The new Starz series ‘Vida’ follows two sisters, Emma and Lyn Hernandez, who come home to LA’s Boyle Heights neighborhood after the death of their mother. They soon discover that the late Vidalia had some big secrets--including the fact that she had been married for the past two years to a woman.
Younger sister Lyn, played by Melissa Barrera, takes this news in stride, while chilly older sister Emma--played by Mishel Prada--is furious--partially because their mother’s relationship affects their inheritance.
The show also explores the rapid gentrification happening in East LA, complicated in part because it’s been brought about by upwardly mobile Latinos.
Vida was created by our guest today, Tanya Saracho, a playwright who ran a Latinx theater group in Chicago before moving to LA to pursue TV writing. She tells us about the initial bumpy transition from theater to TV and how a temporarily debilitating spinal infection brought her to a realization that she wanted to be a “f***ing boss.”
Saracho shares how Starz has been supportive of her every step of the way, even when she asked for an all Latinx writers room, all female department heads, and opted to make several of the show’s characters queer. She also talks about the difficult moment when her show got pushback for filming in Boyle Heights and the production changes she made based on that feedback.