Vida's Ser Anzoategui opens up about non-binary gender community and their portrayal of Eddie
In a day and age where the struggles of the LGBTQ community are barely acknowledged, Ser's character shines a light on what people in the community go through
If you have not heard about or seen Starz's show 'Vida' yet, let this be a precursor as to how amazing the show is. It is a thrilling and thoughtful show full of twists and turns as it follows two young American-Mexican estranged sisters who return to their old neighborhood after their mother passes away. Once there, they discover long-buried secrets about their mother's identity.
Meaww speaks to Ser Anzoategui who plays Eddie, the wife of their late mother.
Ser connected with Eddie's character as early as the audition process. "The fact that the character is part of a story which revolves around all the things that people don't want to talk about was exciting," they said.
"Eddie is a butch lesbian character that deals with a lot on the show. And the impact that this character has on the story is huge," Ser said, adding that the character required a lot of preparation and control as it was a character that would have its fair share of camera time – a privilege that only lead roles enjoy.
"Initially, I had no idea how big the role of Eddie was." In a day and age where the struggles of the LGBTQ community are barely acknowledged, such a role shines a light on what people in the LGBTQ community go through. The role was bigger than one person and represented so much more than the average character," they said.
"The character goes through a lot and has so much depth. As the story gets more intense, so does the character. A character that goes through so much requires a lot of range. I was able to show that range," Ser shared. Right from the opening scene, the story is intense and as is Eddie.
"There was a monologue in the audition which spoke about the character and I connected to it right away. There were so many levels on which I could understand Eddie - being rejected by everyone and not having the right support. What people don't get is that being a part of the LGBTQ community still means you are a good person and have a big heart," they said.
Eddie and Ser have the same goal, to bring people, families and communities together. This is definitely met with resistance in the show making a simple goal more complex than it should be."Eddie is someone who won't let go and is always so loving and caring. Eddie is always trying to do right by everyone."
"Such characters show the queer community in a much-needed positive light and it is important that other communities see the queer community differently. It needs to get to a point where people say, 'I see you as a whole person'," Ser added.
"I just wanted to show all the stuff that you cannot talk about. People have no idea what others go through and what it is like to be defined by these systematic barriers. There is so much you can show and be. This was a character under a lot of pressure and I wanted to honor the character," Ser said.
Of course, such an emotionally challenging character was no easy task and Ser says there were certain challenges that they had to overcome to pull off the character. The very fact that there were millions of dollars riding on the show and the performance was under enough pressure.
"There was a lot of pressure on my head. I had to be in the right mental space and nail the performance. I was determined that nothing would get in my way and no one would stop me. I had to start emoting and maintain that emotion for a long time. There were points when it was emotionally drained," Ser continued.
One of the toughest challenges for Ser was staying true to themselves. "What matters is being true to who I am. It is a constant process and I have to live in the process. It is a journey to be able to find and understand your self-worth despite being around people who don't want to give you opportunities based on their biases and prejudices."
As someone from the non-binary community, Ser understands first hand how difficult it is when you do not fit in with the norms that society dictates. However, Ser believes that things may be changing and the industry is slowly beginning to accept different kinds of people. "The effort is huge. I hope that other communities actually listen," Ser said.
"If we continue to progress further in this direction, there can actually be a shift in reality. It can change people's lives and can make a huge difference. There is so much more to do and we need to work hand-in-hand," Ser added.
With shows like Vida being released, people may actually start seeing gender and identity from a new perspective.
"When more and more shows like this are released, the demand itself can shift resulting in the demand for something fresh and real. There are so many things happening in the world that I only dreamed would happen. When we work together and we will see more change," said Ser.
Ser adds that they were once very shy and that acting and being on stage helped them break out of their cage and find their true calling. "I wanted to explore the possibilities of storytelling and inspire people discover who they really were."