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Speaking Spanish On Walker Independence Reminds Gabriela Quezada Of Conversations With Her Own Grandmother - Exclusive

"Walker Independence" is a breath of fresh air when it comes to depicting the many cultures that would have actually existed during the late 1800s. Characters like Gabriela Quezada's Lucia Reyes and Justin Johnson Cortez's character Calian bring a breath of fresh air to the late 1800s storyline. The addition of strong, diverse characters stands strong among a slate of Wild West stories that treat their Native and Mexican characters like satirized parodies. 

And though recollections of the real individuals of the time have been whitewashed and intentionally left out of history, "Walker Independence" offers a fictionalized rendition of what life in the West would have actually looked like rather than the altered history that we've been fed for 100s of years. 

Looper spoke to Quezada during an exclusive interview, where she discussed how speaking Spanish on the show reminds her of speaking Spanglish with her grandmother. She also touched on the importance of representation and the difficulties she had researching the history of Mexican women in the old West. 

The importance of onscreen representation

On the representation of speaking Spanish onscreen, Quezada said, "I think it's so important. What I like is that there's a little bit of Spanglish between me, my mom, and my dad, and then even sometimes [when] I'm speaking to Hoyt, I can throw a few little Spanish terms in here and there."

She described how the series tapped into her own experience, adding, "[Regarding] my experience, half of me is Guatemalan, and my experience talking to my grandma is very much [like that with] Spanglish. I feel like my grandma never knows when she's speaking Spanish or English."

Quezada hopes people can relate to her character's experience. "That's very much representative of the Latin American experience of many, many, many people who were born in the U.S. with Hispanic heritage, whether they're first or second generation.," she said. "That there's a lot of Spanglish that goes on between them and their family. That's cool to be able to bring that to the show because it's like my character is trying to integrate it into this new world. Then there's still the roots that are shown through my speaking with my parents in Spanglish, or them speaking to me in Spanish and me responding in English."

Diving into muddied history

Sadly, Quezada said it's not that easy to find tangible information about the real Mexican women of the time period. "Even when I was researching for the show, I wanted to find more about Mexican women living during this time in Texas or on land that was recently acquired by the U.S. And it's really, really hard to find any information about that," she added. "There's very limited information following stories of women [of] Mexican origin or even Spanish origin. That was interesting to begin with, because it made me realize, 'Oh, yeah, these stories aren't really told.'"

Given the lack of information available, Quezada had to use what she could find and put her own spin on it. "There was a lot that I had to piece together myself based on reading different histories of Hispanic women living in New Mexico or in Texas and whatnot during the time," she added. "There's definitely a need to show more people during this time, that is, during the 1800s or the late 1800s, because the reality is, these people did exist. I would love to get more into some of the cultural context."

"Walker Independence" returns on January 12. All previous episodes are available to stream for free on The CW app and website.