This Up-and-Coming Latina Actress Has the Most Intriguing Workout Routine


Anais & Dax

The first thing that intrigues me about Melissa Barrera is that she plays a vegan on TV. Or at least, she's about to. For as much television as there is to choose from these days, you never hear about shows that center on self-possessed female figures who care about their health and the environment enough to make something like veganism a character in its own right. But this is indeed the case for Barrera's new role as Lyn, a Mexican American (vegan) lead on the upcoming drama series Vida, set to premiere on Starz May 6. The show follows two sisters with opposite personalities who are forced to return to the neighborhood where they grew up in East Los Angeles and confront some unsettling truths about their past and their mother.

Barrera has a few things in common with her character: She lives in L.A., though she grew up in Monterrey, Mexico—a tomboy with a bottomless wealth of energy who loved basketball and never wore makeup. Her mother is also a key figure in her life but more as a steadfast supporter who indulged her every athletic instinct to want to try all the sports in the world, from softball to martial arts. And though Barrera may not be vegan—she calls herself an "animal lover" and a "carnivore" in the same breath—her role on Vida has influenced her personal beauty routine in a big way, inspiring her to replace all her products with cruelty-free alternatives. 

It's all of these qualities that make Barrera such an interesting beauty interview—her perspectives on skincare, makeup, and fitness are so much more motivated by her passions (those being acting, athletics, and animal rights) than a desire to look a certain way. Keep reading for our interview with the up-and-coming actress: her favorite cruelty-free skincare, the most kick-ass workout in Los Angeles, and why being a "quitter" isn't always such a bad thing.