In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we spoke with born-and-raised Texan Paulina Chávez about her role on Netflix’s Top 10 series “Fate: The Winx Saga.” Her character Flora is a caring and compassionate person who cares for the Earth, nature and her friends. Chávez also starred as the lead, Ashley Garcia, in Netflix’s “The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia” and “Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love.”
How did you get into acting?
Oh my goodness. So my mom is a teacher. I went to the same elementary school she taught at when we moved to San Antonio. They had a theater program, and I would always stay after school with her while she finished up work. I would roam the halls, and I stumbled into the cafeteria, and I saw them rehearsing. It was just so magical as a little six year old seeing that, and I knew that was something I needed to do. The following year I had an audition. It was so great. And from there, I just continued going and my mom is amazing and has always supported me along with my family and my dad. They’re so great.
So did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
I think so. I think it’s something that was just destined to happen. Grandma would always tell the story of when I was three years old and we were watching telenovelas together. I would point at the TV and say ‘yo me voy a ver ahí’ which means I’m going to see myself there. She just was so amazed because I was three years old, and she was like how did this three year old understand the concept of TV?
Has Texas helped with any of your success?
Oh my goodness, I love Texas so much. I was born in El Paso and then moved to San Antonio. In San Antonio, there weren’t a lot of acting classes at the time. So my mom did a lot of research and she found this acting studio in Dallas in Lewisville, Texas – Cathryn Sullivan’s Acting for Film. She would drive me almost every weekend. It’s a five hour drive. And usually it was like a weekend intensive or a six week class. So we would go for a one day trip. And so she would drive me everywhere. And I absolutely loved it. I feel like a lot of cool people come from Texas. I mean Beyoncé. I think there’s so much talent here in Texas, and I know Hollywood knows that.
What’s your favorite part of Texas?
The people, honestly. At least El Paso and San Antonio … the people are so nice and just so much like family. The culture is very big and the food is amazing over here. So that’s something I really love about Texas.
What’s your favorite part about your character?
I love that she’s a powerhouse of a Latina. She’s so feisty. She’s as we would say ‘chingona’ and she’s just so great. She has what I think nowadays a lot of people are lacking, which is empathy for other people. She really cares so deeply about people and that’s just so wonderful and lovely.
Is it meaningful to play a Latina woman in power?
Beyond powerful. We need to see more representation, more positive representation. I recently saw The Woman King. Oh my goodness. I was on the edge of my seat watching that film. It’s so powerful to see women leading and having a well-rounded female cast and a female director. It’s so empowering and I think we need to tell more women’s stories, especially women of color. I think that it’s really lacking and something we need to see more of. I would love to dive into the history of Latinas and and tell their stories because a lot of it is not written down, and we need to tell it now when our ancestors can actually tell us those stories before those stories die. We can’t let those stories die. They need to live on. That is the history of America.
What’s one thing you would want others to take away from your character?
To be true to who they are, to know their worth and be comfortable in their skin. And love other people. Love is love.
Cover Photo Brittany Bravo. Hair Stylist Desireé Irving. Makeup Artist Selena Ruiz. Stylist Branden Ruiz.
Maddie Rhodes is a graduate student at Syracuse University. She aspires to work for a travel magazine when she graduates.