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Latin Times
Latin Times
Alicia Civita

Isabel Arraiza: how 'la chica de los acentos' made it to Prime Video hit series "Outer Range" - Interview

MIAMI - Puerto Rican actress Isabel Arraiza was famous even before anyone knew her name. Eleven years ago she was known as "La Chica de los Acentos," as her videos showcasing different Spanish-speaking accents went viral on YouTube. She was quite a sensation thanks to her hilarious and incredibly accurate monologues, transitioning from one accent to another while exploring topics and slang from Latin America and Spain.

She had many fans at the time, but nobody could have imagined that the charming young woman would become a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry. Today, she is the only Latina playing a main character in "Outer Range," where she shares the screen with Oscar nominated Josh Brolin, Imogen Poots, Lili Taylor, and Noah Reid, and that is just the tip of the iceberg of her successful career.

In an interview with The Latin Times regarding the second season of the Prime Video's hit series cowboy/sci-fi series, Arraiza revealed another interesting fact about her life. She is from Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. If that place sounds familiar, it's because it's also the hometown of Puerto Rico's biggest music star, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, better known as Bad Bunny.

The Vega Baja connection

"I grew up in a very small town in Puerto Rico. Vega Baja is a tiny town in the north of the island, where nothing happens. Well, except Bad Bunny," she jokes. "I don't think I ever met him, but I lived 15 minutes away from his home."

"We used to shop in the same supermarket where he used to work, so there is a connection, maybe we crossed paths as children. But the truth is that it has never happened as adults. I love him, though," she said.

For Arraiza, "it would be a dream to do something together, or at least share a moment. It would be powerful for the children of Vega Baja. Sí se puede, mi gente. That's the message."

María Olivares in 'Outer Range'

In Prime Video's "Outer Range," Isabel Arraiza seamlessly blends the cultural zeitgeist of Bad Bunny, the immigrant experience, cowboys, and sci-fi into her character, María Olivares. The second season of the show, which dropped on May 16, has further cemented her place in the hearts of fans and critics alike. Her journey is a testament to resilience, ambition, and the power of representation.

The role came at a perfect time. "They called me during covid to tell me that they had given me the role. In this life of an actor your spirit breaks so many times and its easy to say 'look I tried, but I am going to reinvent myself and do something else. And then, something comes and rescues you. The character of María in 'Outer Range' was one of those rescues," she remembered.

Arraiza felt a mix of relief and confirmation that she was in the right place.

Arraiza's portrayal of María is layered with complexity and authenticity. "She is a very smart girl, very ambitious, with many dreams," she explained. "She is back in town, after spending all her life wanting to leave and being pulled back by circumstances beyond her control."

Arraiza articulates beautifully how her immigrant experience ties her to María: "I remember being a young girl in in mami's kitchen and telling her 'I feel that I have to leave. I feel it here, in my stomach'." This sentiment is a powerful reflection of the internal conflict many immigrants face—yearning for a better future while being tethered to their origins.

"Outer Range" is not just a western but a sci-fi thriller that challenges perceptions of reality and time. Ahead of Season 2, Arraiza shared her thoughts on the show's exploration of time travel. "I'm going to say that this whole experience... it's been life-changing, in the sense that it's opened up conversations inside me about philosophy and spirituality, that I don't think I'd otherwise have," she said. This openness to the unknown and the metaphysical aspects of the show align with the broader themes of exploration and resilience that are intrinsic to the immigrant experience.

Playing in the big leagues

Arraiza's role in "Outer Range" is a testament to her versatility as an actress. Her previous work, including her role in "The Little Things" alongside Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto, showcased her ability to hold her own among Hollywood heavyweights. "It was surreal," she said of her experience. "Rami couldn't have been nicer... Denzel has a presence bigger than life... another example of a masterclass."

She was also part of the cast of the NBC series "Pearson," and Crackle's "The Oath," among other projects.

Although she left Puerto Rico after finishing high school to study acting in the prestigious arts conservatory Julliard School in New York City, "La isla siempre será mi casa," she said. If there is any doubt it dissapears after looking to her Instagram account, where she asked her fans to support "Outer Range" from the iconic Playa Flamingo in Culebra.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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