Netflix’s “GLOW” has a new addition, and she’s fighting for Nicaragua
If you didn’t already know, Netflix’s “Glow” season two has a new girl in town, and she’s being played by Shakira Barrera.
Shakira’s mother is an immigrant from Nicaragua, and Shakira takes great pride in this fact. She loves going back to visit Nicaragua, and she works closely with hospitals and orphanages to give back to the children of the communities there.
Shakira is extremely focused on humanitarian work in a way that seems like it’s simply apart of her. She is stoked to be working with a bunch of badass women on “Glow,” she says she’s a skittles person, and she is working on destroying stereotypical roles for Latinx actors. Check out our interview with her below to find out how.
Jacket, Pants, & Belt: The Incorporated, Shirt: Kids of Immigrants, Gloves: The Ruby LA
Your grandmother and mother are both immigrants to the US. What was your upbringing like?
I always felt very protected and very aware of the type of life that my parents went through. I was aware of how lucky I was. They sacrificed a lot for me, and I was always a product of hard work. They implemented that in me – to work hard and earn a place the right way. I think that has to do with having, basically, two moms.
Your mother was also a single mother on top of that. That takes a lot of strength. What are some valuable lessons that she has taught you over the years that you carry with you?
I had two moms. Two strong, independent women who were never seen with a man by their side, I think that allowed me to really believe in the meaning of independence. I knew I didn’t need anyone.
I feel like my mom is the epitome of a Saint. She really taught me the meaning of sacrifice. I will also never forget the lesson that she taught me before I moved to LA. She told me, “You need to have the skin of an elephant, the courage of a lion, and the work ethic of an ant.”
As I’m figuring this industry out, I really understand that she meant I have to walk around knowing who I am and being secure in that. There are so many things and people that will try to tell you that your dream isn’t possible. Remembering who I am and remembering my mother’s sacrifices have fueled my fire.
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What does it mean to you to be a first generation Nicaraguan-American, and how has that impacted your career and success?
It is the best privilege and honor to be able to represent Nicaragua. Nicaragua is basically a third world country where art is limited and kids don’t really see any art. There aren’t many artists from Nicaragua that come to the United States, and hopefully our people will eventually be more recognized.
Half the people that I talk to never guess I’m from Nicaragua. My country doesn’t come to anyone’s mind right away, and so what I am really trying to do is bring art back to the country and give our people a sense of pride. The recent events in Puerto Rico were devastating, but they have artists and celebrities globally that helped give back. It worries me that if that ever happened to Nicaragua, we would not have that same support.
Has your career as an actress always been positive, or have there been highs and lows? If so, how did you turn those lows into a positive career move?
No, it has not always been positive. But, I say in order to receive a blessing you have to make room for it. Sometimes, making room means sacrificing or changing. I also really do feel that the lows in my career have really propelled me to be the woman than I am today. There’s going to be a bunch of no’s before there’s that one yes. That’s just the pattern of life.
Do you have any plans to change the game as far as Latinx actors getting non-stereotypical roles?
Absolutely. I think “Glow,” is already doing that. Y’know, I am representing a Mexican-American in the show, even though I’m Nicaraguan. My character is Mexican, and Mexicans are the biggest percentage of Latinos here in America. So I am super excited to represent them by coming in as this powerhouse Latina. She’s fearless and walks into this ring with fourteen other women and it’s just such awesome to introduce a Latina character at this time.
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Pants: Ziztar, Shirt: Kids of Immigrants, Hat: St. Germaine, Shoes: Fergie Footwear
What’s in your trailer?
I have a candle because sometimes we move rooms so I like to have my little scent with me always. I always have water and I always have candy! I’m a skittles person.
What is it like working on a show with mainly powerhouse female actresses?
I think it is honestly the best challenge that I’ve ever had. I never thought I would walk into a ring with so many talented women, who really challenge me to be my best. We all also fully support each other, and I don’t think that the show would work otherwise. We really do need to trust each other, and for them to be so welcoming and open to me coming in at the second season was awesome.
You also do a lot of humanitarian work in Nicaragua. Tell us about what you’ve been doing!
I am currently associated with a hospital over there called Pajarito Azul. It’s basically the only hospital in Nicaragua that accepts children with disabilities. They range from newborns to age 45, and I think they can stay there until the age of 50. I did a Zumba event here in LA to raise money and went to the hospital. I was expecting to buy them Christmas presents, but in reality, they needed basics. It was really eye opening.
They need a lot of help over there. They were understaffed, and they are purely donation-based. I bought diapers, food, and things like that. The government only pays the workers to work. It’s important to donate because that’s what the hospital needs, even when you don’t always hear about it.
I also am connected to the director of an orphanage in Nicaragua, and I want to get bikes for the girls. I’m working on that right now.
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Blazer: Jeff Antiques, Earrings: Sambac, Pants, Belt, & Shoes: Topshop
You’ve said that you feel a natural responsibility to give back. What do you think is a great way for everyone reading this to give back in some way today?
I think it’s so simple to even just monthly, look up a charity or a cause that you care about, and if you can’t physically help, you can donate. Start small.
What is Shakira’s IRL wresting persona?
I would be a face, which is the good guy. I think it’s harder to be the good guy in wrestling, and I would enjoy having the challenge.
Tricks and products for people with curly hair?
I love Diva Curl.
Top & Skirt: B James, Shoes: Maya Shoes
Creative Director/Stylist: Nicolette Alberti
Photographer: Wes Klain
Videographer/Assistant Photographer: James Davis
Makeup: Ashley Brignolle
Hair: Keeva Ekhator
Photo Retoucher: Anna Polyaskovskaya
Styling Assistants: Hana Sun Doerr & Julien Chinchilla
Thanks to: APEX Photo Studios