Actress Chelsea Rendon Takes on Tough Topics with Poise and Potency in New STARZ Breakout Drama Series “Vida”.


Ink Tone Swep

Images Vince Trupsin

Looks Monica Cargile 

Hair Gina Everett

MUA Anton Khachaturian

You star in “Vida”, which promises to be a groundbreaking new series offering important dialogue on issues of race, gender, and gentrification in East LA. Why is now the time for “Vida” and the tough topics it tackles? Now is the time because the world needs it. We need to be talking about these things and not just ignoring it. Hopefully this show will help people be more understanding and accepting. 

As a young, talented actress openly drawn to impactful roles of purpose, how did the series in general, and the role of Marisol specifically, resonate with you? As soon as I read the breakdown of the character I wanted it. Mari is me in a lot of ways and I was connected to her instantly. Then reading the script I was hooked. It was our story, a real story. It was amazing. 

You embody the Marisol character in the show by essentially becoming the character on screen. In what ways are you and Marisol very similar? In what ways are she and Chelsea very different? I am very much Mari. I grew up in the area, I’m not afraid to speak my mind, I have helped take care of my family, and I consider myself a badass. The biggest differences are that I’m not an activist and I’m not naive when it comes to men. So that was fun to play with. 

As a dramatic actress you often have to dig deep within to bring a certain passion and believability to your roles. When someone as young as you channels emotions so well, they are thought to have an old soul. Where does your depth and passion derive from?
I have definitely been called an old soul, many times. I think it comes from my momShe’s always been my best friend, so I liked watching ER and listening to The Temptations as a kid. She treated me like an equal. When it comes to digging deep, I’ve always put myself in my characters’ shoes and let it come naturally. I would ask myself ‘how would you feel if this was happening to you?’.

Much is said for many new doors opening for African-American actors in Hollywood now-a-days, and also for women. More now than ever. Do you feel similar studio doors are opening for thespians of Latin descent as well? Definitely. This past pilot season a lot of my friends told me about great parts they were going in for. Some are still stereotypical, but I’m glad we’re going in the right direction.

If you would, share with us a bit about your background. How was childhood and adolescent family life for you growing up in Montebello? I feel I had a very normal childhood. My mother was a single mother. I grew up in a one bedroom back house with my mom and sister. I played outside, had friends, dealt with family issues. I was a tomboy so I got in some fights, with boys. In the midst of all that I got to follow my dreams. I would be on set or have auditions. I was lucky enough to stay in public school and grow up normally. 

Was there a specific film, television show, or actor that resonated with you early in life, thus compelling you to pursue a career on
screen? Jennifer Lopez as Selena was it. I remember going to the drive in over and over to watch that movie. I would sing along and dance. It was that movie, one hundred percent.

You’ve worked in Hollywood since the age of seven. At a time when most second graders are mastering long division and playing kickball at recess, you were already starring in films like “No Turning Back”, shows like “E.R.” and “The Shield”, and more recently, rocking red carpets. Do you ever get the sense that you sort of missed childhood, by taking on professional responsibilities so early in life? Not at all. I was lucky to work but not so much that I couldn’t stay in school. My mom always made sure I was a normal kid. 

Many child stars incur difficulty transitioning into adulthood. How have you managed to remain so focused and grounded on your path to continued success?
My mom. She didn’t let me be a little diva. She didn’t put any pressure on me to work, so it was always fun for me. Working for me was always play time. 

Here are the same three questions twice, you can answer them once practically, and again metaphysically. Where are you coming from? Where are you now? And where are you headed?
Humble beginnings. I’m in a new world. To a Chelsea 2.0. My youth. Act II of my career. To the Stars. 

I want to ask you about President Trump, the Donald, his plans to build a border wall across the southern United States, his idea to arm public school educators with semi-automatic weapons, his off-handed Tweets and well publicized scandals. If he’s driving, where are we headed as a nation, as a people?
I hope it’s going to help bring everyone together. Nothing unites people more than a common enemy.

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