Image Source: Brandon Hicks
If you don’t know the name Alycia Pascual-Peña, you will. The young actress made her debut in the industry at the age of three, always knowing that she wanted to be an actress. Before his roles in Moxie and on Saved by the BellShe always balanced her life as a university student with a major in communications and political science. “I did it as long as I could. Then Moxie came and kind of changed my life, “she told POPSUGAR.” It brought me to Los Angeles and Saved by the Bell kept me here permanently. ”
During her studies at the Marist College, Pascual-Peña sometimes struggled to find a balance. “Balance would be too kind a word,” she laughs to me. “I wasn’t always that good at it, but I just stayed determined and learned to really compartmentalize my life while I was in school. It got me to figure things out and to doing unconventional things like I was filming self-tapes in dorm hallways at 3 a.m. and making makeshift videos in my dorm. “If you’re unfamiliar with the self-check-in process, it s ‘is essentially a digital audition and involves the actor filming his lines. I can only imagine what the other students thought they would meet her in the process. “I knew I didn’t want to stop playing, but I knew I had the passion to continue my education,” she added.
“I did it as long as I could. Then Moxie came and kind of changed my life. “
“I was really a hot and a half mess at times,” she shared. “At one point in my college career, I had three jobs, I was vice-president of my whole class and on different boards, like the Black Student Union. I was doing way too much. If anything, that dedication has prepared her for her roles as Aisha on Saved by the Bell and Lucy in Moxie. Both know exactly what they want and are ready to fight the injustice they see in their school, no matter what. Despite being out of school, Pascual-Peña is more determined than ever to make a change in Hollywood.
Image Source: Brandon Hicks
It’s no secret that Hollywood has a problem when it comes to the lack of diversity and the lack of authenticity when it comes to telling various stories. While it is true that there has been some progress in recent years, Hollywood still has a long way to go and Pascual-Peña wants to be part of that change. “I think I am truly privileged to live in a time when I feel like consciousness is shifting and there is a paradigm shift in many areas where we are calling for both diversity and genuine diversity, ”she explained. “But frankly, I would say that’s not enough. I think changes are happening, but I don’t see enough stories centered on people of color in marginalized communities.”
She continued, “Typically as an Afro-Latina, I can still firmly say that in my years as an actor, including this one, which is now about 12 years as a professional actor, I didn’t saw only two roles that specifically called for an Afro-Latina. “Nor Lucy in Moxie ni Aisha on Saved by the Bell were originally written as Afro-Latina. “They just became that because I was part of projects that really respected my voice and committed to representing multidimensionally diverse women.
“I’m Black. It’s not something that can be undone in any of the characters I’ve played.”
Despite the lack of roles written specifically with that part of her identity in mind, Pascual-Peña hopes she can be a part of the change. “I’m Black. It’s not something that can be undone in any of the characters I played, so I was grateful to participate in stories that were uplifting Afro-Latinas stories,” he said. she revealed. “I pray to see more stories that include Afro-Latinas and be respected for our complexity and community. I also want to see more people of color, marginalized individuals and LGBTQIA + individuals behind the camera, so that they can be a part of telling these stories. “
To participate in this change and fight notions of Hollywood, Pascual-Peña herself is shameless. “I fight this with my truth. I fight this by always expressing what I want to see while trying to be intentional about the role I play and the stories that I am a part of. If I fight this with my artistry, I hope, and I hope I’m part of the change, “she revealed. Ultimately, Pascual-Peña wants to get into writing and producing to make sure these stories are told.” It’s always been a goal to write and produce because at the end of the day they’re the ones who have the skill to really navigate where the stories go, ”she says.“ I want to tell nuanced stories about them. Afro-Latin women. We have to make our way. “
Image Source: Brandon Hicks
When the trailer for Moxie first dropped, Twitter was quick to highlight how Pascual-Peña’s character was bullied in class Then later said to keep your head down by white characters. An avid Twitter user herself, Pascual-Peña was no stranger to the backlash. “I wanted to listen. I think I was empathetic, ”she revealed. “People only had parts of the story, so I think it’s natural for them to react the way they did. I pray that when they see the whole movie, they walk away with it. a very different feeling. ”
On Twitter, she also saw concerns that Moxie romanticized the harassment thanks to a scene between her and Patrick Schwarzenegger. “I think it’s great that people are curious and want to criticize a story that they think risks romanticizing abuse or harassment, which this movie does not do,” she explained. saying that was my original point of view. as well as. “If I were a member of the public I think I would inherently believe that is what the story was going to say too, because that is what we got used to and what we see in the media, this which is unhappy and detrimental to us as women and as a society. “
I think I would inherently believe that’s what the story was going to say too, because that’s what we got used to and see in the media. “
Instead, Moxie tells the story of a teenage girl publishing an anonymous magazine denouncing sexism in her school. This inspires his comrades to talk about their own problems, which is dear to Pascual-Peña. “I remain dedicated to standing up for what I think is right and doing that and everything I do with my actions, my art, my personal life, with vigor; even if it’s not the most popular thing to do, ”she remarked.
