When Vida premiered on Starz in the spring of 2018, it blazed a trail for Latinx and queer people like no other show before it. The series, which airs its final episode on May 31, has taken on issues affecting Latinx culture, LGBTQ identity, and gentrification as sisters Lyn (In the Heights's Melissa Barrera) and Emma (Riverdale's Mishel Prada) navigated the intersections of their lives in the wake of their mother's death. But when the siblings returned to the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, they discovered their mother, who had previously exiled Emma for being queer, had been living with and married to a woman, Eddy, played by nonbinary actor Ser Anzoategui in a groundbreaking performance.
In an interview for Inside With the Advocate, Anzoategui shares about life in quarantine, Vida’s final season, and the continual work of being nonbinary and Latinx in Hollywood.
“Everything we have as queer, LGBTQ people, nothing was given to us. We always had to fight for it,” Anzoategui says, crediting those queer people who came before for blazing a trail.
“I can apply for this, and I can apply for that, but those people for me didn’t have this program,” Anzoategui says of having a few more opportunities than those LGBTQ+ people who came before them.
“Now I’m like, ‘Oh dang,’ with a machete, carving away my own path,” they say.
Despite the prevalence of a few more nonbinary actors and characters on TV like Asia Kate Dillon and Theo Germaine, working in the business is a constant challenge, they say.
“It depends on the door you walk in. You work so hard and then everyone seems to understand pronouns,” Anzoategui says. “You walk in another door and nobody knows what pronouns are. It’s a constant struggle [to get] balance.”
Vida, from creator Tanya Saracho, who staffed her writers’ room primarily with Latinx, queer people, and women, and carved its own path in the TV landscape. With the final episode airing on Sunday, Anzoategui touches on the show’s legacy.
“Now that we have three seasons of Vida, it goes out into the world and more people are going to see it. I feel like it’s going to always have an audience, and it will impact people,” they say.
“It’s not just a series. You open it and you’re like ‘holy shit!’ You have your experience whatever that may be — you cry, you laugh. It moves people, and helps people see themselves, finally.”
Check out other episodes of Inside With the Advocate, which features an array of virtual stories with LGBTQ+ artists, trailblazers, and allies including Rosie O'Donnell, Emily Hampshire, Harvey Guillén, Ross Mathews, Kalen Allen, Sherry Cola, Fortune Feimster, Brandy Norwood, Bruce Richman, Tonatiuh, Josh Thomas, the Indigo Girls, Mary Lambert, Sara Benincasa, and Lena Hall.
Watch the interview with Anzoategui above.