In a People Chica exclusive, the Élite and La Doña star shares the details of her evolution as a woman, how it's altered her approach to life and what's next in terms of new music and her career.
Credit: Photo by Carlos Ruizc; Production: Shaktiprod; Hair: Omar Alvarez; Makeup: Emilio Becerril; Fashion stylist: Oscar Montes de Oca; Fashion styling assistants: Euridicis Bonilla and Nabila Sanchez Castillo; Top: AFRM; Pants: Derek Lam; Jacket: Diesel; Shoes: Zara; Jewelry: Pandora

Danna Paola has reinvented herself and is feeling stronger than ever before.

The former Élite and La Doña star is leaping into 2022 with a new vision on her career and personal life that embodies who she has evolved into.

In 2021, the Mexican singer and actress, who was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award, shocked her fans with several physical transformations that included reverting to her natural hair color as well as showing off a healthier looking physique.

However, the greatest change of all has come from the serious soul-searching the "Mala fama" star has done, which focuses on a deeper level of spirituality and healthier habits.

In an exclusive interview with People Chica, the new Fendi ambassador gives fans an inside look at the new Danna Paola, and how her new outlook on life has forever altered her approach to creating music and her career.

Credit: Photo by Carlos Ruizc; Production: Shaktiprod; Hair: Omar Alvarez; Makeup: Emilio Becerril; Fashion stylist: Oscar Montes de Oca; Fashion styling assistants: Euridicis Bonilla and Nabila Sanchez Castillo; Top & bottom: SelmaCilek; Bra: Victoria's Secret; Shoes: Schutz; Jewelry: Pandora

How do you feel heading into 2022?

Very liberated. 2021 was a very cool year that held many great things, such as the Latin Grammy nomination. The performance was incredible [and so were] the songs I released [with] collaborations with great friends. For me, it was a very difficult year on a personal level, [with] of a lot of catharses [and] leaving many things behind.

I'm starting out this year working and much more connected to the present and with myself. I'm discovering myself as an artist and reinventing myself. I get bored very quickly, and I like to change constantly. That's also why I changed my hair color, because I wanted to leave 2021 completely behind and be able to have a fresh start. Right now, I'm working really hard on my new album.

You have been an actress since you were four years old, and we have seen how successful you have become internationally with series like Élite. What are some projects you're working on for 2022?

For me, acting has never been on hold. Since I left Élite, [I have been] looking into projects that are [more of a] challenge for me as an actress. It's difficult, because right now music is my priority, it requires my concentration 24/7, and it gets a little more complicated. [This year] I started writing projects and [working] as a producer, I want to start trying my luck there and as a writer for some series.

Credit: Photo by Carlos Ruizc; Production: Shaktiprod; Hair: Omar Alvarez; Makeup: Emilio Becerril; Fashion stylist: Oscar Montes de Oca; Fashion styling assistants: Euridicis Bonilla and Nabila Sanchez Castillo; Trench: Jonathan Simkhai; Boots: Schutz; Jewelry: Pandora

You've mentioned music is now a priority. What can fans expect to hear on that front?

[As of] right now, I can tell you that I am working on the album—I can't give too many more spoilers than that. I'm really working a lot with high quality material, instead of quantity. I began to tackle a lot of optics too quickly, [and found that] I needed to stop and slow down to rediscover just what I want to showcase as a singer. Incredible things are coming.

You recently announced that you are collaborating with Fendi as their new global ambassador. This is their first time they, as a brand, are partnering with someone from Mexico, how does that feel?

Yes, it is the first time that Fendi collaborates with a Mexican [person], I am super proud. Most of all not just to be representing Mexico, but also Latin America and Latinos, who continue to make our way in the world and respect one another. I love the brand, and I also love the way I can experiment with fashion. Fendi has given me this opportunity to collaborate [with them], and I think it's great.

What do you hope your fans and other Latinas will take away from seeing you are proudly representing Mexico with this new collaboration?

The takeaway or the advice or the inspiration—I think it's for me too—has always been to follow my dreams. I believe that nothing's impossible for me to be able to continue growing—within my career, in this case, the world. I never imagined being able to become a brand ambassador for a brand like Fendi [but] if you can dream it, you can do it.

With all these things that are happening in your career, your personal life and the world, where do you find strength and peace?

[With] my peace of mind, 100%. I have had to work a lot on my mental health, because I think that for me, it is so important to be well spiritually and mentally. That also reflects a lot on the outside and who we are as human beings.

For me, I think that being close to my family [and] my friends [is also important]. And of course, not focus on what others say, but focus on what I think of myself. That has helped me stay in this career for so many years and not lose myself in the process. It hasn't been easy, but little by little I keep learning, and I keep maturing in many ways, and I keep learning about life. I think that's life [and] you must learn to cope with that and the pressure of the world, so to speak, and be happy no matter what.

What are some tips you can share with us on how you are taking care of yourself this year? Is there something that you do every day or that you do frequently to help yourself improve from the inside out?

Well, I've started journaling again. I stopped writing for a long time, I don't know why, I think I wasn't very connected with myself. [But when I started up again,] I started a journal of letters to the universe, so to speak, because I think it's a very nice way of manifesting things and writing down wishes, desires, etc., and the things you do on a day-to-day basis.

