Genuine Change with Alycia Pascual-Peña
The beloved Saved By The Bell returned to our screens as a reboot on Peacock. While we witnessed a reunion of some of our favorite characters, this new take on the show featured an entire new generation and in turn, new and unique stories. Alycia Pascual-Peña plays Aisha, an Afro-Latina, football-playing girl boss that faces all the typical teen challenges as well as challenges regarding her place in a majority white high school. She talked with us about the importance of not only her own role in the show, but the future of all roles that will bring genuine change to entertainment.
Can you walk us through your career from your childhood to now?
My journey within the industry has definitely been an uphill battle. I’ve been in the industry since I was three and have always known I wanted to be an artist. But for many years I dealt with continuous rejection. But I remained dedicated to my craft and pursuing my dreams. I’m really grateful for my journey within the industry because I grew and learned from it all. I am truly blessed to be where I am as an actress and I am looking forward to everything that is to come.
Do you have a favorite memory from working on Saved By the Bell, on or off set?
I have a lot of memories from set that I cherish, but one of my favorite memories from set would have to be filming episode seven. Episode seven allowed for the cast and I to explore Bayside out of the school a bit. We got to shoot these extravagant party scenes which were a total ball. I had so much fun dancing and laughing with my entire cast throughout filming.
How are you similar and different from Aisha?
You’ve discussed dealing with erasure and lack of representation in entertainment and you now get to contribute to progress with this role. What hopes do you have moving forward with this show and entertainment in general?
What was it like working with Mario Lopez?
It was always a lot of fun! He was always so kind and helpful in every scene. He’s such a wonderful scene partner. And we’d always talk about our cultures and find ourselves dancing on set. I grew up watching him , so the fact that I now get to work with him and call him “coach” is amazing. I’m really grateful.
What are you hoping fans take from the show?
I hope people are able to laugh and enjoy the wackiness of our show. But more importantly, I hope our show encourages empathy and compels people to progress the conversations we have on the show in their own lives.
Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
I am inspired by so many artists but some people that immediately come to mind are Ava DuVernay, Barry Jenkins, Lin Manuel Miranda, Zendaya, Indya Moore,etc. I also look forward to being able to create work with my own personal friends that I’m really inspired by as well.
When you’re not working, what are you doing?
Name your go-to song for 2020.
Talent ALYCIA PASCUAL-PENA @alyciadelsol
Interview ARIS PANGAN @arisjpangan
Photography BRANDON HICKS @brandonhicks