Eréndira Ibarra is breaking glass ceilings and accomplishing her dreams. Having worked in a variety of successful Netflix series, including ‘La Ingobernable,’ alongside Kate del Castillo, and ‘Sense8,’ where she first met the iconic Wachowski Sisters, this December the actress makes her debut in the long-awaited sequel, ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ as Lexy; a new entry into one of the world’s most successful and beloved franchises.
First released in 1999, ‘The Matrix’ was a story of standing up against unmeasurable odds. It’s a film that many fans hold dear, that has become a calling card for a variety of minorities and communities located in places all over the world. Eréndira will be starring alongside franchise veterans Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, with an all-star cast rounded out by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, and more. She speaks of the experience as something magical and diverse, a space where cast and crew work together to create the stuff of dreams.
Eréndira was born in San Jose, California, and grew up in the film and television industry, having her fair share of experiences within Mexican and American productions. She is an actress that knows the business well, that understands the particularities of each setting. No matter the project, the country she’s located in, the genre or plot of the project she’s working on, she makes it work and leaves her mark.
The actress cares about diversity, onset and off, something that she’ll soon be expanding on, as she starts to produce her own projects. Her priority is to champion Mexico and Latin America, elevating the people that make up the world and that we rarely see in stories made for television and film. She hopes to diversify spaces, thus creating stories that are meaningful and relatable.
HOLA! USA spoke with Eréndira about her work and admiration for The Wachowskis and their approach to storytelling. She also shared her excitement over the release of ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ and being involved in one of her favorite franchises of all time. Lastly, she talked about her future career moves, which include producing projects based in Mexico and always staying on the lookout for an exciting and thought-provoking role.
My experience on set was kind of a ‘deja vu’ because a lot of the crew had worked on ‘Sense8’ and it was like coming back home. Back to being with our family, with a few new elements like Keanu and Carrie-Anne, both of whom I’m a huge fan of. So it was a beautiful dynamic. I like to think of it as a coming together of two families; ‘the Matrix’ family and the ‘Sense8’ family, and creating a really safe and diverse beautiful space where we can tell this extraordinary story.
Every. Single. Day. I always tell Lana [Lana Wachowski, the director] that I’ve never been with someone that gives me so many pinch-me moments in my life. Being on set, I remember the first day walking on rehearsals and just watching Keanu and Carrie-Anne train. I literally locked myself in the bathroom to cry. I still do. Now that the movie is out and I know that I’m in it, I’m still like “I’m in The Matrix”. I can’t believe it.
“There are so many expectations tied to a film like this one, and everyone is so excited about it that we really have to harness the energy with which we made it and trust the process of creation of the piece.”
It’s a little crazy. I think there are so many expectations tied to a film like this one, and everyone is so excited about it that we really have to harness the energy with which we made it and trust the process of creation of the piece. That’s the most important part. We just hope people enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it and that they put their hearts into it as much as we put our hearts into it. That’s what I base myself on. Because I’m always, as does everyone and more especially women, we have this impostor syndrome where we go like ‘Ugh, I don’t know what I’m doing,’ and social media comes in, and people start making comments. It takes the pressure to the next level. For me, my philosophy is to just remember where we were when we were filming, and remember who we are and who was filming it, and stay strong to that and the love. Haters gonna hate but there’s really nothing to hate. I think people are really going to enjoy the movie
Everything (laughs). I can’t wait for people to see the entire film. I did a little peeking into YouTube and other platforms to see what people were thinking of ‘Resurrections’ and what it’s going to be like and I just love to be sitting there, going like “Nope, that’s not going to be like that. Nope, no, no no. It‘s not that way. And occasionally like, “ooh, how do they know that?” It’s super exciting to see. I’m probably going to be in the theater several times just watching people watch the film and have their reactions. It’s going to be beautiful to just blow people’s minds away.”
“Lana took diversity with this movie to the next level. We were onset, sitting alongside the world. And that’s what’s important: the set needs to look like the world. It’s not just onscreen but offscreen.”