This is like daily therapy that is beneficial for everyone because afterward you feel much better. It's a form of self-therapy, just like when I write songs. For me, that's important, as well as affirmations and meditation.

On a physical level I always say that exercise is pivotal. It doesn't have to be a workout, because the truth is that for me, the most important thing comes from the inside out, but I also think that the body is a temple and you have to take great care of it, you have to give it love and care.

Danna Paola performs on stage during 'La Academia 2019'
Credit: Getty Images / Medios y Media

It is being said that you are now vegan or vegetarian—is that true?

I am a vegetarian [and] I don't eat red meat. I try very hard to eat as healthy as possible. I love food. I love gastronomy and I do not restrict myself, much less [stick] to strict diets, ni loca. I love to cook, I love to experiment with food, but without red meat.

I am also trying to stop eating things that are harmful, like fried foods [and things like that]. I don't restrict myself because I believe that the important thing is to be healthy and feel good, not put your body's approval on people and have people approve of you not because of how you look, but how you are as a person.

Nowadays, with social media networks like Instagram and TikTok, there is a lot of pressure to be perfect. People are always looking at you with a magnifying glass. How have you been able to cope with these types of situations? And what are some tips that you could give other chicas that face it, too?

Don't compare yourself. As human beings, not only women, we all have to learn not to compare ourselves with anyone. Perfection does not exist, imperfection is the most beautiful thing that exists and as long as you are yourself and that you don't try to look like anyone else, I think that's the most precious thing there is.

I try not to focus on the pressure that exists within social media because it's fake. It doesn't exist. What I love about Gen Z is [that it is a generation] more and more focused on being real, being more connected with yourself, with spirituality, with health, with therapy. I think it is super necessary for previous generations to learn from this. The most important thing is to learn from yourself and from those around you.

Also, surround yourself with people who add not subtract from you. I think that with everything that comes along with social media, fill yourself with information that is good for you and don't compare yourself with anyone.

With the pandemic, we have also seen that the use of makeup has been minimized a little more than before. What is your preference: full makeup or a more relaxed look?

For me, it depends on the occasion. I love fashion, I love makeup and I love hairstyles. [Makeup] use is basically a daily necessity to lift my spirits, or simply because I love fashion. It's part of my personality, but I believe that less is more 100%. It all depends on the person, and I think you have to bet on being as real as possible. I'm not against surgery or fillers, because everyone is different, and everyone has to feel better however they wish.

But I'll say it again: change does not come from the physical, but from the inside. If you change inside and improve in those areas, you will look better on the outside. Happiness is reflected from within me. That will always be my motto. I think that naturalness comes from happiness, from being happy [and] present with what you have and being grateful for it—and that will make you look much better.

Can you tell us about five products—whether they are skincare or makeup—that are always your go-to when you are packing for a trip or when you have to do a project away from home.

Lip balm, basically something to moisturize the lips—it's so important especially with how cold it is right now. [I also like] SPF [and] CBD drops, I think it's super good for managing anxiety. [I also use] hyaluronic acid drops [and] vitamin C. I'm not a big fan of a specific product as such, I change it around.

Credit: Photo by Carlos Ruizc; Production: Shaktiprod; Hair: Omar Alvarez; Makeup: Emilio Becerril; Fashion stylist: Oscar Montes de Oca; Fashion styling assistants: Euridicis Bonilla and Nabila Sanchez Castillo; Top & bottom: SelmaCilek; Bra: Victoria's Secret; Shoes: Schutz; Jewelry: Pandora

You've had a major hair transformation. How does it feel to go back to being a brunette?

I feel like myself again. Experimenting with hair has a lot to do with internal changes because, as I told you, last year was super difficult for me. The blonde had me a little worn out and I needed to remove it and completely wash away 2021. Also, I really missed my natural hair. I found myself again and I feel much better.

Is love in the air for Danna Paola this year?

I am super in love and above all I am learning first to give importance to self-love. The universe conspires in your favor when you truly love yourself and when you believe in yourself, when you have self-love so that you can find true love and what you deserve as a human being. We are unique people and deserving of extraordinary love. I think that this manifestation of good things and all the work I have done in recent years to be comes from there.

You've stated that 2021 was a tough year for you, what did you learn about yourself throughout that process and time period? How have you learned to be compassionate with yourself?

I think that [the most important thing I learned was] refraining from pointing out your flaws and criticizing yourself. The first thing we do is look at ourselves in the mirror every day when we wake up and see our imperfections. You see everything you want to change about yourself, and you're not thankful for who you are. This may sound very silly, but affirmations are among the most powerful things that exist on an energetic and spiritual level like telling yourself, "I am beautiful, I have abundance in my life, I am loving, I receive love"—all of that really works.

When you focus much more on caring about yourself, not what others say, you don't need anyone's approval. First, you need to approve of yourself, that was part of what I learned in recent years. Last year I reaped all that I sowed, and I also learned to eliminate toxic people from my life, as well as learn from the mistakes that I made. We have to keep going, right? It's also okay to have sad moments and learn from them. As I've said before: this is life, we need to go through difficult things in order to continue maturing in and become a better version of ourselves.