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Vida Creator Tanya Saracho Is Carving Out Space for Queer Latinx TV

Vida Creator Tanya Saracho Is Carving Out Space for Queer Latinx TV

tanya saracho

The trailblazing showrunner had a groundbreaking year, which is why she makes our Women of the Year list. 

tanya saracho

Tanya Saracho is one of The Advocate's Women of the Year. View the full list from the current issue of the magazine.

Creator and showrunner Tanya Saracho, who is queer and Latinx, delivered a world of possibility for people who'd never seen themselves depicted on-screen before in her Latinx series Vida, which premiered in the spring of 2017.

The Starz show, which premiered its third and final season in April, tells the story of disparate sisters Lyn (In the Heights' Melissa Barrera) and Emma (Riverdale's Mishel Prada) searching for a way to run their mother Vidalia's failing bar and apartment building in the wake of her death.

When they return home from far-flung places, they discover that their Vida married a woman, Eddy (nonbinary actor Ser Anzoategui), after having exiled Emma for being queer.

Vida, with its mix of humor and heart, delves into topical issues including gentrification, the intersections of queer and Latinx identities, colorism, and identity policing among queer people. And Saracho, a playwright who had previously written for TV on Looking, How to Get Away With Murder, and Devious Maids, made a mark from day one, casting several queer actors and staffing her writers' room primarily with women, LGBTQ people, and Latinx people.

"The recognition of yourself in the media really does have this alchemy, this chemical reaction," she tells The Advocate about fans' response to the series. "I wasn't prepared for that, especially when people stop me or on Twitter, or when they send me a long DM, because I think the dominant culture hasn't had to find a recognition of themselves."

"I didn't know the power that that would get, like I knew that's what was the right thing to do," she adds. "A lot of people have been like, 'Thank you for this, for putting me upon that screen.'"

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