Melissa Barrera on ‘Vida’ Season 2 and the Film Adaptation of ‘In the Heights’

     May 28, 2019


From show creator Tanya Saracho, the half-hour Starz series Vida has returned for Season 2, as Lyn (Melissa Barrera) and Emma (Mishel Prada) attempt to figure out the best way to approach rebuilding their mother’s business without it fully dragging them under financially. As the series continues to explore identity, culture, gender and sexuality through the lens of a Latinx family and their community, these previously estranged sisters must figure out what they want from each other, the relationships in their lives, and their futures.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actress Melissa Barrera talked about what it’s meant to her to be a part of Vida, the importance of telling this story, how well she knows her character now, her reaction to finding out that her first scene back would be an orgy, Lyn’s journey of self-discovery in Season 2, having a co-star like Mishel Prada to experience this with, and why she hopes they’ll get a Season 3. She also talked about doing the feature film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway show In the Heights, updating the story, and what she’s most excited about, with that production.

Collider:  Representation and visibility matters, and it’s important for everyone to have the opportunity to see themselves on screen. This show does that, not just with the characters, but also with its cast and creative team. What has it meant to you to bring this character to life, and to also be given a voice and a platform for people who might see themselves in you on the show?

MELISSA BARRERA:  Vida is a huge gift for me, in my life. I’m so grateful that I moved to L.A., at the time that I did, just in time to audition for this show. That I get to be a part of this amazing family that we’ve become now. That this is show is part of a movement of representation, and of people finally getting to see people that look like them on screen, and stories that sound like theirs on a TV show, is a huge responsibility because we don’t want to be one of a few shows. We want there to be more. Of course, we want many more seasons for Vida, to continue telling these stories. We also want to open doors for other creators and other people to get to tell their stories because the Latinx community has often been painted in one broad stroke and as one thing. We have so many colors, so many stories, and so many different experiences to tell. It’s overwhelming, at times, because I’m reminded of the appreciation and love that people have for our show. It’s been so long since we finished, and I’m rehearsing for another project right now, so coming back into it, it just reminds me of how important this show is. It makes me feel happy that people are seeing it and loving it, as much as we love making it.