Season three of one of LezWatchTV’s favorite series, Vida, premieres this Sunday, April 26th. I had the privilege of interviewing two of its stars, Ser Anzoategui (Eddy) and Roberta Colindrez (Nico), and got to ask several burning questions. Did they know season three would be the last? Does Eddy get to experience some fun this season? Would Emma and Nico survive quarantine together?
Tracy: I want to get the first question out of the way. I am sure you have been asked this 100 times, but at any time during the production of season three did you know this was going to be the last season?
Ser Anzoategui: Yeah, before we started shooting we all knew. So we prepared. Each of us did our own thing, but I was preparing a lot for myself so when I was there I can just have fun with the crew, fun with the producers, get to play a prank here and there. It was just filled with joy. Everybody was savoring it. Like really enjoying a full meal together and giving props to the chef. It was really beautiful and bittersweet, and it was ugly, I was like. “[Cries] Someone hold me!”
Roberta Colindrez: We’ve become a family. We were all really sad and frustrated with the industry in general for canceling a brown show, but it wouldn’t be a group of Latinos if we weren’t resilient as f*ck about it. “Okay, then whatever, it’s the last season, we’re gonna make it the sh*t!” We took the optimistic route with it and made the most of it.
Tracy: I can’t even imagine how it must have been for you all, but I’m glad you were able to put a celebratory spin on it as well.
Before season two aired, I remember you all talking about how there was some negative pushback from the local community. Did that change at all? Did people watch the show and get to understand the show’s story better?
Ser: I think there are followers that may have checked it out to see, but just from reading the comments, they don’t watch the show. It doesn’t matter if they watch the show or not, the bottom line is anyone that’s making it besides them is a problem. If it’s not them creating stories for them by them then they’re not interested at all. And that’s always been Boyle Heights. Activism period. I lived in Boyle Heights, and they still protested against the show, it doesn’t matter.
Tracy: When the character of Nico joined the cast I thought she was the perfect addition to the show because she was outside of the family drama and Vidaila. She came in as a voice of reason and helped get the bar back on track. Now that she’s part of the business and part of the family and may be getting sucked into some of the family drama, how has that changed in season three?
Roberta: Nico has stepped into a situation where a lot of the professional drama is actually family drama. She’s done a really good job to make sure people were able to compartmentalize and take care of business and stay on task. That all catches up to her. She’s been unrealistic about her own circumstances, and in season three it’s going to be exciting for people to watch this character lose her sh*t a little and not be so much fun.
Tracy: Beyond what we’re going to see on season three, far into the future, what would be your ideal ending be for Eddy’s relationship with Emma and Lyn? Where would you want to see them in the future as a family?
Ser: I would have to include some Green New Deal kind of storyline where they incorporate greener ways of doing stuff. It would be cool if as things progressed they were still part of each other’s lives. But open this door and it’s a whole new world that Eddy goes to, but it’s still part of the world of Vida. And Emma and Lyn could have other adventures that don’t necessarily have to do with maintaining the bar. “Okay, the bar is fine right now, what’s next?” It would be great if they could be supportive without having to fight. I dunno…could Vidalia come back from the dead? That would be kinda cool. And then be like, “You’re dating Monica?”
Tracy: Wait a minute, what?
Ser: Yeah, so Eddy is in a new relationship with someone else exploring all these things about gender and drag kings and things they weren’t able to do when they were just surviving.
Tracy: Eddy was devastated and grieving season one, and season two getting over the bashing so I have been waiting for Eddy to maybe have a new relationship and a life that was about doing fun things and not just getting past grief and suffering. Do we get to see that?
Ser: Yeah! There’s definitely a lot of fun and funny moments. And the whole love interest is like…Eddy hasn’t had anyone take an interest in her in a long time so it’s very foreign to them. They don’t know what to do with this attention. “Does she have something in her eye? Why is she looking at me like that?” That’s what’s great about it, that joy Eddy finally gets to have. There’s a moment where Eddy goes into the dressing room — they’re part of a Drag King troupe at the bar — and Eddy has seen Drag Kings and Drags Queens and trans people….it’s not completely foreign to her–
Tracy: Yeah, but maybe has not been in that scene.
Ser: Yeah, she hasn’t been able to explore fun at all, because she’s been trying to hold everything together.
Tracy: In season three what is biggest challenge in Emma and Nico’s relationship? AKA, how stressed do we Emma and Nico fans need to be going into season three?
Roberta: I think you should be absolutely stressed out. We’ve all dated people — it’s a couple weeks in and you’re like, “We’re the perfect couple. This came directly from God.” then you get to know the person.
