Jessica Marie García from the hit series On My Block and How to Get Away With Murder opens up about how her mom's health crisis rocked her world and what it meant to have her Cuban mother walk her down the aisle.

By Lena Hansen
June 25, 2019 03:47 PM

Actress Jessica Marie García was loving life with her roles in the hit series On My Block and How to Get Away With Murder and planning her wedding to her soulmate, when life hit her hard with an unexpected event. Last August her mom woke her up in the middle of the night not feeling well. “I almost lost my mom. She had a heart attack and had triple bypass surgery. Thank God she is OK,” she tells People CHICA. Her Cuban mom walked her down the aisle last October and that meant the world to García. “She raised me as a single mom. She has been my beacon of strength,” the 32-year-old actress says of her mom, who danced the night away at García’s wedding.

“I never really had a relationship with my dad who is Mexican,” García adds. However, she has connected to the Mexican culture and reclaimed her roots after moving to Los Angeles a few years ago to further her career. Seeing her mom’s health so debilitated was an eye-opener, the actress says. “She had a pneumonia, on top of having a massive heart attack and being septic,” she recalls about her mom’s health crisis. Being faced with the possibility of her mother not surviving, changed García’s outlook on life.

The actress had to turn down a major scene with actress Viola Davis on How To Get Away With Murder in order to be at her mom’s side when she had a life-saving surgery. She was also shooting around the same time the second season of On My Block. “I was not a human, I was like a drone,” she admits about this difficult time in her life. “I had to find positivity and hope to get out of that place.” However producers were understanding and supportive and she still shined in her roles. “I felt like I was being tested. I realized: This moment is so much bigger than me.

(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

García is no stranger to life’s tests. As she was growing up, like her character of Jasmin Flores in the series On My Block, she was bullied and used humor as a shield. “She is such a bundle of joy and truth. She is in your face and speaks her mind,” she says of her beloved role. “She uses humor to say the joke and not be the joke.” García relates. “When I was a kid I had all the self-love because my mom raised me to be very confident. I had no doubt about myself until I start going to school and I have the one eyebrow, the sideburns, I’m chubby and I have psoriasis. All of a sudden I became the class clown so I wasn’t made the joke,” she recalls about her childhood.

Her journey to self-love is inspiring and she shares her positivity with her over 1 million followers on Instagram. “I can still pick out every body part from the bottom up and tell you what I don’t like about it, but I accepted: ‘This is who I am. This is what I have. It’s how I’m here,'” she says about her body confidence today. “It doesn’t matter who polished, how thin you are, what status you have, somebody is going to hate on that. It doesn’t matter. So why am I going to try to be a person that I’m not? It’s easier to be your number one fan.”

(Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

Her husband —who is American of Italian and Portuguese heritage— is also her number one fan and supporter. “We met 11 years ago at a mutual friend’s birthday party. We may be had $5 bucks to our name. He was unemployed at the time and I was a waitress. I was 21,” she recalls. “We watch the same movies, we love the same things. I can talk to him forever, he is my other half.” Becoming a mom is on García’s wish list, but she “wants to take over the world before,” she admits with a laugh. She seems to be on her way to achieving that!

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