interview by JANA LETONJA

Co-creator, writer, co-executive producer Mayan Lopez is the star of NBC’s hit series ‘Lopez vs. Lopez’, which will return for its second season on 2nd April. The sitcom is the first ever created from a TikTok and is a fictitious version of George and Mayan’s father-daughter relationship. Mayan also appeared as a guest judge on the current season of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’.

Mayan, tell us more about your series ‘Lopez vs. Lopez’, which is the first ever created from TikTok. How was the idea to create this series born?
During the pandemic, we were on lockdown and there were no auditions taking place, so I turned to TikTok as a creative outlet. I just started posting TikToks about my family and there was one TikTok particularly that had a lot of misinformation about my parents’ divorce, so I decided to do a duet and set the record straight. During that time, my parents were speaking again after 10 years, so I started filming them and called the series ‘My divorced parents acting like they are still married’. 

Debby Wolfe, a co-creator, was scrolling TikTok late at night and came across my TikToks. She started watching all of them and thought they would make a great TV show. She was working on ‘The Connors’ with Bruce Helford, who was one of the creators of the George Lopez show. He had gotten her in touch with me and my dad and from there we created the show and pitched it. We ultimately sold it to NBC. 

You made your TV debut in season 6 of your dad’s show ‘George Lopez’. How did this inspire you to pursue your own career in show business?
I was actually inspired much earlier. My mom and I would watch classic movies all the time. My favorite was ‘Singing in The Rain’ and I would watch it again and again. My mom bought me my own life size rag doll so I could perform ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ like Donald O’Connor. I also memorized every ‘I Love Lucy’ episode. Lucille Ball is my idol. 

When I was young, my parents wouldn’t let me act except for a couple of things here and there that they were involved in. They wanted me to wait until I was 18. I rode horses and was at the barn all time. 

How is it working alongside your father? What do you like the most about it and what do you find challenging about it?
I love that my dad and I are collaborating on this project and can be creative on the show. We’re now spending a lot of time together, but a show doesn’t solve everything. We still have our issues and sometimes they hit very close to home on the show and that can be challenging. 

How did your dad’s career impact your own interest in comedy?
My father being a comedian means I’ve been around comedy my entire life. It’s in my blood. I saw comedy and comedians all the time. I also heard the business side of things from my parents talking. Some people’s parents are doctors, lawyers, insurance agents. Mine are in the entertainment business. 

You are an ambassador for the National Alliance of Mental Illness, the largest grassroots mental health organization nationwide. Why is supporting this organisation and this cause so important to you?
I just try to be honest. We all have our issues and the more we speak about anxiety, depression, etc., the more we normalise it, especially in the Latino community.  

You also support the LGBTQ+ community and were just recently a guest judge on the current season of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’. How was this experience for you? What did you enjoy the most about it?
I’m a ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ super fan. The show means the world to me. When I was at my lowest during my parents’ divorce, this show brought me joy. I’m pinching myself that I’m a guest judge this season. It’s just a huge honour. 

all photography by BRAD EVERETT YOUNG