things that matter

Isabella Gomez From ‘One Day At A Time’ Is Humbled To Be An Icon To The Latinx LGBTQ Community

isabella.gomez / Instagram

If you’re Cuban then you’re most likely watching Netflix’s One Day at a Time (ODAAT) like your life depends on it. My own therapist instructed me to watch ODAAT for ‘racial mirroring,’ and at first, I was hesitant to let any show tell me what my culture is, but ODAAT was really what I needed. It’s written by a Cuban woman, for Latinos, and everyone can relate with all the characters on the show.

There’s always one character who filters your lens of all the other characters. For me, it was Isabella Gomez’ character, Elena Alvarez, the angry, feminist, activist lesbian who breaks stereotypes for the LGBTQ community. We couldn’t help but tell the story of the young woman behind our favorite ODAAT character.

Isabella Gomez is an Aquarius.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

She was born on February 9, 1998, which means she’ll be celebrating her 21st birthday imminently. Feliz cumple, Isabella.

Gomez was born in Medellín, Colombia.

CREDIT: @elianamejiav / Instagram

To mother, Eliana Meija and father Sergio Gomez, whose world filled up with the birth of their daughter. They have no other children.

She started acting in commercials when she was 5 years old.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

Caption: “Feliz día a la mamá mas mamacita de todas!!! Te adoro mamita linda, eres la mejor de todas en todo el mundo y el universo por toda la eternidad, amén. 😂💙”

Her family moved to Orlando, Florida when she was 10 years old.

CREDIT: @sergiogomezc / Instagram

Why? They are the most supportive family imaginable. Gomez wanted to become an actress, so they moved to the country home to Hollywood to being naturalization. Plus, she got to grow up with Mickey Mouse.

Gomez received vocal lessons to moderate her Colombian accent.

CREDIT: @elianamejiav / Instagram

Apparently, she was an honor student from the get-go! When Dreamers dream, am I right?

Pero, todavía, habla español.

CREDIT: @sergiogomezc / Instagram

You’d know if you follow her on any of her social media accounts. She finds a Latino on the red carpet and they both story to share their Latino pride.

Pro tip: if you want to see all the throwback pics of Isabella as una muñeca, follow her parents @sergiogomezc and @elianameijav.

The family made one final move to Los Angeles when Gomez was 17 years old and the rest is history.

CREDIT: @elianamejiav / Instagram

She had appeared on 7 episodes of Matador and even had a small role in Modern Family before she was cast as Elena Alvarez on One Day at a Time. Way to go, fam!

It’s paid off.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

Gomez has pretty much always known she wanted to be an actress. She’ll be the first to tell you (or CorrienteLatina) that, “there’s a lot of rejection, so you have to be sure that this is what you want to do. You have to know that you love this. And I think once you know that you love something, the rest comes into place.”

Caption: “Thank you, thank you, thank you to the TV Academy for the incredible honor and for such a lovely night. #TVAcadHonors 💙”

When she was invited to audition for ODAAT, she was asked not to wear makeup.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

Which, if you know Elena, you understand why, but it’s an unusual request for actors. Elena is valued for her intellect, not her beauty, no matter how much it disappoints her beauty-obsessed abuelita.

Her on-screen vampiric BFF is her IRL BFF, Ariela Barer.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

Caption: “Wearing shirts with each others shows on them bc how freaking cool is that & also bc we’re annoyingly proud of each other 🖤”

Gomez credits her character Elena for teaching her about white-passing privilege.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

Gomez told Vanity Fair, “Ariela Barer, who plays Carmen in the first season, and I are really good friends, and we always talk about the industry, and she’s told me horror stories about the racism that she’s encountered because she’s Latinx. I was like, ‘That’s funny! I’ve never encountered that.’

And then I got this script, and I was like, ‘Oh my god. This makes so much sense.’ . . . It’s so good to be aware of your privilege that way, and I absolutely identified with Elena.”

