Interview by JANA LETONJA

Melissa Barrera, acclaimed for her roles in horror films like ‘Abigail’ and ‘Your Monster’, is spotlighted as the Cover Star of the day by Numéro Netherlands Digital. Following her appearances in ‘Scream VI’ and ‘Your Monster’, she is starring in this captivating fashion story lensed by Phil Chester & Sara Byrne.

Melissa, you’ll be starring in the horror film ‘Abigail’, that follows a group of criminals who have been hired to kidnap the 12-year-old ballerina daughter of a powerful underworld figure. Tell us more about what can we expect when the film releases?

You can expect to go on a wild ride in theaters and to have lots of fun. The movie is the perfect balance of jump scares and comedy, with a big dose of blood. I also hope to see lots of people dressed as Abigail next Halloween.

blazer ROCHAS
earrings SAINT LAURENT
ring ALEXIS BITTAR
tights FALKE
boots: GIANVITO ROSSI

How would you describe your character Joey? Do you see any similarities between her and yourself?

She is reserved and observant. She’s all business and tough, yet not the obvious pick for a leader of the pack. She’d rather be a fly on the wall. Joey is a conflicted woman. She’s obviously not a saint as she’s a hired kidnapper, but there is humanity in her, which I think is important if you want audiences to root for any of the characters in the film. I don’t think Joey and I are alike at all, which is why I loved playing her, but deep inside we both share a yearning to show up for our families and not let them down.

What was the most exciting scene to film for this horror film?

I mean, the blood cannons were pretty epic. And yes, I said blood cannons. We had multiple in different scenes. I love practical effects and this movie is full of them.

How big of a fan are you of horror genre, both as an actress and as a viewer?

I love a good horror movie, but I am a scaredy cat for certain subjects in horror films, such as possessions and exorcisms. I love a good slasher, I love elevated horror and I absolutely love monster movies, which is what I grew up obsessed with. Get me a vampire, a werewolf or Frankenstein and I’m there.

Your most recent film, ‘Your Monster’, a romantic comedy horror premiered at this year’s Sundance. How exciting is it that it’s making rounds at film festivals?

It’s super exciting. That was the collective dream we all had while shooting the movie, so to now actually be doing the rounds and to know that there’s a theatrical release at the end of it is the cherry on top. ‘Your Monster’ is a film that I am very proud of and it’s been really connecting with audiences so I’m excited to keep sharing it. It’s also a rom-com with a monster and there’s music in it. It’s my dream project.

Your acting career began with working on telenovelas. How would you describe your development as an artist throughout the years?

I mean, we all grow and go through phases. I think me as an artist has been developing parallel to me as human being. I’m so grateful to have started my career in Mexico doing telenovelas. It was like acting boot camp and the years I spent there working, learning from more experienced peers and honing my discipline, really prepared me for when I moved to LA. I went from soaps and theater in Mexico to TV and film in the US. I even did a stint as a pop star and dipped my feet in reality competition shows, so I feel like I’ve done and tried a lot in what feels like simultaneously no time at all and an eternity. I’m proud of all that I’ve done and I’m excited for everything that’s to come and all the growing I have yet to do.

What got you passionate about acting and pursuing it professionally?

I think it was simply loving theater and the feeling I got when watching performers on a stage tell a story and take me on a journey with them. I loved that feeling. Eventually, I wanted to make others feel that feeling that I felt as a viewer. I always loved music and singing and dancing too, so musical theater was my way in. Then I became addicted and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else in my life other than telling stories forever.

What kind of roles would you say challenge you most, both creatively and personally?

Every role is a challenge for different reasons and I love a challenge. I’ve been challenged a lot physically in past roles, like learning a style of dance for ‘Carmen’ or ‘In the Heights’, or doing cold water and breath hold training for ‘Keep Breathing’. The most challenging roles however are the ones that feel the most personal to you. The ones where you feel so connected that you almost feel embarrassed about exposing yourself or your secrets in a way. But that’s what art is and that’s what artists who I consider to be the greats do really well.

Besides acting, what are your other passions in life?

Singing, being out in nature and travelling with my family. If I can do all three at the same time, I don’t need anything else.

What can you share with us about your other upcoming projects?

At the moment, I can’t share anything about them just yet. I’ll talk about them when the time comes.

TEAM CREDITS:
talent MELISSA BARRERA
photographers PHIL CHESTER & SARA BYRNE
stylist MARISA ELLISON
makeup LILLY KEYS
hair CLAYTON HAWKINS
styling assistant ALEXIS KOSSEL
editor TIMI LETONJA
editorial director & interview JANA LETONJA
cover design ARTHUR ROELOFFZEN