Vida Interview: Actresses Melissa Barrera And Mishel Prada On Returning As Sisters And The Latin American Divide

The critically-acclaimed Starz original series Vida is heading back for a second season next week. Of course, long the ride are actresses Melissa Barrera and Mishel Prada, who play sisters Lyn and Emma, two estranged sisters who return to their home of Eastside Los Angeles, where they are forced to confront their pasts.

Season 2 sees them taking on the next stage, both in their separate lives and as family. LRM Online had a chance to chat with both actresses on the phone and discuss what’s next for these characters in the upcoming season, the “color-isms” in Latin American communities, and a favorite scene they shot for the season.

Vida Season 2 drops on the Starz app on May 23!

LRM Online: So, to share for those that are looking forward to Season 2, what can you guys both tell me, for each character, how your character evolves in Season 2 versus to Season 1?

Prada: Well, I think we’ve seen at the end of Season 1 a decision these two young women made the decision to not only become business owners but a family. I think we see that that was not a choice before. Eddy is in the hospital, Emma carries a large amount of guilt feeling that she’s responsible for that. Then we have Lyn with this cleanse that she’s had. She pretends like she wants to be good. So, that’s how we start Season 2. That’s how we end Season 2 and we bring that into Season 2. We find them both right back to where they were, so it’s not really working.

Barrera: It’s easy to revert to that. I think Season 2 is going to be a lot of growth for both of the sisters and we’re going to get to see different sides to them. We’re going to get to see a lot of them working together and their relationship growing and getting better. It has been getting worse at times, but then also, there’s a little shifting of the scales at one point which is a very, very cool thing to explore.

Prada: Yeah, because even when we ended Season 1 we see Lyn really stepping up and being the strong one. She’s capable of it and she’s capable of guiding, being there for Emma. Will Emma let her? We’ll see how that goes.

LRM Online: Yes, Lyn is stepping up. She’s starting to deliver from what I saw from Season 2. I look forward to seeing more of that.

Barrera: She’s trying, yes, she’s trying really hard. She wants to be good.

LRM Online: So now that you guys relationship at sisters, as Lyn and Emma, evolved, getting closer, and that bond like you guys mentioned. In this new season, is there a scene you guys could maybe share where you two had a blast filming?

Barrera: Ooh, I know! There’s a scene, later on, in a car where we’re singing. We have so much fun that day.

LRM Online: Yeah, okay. For Emma’s character, for Season 2, does Emma get to find out who this little girl she kept seeing in season one is?

Prada: Yes, she does. The audience finds out at the end-

Barrera: It’s subtle.

Prada: It is a subtle thing, it’s not a huge, overdone thing. Yes, she does find out and it does play the shift. Emma doesn’t put all of her cards out there, so… it’s a big shift, but it’s done very subtly.

LRM Online: Okay. Is Lyn speaking Spanish now in Season 2? She’s like the only one that sticks to English.

Barrera: Sadly, no. I wonder if maybe if in Season 3 she can learn Spanish, I would love that. What I love about the fact that Emma can speak Spanish and Lyn can’t is because that’s a reality. Nowadays, a lot of children that are kids of immigrants that are like second, third, fourth generation Americans don’t know how to speak the language of their parents, and it’s okay. That doesn’t make you any less a Mexican-American or a Dominican-American. Wherever you come from, it doesn’t make you any less of that.

LRM Online: That is very true. Okay, so my last question. For both of you, it would apply; in this, I got from Season 2… a little bit I got to watch, no spoiler. The handyman is speaking to Emma and refers to her as “you people,” for the way she speaks and dresses, have you guys ever experienced a situation like that?

Barrera: Yeah, actually yeah. I’ve been called out because I’m light skinned Mexican and people assume that the color of your skin equates to the kind of experience that you live, and a lot of the times people that are lighter skinned in Latin-American communities are thought to be better off, or have an easier life. I have been called out on that, there’s a lot of color-ism in Latin American communities. The second time that that happens in Season 1, they’re both called “white-ina” by Mari’s character.

LRM Online: Yes.

Barrera: And Chelsea’s character Mari. I think it’s interesting because it just shows the divide within one community, and how people feel far away from each other as opposed to like uniting and just being like “Yo, we’re wrong”, it’s these imaginary divisions that people, and barriers, that people create. We’re going to see that a lot in season two with the sisters because they’re coming back, they’re trying to build this bar back up and Mari and the activist group are not liking that at all.

Prada: Yeah, they’re making decisions that the people of the community are not happy with, but it is their bar, so it becomes a little complicated.

LRM Online: Yeah, it’s about survival. Okay, well thank you so much, ladies!

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Nancy Tapia

Nancy Tapia has been an interviewer for LRM and Latino-Review Media since 2011. Currently a member of the Hollywood Critics Association. Former UCLA Bruin specializes in Management. Covering entertainment has been an unexpected lively journey. Always open to the next, new experience. From solo traveling to adding a new peak to her personal 100 Hike Challenge. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @inancytapia

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