Unsure if she was going to be able to act in the role of her dreams, Daniela Estrada spent two weeks in October praying for a miracle.
With a mother that is unable to travel out of the United States and a father that puts work before family, Daniela felt hopeless. The young actress found out she was cast in the upcoming Netflix show, Selena: The Series. The family felt frustrated and heartbroken that they could not travel with her. They felt as if all the acting classes, long drives to auditions, and sleepless nights helping Daniela memorize lines were all for nothing. Fortunately, Daniela’s father was granted permission from work to travel with Daniela to Rosarito, Mexico for a month.
How did you feel after you secured the role?
“I felt as if the world had been lifted off my shoulder. I could not believe that I was going to co-star as the kid version of Suzette Quintanilla (Sister to Selena Quintanilla)”, Daniela said gleefully. Thoughtful and excited, dressed casually in Nike black sweatpants and a navy blue long-sleeved shirt, she sat on her parsley couch as she pets her nervous chihuahua, Wall-e.
“It’s not every day a kid from South Central, Los Angeles gets an opportunity like this”.
Not so long ago, Daniela could have never imagined being able to work next to well-known actors. Some being, Christian Serratos (The Walking Dead), Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives), and Gabriel Chavarria (East Los High). She explained, “I am proud of myself and grateful to my family, teacher, and agent. It’s not every day a kid from South Central, Los Angeles gets an opportunity like this”. I was nervous, especially since I only had two weeks to learn how to play the drums on top of learning my lines. I had the least experience on set so I knew I had to bring my A-game”!
“…the hairstylist pulled out scissors and told me I was getting a mullet”!
Daniela’s hair is up to her waist. She crosses her legs on the couch and runs her fingers through her long straight hair. Her face recalled a memory from the set. She gets excited and blurts out,” the hairstylist pulled out scissors and told me I was getting a mullet!”…tears were pouring down my face!… I was embarrassed that the cast and crew saw me cry…the producer understood and didn’t cut my hair short. She shifts her legs and explains how it does not seem like such a big deal now. She’s determined to engulf herself in future roles.
“It can get stressful for a kid…”
Her Chihuahua Wall-e jumps off her lap and Daniela brushes off the dog hairs. She explains that she needs to start homework a bit. When she gets overwhelmed, she sometimes just needs to let all the emotion out and cry. It can get stressful for a kid to balance school, auditions, acting class, homework, and extracurricular activities. Daniela says she wouldn’t have it any other way. `I also play soccer after school. It’s also a good way to relieve stress. I don’t know what I would do without it”.
Daniela’s mother Irene Hernandez, is over the moon excited and proud. She sits across from Daniela with a smile on her face and a McDonald’s hot coffee in hand. Irene admires her daughter’s work ethic and fearless attitude. She received nothing but good feedback from the producers and casting. They beamed that they cast Daniela perfectly for the role of Suzette.
“I want people from my community to know that they can do anything that they set their mind to”!
Daniela hopes to inspire other young girls from South Central to pursue their dreams.” I want people from my community to know that they can do anything they set their minds to. “This was my first time away from home for a month…It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but I would not trade the experience for anything”.
“Acting is not a race but a marathon” – Bobby Gene
A career in acting is not easy, Daniela said. She takes a deep breath as she recalls her hardships. I was auditioning for two years and I wasn’t getting anything. I was beginning to doubt myself but I did not give up…my acting teacher Bobby Gene always says that acting is not a race but a marathon”. Daniela gets up to stretch her legs. She chases after her dog and explains that she needs to start her homework.