No matter what universe you’re living in, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is hitting some impressive numbers at the box office with its all-star cast. Making her debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is 16-year-old actress Xochitl Gomez, who plays America Chavez/Miss America, Marvel’s first major Latine LGBTQ character.
At the film’s Hollywood premiere, Marvel executive Victoria Alonso, who is an LGBTQ and Latine herself, said it would’ve meant the world to her if she had a character like America Chavez to look up to when she was a kid.
“What it would’ve meant is to have had a tad more understanding of the person that I was and that I was growing into being was not invisible,” Alonso said. “I think visibility at any age is incredibly important whether you’re 10, 20, 30 or 80.”
While the Doctor Strange sequel is Xochitl Gomez’s biggest film to date and will easily make her a household name, there’s more to the teenager than a superhero blockbuster. Here’s a look at five things you should know about the Mexican-American actress as she continues to flesh out her character in the MCU and build on her career.
Making a Name for Herself
Xochitl (pronounced soh-cheel) means “flower” in the indigenous language of Nahuatl, which has been spoken in Mexico since the seventh century. In Aztec mythology, Xochiquetzal is the goddess of fertility, beauty, and love. She is known as a protector of young mothers. Xochitl is considered a rare name. On nameberry.com, it was ranked the 650th most popular name of 2022.
These Are a Few of Her Favorite Things
Gomez isn’t shy about sharing the things she likes with her fans online. According to some of her Instagram posts, her favorite visual artist is Frida Kahlo. She even dressed like her for Halloween one year. She is also a huge fan of Broadway superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda and said that his “incredible creative voice has changed theatre forever.” She also likes the books of author Suzanne Collins, and she enjoys bubble gum-flavored shaved ice.
First Big Gig
Before Doctor Strange, Gomez’s biggest role was in the Netflix series The Baby-Sitters Club as Dawn Shafer. The show was based on the children’s novel series of the same name by writer Ann M. Martin. Gomez appeared on seven of the series 18 episodes during its two-season run from July 2020 to October 2021. She announced that she would not be returning for a third season of the show and her character was recast. However, Netflix canceled the series before production on a third season could begin despite the series receiving critical acclaim.
Gomez has been recognized for her acting skills with a handful of awards over the last few years. For her role in The Baby-Sitters Club, she received a Young Entertainer Award. She also won a Young Artist Award for her performance in the 2019 action film Shadow Wolves and a New York Film Award and a London Independent Film Award for her role in the short film Boob Sweat about a trio of girls in the 1970s who make it their mission to kiss the coolest 7th-grade boys.
In 2017, a 10-year-old Gomez and her mother traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the Women’s March on Washington, a worldwide protest that took place the day after the U.S. presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. Gomez held a sign for the event that read, “A great America Cares 4 All. Health Care. Childcare. Education. Social Security.”