The much anticipated show, Vida, is back and ready to delight fans once more with its unique and contemporary portrayal of two sisters returning back to their hometown roots of East Los Angeles.
Season one of Vida showcased the Hernandez sisters Emma (Mishel Prada) and Lyn (Melissa Barrera) from two very different worlds coming together because of their mother’s passing. However, instead of things going smoothly, the sisters learn that their mother was a lesbian and was married to a woman without their knowledge. Aside from family trouble within the Hernandez home, they also have to deal with the business their mother left behind- a bar called La Chinita. But if you love some relationship drama, then you’ll love the complicated relationship between Lyn and Johnny (Carlos Miranda). Latino heartthrob Johnny, the neighborhood’s local mechanic, leaves his pregnant fiancé to be with Lyn- only to be left by Lyn at the end of season one. The creator of the show, Tanya Saracho, also uses conflicts associated with gentrification in East L.A. as well as explores the narratives of gender, cultural identities, and sexual orientation.
Fast-forward to season two- premiering May 23rd on Starz- and the Hernandez sisters have to deal with the mismanagement of the family business, relationship issues, grief, loss, and so much more as they settle back into their Mexican-American childhood neighborhood while leaving behind their previous lives. I was able to speak to the cast of Vida about everything from the tasty Mexican food on set, the love and hate they’ve received for their characters, gentrification in East L.A. and so much more! Check out my chat below with Carlos Miranda and Chelsea Rendon!
The Knockturnal: How are you guys doing?!
Carlos Miranda & Chelsea Rendon: Good! How are you?!
The Knockturnal: After season one and everything it’s been pretty big. I feel like everyone’s been talking about it.
Carlos Miranda: I hope! (Laughs)
The Knockturnal: Especially with Mari’s character. I feel like she’s an outspoken activist, based on the gentrification happening in the neighborhood. And you’re actually from East L.A., right?
Chelsea Rendon: Born and raised in East Montebello.
The Knockturnal: So has playing that character pushed you to be more active in the community now?
Chelsea Rendon: Definitely! Because I also got to learn so much. My mom was never really political and I grew up mostly with my mom. So I didn’t know anything. I knew Obama being president was a big deal but I didn’t know all the little details. So just from being on the show, I’ve done more research and that has helped me grow as a person. And then also trying to connect, thinking like Mari. If they took out El Mercadito and put a fucking Walmart, I would be crushed! Or if they took out my tamales spot. So I connected that to myself. The show in itself does a lot for the community- donates and has a lot of programs and stuff. The fact that were doing something feels great!
The Knockturnal: I feel in the end of season one there was a lot of cliffhangers with a lot of the characters. Everybody was wondering, what’s going to happen in season two? Especially with the character of Johnny! How do you think the relationship is going to play out with Lyn? What would you like to see happen with that relationship in season two?
Carlos Miranda: Well, just keep in mind, you know, that Lyn is still in the neighborhood. And she left Johnny after he left his whole life to be with her. He’s in the place right now to figure out what he’s going to do with his baby mama and get his life back on track. But it’s hard when you keep on running into that…
The Knockturnal: That person you love…
Carlos Miranda: That person you love. Like fuck, you’re the reason I’m feeling this way.
Chelsea Rendon: He wants to have like 10 babies with her! (Laughs)
The Knockturnal: I want to see that happen! (Laughs)
Carlos Miranda: I think that Johnny likes the idea of being with Lyn. She’s my everything, you know. But when they’re together it’s like, fuck!
The Knockturnal: It’s a different story!
Carlos Miranda: Yeah! But, no. They’re together and it’s passionate and powerful but there’s so much history, toxic history, from their past.
The Knockturnal: So it’s complicated.
Carlos Miranda: It’s complicated!
The Knockturnal: It’s a complicated relationship. It’s a complicated status. (Laughs). I noticed also for season two, Mari always kept feeling she could do more with her life. In one of the scenes, she asked her friend: “Do you think it’s ever late to change your life around?” Do you think Mari will ever take a different path in season two in changing her life around?
Chelsea Rendon: I think right now its mainly, what is that? What does she want for her future? And what can she do to get there? And when I think when you’re in your early 20s you question everything. And I think that’s where she found herself in season two. And asks herself, what do I want? What do I want my future to look like?
The Knockturnal: What makes you happy?
Chelsea Rendon: Yeah! I think that’s where she’s at and it’d be interesting to see what she’s going to have to do because 1). She’s going to have to realize what the hell she wants and 2). What are the steps to get there? And that’s really interesting!
The Knockturnal: Now with the show becoming bigger and bigger, what would you guys like to be a part of in the future? Any shows new coming up on your roster that you would like to be a part of?
Chelsea Rendon: Game of Thrones already ended! (Laughs)
Carlos Miranda: Throw me in a Star Wars movie, man!
The Knockturnal: Oh, that’s what you wanna do?! (Laughs)
Carlos Miranda: I gotta be in an episode though!
The Knockturnal: What about you, Chelsea?
Chelsea Rendon: I hate him! Because he was in Law & Order: SVU and I wanna be in Law & Order: SVU! (Laughs) So that honestly would be a dream come true!
The Knockturnal: How was it like on Law & Order?
Carlos Miranda: It was a lot of fun!
Chelsea Rendon: He got Ice-T to do a promo for us!
The Knockturnal: Really?!
Carlos Miranda: Yeah! Ice-T was the homie, man!! (Laughs)
The Knockturnal: I had a friend come out on Law & Order!
Carlos Miranda: Oh, word?!
The Knockturnal: Yeah! And she had a scene with Ice-T and another detective. She said they were like the sweetest people: down-to-earth and humble.
Carlos Miranda: Oh, so cool! But, Ice-T was dope! I’ll tell the story real quick. But we were outside shooting something and somebody asked Ice-T, how does he do it all the time? He was just like, “Tthese people kinda essentially pay your rent. These are your fans.”
The Knockturnal: These are the people who support you!
Carlos Miranda: Yeah! He looks at like, “if I feel like I’m not up for it, then I won’t just go out that day.” And I thought that was really cool about him!