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Paulina Chávez chats about playing Ashley Garcia, a Genius in Love

Girls in STEM – this is for you! Science is the world in “Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love.” The Netflix comedy series stars Paulina Chávez. The show follows teenage robotics engineer and rocket scientist Ashley Garcia. In the show, Ashley moves across the country to work for NASA. However, she lives with her football coach cousin. Today is really special because Ashley Garcia is part of a crossover! Premiering today, fans can see Family Reunion, Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love, The Big Show Show and Mr. Iglesias crossover on Netflix. YEM spoke with Ashley Garcia herself, Paulina Chávez, about the crossover event!

Young Entertainment Mag: First, what was the audition process like? What was your reaction when you found out you got the role?

Paulina Chávez: I remember receiving the audition on a Wednesday night and it was due on Friday morning. It was a quick turnaround time. I learned the scenes quickly and I immediately connected with Ashley. A week later I received the call that I was going to be flown to LA for a producer/testing session for the role. It was surreal walking into a room full of executives and Mario Lopez in the room. I found out I booked the role the day after as soon as I landed in San Antonio. My mom and I hung up the phone, then looked at each other and screamed of excitement.

YEM: I love Ashley, how did she come to be and what are some of your favorite things about her?

Paulina: I was immediately captivated by Ashely’s intelligence and the fact that she focused on her education and her goal of working for NASA. I love that she is an independent latina woman who is trying to figure out friendships, relationships and typical teenage stuff.

YEM: If you were to pick 2 characters from other TV shows she would be based off of who would they be?

Paulina: This is a tough question. I don’t think there is another Young Female Latina Genius show out there. There are shows who represent smart latinas with amazing careers like Good Trouble, Character Marina played by Cierra Ramirez and Gina Rodriguez from Diary of a Future President. I believe Ashley is unique and one of the first to be at the genius level like a Young Sheldon and Doogie Howser.

YEM: What has been your favorite scene to shoot and why?

Paulina: My favorite scene was from “Failure Is Not An Option,” Ashley talks about the pressures to represent latina women in her field and how we must go through failure to grow and succeed. It’s about creating opportunities and holding the door open for others who will come after.

YEM: So… are you more Ashley or Bella?

Paulina: I relate to Ashley on a personal level.  First of all, we are both latinas who have been focusing on training to pursue our careers. In order to be able to follow my dreams I was homeschooled and missed out on the high school experience. Ashley focused on school and earned her Ph.D. Ashley moved across the country to work at JPL in Pasadena and I also moved from Texas to Los Angeles to work on the Netflix series and follow my dreams.

YEM: What is wardrobe like? I love the reveals. First the one of Ashley coming down the stairs for the dance, and then the one for the surprise party.

Paulina: Wardrobe was amazing. Our stylist Allyson Fanger and the team worked so hard and collaborated with us. She asked us questions and always made sure we were comfortable. She always asked for our thoughts and she knew I loved vintage clothing. The blue dress for the school dance episode was a vintage dress which I fell in love with the moment I saw it.

YEM: Stick or Tad? I know you can’t tell me who she picks but what’s it like having to deal with this dilemma on screen?

Paulina: Oh my, that is a tough one…I think that Ashley should live the moment and enjoy it to the max. Life is too short and she will continue to grow and learn how to handle whatever life throws at her.

YEM: And what’s it like acting with a robot?

Paulina: The people behind the scenes operating the robot are the true geniuses. It was an amazing opportunity to work with a robot, but it has its challenges. In one of the scenes, where we danced, we had to do a turn with the robot and the Ichabod almost whacked me as we all turned during a dance move, but all turned out great. I love Ichabod!

YEM: Also, what’s down time like on set?

Paulina: I really did not have a lot of downtime as I was in almost every scene, but when I did have some time, I would take naps!

THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE OF ASHLEY GARCIA Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020

YEM: Tell me more about the “Crossover” special – what can we expect? Any word on if there will be a Part 3 of the series yet?

Paulina: The crossover special is so much fun. It is a stand alone episode so it has nothing to do with the story line. I can tell you that we will have amazing guest stars and a lot of competition. So let the games begin… As for part 3 or season 2, we await for Netflix to renew (cross fingers).

YEM: So tell us… who laughs the most during takes?

Paulina: We all had so much fun. I remember when we were shooting the football scene and it was when we said, “Give me the headband, I THOUGHT YOU HAD IT?!” we kept spitting on each other and we were just cracking up the whole time. There was never a dull moment on set.

YEM: What are you excited to see from Ashley moving forward?

Paulina: I’m so anxious to know what will happen next. I want to see Ashley working in the lab and taking on more projects and continue to see how she grows in her personal life. I would like to see more conversations in Spanish with tio Victor and bring in a little more of the latino culture.

She is an independent latina woman who is trying to figure out friendships, relationships and typical teenage stuff.

YEM: So, what other projects do you have in the works?

Paulina: I just finished shooting a Christmas movie, Feliz NaviDAD, directed by Melissa Joan Hart. I had the opportunity to work with Mario Lopez, MaryCarmen Lopez and an amazing cast. We can expect to see it this Christmas (November/December) on Lifetime.

YEM: Finally, what’s one acting challenge you had to go through that you were able to overcome and how did you overcome it?

Paulina: The biggest challenge was memorizing my lines. We would receive the script the night before shooting and because our writers were constantly revising it, it was always best to memorize the night before. In my case it meant staying up and writing my lines down to be prepared for the next day. I got better over time and it became easier and faster. My secret is that I would put my script under my pillow so that as I slept my brain absorbed the lines, haha!

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