LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 12: Isabela Merced arrives at the World Premiere Of Sony Pictures'

INTERVIEW: Isabela Merced on Latinas Like America Ferrera Paving the Way for Her

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 12: Isabela Merced arrives at the World Premiere Of Sony Pictures' "Madame Web" at Regency Village Theatre on February 12, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/FilmMagic)

Madame Web marks the most recent outing Sony has made into the larger Spider-Verse by introducing characters that have played an integral role in Spider-Man’s history. And despite the reception to the movie, it’s important to know about one of those characters played by the Peruvian actress Isabela Merced; Anya Corazón aka Spider-Girl. Remezcla recently had the opportunity to speak with Merced about this role, who paved the way for actresses like her, and more.

In Madame Web, Anya’s character isn’t Spider-Girl from the start. She is a teenager living on her own after her father is deported. Forced to make ends meet, Anya’s main goal is to turn 18 and graduate so she doesn’t have to face a similar fate and can forge her own path and help her father. Merced described the process of trying to make the character “less story-based and more personal” so she and the audience could connect to her.

When trying to ground her version of Anya she added, “With Anya, when you’re bringing someone like that to life, it’s important to look at [Anya’s] insecurities and [her] vulnerabilities…the struggles with immigration and the struggles of not having anyone and having to be independent.” Though the movie is set in 2003, immigration is still a sensitive but important topic that further informs Anya Corazón. Through Merced, audiences get to see a character grow through the struggle and sacrifice of those who came before her.

Isabela Merced in Madame Web
Sony Pictures
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By being the first Latina Spider-Girl in live-action, Merced has also embodied the idea of paving a new path beyond those who came before and added to an impact created by names like America Ferrera, who was recently nominated for an Oscar for her role in Barbie.

“There are people like America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, and Jennifer Lopez. They are the reason why I’m here,” Merced said, “They paved the way and did the hard work and I hope that I can do a really amazing job, at the very least. Because we usually have to perform and try a little bit harder than everyone else [to get to the same place.]” 

Aware of the struggles for Latine representation in the industry and how she can also be part of inspiring the next generation of Latina actors, Merced also added “I hope I can do that so people are more inclined to head down this path of representation.”

Merced’s work has already started to pave a new path with roles in The Last of Us Season 2 as Dinah, Superman: Legacy as Hawkgirl, and Alien: Isolation already coming in 2025. But regarding Anya Corazón, Merced isn’t saying no to returning to the Spider-Verse or a future team-up with the titular Spider-Man Miles Morales.

“I think about that ALL the time!” Isabela Merced said. “Miles Morales is one of my top superheroes of all time. Maybe I’m a little biased because of the Latinidad but to be in a live-action movie with the perfect casting would be a dream of mine!”

Madame Web is playing in theaters now.