In The Mix

The Most on the Coast

Working twice as hard spells success for Zetna Fuentes.

Maria Neuman
  • Elisabeth Caren

Most people would see three Daytime Emmy nominations as a sign of success, but for director Zetna Fuentes, the honors meant that she should box up her life and move to Los Angeles. Time to try something new.

"I had an amazing time on daytime television and learned so much," she says of her years on One Life to Live and Guiding Light." And people explained to me that it would be a tough transition, but I'm the type of person who thinks, 'I'm going to be the one who makes it by working twice as hard.' I wanted to create that opportunity for myself."

And create she did. Since moving to the Golden State in 2012, she's racked up an enviable list of directing credits that includes such dramas as Ray Donovan, Shameless, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Bosch, the gritty Amazon Studios series that launched its fourth season in April.

Based on the novels by Michael Connelly and starring Titus Welliver as an LAPD homicide detective with a dark side, Bosch showcases the city itself as a key player. "It's always great to shoot in L.A., and for Bosch it is super important," Fuentes says. "The city is such a character in the show — you get to see all the textures and the gorgeous light."

The director, who lives with her husband and their young son, might miss home but she appreciates the charms of her adopted city. "I'll admit: I love, love, love New York, but it is great to have a house with a garden," she says, laughing.

Back in the Bronx, "where I grew up, no one was in show biz," she explains. "My dad and I used to love watching old movies together, but it took me a while to realize how much I enjoyed telling a story."

To find her way into the director's chair, she worked as a personal assistant, location manager, editor, assistant director and finally director in off-Broadway theater before moving into daytime television in 2007.

Fast-forward five years. "When I first moved out to L.A., I had only booked one episode of Pretty Little Liars and just hoped it would lead to more."

It did. Looks like the trinity of talent, timing and hard work really paid off.

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 4, 2018