The new screen stars of 2022
They’re taking over our TVs and stealing scenes at the cinema… Julia Llewellyn Smith meets the mega-talented actresses on a fast track to fame
THE SINGING SCREAMQUEEN
Melissa Barrera, 31, starred in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s film In The Heights. She can now be seen in Scream, the latest in the horror franchise
You and your three sisters were brought up by your mum in Monterrey, Mexico. Was acting always your ambition?
In my Mexican hometown, going into musical theatre was unheard of – but Broadway was my biggest dream. I studied performing arts in New York, then I was in a reality show and a couple of Mexican soaps. But I wasn’t satisfied so one day, on impulse, I packed two bags and moved to Los Angeles. I slept on my friend’s couch, trying to find an agent.
How did you find working with Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell in Scream?
Scream has been around for my entire life. I must have watched it for the first time when I was ten and became obsessed with horror films, so being with Neve and Courteney was the kind of moment you dream of. I was also obsessed with Friends, so I had to try hard to keep my cool. But Courteney is so chilled and generous and has Sunday family dinners on her patio by the ocean in Malibu. I can’t believe she’s my friend now!
Soon we’ll see you in the film Carmen, a modern-day reimagining of the opera. Did you enjoy working with Normal People’s Paul Mescal?
Because of Normal People, Paul was a heartthrob in Mexico and in Australia where we shot Carmen. He’s only 26 but very wise for his age.