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The Fosters‘ final season returns to Freeform tonight with ‘Sanctuary,’ and OMFGTV was able to catch up with one of the series’ stars, Lisseth Chavez, about her character Ximena’s journey this season!
Chavez describes Ximena as a fearless individual. “She isn’t afraid to speak her mind and express herself when she needs to.”
In the summer finale, Ximena ran into some trouble with ICE and fears more for her family than herself. “Ximena is a DACA student and although she does fear the immigration status of her parents’ as well as potentially being Poppy’s (younger sister) guardian, she overcomes any obstacle,” Chavez tells us.
Ximena is also an artist and athlete who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. “Ximena is a derby player; she plays the sport and coaches the junior team. Ximena has become a mentor to Callie. The two had an instant connection when they met in Art class. But, more importantly, they became friends.”
The mentor is a member of the UCSD Progressive Student Alliance Committee (PSAC). After collaborating with PSAC to protest against Shiloh McCullen (a political voice who has refereed to immigrants as “third-world trash”), Ximena became a target to ICE. “She delivered her speech at the UCSD rally resulting in being chased down and she ultimately found herself at the sanctuary of the church.”
Ximena is going through something that many people in this country are currently going through, and it was extremely important for Lisseth to portray that accurately. “You have no idea how important it is for me to be the voice, the face of such a powerful character who isn’t afraid to fight for her rights. She’s the perfect role model and inspiration to 800,000 DACA recipients. I want to be a demonstration to my fellow Latinos that we do have a voice, lets use it!”
And now more than ever, Lisseth is truly going through a similar situation as Ximena. “[Recently], we woke up to more unfair news from our president. Now Salvadorans will no longer be able to use their temporary immigration permit and will be sent back. I AM Salvadoran, my parents are Salvadorian. Playing Ximena gave me the strength in my personal life to not give up and fight for my rights, but for the rights of those who feel helpless.”
Chavez feels like she can really relate to Ximena, and is excited to play a role that relates so much to her personal culture. “Her role has become very personal to me and I can relate to her in so many ways,” she shares. “I come from humble beginnings of an immigrant family and even though I’ve been privileged to be a US citizen, I am surrounded by loved ones who don’t have that same luxury. I’ve seen them be affected by DACA first hand. There’s nothing more rewarding in my career than having the opportunity to play role I am proud of, especially a role that relates to my culture.”
Hollywood has a stigma for being all drama behind the cameras, but Lisseth couldn’t stress enough how untrue that is about The Fosters. “My experience on the show has been amazing both on set and off set. I love working on the set of The Fosters. Their stories, cast and crew are literally a family and I’m thankful to have been part of that.
“Many talk how ‘fake’ the Hollywood scene is, but this show showed me differently,” she continues. “It allowed me to see the real work of a director, a writer a producer, etc. The entire production team shows you how much they care about the reality out there in the world for the minorities. I respect that a lot.”
Catch Lisseth Chavez tonight on the winter premiere of The Fosters, tonight at 8pm on Freeform!