Film

Danna Paola Reflects Back on Netflix’s ‘Élite’ & Feeling Embraced by the LGBTQ Community

Arty by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.

Fresh off another killer season of the hit Netflix show Élite, Mexican pop princess Danna Paola is in quarantine in D.F. She’s still working as evidenced by her latest single created in lockdown, “Contigo.” Paola’s starring role as Lucrecia “Lu” Montesinos on Élite has placed her on a global platform and she’s flexing her multi-hyphenate talents.

Paola started out as a child star in telenovelas in 2000. She made a splash in 2004 as an actress and singer, playing a mermaid in Amy, La Chica de la Mochila Azúl. Paola has maintained steady jobs in the worlds of acting and music. The two came together when she was cast as Elphaba in the first Spanish-language adaption of the musical Wicked in 2013. After breaking box office records in Mexico, Paola’s biggest role was still on the horizon.

Since premiering in 2018, Paola was the only Mexicana and resident baddie on the Spanish series Élite. The third season saw her character Lu become an accidental murderer, but her classmates came together to cover it up. With Lu in New York, Danna in D.F., and a new her cuarentena anthem “Contigo” out, the 24-year-old star talked with Remezcla about her two decades in the business and what’s next.

Danna Paola as Lu in ‘Élite.’ Photo credit: Manuel Fernandez-Valdes. Courtesy of Netflix.

What did you like about playing Lu on Élite?

She’s completely changed my world personally and professionally. I’ve always wanted to play a mean girl. That was cool. The audience has given her a lot of love. I’m so happy and grateful for that.

How did you feel to be the murderer in this season?

It was really crazy. I didn’t expect it. That was Lu losing control in an emotional situation with alcohol in the mix. I loved that the characters knew [Polo’s death] was an accident. They had a friendship that felt like family. They closed out a cycle.

Do you know if there will be more Lu in the next season?

We said goodbye to Las Encinas because we graduated. We can’t be there because Nadia (Mina El Hammani) and I, we made it. We’re now in New York, but you never know. Let’s see what happens. It’s not a goodbye. It’s just a new beginning.

You’ve been in show business for over 20 years. What have you learned about yourself in that time?

It’s a lot of work and sacrifice but a lot of learning. I’ve seen my career as a passion and not as work. I think that’s why I’m still here. I cannot live without this. Year after year, I’ve been transforming with new projects. First it was Wicked, then Élite, and now my music is the catharsis in my life.

Can how your new song “Contigo” came together?

In this quarantine I’ve learned a lot being with myself. In my 20-year career, I’ve never slept more than in this quarantine. But I’ve also never been so creative. We’ve been creating new songs. I wrote “Contigo” with my friend Saak. I wrote it for all the people who are away from their loves. It’s a hard time, but I made this as a fun dance song. Maybe this can be a song that you send to your crush.

What was the inspiration for your song “Sodio”?

It was inspired by a relationship that I had years ago. It’s really a true story, but I didn’t want to make that person the star of the song. When I received the script for season three of Élite, I saw that Malick, Nadia, and Omar are in a love triangle. Malick and Omar have a relationship. It was a song I wrote for that relationship.

I appreciated seeing the gay relationship in the music video.

As a human, I want to express being free without any judgments in my music. I want to put love into the world and if I can do that with my music, I will always. I’m really grateful for the LGBTQ+ community that makes me feel like I’m a part of their family. Love is love. Love is not ordinary.

Your 2013 song “Agüita” is big among the gay community too. How was it like to work with Javiera Mena?

I was 16-years-old. It’s one of my favorite songs ever. It was more my spirit. That song was like a freedom for me. I met Javiera and she was amazing. We made that song what it is today and I’m really proud of it. That song is my anthem.

Who do you want to collaborate with next?

Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande released “Rain On Me” and I fell in love with that song. I’m a big fan of those women and I appreciate how strong they are. I would love to work with Lady Gaga. I would also love to work with Michael Bublé.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

I don’t have a calendar right now in quarantine. We have a lot of collaborations coming. I have songs with Sebastián Yatra, Mika, Lola Índigo in Spain, and Denise Rosenthal in Chile. We’re making a lot of music and I’m excited about it.

All three seasons of Élite are now streaming on Netflix.