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TV series ‘Vida’ explores Latino culture of East LA

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For years, Tanya Saracho diligently worked to get her series onto TV screens.

She was inspired by Richard Villegas Jr.’s short story “Pour Vida,” the basis for the coming series “Vida.”

The series, “Vida” follows the lives of sisters, Lyn played by Melissa Barrera and Emma, played by Mishel Prada. (SOURCE: Starz)

The series premieres at 6:30 tonight on Starz.

The series tackles a lot of issues – starting with gentrification.

The show follows two Mexican-American sisters, Emma and Lyn, from East Los Angeles who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other. Circumstances force them to return to their old Boyle Heights neighborhood, where they are confronted by the past and some shocking truth about their mother’s identity.

“Vida” is also gaining a lot of buzz for having a predominantly Latino cast.

Former Albuquerque resident Luis Bordonada plays the character Nelson in the show.

“I’m extremely excited about this show,” Bordonada says. “I never thought I would be a part of it. I finished sending a text to Tanya (Saracho) today about how exciting everything is. I can’t wait for the premiere.”

Bordonada was born in El Paso and made his way to Albuquerque, where he found a home in the New Mexico film industry.

Landing a role in “Vida” helped him achieve a lifelong goal.

“Being part of the show is amazing, but it’s also an historic event,” he says. “It’s a huge leap forward for Latinos. I remember being a kid and watching ‘Bound by Honor’ or ‘La Bamba’ and feeling that there are these people that I know in the community. I couldn’t wait for ‘Stand and Deliver.’ When I saw the first trailer for ‘Vida,’ I knew it was going to be special. It brought back those feelings that I had so long ago. The series represents so many elements of Latino culture.”

Bordonada was drawn to the series because of the writing. Each character is genuine, with multiple layers.

“The characters aren’t a stereotype, either,” he adds.

Bordonada says Nelson is charming, good at what he does and driven.

The actor shares some characteristics with the fictional character.

“Nelson is a man who wants to make something better for himself,” he said. “Somewhere along his path, the lines of morality have become a little blurred. He believes he’s achieving something better for himself. And however he’s going to do it, he will get it done.”

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