Aimee Garcia on the Exciting New Season of 'Lucifer' and Breaking Latinx Stereotypes
The Mexican American actress talks about her role as Ella on season five of Netflix's hit series.
For Aimee Garcia, 2020 has been filled with exciting projects, including the new fifth season of the Netflix series Lucifer, where she plays forensic scientist Ella Lopez. "People love Lucifer because it has a lot of heart," she tells People CHICA. "It's funny but it also tugs at your heartstrings. It takes these larger-than-life celestial characters and humanizes them. The devil has daddy issues and angels and demons are fighting with each other and there is sibling rivalry. It's a show about love, unrequited love, wanting a sense of family and belonging, and being forgiven — all of these things that are really human and universal."
With characters like Ella, Garcia shatters negative Latinx stereotypes on screen. "I don't see a lot of Latina scientists on TV," she says. "There is also Ashley Garcia on Netflix. I love representing Latinas like that. Ella is professional, she is the smartest person in the room, she is funny, she is optimistic, she is a woman of faith and science. I love that she wasn't stereotypical. She is strong, smart, goofy, not perfect, and relatable. I have orgullo, pride. The writers allow me to speak Spanish, she references her abuelita. Her grandma taught her how to steal a car. I've never seen a character like her."
The actress, born in Chicago and of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, is proud of her heritage. "Spanish is my first language and I grew up going to Mexico every summer," she explains. "I loved it. Some of my happiest childhood memories are running around with my cousins, having mole. I love all the traditions. I would spend New Year's there. I'm Mexi-Rican American and I feel very grateful."
Garcia, also known for her roles in series like Dexter and The George Lopez Show, is no stranger to the big screen. You can catch her in the the action film El Chicano and in the animated movie The Addams Family. "The goal is to make Latinas universal and to make them great characters so everyone can identify with them," she says of her mission as an actress. She is also executive producing and starring in the new rom-com Match Me If You Can, which is slated to start filming next spring.
To further amplify Latinx voices, she founded Scrappy Heart Productions with mental health advocate AJ Mendez, the best-selling author of Crazy Is My Super Power. "We started the company because we realized we wanted to change the stories that were being told in media," she says. "We founded Scrappy Hearts to make storytelling more diverse for the next generation. As a producer you have more opportunity to leave your imprint. Now AJ and I are working on creating a 16-year-old Latina superhero."
Paying it forward is her way to express her gratitude for her success. She is a mentor to young girls and works with the nonprofit organization MOSTE. "I love hanging out with the girls. We would go on field trips, on hiking trips, go watch female basketball teams," she says. "This program focuses on providing young girls from underserved areas with mentors and potential college scholarships. Helping younger generations is everything."