Jeanine Mason on 'Roswell, New Mexico' and Her Cuban Heritage
The Cuban American actress talks to People CHICA her character Liz from the CW's hit show Roswell, New Mexico.
Playing the role of Liz Ortecho on the CW's series Roswell, New Mexico has been a dream come true for Cuban American actress Jeanine Mason. "She has given me so many gifts. She is strong as hell. She is such a powerhouse and I think she rubs off on me and helps me be more of my best self," she tells People CHICA. "I'd like to think that I can connect with her intelligence, but she is a biomedical engineer so I'm not even remotely there," she jokes. "But it's fun imagining having that problem-solving brain. I have such respect for scientists. I'm such a nerd, I find science fascinating. It's fortuitous that I get to live that fantasy out."
She also connects to Liz's love for her family. "She is a little mini-matriarch and takes care of everyone in her tribe. She makes sure that the family business is running," she says. Mason — who wrapped filming the current season of the show in January — is spending quarantine with her family in Miami and plans to film the next season in New Mexico in July. "It has been great to see the response of people looking forward to Monday nights and spending time with us in our little town," she says about the show's popularity. Her family also tunes in proudly to every new episode. "They have been part of every single step of my journey," she says about her parents, who are very proud but don't ever treat her like a celebrity. "They have a way of not finding me fancy, which I love."
Mason, who also played Dr. Sam Bello on Grey's Anatomy, feels blessed to have played prominent Latina characters on mainstream shows. "It was the best-case scenario, the dream," she says. "It has pushed me to be more of an activist, to be connected to what is happening with our culture, particularly the marginalized sections of our culture."
She celebrates her Cuban heritage and enjoys cooking with her family during the quarantine. "It's everything," she says. "I'm so proud of being Cuban American. It's home for me. Whether it's being in Miami with family, or being in New Mexico, New York, or Los Angeles and going to a Cuban restaurant, or ordering some Café Bustelo to have on hand and make at home with my cafetera."
This time in isolation has taught her to live in the moment more than ever. "It's broken my heart. We are all wrestling with the feeling of hopelessness and trying to do something positive right now," she reflects. "We often get overwhelmed with trying to help when the issue is so big as this pandemic, but I've focused on helping my people, my inner circle, making sure to check in with them and send them little gifts to make sure they are OK."