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How The Walking Dead changed Princess actress Paola Lázaro for good

With nearly a decade's worth of seasons under its belt, AMC's The Walking Dead continues to stand tall in pop culture and in the television world. Over its 10 seasons, the first of which debuted on Halloween night in 2010, characters have come and gone in ways ranging from peaceful to downright grizzly. Regardless of how they left, the actors and actresses responsible for filling the cast list rarely have a bad thing to say about their time on the program. Even newcomers, such as Princess actress Paola Lázaro, have kind words to share about their zombified spotlight.

Juanita Sanchez, better known as Princess or the Princess of Pittsburgh, became a fan-favorite Walking Dead comics character from the moment she arrived in issue #171. Her bubbly and chatty personality was a welcome change in the grim, washed-out zombie apocalypse. Not to mention, on the TV series at least, Princess is characterized as having a pretty dark sense of humor — dressing walkers in strange costumes and setting them up for elaborate reanimated dioramas. Shenanigans like this are quite out of the ordinary on the AMC adaptation, which tends to leans heavily into its dramatic side.

After being a part of the Walking Dead comics for quite some time, Princess made her long-awaited television debut on the 14th episode of season 10, entitled "Look at the Flowers," in which actress Paola Lázaro gave the character a perfectly kooky introduction. Now a full-fledged member of the Walking Dead family, Lázaro gets to take part in all of the extracurriculars that come with the gig — including San Diego Comic-Con. During this year's ComicCon@Home, she appeared alongside a handful of her fellow cast members and touched on how landing the job as Princess changed her life and her relationship with the masses.

Playing Princess on The Walking Dead has brought Paola Lázaro closer to fans on a personal level

During the panel, host Chris Hardwick asked Lázaro how her time as Princess impacted her day-to-day life. While her family — her father, in particular — loves to joke with her about her fame, Lázaro has turned it into something truly special. 

"It's mostly been online because I don't leave the house. I go get groceries for the family and stuff, but all the interactions have mostly been online — apart from my dad [joking around]," said Lázaro. "They always play with me! Like, we'll be at a store and he'll say, 'Isn't that Paola Lazaro from The Walking Dead?!' And I'm like, 'Ugh! Can you not?' So embarrassing."

After laughing about that anecdote, Lázaro got serious when sharing how the response to Princess has touched her heart. 

"It's been really beautiful to share with the world something I work so hard for and to share with the world a character that I think has a huge heart regardless of her struggles in the past. I've always been a very transparent person, and me sharing my journey and my struggles and my vulnerability with the audiences through the internet has allowed them to be vulnerable with themselves about different struggles," Lázaro said, citing her role as a way to get viewers in touch with their troubles and adversities in an online setting. She went on to say, "That has enabled a beautiful conversation with them, and so I'm very thankful for that."

Her sentimental words about her experience on The Walking Dead tells audiences everything they need to know about the kind of person Lázaro is. She used social media to convey how she made it through her long journey to landing the role of Princess, connecting on a deeper level with Walking Dead viewers. The actress remains as down-to-Earth as ever and didn't allow the role to go to her head; instead, she used it to help motivate others to work for their dreams.