MUSE had the great opportunity to be a part of the press round table with Chelsea Rendon and Carlos Miranda from the new STARZ series Vida premiering this Sunday, May 6.
Vida follows the life of two Mexican-American sisters, Emma and Lyn, from the Eastside of Los Angeles who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other. Circumstances force them to return to their old neighborhood, where they are confronted by the past and shocking truth about their mother’s identity.
Q: Your character is scary?
CHELSEA: Hey thats how i am in real life you know me. Sabes que you don’t want to mess with me!
Q: How much fun are you having playing that character?
CHELSEA: its been amazing. It’s been so much fun getting to play with everybody and i feel like im very
similar to mary in a lot of ways, except for the activism, i kind of had to do my research but she’s
strong she’s in your face she has a big heart and she puts this mask on of more strength than
what she really has and i found out about a year ago that i do the same thing and i didnt know it
(laughter). So being able to out her in front of the world is like yes this is what we need, a
badass chingona latina that isn’t a chola even though she kind of looks like it in a way but she’s
not. And it’s breaking down barriers and stereotypes. I love mary, she’s the best.
Q: What’s wrong with johnny?
CARLOS: He’s sprung man. Hes whooped is what he is. No you know what? Nothing is wrong with
him. He’s a good dude, he’s just… love is a hell of a drug. Lynn is his kryptonite and he’s got
good intentions. He wants to do the right thing. For the most part, he’s got a good head on his
shoulders, you know what i mean? But he has that one love that he can’t shake. He can’t shake
that kryptonite. Which makes him do some stupid decisions. It’s got him thinking with the wrong
head (laughter) But for the most part he’s not a bad guy. I think there’s going to be a lot of
people that i feel relate to this scenario and you know the situation of just kind of wanting to do
the right thing but trying to follow your heart at the same time.
Q: How intriguing was it to be able to play a role this complex?
CHELSEA: It was soreal and it was amazing at the same time. It was like wow. This is a character.
Woe. I get to play this character? Wow. wow. Wow. and i think again, mary has the best
intentions, she’s a rebel with a great cause so even though she goes about it maybe the wrong
way sometimes, she’s doing it for the greater good. Again, you might ruffle a little feathers, but
you’re trying to keep the family together, the community together, so you think about it as a
whole and that’s why she does it. So like you said, it maybe not the best tactic but at the same
time what is the best tactic? There’s never a really right way to of it but she’s doing what she
knows and shes doing what she can at the end of the day.
Q:how important is it for you to play this role and represent latinos?
CARLOS: I think it’s important that were representing our community the way that it should be
represented. You don’t see it this very often. You see a very stereotypical way of a hispanic
community, right? You see the gangbangers. You see the cholas. You see the gardeners or the
maids. You know? You don’t see the guy that’s just trying to pay the rent. You don’t see the guy
that goes to work and has a baby on the way and is going through the same universal issues
that any person of any color goes through. So i think it’s very important to just kind of represent
that were all latin americans. You don’t mean like you’re african american, latin american, asian
america, you know were all american and we all go through these same issues with our
families, with losing loved ones and i think that i’m just very proud to be able to finally represent
them in a way that it hasn’t been .
CHELSEA: For me, i grew up in this area were talking about. And so to be able to tell a story from
where i’m from, i grew up there, it’s a breath of fresh air. Cause again it’s not the stereotype. It’s
not being written by someone thats not latino. You know what i’m saying? And that was so
important, like the writers were almost all latinx, itw as queer, it was amazing and i think that
shows so much of why the show is so well written, its so well done. Because you always see
stories that are told from a different perspective, our story from a different perspective and it
never hits the mark. And that’s why this makes such a big impact and for me it’s beautiful. It’s
CARLOS: But the writers specifically. Particularly i’m saying is like these characters, everything they’re
going through are these people who are writing it. You know what i mean? These people are
represented. They’re like hey were not represented and they’re putting it on paper and were
being able to portray that and show the world like look man this is us. It’s not what you normally
CHELSEA: hashtag this is us! (laughter)
Q: Its cool seeing your characters exist, you have the curandera, the one who knows everything
about the barrio?
CHELSEA: The coolest thing for me was dealing with the machismoness in the household that we live
in. there’s a scene where they deal with it and i grew up with my mom, in a single mother
household with my sister so i didn’t experience that. I was always like im independent, im
strong, i got it, so to have to deal with that in the show was like damn ok. I can’t say anything, i’d
be quite and it was so unnatural for me and it made me connect to liek everybody that does go
through that. You know what i’m saying? Again i didn’t experienced it at home but you deal with
it out in the real world ofcourse but in the home it was such a strong…like my mom was a
badass. So that for me was really interesting to deal with that whole traditional latino family. For
me that was really interesting to do.
Q: Now you have 6 episodes, what are you hoping for the next 6?
CHELSEA: Hopefully we get more than 6! Hopefully we get more than that again and again and again.
CARLOS: Theres a lot of stories that can be told. We focus very much on the hernandez sisters in
this season but as you watch the series, there’s a whole other family, there’s our family. There’s
a world of stories with them there. There’s the combination of the sanchez and the hernandez
families, the dynamic. How they’ve grown up together. There’s emma and her sexually. There’s
so many more stories to tell.
CHELSEA: For me, I want to deal with some stuff with nelson. Because i feel like my character has an
issue with that and then i also want to deal with cruz because she has kind of the same sort of
vibe that i’ve got btu it’s just different generations. There’s so much that i hope that we get to
play with at some point but again we just got to hope for more seasons and we got to hope that
the writers write certain things that we might want.
Q: What can you tell the kids that are looking up at you wanting to be the next you?
CHELSEA: You can. Honestly it comes down to self confidence because that’s a thing where a lot of
people will tell you, in a lot of different casting rooms, not just me but my friends are told “you’re
so confident” and it’s something that you get people’s attention cause if you have doubt then
you’re not gonna play the character 100 percent the way you think and you’re like uh..uh.. And
they feel it. So you just got to be confident in yourself and you also have to put in the work and
be continuous. You can do it. And that’s whether you want to be an actor or whether you want to
be a doctor whether you want to be an astronaut. You have to believe in yourself and not listen
You can listen to the audio from the interview below.