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Why Amanda From Sweet Girl Looks So Familiar

The action-drama "Sweet Girl" debuted on Netflix August 20, bringing Jason Momoa back to screens and introducing many to the talented Isabela Merced ("Dora and the Lost City of Gold") as the title character, Ray Cooper's daughter Rachel. The narrative focuses on a father facing the death of his wife from cancer — a death that could have been prevented by an experimental drug whose release was indefinitely delayed by a competing drug company. His grief-stricken tirade on a national television show leads him to get contacted by a reporter on the hunt, but their meeting ends up going all sorts of wrong — especially since Rachel has followed him. The catalyst for the action and the twist in the movie is the death of mother Amanda, who is played by Adria Arjona. 

Arjona's role is a small one in the film, comparatively: There's a "happy family" camping montage at the movie's start that introduces her, but after that she's seen in the hospital, sick, and that's pretty much it; she's a bit of a plot device. Still, you may recognize the actress. She's not big, but she's got a nice list of accomplishments that make her somewhat recognizable if you've been watching the right projects.

She's Puerto Rican and Guatemalan, raised in Mexico City and Miami, and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute while working as a hostess and waitress (via her self-written bio on IMDb). After a few guest roles in series like "Person of Interest," "True Detective," and "Narcos" in 2014 and 2015, she started breaking out in a bigger way. Here's where you might have seen her before.

She played Dorothy Gale in NBC's more grown-up Oz series Emerald City

"Emerald City" only lasted for 10 episodes as an NBC midseason replacement in 2017, and was called "the 'Wizard of Oz'/'Game of Thrones' mashup nobody asked for" by Rotten Tomatoes. It was Arjona's first leading role in a major project, though. She played Dorothy Gale, a 20-year-old nurse from Kansas in the series, which had production problems from the start (via Variety). Initially, it was slated as a straight-to-series order in 2014-2015, but NBC passed and then had it retooled for the 2017 season. When it finally aired, it was placed on Friday nights in a network vote of no-confidence. Ratings reflected this and the show was soon labeled a flop of epic proportions

Despite that, getting cast in the series made a definite impression on Arjona, who almost didn't audition due to self-doubt. She told Nylon, "I really didn't want to go in for [the part]. I thought, 'I'm not really Dorothy, dude. I'm brown.' But you know, I went in and I decided to fight it. This role gave me a really beautiful slap in the face."

She played Jules in Pacific Rim: Uprising

Arjona played a prominent supporting role in the "Pacific Rim" sequel from 2018, "Pacific Rim: Uprising," as Jules Reyes, the J-Tech. You may recall that Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) is a bit put out during one of the beginning scenes of the movie when Jules meets Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) and Amara (Cailee Spaeny), as she flirts a bit with Jake. There was a potential love triangle brewing there. Jules was also caught up in the attack on the Moyulan Shatterdome by the Kaiju-Jaeger hybrids, saving Nate from the collapse of Titan Redeemer and helping to repair the other Jaegers and then observing the battle from the site's mission control room. 

"She's not tough. She's just a strong woman who's good at her job," Arjona said about her character in a promotional video for the movie, posted to YouTube by Scifi Japan. "And that can sometimes be played wrongly in society and I think this could prove to other girls outside, especially Hispanic girls, that it's okay. It's okay to have an opinion, it's okay to be strong. There's nothing wrong with that. "

She played Anathema Device in Good Omens

As Anathema Device in the Amazon adaptation of Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett's comedy fantasy "Good Omens," Arjona starred in five of the six existing episodes of the 2019 show. She played the last descendant of Agnes Nutter, an American occultist who teams up with Newton Pulsifer (Jack Whitehall) to stop the end of the world. 

It felt special to be playing such a character, the actress told Collider. "I think for me as a Latin American actress, this was a diamond. I mean this, I can't even believe that they considered me for this. I would've never imagined it and that's why I'm so proud to be a part of this because I got to play. I didn't have to play my ethnicity, I didn't have to. I just got to be this woman and played her story linearly, exactly how it was written, which to me was really, really special and I just hope that I can play more women like that."

It is unclear if Arjona will be part of the upcoming second season of "Good Omens." The show was never actually meant to have a second season, which means that its cast and crew would be delving into new territory, although leads Michael Sheen and David Tennant are slated to come back (via TV Insider). Arjona may be pretty busy: she's slated to appear in "Morbius" with Jared Leto and Michael Keaton next year, and she'll play the bride in the new "Father of the Bride" remake for HBO Max, which reunites her with on-screen "Sweet Girl" daughter Isabela Merced (via Hollywood Reporter).