Isabela Moner learned a lot from playing Lizzy in Instant Family, mainly that foster kids are just like all kids.
The Peruvian American actress spoke to Latina.com in support of the DVD/Blu-Ray release of the title on Tuesday where she portrayed one of three orphans adopted by Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne's characters Pete and Ellie.
Based on the true life story of director Sean Anders, Lizzy was not specifically based on any of his adpted children. A foster kid named Maraide Green served as the inspiration for Moner's character and she guided the teen actress throughout shooting while serving as a producer on the film.
"I'm the middle child in a family of three kids," Moner said over the phone while shooting her latest project in Toronto. "So I didn't know what it was like to parent my siblings like Lizzy did.
I definitely had moments like hers during my earlier teen years. But as I get older, I’m a less extreme version of that. I’m definitely not a perfect child but I try hard not to piss off my mom! Lizzy had her own responsibilities as well as tending to her siblings.
In real life, someone always had my back. So to get into character I spoke to Green, who the role of Lizzy is based on. She has a younger sister and they lived on top of a crack house...there was a lab in the basement and everything. It exploded around the time she was 12, I think and she got put back into the foster care system.
She later was adopted around when she was 15 and she was pretty problematic in a very Christian household. It was interesting to hear her story and see how everything turned out for her. She’s just so smart and so trusting. She’s a wonderful woman who has her sh** together.
The odds were against her and she had to fight to survive. I learned a lot from her."
While Moner is a loud and proud Latina, she hopes that people can appreciate her work as an actor is Latina. She is looking forward to playing a wide array of characters on the big screen in the future, including the live action version of Dora The Explorer when it hits theaters on August 2nd.
"In everything I do, I always incorporate my roots as much as I can," she explained. "It’s important to me that I’m not just looked at as a Latina character in a movie. I want to be really well rounded and that’s my responsibility as an actress.
I own the fact that my being in a movie gives representation to our community, but that’s not all that I am. I want people to be like, 'Wow, she’s a great actress. And she’s Latina, as well.'
That’s the goal."
When she finishes shooting Netflix's Let It Snow in Canada, she'll be headed to Miami to continue work on her music. The songstress, who has already collaborated with Colombian star Sebastian Yatra, hopes to duet with other big names in the future.
"I’ll take any excuse to go to Miami. I spend so much time there, especially when I’m working on my music. I want to work with and be around those who really understand the culture. When it comes to my music, it is very much influenced by the Latino culture. Most of my songs are in Spanish because I just love the way it sounds.
I’ve already collaborated with Sebastian Yatra in the past, he’s a total sweetheart. In the future, I'd love to work with Manuel Turizo, Romeo Santos, and Marc Anthony. Marc and I can write a song together, and maybe he can sing at least one line...collaborating with him in anyway would be amazing."