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Melissa Barrera has been consistently making a name for herself in recent years. The Mexican actress is probably most recognizable in the United States for her horror roles, namely in the legacy franchise “Scream.”

But in her more than a decade-long career that has taken her from Monterrey to Hollywood, she’s done it all — telenovelas, musicals, drama, romance and even comedy. 

In this episode of Latino USA, Melissa talks about her journey into acting, the importance of using her platform and how she views her own diverse and growing career during what she calls an age of self-reflection. 

Read the episode transcript here.

After studying musical theater at New York University, Melissa returned to her native Mexico to participate in the reality singing competition show “La academia.” From there, she made her mark in her home country, starring in telenovelas like “Siempre tuya Acapulco” and “Tanto amor.” 

It would be a lead role on the television series “Vida” that would finally bring Melissa over to Hollywood.

“It was probably the smoothest transition that anyone could have ever had,” she told Latino USA. The series paved the way for other major roles to follow in her career. 

Still from movie “Abigail.” (Bernard Walsh / Universal Pictures)

She’s graced the big screen in starring roles like Vanessa in the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony award-winning musical, “In the Heights,” and Sam Carpenter in the rebooted “Scream” franchise.

Melissa’s role in “Scream” helped revive the franchise, giving way to a new generation of horror fans. But in November 2023, she was dropped from the next installment for pro-Palestine posts she made on social media about the war on Gaza. It was a move that shocked many, but not Melissa.   

“I knew that there was going to be consequences…because I could see that no one was saying anything about it,” she said. 

Still from movie “Abigail.” (Bernard Walsh / Universal Pictures)

Since then, Melissa hasn’t backed down, staying committed to using her platform to express her stance. 

And being dropped from “Scream” hasn’t kept Melissa out of the horror genre. Today she stars in “Abigail,” where she plays one in a group of criminals that realizes the young ballerina they kidnapped is actually a very deadly vampire. The film is out now in theaters. 

Featured image by Sarah Krick.

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