Whether it’s from Spy Kids, Nashville, or one of her many other projects, one thing is certain: You know who Alexa PenaVega is. She’s a Latina superstar, leaving her mark on the world in a big way, and she sat down with us to discuss her popular role on ABC’s Nashville, her recently-released film, Do You Believe?, and everything in between. She’s fun, sharp, and incredibly sincere, a refreshing combination that endeared us to her from the second she said hello. Not to mention, she has great taste in food and an outlook on life that just might change the way you look at Hollywood (and the world around you) once and for all…
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. We like to start out by asking about your inspirations. Who inspired you growing up? How did you get your start?
I started acting when I was four years old. So that was twenty-two years ago. I kind of just fell into this business. I totally think it was always what I was meant to do, but just the way it happened was so unconventional… We snuck into an audition, and I ended up getting the job, and I was on a TV show for six years. It was all God’s grace; it was such a blessing. I just kind of was able to stay working consistently from there ever since. And I had a family that had been so supportive… Growing up, my mom would take me to all the auditions I had to go to. I had sisters who would help me get ready. It definitely took a team to make this happen for me, and if I didn’t have the family I have then I don’t think I would be where I am now.
That’s awesome. It’s a great family when you find that career you feel like you were meant to do.
Totally. It just, it feels right. Without a doubt.
Now, you recently guest-starred on Nashville, which is incredible. I love Nashville personally; I think it’s such a great show.
Thank you! It’s such a fun show.
They certainly seem to be having a lot of fun. Now, could you tell us a little about your experience getting to go on and do a three-episode arc with your character?
Yeah, well I actually go back next week, and you know, this show has been so phenomenal and fun. You have such a high-caliber cast, and such quality writers that you really can’t go wrong. You just have something so wonderful to work with. My character is a mess and that’s why I love her. I also feel like she’s relatable; she’s still trying to figure out who she is, while dealing with the responsibility of having a ten-year-old. And just working with Sam and Chaley is so wonderful. I worked with Jonathan Jackson years ago, so it was really great seeing him again, and I don’t know, it’s just such a great show. I love Nashville, and it actually shoots in Nashville, so we kind of have the best of both worlds. You’re working with a cast that you love and it shoots in a city that you love.
It is a great city – great music and delicious food…
Delicious food! I had to cut myself off. I’m obsessed with these – a lot of people don’t know what they are but they’re called – boiled peanuts, it’s a southern thing. I grew up on boiled peanuts, and they sell them all over Nashville, so I’m just in peanut heaven over there.
Sounds delicious. Now, you spend a lot of your time filming, but when you aren’t filming, how do you like to relax? What do you like to do in your spare time?
My husband and I are like big children. We kind of just bounce on the trampoline in the backyard, and we go on hikes, and we also love geocaching. Even as we speak, he’s out geocaching. It’s so much fun; it feels like a treasure hunt. That’s literally what we’re doing all the time. We just try to find ways to spend time together. We have a bible study every Monday night at our house, and we just get all our friends together and we talk about the things that we love. We talk about what’s going on in our lives. We talk about our faith. It’s just a way to stay really connected and grounded when you’re in a business that’s kind of all over the place.
Hollywood definitely fits that bill. And, that’s a great segue for Do You Believe? which is your latest film. Do you want to tell us a little more about it? How did you get involved in it?
So, I found out about this script because they called and they asked me to be a part of it. I was very fortunate. I had never see God’s Not Dead, and they were talking about how it was from the same producers as that film, which I didn’t know much about. But my faith is the number one thing in my life, and my husband and I met at bible study so it’s our foundation. I think that’s what been able to keep us so grounded in this business, and why we’ll defy the odds of making it as a couple in Hollywood. For me, when this film came along, I loved what it stood for, and it really hit a place in my heart. It’s not your typical kind of cookie cutter Christian film. It’s actually dealing with real issues. It’s way more raw. The kind of stuff that happens in this film… They have some miraculous moments, but they also have the moments where people are trying to commit suicide or people are struggling with real issues. I think that’s something that a lot of Christian films try to cover up, but we’re really embracing it, so people can relate to it. I feel like there’s this awful guilt trip that goes on within films made for the Christian community, where if you’re not perfect you’re not loved. And it’s totally the opposite. God loves you regardless. He just says, “Wherever you are, come as you are.” I like this film because I think it’s really representing what it feels like to find your faith in a very authentic way.
We’re really excited about it.
Thank you so much. I believe in this movie. Wow, that sounds so cheesy with the title name, but I really do. We have been given this incredible vehicle for impacting the world. For this film, I feel like it can have such an impact, whether you’re in the Christian community or not. Some of the actors in our film don’t know where they stand on the issues, and I think that’s okay. This movie can really change a lot for people.
It definitely feels like, not to overuse the title, everyone really believes in this film. That comes across in the movie itself.
Aww, thank you. I’m really excited about it.
Those are the best projects to be a part of – the ones that get you really excited.
You never know what’s going to happen. When you’re filming you never know if it’s going to turn out how you hoped or not. So it was nice that this one came out well.
It did. Moving on, I’m sure you get asked about this a lot, but you did get your big break on Spy Kids, and we were hoping that looking back you could tell us about one of your favorite memories from that period of your life.
I would have to say Spy Kids 2. It was so fun because we kind of already knew the ropes, and we already had these incredible relationships with everyone, so that whole movie was just about enjoying it. Not that we didn’t enjoy the first one, but by the second one we knew the ropes already, so it was just so fun.
I remember seeing it in theaters, and is sure doesn’t feel like it was that long ago.
I know! Isn’t it weird how time goes by so quickly?
It is. Speaking of time, what’s coming up next for you this year?
Well, besides going back on Nashville, we’ll just have to see what happens from there. It’s hard to predict. Acting is one of those fields where you never really know for sure what’s coming next. We have some things booked, but not anything I can talk about yet.
We’ll be watching out for more projects then. To end things, what would you say is your guilty pleasure movie?
I’m not sure if it’s a guilty pleasure, but one that my husband and I just enjoy so much is Rat Race. It just cracks us up, and we’ve seen it so many times, but we just can’t see it enough.
I’ll have to check that one out. Thank you so much for everything.
Thank you. I’m really excited about this.
Check out Do You Believe? to see more of Alexa PenaVega, and check out the DVD on August 4th…