Alma’s debut in Luis Valdez’ American film classic Zoot Suit (1981) launched a prolific film career that in 2013 led to her induction into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Shortly after Zoot Suit (1981), Australian director Fred Schepisi cast her in his American film debut Barbarosa (1982) with Willie Nelson and Gary Busey. This performance was followed by Under Fire (1983) with Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, and Jean-Louis Trintignant, Born in East L.A. (1987) with Cheech Marin, For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada (2012) with Andy Garcia and Oscar Isaac, Strike One (2014) with Danny Trejo, Stevie D (2016) with Hal Linden, Cake (2014) with Jennifer Aniston and Adriana Barraza and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) , among others. She voiced roles in the award-winning documentaries Maria’s Story (1990), The Panama Deception (1992), 500 Nations (1995), and Food Chains (2014).
Her extensive television performances include roles in the Peabody Award winning dramas_ The Bridge (F/X, 2013)_ and Corridos: Tales of Passion & Revolution (1987).
A consummate stage actor, Alma has with over 100 credits including Broadway, Off Broadway, regional theatre and Mexican and European stages. She was discovered by Luis Valdez, founder and Artistic Director of El Teatro Campesino, one of the most influential political theatre groups of the 1960’s and 70’s. She has been the lead actress in many of his most important projects — a collaboration that has spanned over 30 years. Alma made her Broadway debut in “In the Summer House” directed by Joanne Akalaitis – featuring Dianne Wiest, Frances Conroy and Liev Schreiber – in a performance that garnered excellent reviews. She has performed in theatre venues that include the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Joyce Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory, Sundance Theatre Institute, San Diego Repertory, Santa Cruz Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, Arizona Theatre Company, Pennsylvania Stage, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Teatro Juan Ruiz De Alarcon (Mexico City), Teatro Calderon (Zacatecas, Mexico), Teatro Greco (Taormina, Italy), Castello Sforesco (Milan, Italy), Festival De Sant Arcangelo (Italy), Teatro Romano (Fiesolo, Italy), Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany) and Neiuwe Scene (Antwerp, Belgium) among others.
Alma holds Ph.D. in Drama from Stanford University, an M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in Theatre from Whittier College. She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the Centro Universitario De Teatro (CUT) at the National University of Mexico and with master directors/teachers Hector Mendoza, Luis De Tavira, Duncan Ross, Lee Strasberg, Jerzi Grotowski, Arianne Mnouchkine, Anna Deavere Smith, Patsy Rodenburg, Augusto Boal and Caryn West.
She is represented by Jaime Ferrar at Jaime Ferrar Agency and Avi Simon at Rectangle Entertainment.