PAULINA Chávez plays Ashley Garcia in the Netflix original series Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love. We caught up with the actor in Los Angeles to find out more about the show!
Hi Paulina! What can you tell us about the series?
It’s about a 15-year-old Latina, the youngest person to ever earn a PhD in both robotics and applied maths. She gets her dream job at JPL [the Jet Propulsion Laboratory] to make robots for NASA, so Ashley moves in with her uncle Victor [Jencarlos Canela] in Pasadena, far away from her over-protective/loving mother.
That sounds like a big job! What else can you tell us about Ashley?
Ashley is hoping to get a chance to have a fun, normal teenage experience by fulfilling her bucket list. She is an extraordinary teen who has focused on her studies all her young years, now she’s landed her job at JPL.
Are there any similarities between you and Ashley?
I’m similar to Ashley in several ways: we are both Latinas who have been focusing on training to pursue our careers. In order to be able to follow my dreams, I was home-schooled and missed out on the high school experience. Ashley focused on school and earned her PhD and moved across the country to work at JPL in Pasadena, while I also moved from Texas to Los Angeles to work on the Netflix series and follow my dreams. Also, our moms are very overprotective, just like every Latina, loving mom!
You’ve just turned 18, so was it quite easy thinking back to play a 15-year-old?
I was actually 16 going on 17 when I booked the role, so I wasn’t too far off the 15-year-old Ashley. I immediately related to her because of the fact that I also missed out on the middle school and high school years.
What were you like when you did actually go to school?
When I was in elementary [primary school], I was involved in activities like cheerleading, theatre and dance, and I would always volunteer in community events. I continued with theatre, band and mariachi in middle school. I was then home-schooled in eighth grade.
Ashley is a very cool science fan. Do you think shows like this make science cool for young girls?
Yes, I believe it’s important to have shows like Ashley Garcia, as this can have a huge impact on the career exposure for young girls. There needs to be more positive roles on TV and in film, so that girls can see themselves in those careers.
What kind of research did you do for the role?
I actually didn’t do a lot of research for the science part of it, though I did read a few articles; it was more about the character development. I had the chance to observe other extremely smart people around me and adopted some personal traits and applied them to Ashley. I did have to learn a lot of science terminology [vocabulary] and difficult phrases!
Ashley works with some NASA scientists, so what did you learn from NASA?
I didn’t get to visit NASA or JPL; they have really strict rules for visitors, but I did get to work with a robot on the show. It was really interesting to see the robot being controlled and have it do all the moves needed for the show.
Would you like to go into space one day?
I think space is incredible and there is so much to explore and learn, but I do not see myself wanting to go to space!
Do you believe in extraterrestrials?
There are so many galaxies out in the universe, that it is hard to believe that we are the only living beings. I wouldn’t be surprised!
Finally, why should we tune into
Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love? is about an aspirational young Latina girl who is relatable. It is incredible how this show is representing Latino families and I’m super excited for everyone to watch.
Series one and two of Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love are available to stream on Netflix
Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love