Melissa Barrera, from Monterrey, adds Mexican flavor to the movie ‘In the Heights’

Mexican actress Melissa Barrera proudly raises her flag, as do the characters in In the Heights, a film adaptation of the Broadway musical about residents of a Latin neighborhood in New York.

“I have always sailed with In the Heights full movie. I am very proud to be Mexican, “said Barrera in a recent virtual conversation about the premiere of the film, which is shown in theaters and on the streaming platform HBO Max. “Mexicans are going to see this movie and they are going to see their stories and that they feel validated, that they feel that they can also raise their flag and shout and feel proud of where they are.”

In the film, the 30-year-old actress from Monterrey plays Vanessa, a lonely girl who works in a beauty salon as she dreams of leaving the neighborhood to be a fashion designer. Usnavi, the grocer who starred in the film played by Puerto Rican-American actor Anthony Ramos, is in love with her.

“Vanessa is tough, Vanessa has survived a lot in her life and Melissa has all of that,” said the author of the musical Lin-Manuel Miranda in the same conversation about choosing her for the role. “And it was also a supermatch [a good match] for Anthony Ramos.”

“For me,‘ It Won’t Be Long Now ’is literally the anthem of my life,” the actress told the AP about the song she performs on the tape, where she says it won’t be long before her dream is fulfilled.

“I have been waiting for an opportunity like this forever. I feel like I’ve worked really hard in my career, but there’s always something, like, what am I missing? ”Barrera said. “I was that girl. I left Mexico. I knew that I was not going to be able to become an artist in my hometown ”.

Born in Monterrey in 1990, Barrera studied theater at New York University. She participated in the reality talent show La Academia and later starred in soap operas such as Siempre tuya Acapulco and Tanto amor. Most recently she acted in the television series Club de Cuervos, Netflix, and Vida, Starz. In addition to her starring in In the Heights, next year she will be seen in the horror movie Scream.

During the conversation, Miranda, who also stars in the film, said that one of her favorite scenes from In the Heights was the musical number “Champagne,” which Barrera and Ramos sang together live in one take during filming.

Barrera said she was lucky to be part of “a project that feels much bigger than a movie.”

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