On the phone, his passion and enthusiasm for Moxie and what that means for his personal life is clear. “I think the film is powerful in that we see activism on a spectrum. Implementing change and using your voice doesn’t always have to be something big. I think it’s great that we see a variety of perspectives from these girls from different perspectives and backgrounds. ”In her own life, she strives to stand up for good, both personally and professionally. “I stand for the things that are close to my heart, be it fairness and diversity, racial justice, my own critique of the misogynistic community and the arts. I strive to always speak up and develop my knowledge. and i try to do it a lot of ways, trying to leave things better than i have come to them. “
During filming Moxie, the cast really became a family. “We’re great, very tight-knit which is the result of Amy organizing the best group of people I’ve ever been a part of,” she said with a laugh. In fact, during our interview, Lauren Tsai, who plays Claudia in the film, was at her house with Josie Totah, her best friend /Moxie and Saved by the Bell costar. “Before the world closed, I took trips with these girls, had dinner with the family and ended up moving in with one of them. The shoot was such a blessing, and I can’t express enough how amazing each person was. Even when we try to tackle some tough issues in the movie, everyone made it a wonderful supportive environment. “
“I hope people feel more empowered and inspired to talk about things that make them uncomfortable.”
As for what she hopes audiences will take away from the film, she wants them to feel as empowered as she has. “I hope audiences feel more empowered and inspired to talk about things that make them uncomfortable,” she shared. “The most drugged part of the movie is the fact that you see someone like my character, overseeing and organizing young ladies’ events, but you also see someone like the character of Claudia, who signed the club to the club. school and did something in the logistics side. Then you see Vivian, who isn’t that outgoing, but really tackles the cause by creating the zine, which then is a catalyst to empower so many people. other young women in their school. So I hope that people will essentially leave with joy and feel more compelled to live their truth and use the voice. “
Moxie may have changed her life, but she still has a long and bright future ahead of her. The next step? Peacock’s Season Two Saved by the Bell revival, which was renewed in January 2021. “Obviously, I’m delighted we’re returning for season two, and we’re super excited as a cast,” she revealed, enthusiasm in her voice evident . “I also can’t wait for the girls to really come together on the show because I feel like it’s not something we really saw in the first season. I would love to have more scenes, obviously selfishly with my daughter, Josie Totah. I also love the idea of being more Aisha, of dominating her on the court as a quarterback, because we really see her take hers in that regard. “The last time we saw Aisha, she was going to tell Jamie that she still had feelings for him, only to see him kissing Lexi, Totah’s character. And, of course, we can’t wait to see. where is that love triangle going. Outside of the realm of Bayside High, there is an independent film in the works that Pascual-Peña is passionate about. “It’s a story that I think has an impact, and like all roles that I can play, I would be honored to be a part of it. “