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POPULAR TWEEN: XOCHITL GOMEZ

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Jul 21, 2020

Let’s be clear. Netflix’s ‘The Baby-Sitter’s Club’ is for EVERYONE!

Iconic beyond its years, the ’80s book series, ‘The Baby-Sitter’s Club’, is now solidifying itself in the minds of a new generation in a very empowering way!

Popular Tween, Xochitl Gomez (pronounced Soh-Chee), dawns the role of Dawn in this new adaptation of the classic in a big way. The club’s newcomer has been brought to life by the Latina teen as an outspoken humanitarian and hilarious rebel that we all can’t help to love. Being born a full 30 years post the fruition of this series didn’t stop this teen from connecting with the character though. Owning a whopping 83 different Baby-Sitter’s Club books, the teen always connected with Dawn and was thrilled to be able to bring her to life.

Currently taking the industry by storm, prior to her role in ‘The Baby-Sitter’s Club’ , Xochitl was a part of the Netflix Original and stand-out hit, Gentefied (which was just renewed for season 2) as Young Ana portrayed by Popular Girl Karrie MartinThe powerful show explores the realities of gentrification in the neighborhood of Boyle Heights and the hardships faced by the Latina community that live there. The young star has also made appearances in Raven’s Home, The Letter, and the FX Original, You’re the Worst. 

PopularTV talked to (and was inspired by) Xochitl during this interview on her character, her generation, and the stories that represent her that she’d love to see on the big screen including that of Las Adelitas (which we’ll be picking up a book on ASAP).

 

1. Gentefied is such a powerful show. What is something that you learned being a part of it and can you tell us a story from set? 

I learned that it felt amazing to be on a set with strong female Latinas in front of the camera, behind the camera, producing and writing. It was like– wow, this is what representation feels like and it is so powerful! I felt safe and I felt butterflies in my heart because I was so proud. And then the show’s success…it’s like, Yes! We always knew Latinx stories are funny, real and interesting. It was in Netflix’s Top 10 for two weeks. Incredible.

A funny story from set was when Catherine (Young Yessika) and I had to chase each around the clotheslines and fall on to the ground. The backyard had a lot of dead grass and dried little leaves. Each time we reset to do another angle her hair touched the ground and hundreds of tiny things would be stuck in it. There were like five of us picking all the little bits out so we could reset fast since the sun was setting. She was such a good sport through it all and the scene turned out so sweet. I’m really proud of it.

 

2. Tell us about your character on ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’? 

Dawn is the new girl in town, and she is now a Latina character instead of blonde. She comes in on episode 4 when she befriends Mary Anne at school. She moved from California to Stoneybrook, her mom’s hometown, because her parents divorced after her father came out as gay. Dawn is looking for a friend group and has experience baby-sitting so she’s hoping to join the club. She’s known for eating healthy, caring about social issues and being a very loyal friend.

 

3. Were you familiar at all with the original and what did you do to prepare for the role? 

So far I have 83 Baby-sitters Club books and reading through them gave me a chance to know the character very well before I auditioned. Most actors don’t get the chance to have dozens of books, a TV series and a feature film to help research their character. I knew right away that it was a huge benefit and I soaked it all in to prepare for the role.

 

4. Being a part of ‘Gen Z’, what are you tired of hearing about “your generation”? 

I think that whatever stereotypes were going out there about my generation, they are going to have to hit the reset button. Living through the pandemic is going to affect my generation a lot. We will probably be a more cautious generation.

 

5. Even at a young age you’ve been very vocal with your platform in recent events. Why do you think it’s important to be informed at your age? 

It’s important to know what is going on in the world around you, but at my age it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the news. Sometimes it’s hard for me to know where I can make a difference, but I know that I have an opportunity because people pay attention to my posts. I’m learning a lot and I’m no expert, that’s for sure, but I try to post things that are easy to understand. Small things can make a big difference, such as spending your money at black-owned businesses.

 

6. We haven’t read ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ yet, but how was it? 

I’ve been so busy with summer school and stuff related to the show that I haven’t finished Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes. I’m about a third of the way into it and I’m loving it so far. There’s so much detail. I think it’s going to be a spectacular movie and I’m dying to see who is cast for the main roles.

 

7. What is next on your reading list?

I just picked up my assigned books for 9th  grade English so I can tell you exactly what I’ll be reading! The Odyssey, To Kill A Mockingbird, Little Women and Romeo and Juliet. There are also a few small books of folktales from around the world.

 

8. Across the entertainment industry, and especially at Netflix, more stories from people of color are being told. What is a Latino story you’d like to see told and what role would you want to be in it? 

Well, I’ve got a few ideas.

1. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz must be made into a movie. Every kid I know read it in elementary school and we all loved it. It’s guaranteed to be a huge hit, regardless of whether there’s a potential role for me.

2. Sacagawea is a legend, but we’ve never seen a film about her. I’m only half indigenous Mexican, so I’m not sure if I’d get a shot at the role if they made a film, but I do think it’s a story we need to know. She had a very difficult life compared to how we live now, and she is an important character in North American history.

3. A film about Las Adelitas, the women who worked behind the scenes as spies, soldiers and smugglers during the Mexican Revolution, is another story of courageous women of color that needs to make it to the screen.

 

9. When did you realize you wanted to be an actress? 

I started acting in local musicals at age 5. For my whole life that I can remember I’ve been acting so there wasn’t really a specific moment of realization. I’ve done 21 shows, mostly musicals. As a theatre kid, if I wasn’t in a show I was just coming off one or prepping an audition for the next one

 

10. Outside of acting, what are you passionate about? 

I enjoy travelling a lot. In the last two years I’ve been on trips to Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Vancouver BC and NYC twice. Lockdown has affected my old routine, but I’ve found new stuff like I’m very into weaving friendship bracelets right now and doing workout videos with my friends on FaceTime.

 

11. Shuffle all of your music. What are the first five songs that come up? 

Bet on It – High School Musical

Boys – Lizzo

A Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker

Un Poco Loco – Coco Soundtrack

Wait A Minute! – Willow

 

12. Is there a role or dream that you’re currently chasing? 

My dream at this point is to make the most of this amazing opportunity and to build a solid reputation as a reliable actor. Longevity is the goal.

 

13. Can you tell us a secret? 

I love to drink apple cider vinegar with cranberry juice.

 

14. What does popular mean to you? 

Popular to me is what people are paying attention to at the moment. It changes constantly, so I try not to get too concerned if I’m popular or not. But I do like to see what topics or memes are trending. I always love a good laugh!

 

15. Can you tell us about any other upcoming projects? 

I’ve got a short film that is streaming on HBO right now called “The Letter.” I filmed it 2017 and it went on to a bunch of film festivals and won a lot of awards. A couple months ago the writer/director called me and said that HBO licensed the film. We were so happy! It is based on a true story of an 11-year-old girl trying to understand the circumstances behind her father’s disappearance. It’s a mix of comedy and drama. It was the first film I won a Best Young Actress award for and I’m very proud of it.