MUSE was a part of a special question and answer session with Ser Anzoategui and Maria-Elena Laas from the new STARZ series, Vida,
This show 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: I’m kind of feeling like your 2 characters are the heart of the show?
Ser: Self-centered maybe? (laughter) Like being the heart? I think it’s like grounding being able to
ground and to be able to know that this is the role. There’s going to be a lot of the s that hits the
fan like you’re just a fan but it’s like hitting you so it’s just knowing that this character is going to
be with these hard…we have Emma we have to deal with Emma. And Emma, I love Emma. We
Maria-Elena: But she’s still really hard to pierce and penetrate.
Ser: and I think also like Emma and maybe like Lynn and all these characters who also kind of
remind me of parts of myself or parts of people i don’t like. Or that kind of thing and that traits
that i’m like oh my god it’s driving me nuts and so that’s also part of it because you have to work
through all that stuff to love these people (laughter) .
Maria-Elena: Especially with Eddie, if they can have that human connection without all of the bullshit
around them. You know?
Ser: But that’s life right?
Maria-Elena: Exactly! And its similar to cruz and emma is seeing passed that because cruz can see right
past it for many reasons but it is but it’s just like i see you stopped this.
Ser: yeah it think that’s something we do have in common. Were the laser see-through-your-bs
characters. Just be real with each other. I see you and your vulnerability and be ok with that. But
noone wants to be vulnerable, no one wants to take accountability. So there you have the series
Q:Can you tell us a little about the show itself and what drew you to your characters?
Maria-Elena: the show is very ambitious in that it’s really tackling a lot of things and doing it in a short
amount of time. What’s so beautiful about it that there’s nothing about it at all that’s cliche, at
least not in the way that we’ve gotten to know latinx characters. And that’s really beautifully
because you’re not seeing any of the cliches. Its tanyas beautiful attempt at working through
and normalizing a lto of the things that we deal with on a daily basis and tackling those hard
topics. There’s immigration and gentrification of families of the different generations and finding
your voice and identity and sexualitly. Its alot. It’s so exciting to be a part of that conversation.
Ser:it’s almost like they wrote, like she wrote it in a cyclical manner. Everything is happening all
at one time or it’s happening but in cycles. And it’s like life. And if you don’t break the patterns
they keep happening. The way that she wrote it so when i first read one of the monologues that
actually became some of your lines too. It was a monologues that was to the heart and it was
just in the way that she wrote it was in so nuance. As an actor you’re diving in like this is a
dream to be able to swim in this dialogue is what you want in your life as an actor.
Q:preparing for your roles, did you go into a lot of the areas you were filming in?
Ser:I mean well I was my life i mean that was my life. It’s like i have a double life of an actor and
living in the community, being involved, doing a lot of lil mary does in the show in different ways,
different kinds of activism. To do maybe some tagging which is also resistance as well but its
like those things. The knowing that. Having lived in boyle heights, having lived in east side and
in different communities in the east side and north, south (laughter) of the east. It was like a
dream. Like whoa this is really happening. Like a series about what i go through. So in ways it
was very visceral, very like almost surreal cause it was kind of happening in my real life nad
kind of happening in my professional life and the first time that i really feel that it’s coming
together in this intersectional way because tanya is so open to talking to the community and the
way that she was open to what do we really need, what are we looking forward to. I know little
mary, i know johnny. You know? I know the different characters that are actual leaders and
community assets so to tap into the community it’s not just about were going to exploit the
community. It’s really getting in there, in this world of the east side an what makes it up.
Maria-Elena: i lived in LA for a long time now and so i have friends and i’ve run plenty of errands and go
back and forth so i know the neighborhood from a different perspective. Which is yes, in the
tapestry, but i’m not from there. As far as filming there, it was one of those things where its just
so busy so we had our base camp at the cemetery because it was quite (laughter) the second
episode, where we were filming in a bakery, it was across from mariachi plaza there was a
strike going on with the mariachis. Their protest was ofcourse music so we just kept having to
pause because of the music and then finally it was over and we only had a little bit of time
before teachers march came through and so it’s such a busy neighborhood.
Ser: but isn’t that beautiful? This is the way it is. i kind of like that. Its the personality of the east
side coming at you.
Q:6 episodes, do you know if there’s going to be more?
Ser: we don’t. All were doing is hopign. I’m sure everyone is doing the whole crystal chakra
whatever things (laughter) to make it come true.
Maria-Elena: i think that when people see it and they see the whole.. They’re going to be like ok, i want to
see it again. I’ll watch it 4-5 times, over and over again. So i think that’s going to happen, people
are gonna binge watch it. You know watch it and watch it again and want more and want more.
Ser: People will want more. And the thing is there is so much happening in each episode and
there’s so much more to say and you can tell that were just sort of bursting with ‘come on
please.’ so lets see
Maria-Elena: so let everybody know so they’ll be so excited about 1-6. Watch the whole thing. Once you
start, i don’t think you can stop.
STARZ Vida premiere’s on May 6. You can listen to the audio of the interview below.