In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicles, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
If there’s one thing that you should know about the women of Gentefied it’s that they’re badasses, through and through. They set their own rules, live life at their own pace, and end up changing their lives by leaps and bounds because of it. That’s especially true for Julissa Calderon and Annie Gonzalez.
Calderon plays Yessika Castillo, one-half of the LGBTQ ship on Gentefied. And in season two we saw her step out into her own and prove that her story is just as important. And Calderon understands the importance of her character from start to finish, particularly for the LGBTQ and Latinx communities, separately and together.
Going into this role, Calderon will admit that she was a little nervous. “I wanted to make sure, because though I am an ally, I am not a queer woman, and I wanted to make sure that I did this character justice and that I told this story from a loving place. An authentic place.” So she listened, learned, and ended up giving us a portrayal that is full of so much heart and love that you can’t help but want to feel the same things her character does.
And when it comes to representation, particularly Latinx rep, Calderon loves the shoes that she is filling and the strides that characters like her make when they appear on our screens. “I am of my people. And I would be doing my people a disservice if I didn’t rep and go so hard for them and say, “This is where I came from.” Because I never forget.”
Gonzalez, plays Lidia Solis, whose storyline has also been tied with that of the main cast of Gentefied. And like Calderon’s character, season two sees her not being defined by that relationship as she sets out to find out who she is and what she can do.
“She is doing her own thing. I think she understands what she deserves. And more than anything, what she requires. And sometimes she can be a little steadfast to pull the trigger, who doesn’t, right? We get impatient, life happens,” Gonzalez explained. Because Lidie, she’s doing her best with the information she has and that’s all you can do sometimes.
“She’s trying to climb this ladder and she’s waiting for this baby. And she’s like, “I can’t wait for anyone.” And Lidia doesn’t. She’s a woman with goals and no one’s stopping her. And Gonzalez couldn’t be prouder to portray her. “And I’m really proud to portray her because I know so many people like her. And slowly but surely I’m learning from her every day on how to be the woman that I say that I am.”
At the end of the day, both Calderon and Gonzalez are talented AF women who understand the roles they’ve taken on and why it’s important to continue telling these stories on Gentefied and just in general. So, if you haven’t watched Gentefied, there’s no better time than now!
Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)