In the drama series Vida, creator Tanya Saracho invites viewers to delve into the inner struggles of Boyle Heights, a rapidly changing neighborhood in East L.A. Saracho humanizes issues of gentrification and financial struggle, weaving them throughout the intimate lives of a largely Latinx cast, who, through their crucial roles, demonstrate the intricacies of growing up in a traditional Latinx-American family.
Vida captures the authenticity of what it feels like to love your culture, even if you haven’t found that common ground yet. The story follows the complex relationship between two sisters, Emma (Mishel Prada), a straightforward—at times cold—businesswoman with a corporate job in Chicago, and Lyn Hernandez (Melissa Barrera) a young, lackadaisical woman who lives a life of luxury dating rich white men in San Francisco.
Both sisters return to their childhood stomping grounds of Boyle Heights after the death of their mother, Vida. The two must sort through their mother’s estate, starting with the rundown corner bar and the apartments that lie above it. It’s a bit of a dive, but it has good bones. It’s also the center of a lot of the drama, and a haven for the local LGBTQ community.
The show is also richly populated with characters such as Mari Sanchez (Chelsea Rendon), who embodies Eastside youth activism culture, and Eddy (Ser Anzoategui), Vida’s roommate—but there may or may not be more to that story. No spoilers!
Vida (which just wrapped up its second season on Starz) is a must-see show, especially for the Latinx and LGBTQ communities. Saracho, who identifies as queer, has created a multi-layered story that shows that representation matters.