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!

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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

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