Actress Karrie Martin Discusses Her Groundbreaking Role on Netflix's Gentefied
Honduran American actress Karrie Martin talks to People CHICA about playing Ana Morales on Netflix's upcoming series.
On the new series Gentefied, coming to Netflix February 21, Honduran American actress Karrie Martin plays the unforgettable and vibrant Ana Morales. “She is such a powerhouse of a character,” she tells People CHICA. “She is unapologetically herself. She is so confident in who she is and yet so vulnerable. She allows herself to be in a roller coaster of emotions.”
“I came into it with the idea of, ‘I’m here to honor this human being,'” she says about playing Ana, a Latina girl who is part of the LGBTQ community. “Going into it without judgment really helped me tap into everything that Ana is. Her love interest is Yessica, who is played by Julissa Calderon, and from the second we met in the audition room, instantaneously we had a connection. When you are playing a character that is so unlike you and you are involved in a love story, there has to be that sense of safety with that other person to be able to go to the places that you have to go to emotionally. It made it so easy to just have fun and play and tell this incredible story because we were so safe and so connected.”
How does the series portray diverse Latinx culture? “It’s us, it’s a family, it’s real, it’s unfiltered, it’s so beautiful, it’s a love story, it’s a family story — it’s a story about all of us in every facet of our lives,” Martin says. “There are characters that come from more Americanized communities that feel they need to change to fit in, there are characters that have really struggled and rebelled and have had a fight-like situation in their lives, and there is Ana who is queer and an artist. In the story I see me, I see my family, I see the funny arguments they have — when she is fighting with her mom the names they use — and I think we can all identify.”
Like her character Ana, who works in her family’s taco shop, Martin celebrates her Latinx roots. “I was born and raised in southern Louisiana but I didn’t learn English until I was in kindergarten because I only spoke Spanish. I was essentially raised in my grandparents’ house while my parents worked and they only spoke Spanish to us,” she says. “It’s part of who I am as a person, and I’m so grateful that even though I was born here, I am able to embrace my language.”
Working with fellow Honduran American star America Ferrera, who is one of the executive producers of the series, was the icing on the cake. “I was in awe when she was there,” Martin says. “She knows how to help us, she knows how to get you to where you need to be to open up as a character.”
Why should we tune in? “It’s a story that you’re going to see your family reflected in. Oftentimes our people don’t see themselves in the characters shown on television or on film,” she reflects. “Here you are going to feel seen.”