Did you know one of the most critically acclaimed shows of 2020 and the current No. 1 show on Netflix stars a Latina? But wait, isn’t that spot occupied by The Queen’s Gambit–a period-piece miniseries about an orphan chess prodigy in Kentucky who grows up addicted to the game and to drugs and booze?
The answer is yes. And, guess what–at the center of the coming-of-age story is main character Beth Harmon played by actress Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), who is, in fact, part Argentine. The Argentine-British-American actress moved to Buenos Aires as a baby and only spoke Spanish until the age of six when her family moved to London.
During an interview with Remezcla in 2017, Taylor-Joy talked about the “warmth” of living in a country like Argentina during her early years. “The sky is so big over there,” she said. “I had a really blessed childhood. When I moved to London, I definitely noticed how much I missed Argentina.”
She also mentioned how much she misses the way everyone hugs in the South American country. “You meet a complete stranger, and you hug them, and you give them a kiss on the cheek,” she said. “That’s the most normal thing in the world.”
In the fourth episode of the seven-episode series, Taylor-Joy gets to practice her Spanish when Beth travels to Mexico City for a chess tournament in 1966. During the plane trip, her giddy adopted mother Alma (Marielle Heller) tells her that her longtime pen pal Manuel (Spanish actor Pablo Scola) is meeting them at the airport when they land.
“Every single famous person in Latin American history, art or politics, has sometime come to Mexico City,” the smooth-talking Manuel tells Alma. “I like to say that I was born in Mexico, but I am from Mexico City.” Beth refers to him as a “sleazy Mexican salesman.”
We won’t tell you how the tournament in Mexico City ends, but Latino viewers should enjoy the fact that all the play-by-play of the chess matches is in Spanish. Did you know pawn in Spanish is peón?