The actress and singer talks about her upcoming Latin Grammys performance, her new album, and her acting debut in next year's In the Heights movie.

Leslie Grace is on cloud nine! The Dominican American star talked to People CHICA about her upcoming performance at the Latin Grammys, where she will be honoring her idol, bachata icon Juan Luis Guerra. "I'm excited. He's such a legend. My older sister and I would always say growing up that meeting Juan Luis Guerra was our dream," she says. "To now have the honor to sing and to honor him with Prince Royce is amazing. A lot of fans have waited for years for Royce and me to come together. For us to be able to share that moment in honor of the person who basically put the bricks down for us to be able to sing the music that we sing is going to be so special. I feel so privileged to be part of that."

Leslie Grace
Credit: Courtesy

She will also be making her acting debut in the In the Heights movie, out June 18, 2021 (after being delayed from this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic). "We are dying for our families and the world to see this piece of art that we made," she says of the big-screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit Broadway musical. "It was a blessing to have my first opportunity as an actress in a movie that is so special and personal to all of us who were part of this experience. Being from New York, my mom had her first beauty salon a couple of blocks from where we were shooting all summer. We have such an affinity to the entire story of In the Heights."

Grace trained for many years as an actress and went to many castings before landing the role of Nina Rosario. "It's something I have always loved, like music, and I wanted to wait for the right time to start pursuing it," she says of acting. "I can't wait for everybody to see it."

The singer and actress is enjoying life in Los Angeles, where she moved in May. "I'm a homebody," she says. "My boyfriend is here as well," she adds about choreographer Ian Westwood. "Ian is great. We consider each other equal partners. Being able to have somebody who is equally passionate about what they do and understands your world but is also a normal human being is very hard to find."

"When Ian and I met it was at the perfect moment in both of each other's lives," she continues. "I was filming In the Heights and he was in New York as well for a dance convention. We were both very focused on ourselves. Moms always tell you, 'Your love will come when you least expect it, don't look for it,' and that's how it was. We hit it off as friends immediately. We got to know each other and really clicked. It's wonderful, especially during this time, to have somebody who understands you and is there for you."

Getting married and becoming a mom are "all dreams that I have," she says, but in the future. "One day I do want to have a family, I do want to have a personal life," she says. "I'm 25 now. I'm starting to head into adult things, for real," she jokes. "It's been nice to have some downtime to reflect about where I am in my life and my career and what are priorities for me."

Leslie Grace
Credit: Courtesy of Manny Roman

She is now focused on releasing her next album in 2021. "I want to make sure that my fans get me as I am. I've gone through a lot of things," she says. "They will be getting the first taste of it at the beginning of the year. It will be in Spanish and English, it will be a mix of genres. You can expect awesome features with some people I really respect and have had an amazing time working with."