Definitely. Working with Lana and James (McTeigue, one of ‘Resurrections’ producers and longtime collaborator of the Wachowskis) again was extraordinary. It was like revisiting ‘Sense8’ on steroids. Everything was bigger, everything was more intense. Even our physical necessities were hardcore. It was very challenging just as ‘Sense8’ was, but we had this whole level of more because of the legacy we were holding up. If we weren’t together as a family, I don’t think we would’ve been able to create what we did, I think we would’ve been too scared. But we felt so safe. And then, Lana and I really tried to push diversity on set, behind cameras during ‘Sense8,’ but that was 6 years ago. And now, with this film, she took it to that next level. We were onset, sitting alongside the world. And that’s what’s important: the set needs to look like the world. It’s not just onscreen but offscreen. That’s what the feeling was, we had representation where it structurally matters, where the jobs are. It made me really happy, blessed and super grateful to go to set every day and celebrate who we are and the diversity that makes us so strong.
“The actors aren’t the ‘ombligo del universo;’ we are not the center of the universe. We may have our face in front of the cameras, but if we don’t have the crew behind us, holding us up, we are nothing.”
I’m biased (laughs). I’m so biased. I love ‘Sense8,’ I’m a full-blown fan, I’m not just part of the crew. I think it’s very exciting and cool that people who haven’t seen the show will want to because of The Matrix. But what can I say? I love everything that The Wachowskis have done and everything they’ve been involved in. ‘The Matrix’ changed my life though. Being able to be a part of this, with my ‘Sense8’ family, going to the story that changed my life, I’m just so grateful. I guess this is my roundabout way of saying ‘yeah, ‘The Matrix trilogy’ and ‘Sense8’ are my favorite projects,’ but it’s so hard to decide.
Well, I grew up on set. To me, there’s a family aspect that isn’t big in productions in the U.S. When I first started working there, I remember feeling a little isolated and, I don’t know if anyone knows this but in Mexico, when we’re on set everyone just leans on each other, we have fun, everyone says hi to each other. There’s not a division of the crew, the actors, and the production. We all sit together, we eat, we laugh together. I think that’s something that is very Mexican and it’s something I missed when I first started working in the U.S. But ‘The Matrix’ was a complete return to that, to that happiness on set, to be able to hold each other up. So my background in Mexico was a smooth transition for working with Lana but not to working on other projects that are a little bit more square. But, at the end of the day, I always bring in the love and I think that’s the most important thing because the actors aren’t the ‘ombligo del universo,’ we are not the center of the universe. We may have our face in front of the cameras, but if we don’t have the crew behind us, holding us up, we are nothing. That’s the most important thing to me and is something that I take everywhere that I go and anywhere I work.
“What’s most important to me as an actor is to tell stories that are extraordinary, that move people in whatever language that they’re in.”
Well, what’s most important to me as an actor is to tell stories that are extraordinary, that move people in whatever language that they’re in. As a producer, I am more focused on producing projects in Latin America, especially in Mexico because I’m proud of what we can do here, and I think we have an industry that needs for us who are outside to come back home and keep working here. I’m doing a little bit of everything with the production aspect of my life. I want to continue to create here in Mexico, for Latin America and for Spanish speakers all over the world. But I love working in English. English is my first language. I grew up in San Jose, California. I was raised there. So, I don’t know. Whatever comes and whatever opportunity I get I’ll take wholeheartedly and gratefully. But on the production aspect, I am focusing on Mexico and creating content in Latin America.
I will very soon present my next project as a producer, one that I am producing and starring in. I’m working alongside my sister Natasha Ibarra, who works in the U.S. market as a writer, and with my business partner, Barbara Redondo, who’s an activist and who I work with in my activist realm (laughs).
We’re trying to create a platform for projects that speak to us on a higher spiritual level, without putting the message out there and shoving it in people’s faces. Kind of inspired by what Lana does and how she tells stories that call to our souls yet they’re not shoving an agenda in our faces. I can’t wait to tell you more about the project, it’s going to be amazing. It’s a bilingual project and it’s going to be based in Mexico, based on a novel from a beautiful Mexican writer. Things are coming together beautifully. Things are exciting. I can’t wait to tell you more. We’re really trying to uplift diversity, and uplift ourselves through telling wonderful stories.
Photos: Monika Sed @monikased
Styling: Sar Reza @brujademoda
Hair & Make-up: Gloria Torres @image_spa
Outfits by: Téllez, Rosy Attie, Mariana Barranco & Kateryna Olek