Were you nervous at all about taking on a character from an established book series?
When I first got the sides (script) to read for the role, I didn’t even want to start looking into what a “Shadowhunter” is. I just prepped for my scene. I didn’t read the book. I didn’t even know there was a movie was out. I knew something of it but I didn’t want to pressure myself because I knew it would affect my performance. I just relaxed and embraced Isabelle in the way the writers described her for the TV show. I guess it worked out!
How did you prepare for the role of Isabelle Lightwood?
I found out five minutes before it was announced on Twitter! My managers played a prank on me. The role wasn’t written for a Latina so I was auditioning [alongside] women of all cultural backgrounds. My managers said they were going to go a different route. Then they said .≤Just kidding! You got the role!’ I had to pinch myself to make sure that it wasn’t a dream! First of all, I feel blessed I got the role. I feel so happy that Freeform opened the doors to girls like me. My parents are immigrants so it’s nice to get to play roles that are strong and powerful and I think that’s what represents Latinas and women in general. Women are powerful; we’re superheroes! I think that’s how we should be portrayed on TV more!
I prepared for this role like I prepare for everything that I want: I make sure my lines are down pat and I explore different kinds of emotions. It’s what I’m passionate about so I just give it my all.
What do you love about your character? What personality traits do you have in common?
Something that I have in common with Isabelle is that I’m super close to my family. I love my mom and my cousins; I’m an only child. I think that’s what Isabelle does. Like every other girl, I love to wear makeup. I love to dress up. I love to look beautiful. But something that I admire in Isabelle is that she sees much more than that. She knows that there are more important things in life than just beauty or things. She believes in and fights for equality. No one is more superior than anyone else. She also embraces her sexuality. I feel that she makes it her own mission to show her brother, in this case, that he needs to feel comfortable in his own skin no matter what society thinks.
I feel that with all of these reality shows, young girls don’t have good role models to look up to. They feel that they need to be bullies to be popular. I think Isabelle could be a positive role model for those who need to find someone strong.
Isabelle’s style is a beautiful mix of strong and sexy. What do you love about her sense of style?
I feel that she is who she is. She’s not scared to be who she is. Even when I go shopping, I see shoes that I love, for instance, but I wonder what people are going to think. But she does not care! She knows who she is and she only lives once. She can go from wearing jeans and a tee to the latest designer dress. She fights in heels and kills demons with those heels. She embraces it, loves it, and works it! I have to do everything in those heels! All my stunts were in heels, so thank you Isabelle for doing this to me, but it was fun! I think Isabelle’s style is really cool!
You’re of Mexican and Lebanese descent. In what ways has your background influenced your personality or your passion for life?
I feel so blessed with how I was raised. It’s so nice to know a little about those cultures: the Mexican food, the warmth they have, they’re so close to their family. Then my dad is the chef in the house and he cooks all of the Arabic foods. I think it just helps you open your eyes up to learning about a couple of things in life. Something that I love that my parents instilled in me was working hard for what you want, never giving up,
As a dancer and former pageant girl, how much is glamour a part of your life?
Honestly, I love not to wear makeup. That’s when I feel most comfortable and I feel like me. It is a hassle to put makeup on! A lot of people see pageants and think they are fake and superficial. To me, it made me study about where I was from. If I’m going to represent Texas, I need to know where I’m from, how to embrace it, and I feel proud of my roots. They helped me get to know who I was and where I was from, from a deeper end than just the superficial stuff. That just lead me into acting and then knowing that you could live with all of these emotions that you don’t live through in your normal life. I could play all of these types of characters and I thought it was really cool!
What’s your favorite daytime and evening makeup look?
My heritage is Lebanese so I have bad under-eyes. Concealer is a must. I like the NARS’s concealer. I like blush and I love a soft matte lipstick by NYX.
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