Best known for playing semi-regular character Carmen, the monotone, goth best friend of main character Elena Alvarez (Isabella Gómez) on Netflix’s Latino family comedy One Day at a Time, actress Ariela Barer is continuing her television career in fantastic fashion.
Premiering in November on Hulu, Barer will star in the new Marvel Comics series Runaways, which is based on the superhero comic book that debuted in 2003. In the show, Barer stars as socially conscious high school student Gert Yorkes, one of six teenagers who band together when they discover that their parents are members of a criminal organization known as The Pride.
In the first episode of Runaways, Gert is introduced as a strong, independent, cynical, and outspoken teen who wants to make a difference in the world. Dressed in a blue jean jacket with the words “Do not disturb me” embroidered on the back, and sporting purple hair and some nerdy granny glasses, Gert has a style all her own. She’s not shy and isn’t easily discouraged, even when she can’t get any of her peers to sign up for her new club Undermining the Patriarchy.
She even finds time to pick on her younger sister Molly for wanting to try out for the dance squad: “Dance squad is just cheerleading without pom-poms. You’re just reinforcing hegemonic masculinity while marginalizing women’s identity,” she says.
We’ll have to wait to see how close the Hulu series follows the comic book as the season progresses (Will she have a pet dinosaur? Can she communicate telepathically? Will she be known by her superhero name Arsenic?), but it’s easy to see from the first episode why Gert will probably become a fan favorite.
During an interview with Remezlca, Barer, 19, talked about why it was so easy to relate to Gert, why more characters like her are important to the entertainment industry and how playing a Marvel superhero was always something she thought about as an actress.
On her ethnic background
Both my parents were born in Mexico. They’re also both Jewish. We’re pretty much from everywhere, in all honesty. I feel most connected to my Latina heritage, for sure. Most of my family, except for my parents, lives in Mexico. So, whenever we visit anywhere it’s to Mexico. I’ll be going there for the holidays.
On auditioning for the role of Gert Yorkes
I didn’t really know what I was auditioning for, which was sort of a blessing because it took a lot of the pressure off. I went in without hyping myself up too much about how big the Marvel Universe truly is. I got to go in and just connect with the script and the story and the people. The superhero elements just came naturally after that. I originally auditioned for the Molly Hernandez role, but they were like, “We really liked your audition, but there’s no way we believe that you’re 14 years old. Do you want to read for this other part?” So, I went in and read for Gert and was like, “Oh, this is entirely me.”
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