The actress also talks to CHICA about the upcoming second season of Gentefied.

Por Lena Hansen
Julio 24, 2020
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Julissa Calderon talked to People CHICA about hosting the 2020 edition of Premios Juventud with Colombian singer Sebastian Yatra. "I am beyond thrilled to be hosting PJ!" she says. "It’s definitely not something that I was expecting, but I’m so, so happy to be doing it. Can I be honest and say I didn’t know who Sebastian was until I heard I was hosting with him? My mom did, though! She even corrected me on how to say his last name and started telling me how she loved this song of his."

The proud Afro-Latina is also nominated this year in the category of Influencer with a Cause. "What an honor!" she wrote on Instagram. "If you were raised and come from where I come from, then you know what a big deal this is, especially for Latino families! My family is so happy, it feels like I already won!"

(Shannon Finney/Getty Images for Netflix)

"It’s funny to think that some years ago I used to be so against social media," Calderon tells People CHICA. "I decided to be my true self and put the energy out that I want to spread. I’m all about good vibes, laughter, and realness — that’s how I live my life.  If people are following me, they’re going to read inspirational quotes, they’re going to be talked to honestly, be made aware of what’s going on in the world, and be informed on social justice. I didn’t plan for my platform to go in this direction, but I am proud that it has."

The actress, born in NYC's Washington Heights to Dominican parents, also talked about her groundbreaking role on Gentefied, which was recently renewed for a second season on Netflix. "Yessika’s definitely not your common face on television," she says. "She’s an Afro-Latina, she’s queer, she has an accent we don’t often hear, she wears her hair natural, and she’s unapologetic. When do we ever see that on television? There’s very few Yessikas in Hollywood and so many people found themselves resonating with her. We need more of that. We thirst for that because it’s a reflection of our actual reality and what the world around us looks like."

About what to expect from the new episodes, she adds: "All I can tell you is that you’ll be seeing Yessika again! I think that the show is a hit because it depicts us correctly. People saw themselves or their family members in it. They got it right. The creators Marvin [Lemus] and Linda [Yvette Chávez] wrote out of their truths, and truth works every time! People gravitate towards authenticity. If you’re going to tell a story about a Mexican family in L.A., why not have two Mexican kids who are from L.A. write it?"

Calderon also reflected on how the events of 2020 have impacted her. "This year has brought so much clarity to me and to a lot of people I speak to," she says. "I keep calling it the year of clear vision. Maybe it's not what we envisioned it to be, but it's definitely a year that we needed! It’s allowed us to finally rise, unify, and use our voices; in other spaces it allows us to see who doesn’t want to unify. It’s allowed people who have been sleepwalking through life to finally wake up."

Premios Juventud will air on Univision on Thursday, August 13 at 8 p.m. ET.