Talking to Aimee Garcia is like talking to an old friend. From one Latina to another, it’s always a pleasure to interview her, and it’s become quite a thing for us at this point – I first talked to her at San Diego Comic Con before season 2 of Lucifer premiered. Ella Lopez still hadn’t made her debut. Ella Lopez still hadn’t stolen our hearts. But even then, I could recognize in Aimee someone who was looking to make a difference. And even then, we both saw in Ella someone who would become a role model, not just for Latinas, but for women.
Aimee is still trying – no, doing. She wand writing partner AJ Mendez just turned in a script for the sequel to 47 Ronin, a Wonder Woman Black and Gold comic is coming in August, featuring a 16 year old Latina Wonder Woman, and of course, Aimee still has season 6 of Lucifer to look forward to. But for her, this is just the beginning. She isn’t stopping. Or even pausing.
“I love being lucky enough to do what I love” she shared, and then confessed that “when it inspires my own community of Latinas, it just …my heart bursts open.”
She has indeed been an inspiration, and if one thing is clear from talking to Aimee, it’s that there’s a lot of hard work that goes into it. She “really just want(s) to be one of the people, along with AJ, that doesn’t just talk about doing things, but does it.” And part of that is putting in the work. “Along with AJ, we just write 8 hours a day,” Aimee confessed. “I was writing on Lucifer when I was between scenes, and I would just always have my computer.”
The hard work, as mentioned before, paid off. “I’m so proud that we wrote a two-hander for 47 Ronin, with two female leads and one of them is Latina. I don’t know who they’re gonna cast, but I feel so excited that they’re gonna find a total badass Latina to star in this Universal Netflix movie.”
And there’s the aforementioned Wonder Woman comic, a version of Wonder Woman that Aimee admits she made look like Ella. “I wrote this 16-year-old Latina, it’ll come out in August and I am so proud of the story… It’s just like a short, Wonder Woman, Black and Gold 8 page comic story, but I thought… I want her to be Latina, and she’s 16, and I want her to have huge glasses.”
You know, the Wonder Woman we deserve.
“It’s my little wink to Lucifer fans,” Aimee shared, only to go on to gush about a fandom that, I will 100% support her, is something special. “We have the best fans in the world, and I will challenge any show in a fan battle,” she shared. “They’re so kind, they’re so lovely, they’re so supportive. Every ethnicity, every sexual orientation, every age group, every country …every religion …it’s beautiful. I really think in a world that’s upside down, we really have to latch on the things that bring people joy.”
And one of them is Lucifer, and the character Aimee plays, Ella, who grows through a journey of exploring her darkness in Lucifer Season 5B, or at least a journey of trying to come to terms with what that darkness means. For me, this was especially striking to see, as a lot of latine culture is about sucking up the issues and just getting through it.
For Aimee, this was a familiar discussion. “AJ, my writing partner, talked about that a lot,” she shared, “because she is bipolar and she always talks as like, a Puerto Rican, they would just be like take a shot of tequila, and take a nap.” And as good as that might sound sometimes, a shot of tequila and a nap can’t solve everything. They shouldn’t have to.
“I think Ella really is a ray of sunshine, and she is non judgmental and she is a big hugger and she loves all things, but she does have these dark thoughts, and she is attracted to these broken people and she is just confused about how she could possibly date a serial killer.” Which again, wouldn’t we all be?
To make it all worse, her own culture is playing against her, because as Aimee pointed out. “We have a saying (in Latin America) dime con quien andas, y te diré quien eres, kind of like tell me with who you’re hanging out with and I’ll tell you who you are. So, she chose to let this guy in, and he’s a reflection of her, and he ended up being a serial killer. What does that say about her?”
Ella goes on this very journey during Lucifer Season 5B, but the truth is, there’s no straight answer, something that Aime recognizes. “What I love about her is that she’s not perfect, she’s not a supermodel, she’s not a celestial, she doesn’t have any powers, she’s just figuring it out.” As we all are. “She sometimes makes bad choices, but she follows through with them.”
We see lots of great moments from Ella in Lucifer Season 5B, moments where she’s “reeling from the aftermath, and she throws herself into work, she tries something new for the first time,” moments where “she has self-doubt,” and of course, we see her “talk to God without knowing that she’s talking to God.” But the answers for Ella aren’t simple, and just like for Lucifer, in the end, a lot of it comes down to accepting yourself, just as you are.
Good and bad.
And Ella, she’s “struggling and she’s trying to figure it out. Which makes other people feel like you don’t have to have all the answers, you just gotta ask the questions.” This rings especially true after a year where answers have been few and far between. “I hope that it sparks a conversation in the people watching who see themselves in her. She didn’t just figure it out all out, she made some mistakes, she asked a lot of questions, she went to different people in her circle, and then you get to see that she kind of… finds her own way and hopefully that inspires other people, especially in our community, to kind of ask the questions and find their own path, their own way.”
It’s okay, I’m not emotional, I just always look like I’m about to cry.
Picking up the thread of how Latina Ella is, though, we do get to see speak some Spanish in this season of Lucifer – and Aimee promised more to come in season 6. “One of my favorite scenes is in S6, I did a take where I added in a little bit of Spanish and they kept it, you’ll know what I’m talking about next year and I’m so proud of it, I’m so loving that the director and the showrunners and Netflix just leave the Spanish in there. I love it so much.”
So, do we, especially those of us who also belong to the latine community. Representation is few and far between, and Ella is one of those few characters on a show that isn’t centered on latine issues that has been allowed to be just what she is. “I feel so proud,” Aimee shared, a word she used a lot in our conversation, but when the word fits …well, you use it. “I will always be Latina, always be proud of being Latina. I’m also all-American. I feel like I just want that in her DNA, and I just love that I can put it in, and they can take it out, but they don’t …so it takes a team.”
Truly, it does. It’s not enough for an actor to want to bring a little bit of who they are into the character, there are editing and directing decisions that can take that away. Not on Lucifer. “The people I work with gave Ella her culture, and that she is Latina and that she’s bilingual, and then they leave that part in her in the final edit, so that she can be a more multifaceted character.”
And even if Netflix doesn’t actually translate the moment where Ella goes into a insult-laden tirade against Lucifer, Garcia was very sure fans understood Ella, anyway. “I think they know her so much that they know what she’s saying, they might not be able to translate it, but they understand what she’s saying, which I love so much.”
There was a lot more in this interview, a lot of praise for the cast around her, a lot of preparation – Aimee confessed she checked before our interview to be sure what things she wanted to talk about happened in 5B and which ones in 6, but there’s only so much more we can put on the page. And though she thinks season six is going to be “one of the best,” she didn’t actually have any more info than we do about when season 6 might be coming.
Netflix is a vault, and they keep their secrets. From everyone.
And when season 6 does come, Aimee wants everyone to know one thing. “Our season 6 is a total love letter to the fans,” and Lucifans deserve it. They really, really do.
Lucifer Season 5B is available to stream on Netflix.