interview by JANA LETONJA

Mexican-American actress Xochitl Gomez is currently competing on Season 32 of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ with partner Val Chmerkovskiy. Most recently, we’ve been able to see her in Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ in 2022. Next up, she will star opposite Jessica Biel and Kid Cudi in the sci-fi thriller ‘Ursa Major’.

Xochitl, you are currently competing on the 32nd season of ‘Dancing With The Stars’. How did you end up on this long-running reality TV competition?
I got the audition through my agent, Stella.  She has a great relationship with DWTS and so she threw my name out there and they were interested. I was so surprised.

What has been the most memorable moment of DWTS so far and what is your goal for the remainder of the season?
I’ll have to say that, so far, getting a perfect score was the most incredible experience. It feels so nice to have something that we’ve worked so hard for recognized by the judges. Tango was really difficult for me. I might have cried a little during rehearsal, so getting all those 10s made it worth it. We’re working really hard now that there’s two dances that are longer and more complicated. We’re just trying to get those 10s again.

full look PRADA

full look MICHAEL KORS

Has dancing been a big part of your life before DWTS?
I’ve always liked dancing. I just wasn’t very good at it. As a theater kid, I was surrounded by kids who could dance really well. They took lessons and all that and I didn’t, so they usually put me in the back. I got TikTok when Covid happened and I started teaching myself the trending dances and challenging myself to learn difficult choreography. So, that’s my whole dance experience. Also, to prepare for DWTS and get in shape, I did a lot of Zumba classes. That was great practice for learning new steps.

Last year, we’ve seen you in Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’. How was the experience of becoming a part of Marvel Universe and starring alongside such talented ensamble
Getting a lead role in a Marvel film is a dream come true. I never wished for it because I didn’t even think that was possible for someone 14 years old. My co-stars are all super famous actors with hundreds of credits and awards, so I was shocked that I got the part. It was intimidating to think about too much. Once I met them and got to spend time with them off camera, just casually hanging out, it put me at ease. It’s amazing what can become ‘normal’ after a while. 

dress VERA WANG
shoes STUART WEITZMAN

You started acting very young, when you were only 5 years old. What attracted you to acting and what do you love most about it today?
My mom put me in children’s musicals because she saw that I loved to ham it up and wear costumes, like a lot of kids I guess. What I loved about it most as a kid is also what I love about ‘Dancing with the Stars’. I love being part of a family of performers putting a show together and the live on-stage aspect. I love the costumes, learning the parts, dances and the crowd reaction. DWTS for me feels so much like theater and it’s nice to do this again. 

Being only 17, what are your biggest goals and dreams for your career?
I hope to find or create projects that have important or interesting stories to tell. I don’t have a list of people I need to work with or awards I hope to win. I want to collaborate with talented people who are doing great things and loving their jobs. Being on a show where the people working on the project are happy and appreciated really comes through in the final product. You can literally feel it radiating through the screen. DWTS is like that and that’s why everyone says it’s the best experience ever.

blazer BETTTER
tights and socks CALZEDONIA
shoes STELLA MCCARTNEY
earrings VASSIA KOSTARA

How would you say you have developed as an actress so far, since your first on screen role?
My first on screen role was at age 10. I was playing on an iPad in the backseat of a car for a commercial. I’ve had a lot of experience since then and the roles are more complex, but the same rule still applies. I always try to find myself inside the role. I want to own the lines, movements, gestures, etc. like they belong to me. Playing on an iPad or battling the Scarlet Witch, there’s some of the same stuff. Throw yourself into it 100 %, take risks and most of all, have fun

You grew up with a lot of Mexican influences. How has this impacted your upbringing and you as a person?
I grew up in Echo Park, which is very diverse. My dad is from Mexico, so all the influences of Mexican culture, language and media were a huge part of my upbringing. We watched ‘Sábado Gigante’ together, we took daily trips to the Panadería for sweet bread, we listened to rancheras and gruperas. We have a blended American and Mexican crossover happening and I find that lots of my friends that come from mixed families have that as well. It’s becoming the new normal and that’s cool.

top and shorts VERA WANG
tights CALZEDONIA
shoes STUART WEITZMAN

What are some of your favorite hobbies? Where we’d most probably run into you on your day off?
I do Wushu, martial arts, four times a week when I’m not on a film or TV project, so you’d probably find me at class during my time off. I’m currently a little more than halfway to my black belt, so that’s a goal of mine at this point, to earn a black belt in Wushu. My background in martial arts has helped me a lot on DWTS.

Next up, you’ll be starring in the sci-fi thriller ‘Ursa Major’. Tell us more about this film and your other upcoming projects.
The most recent project I completed months ago is a short film called ‘Hive’. It’s written and directed by Felipe Vargas, a gifted young filmmaker who is on the fast track to success. ‘Hive’ is a concept short for a feature film, so we’ll see if it goes further after it’s released in January. ‘Ursa Major’ is planned to come out later in the spring, so we’re all standing by for more news. I’m really excited to work with Jessica and Scott.

bodysuit and tights SKIMS
coat DOROTHEE SCHUMACHER
shoes PRADA

TEAM CREDITS:
photography RAEN BADUA @raenbadua
styling JORDAN GROSS @jordanshilee
makeup MARLA VAZQUEZ @marlavazquez
hair BRITTANY GHARRING @britbritbritbrit
photo assistant RASHMI ALETI @rashmialetiphoto
styling assistant EMILY VUDURIS @emily.vuduris