For the Emico lovers out there, sit tight. People got skeletons in their closet, and it’s not usually a good thing. That’s really true for Nico.
Tracy: If the two of them were quarantined together for the pandemic would they survive?
Roberta: Yeah. For sure. What’s clear is Nico really sticks around, really fights for things, and is present and unafraid. They would survive the quarantine. Hell, yeah.
Tracy: There are out queer actors who have come out about preferring to play queer characters because it’s important to dispel the concept that playing queer is typecasting because we are real human beings who deserve representation. I’ve seen you in Fun Home, The Deuce, Mr. Robot, and of course, Vida. On all of those shows, you have played queer characters so I wanted to know what your take was on this philosophy?
Roberta: With anything that is personal and bleeds into your professional life you have to reexamine it all the time. My sexuality is not something I question, but it is something in my professional life that I have to examine all the time. I used to come from a place where I was like, “I don’t just want to play queers.” If straight people can play a queer and then the next role play a straight person or a parent why can’t gay people? I do think it’s much harder if you’re a gay person to not be seen as that’s the single thing about you. I wish one day we’ll be at a place where the first two words for a character role breakdown are not race and sexuality. I can’t wait for the day where they’re like, “This character is a bank executive,” and we find out she’s trans.
There was a conversation I had with a person who does amazing legal work around the laws against homosexual and trans people in Nigeria. She’s literally risking her life in a place where their laws are not kind to them at all and actually quite sinister. I was on a panel with her and I felt like, “How in the world am I here? She’s doing such important work, and I get paid to have sex with women on camera.” Afterward, I went up to her and said, “I am so humbled by even being in your presence. I admire you so much.” She was like, “Listen, people hate me. People see you in a television show, and they might not like you because they know you’re gay, but they like the character you’re hanging out with. Before they know it they’re fine seeing you in the scenes and then they’re laughing at your jokes and before they know it they actually kinda like you and can’t wait for you to be in the next episode. What you’ve done for them is introduce them to someone they weren’t willing to accept in their lives. You’ll have changed them in a way that I unfortunately never do.”
Tracy: I believe accurate representation saves lives. You’re doing good work.
Tracy: Have you felt the impact of your character, and your presence as a queer person on the queer community? The thing I love so much about Vida is it has a real diversity of gender presentation representation and you don’t see that very much on television at all. Have you felt feedback from the community?
Ser: Well, I feel like I’ve been quarantining for a longer time, having to prepare for the role and then doing the press tours and things. So it’s been more online. I have people I don’t know who reach out to me and tell me what it means regarding my representation being non-binary or having someone like Eddy who is a butch lesbian who is Latinx. That is really huge. There has been a lot of support. It’s been great to see the press and how much the press has received the show and loved the show. I just wish more gay/LGBTQIA journalists could have focused more on Vida.
Tracy: We’ve tried our hardest.
Ser: Thank you so much for all your support. I do want to focus on the people who do, but I just notice there’s a little resistance from some people wanting to give credit to Vida for being the first to do stuff and being really groundbreaking.
Tracy: Shows beloved by the queer community have a lifespan that continues well after they’re over. What do you think Vida’s legacy is going to be?
Ser: I hope it continues where it’s cherished by everybody really touched by the show. That it goes beyond tensions and barriers we have within our own communities and can bring more conversations and break more barriers. Otherwise, let it show me what it’s going to be.
Tracy: Do you have any upcoming projects we can promote?
Ser: I’m writing. I want to produce and be in it, and if I can’t be in it, I want to produce regardless. I’m writing my own roles, I’ve got more than one script. I was going to do some standup comedy after the show came out. I don’t see that happening right now, but hopefully, I get cast in my own or another production. Follow me on Instagram, I post videos on the daily. Until I can announce what’s next that’s where I’ll be.
Roberta: As we talked about, I do a lot of sh*t that involves me being gay so that’s all good. The New York Times magazine did an article on butch and stud identity. It was really cool to be a part of that. Vida obviously at the end of the month. Mrs. America started streaming on Hulu, I’m in an episode of that playing opposite Ari Graynor. You should watch that because Ari Graynor is an incredible actor and I think our chemistry onscreen was magnifique. We were able to finish shooting the pilot for Amazon’s adaptation of A League of Their Own. I don’t know when they’re airing that but it’s something we can all, as people, as women, definitely queers and definitely people who wondered what the status of Latin people was back in the day can enjoy. It’s going to be great.
Tracy: My wife wants to know if you’re ever going to do Broadway again. She’s a big Broadway nerd.
Roberta: Someone just asked me a second ago if I preferred theater or film and I couldn’t answer that without feeling like I was going to get punished either way, but I do miss the theater. It’s the love of my life.