Gomez has become an LGBTQ icon since starring in the show.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

Caption: “This was my first experience at Clexacon: walking into a room filled with so much love and excitement that we couldn’t help but shed a tear or two. And then it only got better!! I’m still feeling so overwhelmed by this weekend that I can’t quite put into words what an absolute dream it all was. Interacting with you guys, hearing your stories and being able to make human connections with the people we are telling these stories for is so beyond anything I had ever hoped for. My heart feels so full it might burst. I said it over and over all weekend and I’ll say it again: this community feels like my family. Thank you for being so accepting and supportive of me and for allowing me to be a part of your world. And thank you for making my first con an experience I’ll never forget!! I love you all more than you’ll ever know. #Clexacon2018 🌈❤️”

When she read the script where Elena’s father walks out on her after she comes out, she wept.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

She told FanFest News, “I remember Gloria told me about the plot line for the Season 1 finale while we were at an after party and I started crying right there. And then I cried when I read the script and at every table read and rehearsals and through the whole filming day. It wasn’t just shock either, it was outrage and pain and betrayal. I’ve become very protective of Elena and the LGBTQ community so living through a little bit of the experience that is the everyday reality for many of them was absolutely heartbreaking.”

“Being the vessel for this representation means a lot of people are extraordinarily vulnerable with me.”

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

Gomez is touched to be an icon for other young kids participating in their own coming out stories. She told FanFest News, “I couldn’t tell you how many coming out stories I’ve been able to read about and how many people, ranging from kids to adults, tell me that although they’re still in the closet, they now feel better about their situations and are working towards living their most authentic lives. It’s so humbling to read all this feedback and get to be a little part of their journeys.”

Gomez totally spaced out when she found out she got the role of Elena.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram
That’s right. The story goes that she was on a three way call with her agent, her manager and her dad (whose a lawyer), and they just start reading all this legal jargon aloud. She tells corriente Latina the full story:
“And they finished and they’re like, “all right, coo, bye.” And I’m like, “coo, bye.” And I went to walk into my room, and my dad called me back and he said, “What are you doing?” and I’m like, “What do you mean?” and he’s like, you just booked One Day at a Time and you’re not reacting. And I screamed out, like there’s no way this happened. I called Doyle back and said, “What were you reading to me?” and he said, “That was the pickup for you. I was wondering why you didn’t freak out.” So, that was that.”

She’s used her platform to promote voting rights in America…

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

Caption: “Voting is our RIGHT, our PRIVILEGE and our RESPONSIBILITY. I’m voting on November 6th and I hope you will join me if you can #BecauseItMatters.”

And equality for Latinas in pay, respect, and opportunities.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

Caption: “Today is #LatinaEqualPayDay, when we catch up to what white, non-hispanic men were paid in 2017. The pay gap is greatest for Latinas, who get 53 cents for every $1 a man makes. We are #PhenomenallyLatina and we deserve equal pay! 👊🏼@phenomenal.ly t-shirt proceeds benefit the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. www.phenomenalwoman.us”

I know what you’re thinking. Of course she, has a boo.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

His name is Rhenzy Feliz and he’s the Dominicano you love to watch on Marvel’s Runaways and he’s super passionate about environmental justice (and Isabella Gomez). That means her bestie and her boo get to share a set en juntos.

She stans Hispanic Heritage Month.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

Netflix brought together nine Netflix stars for this small photoshoot that brings together some of the cast from On My Block, Orange is the New Black, and One Day at a Time. she says she missed the memo that it was ‘farm casual’ but I ship her look.

She has no advice for her fans except to keep giving her advice.

CREDIT: @isabella.gomez / Instagram

This is Socrates level humility. She told FanFest News, “To my fans: If anything, I think you guys should be giving me advice and words of encouragement. I’ve never encountered such an overwhelmingly positive and supportive group of people. Please, please, please keep being the bright lights you already are. Keep loving hard and fighting for what’s right. If the world could feel a fraction of the happiness you all have made me feel then I truly believe the human race would become better. And I know you are all capable of making that difference. Keep fighting, my loves.”

21. Take the mitú quiz that Isabella Gomez, la princesa herself, took!

CREDIT: @wearemitu / Instagram

I guess Isabella Gomez wanted to find out who she’d be in the cast of ODAAT, based off her personality. Pero, no sé, maybe you’ll be Elena?


READ: Find Out Who You Are In The Alvarez Family With This ‘One Day At A Time’ Quiz

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