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 will air its final season beginning April 26, has taken on issues affecting Latinx culture, LGBTQ+ identity, and gentrification as sisters Lyn, played by Melissa Barrera (In the Heights), and Emma, played by Mishel Prada (Riverdale), navigated the intersections of their lives in the wake of their mother's death.
When the siblings returned to the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, they discovered their mother, who previously exiled Emma for being queer, had married a woman, Eddy, played by Ser Anzoategui in a stellar performance. For Anzoategui -- whose sweet butch Eddy has endured grief over the loss of her wife, Emma's hurtful barbs, and a queer-bashing -- the world Vida's creator and showrunner Tanya Saracho built was life-changing. Anzoategui, who is nonbinary, bids farewell to Vida and Saracho's singular vision, telling Out, "It's something that I'm not sure I'll be able to experience again because it takes an inclusive visionary to execute what Tanya, the production, and the network did."
"They hired a Latinx nonbinary actor to be a lead," they add. "Being one of the only nonbinary people I know in TV was an uncharted course and an honor for me to be acknowledged when I felt so small and so invisible in my profession for so long."
A rarity for any series, Vida began in all of its excellence and only continued to up the game with each episode, seamlessly weaving together the intersections of queer and Latinx identity while tackling topics including identity policing within queer communities and taking on ICE raids in the upcoming season. In the spirit of Vida's continued evolution, the final season finds Anzoategui's Eddy intrigued by a drag king and the binder the king wears. It's not yet known exactly how Eddy will explore gender identity in the final season, but Anzoaetegui is excited about the possibilities that begin with the binder scene.
"Hopefully it will just be normal to talk about gender or including gender-neutral language in their lives," Anzoategui says of how they hope Eddy's exploration of gender expression affects viewers moving forward. "Being part of this collective effort to tell these never-told stories through these never-seen onscreen characters brings a certain justice to the entertainment industry.
It is something visceral that so many hungered for," they add, summing up Vida's importance in the TV landscape."Vida also set a precedent for how we make work,"Anzoategui concludes. "It impacted television so much that certain stories that weren't able to be done before now have the opportunity to get inside that door and tell their story too. Go, shine bright and open that door for others as you do so.