De Murguia: For every opportunity that I get to be onscreen, I am just grateful and appreciative. It is my job as an actor to bring truth and authenticity. When selecting projects, I just want to make sure I do everything I can to create that authenticity and make that story come to life. As we get more diverse in the writers’ room and behind the camera, we’ll be able to keep creating unique content and bring even more interesting stories to light with true representation.
“Tiny Pretty Things” is available on Netflix.