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Mayan Lopez on manifesting her dreams, reconciling with her dad, and season 2 of their show© NBC

Mayan Lopez on manifesting her dreams, reconciling with her dad, and working together on their hit show

The father-daughter once estranged for nearly a decade, are now reunited, sharing a bond both on and off screen

Jovita Trujillo
Jovita Trujillo - Los Angeles
Senior WriterLos Angeles
APRIL 25, 2024 4:02 PM EDT

Mayan Lopez may have daddy issues, but they landed her a television show. George Lopez and his 28-year-old daughter have been sharing their rollercoaster of a journey on the semi-autobiographical show Lopez vs. Lopez, which just premiered it’s second season. Before the show, Mayan and George spent nearly a decade estranged after he separated from her mom, Ann Serrano, who had donated a kidney to him.

The father-daughter duo repaired their relationship during the pandemic, but it was not easy. They went to trauma therapy together, reliving years’ worth of pain. Mayan, a comedian in her own right, studied at the Conservatory Program at Second City and Columbia College Comedy Writing and Performance Program in Chicago. Like her father, who turned his pain of being abandoned by both his parents into stand-up, Mayan began sharing her story using comedy.

Mayan Lopez on manifesting her dreams, reconciling with her dad, and their hit show© NBC

In 2020, Mayan began sharing videos on TikTok, talking about her daddy issues. The video that changed everything showed her upside down twerking, responding to someone who had attacked her dad.

It sparked an idea with Debby Wolfe who came across the video, and Lopez vs. Lopez, was born. Something Mayan says she feels like she manifested, and came to be because she let go of control and followed her gut.

“I feel like I manifested it... In the timing of everything,” she told HOLA!

“I’ve noticed that when you just let life be loose and allow it to accept things that are just going to happen, that’s when the most beautiful blessings come up in my life. Like the show, I never would’ve thought, Debbie is up on TikTok at 2:00 AM. But I had an idea and she saw it and now look, something wonderful came from it that affects so many people.”

Touching on real family issues, dynamics, and relationships, in its first season, it averaged 4.7 million viewers across all platforms and is the highest-indexing broadcast series for viewers in English-dominant Hispanic households.

George Lopez, Mayan Lopez, Selenis Leyva, Al Madrigal and Matt Shively of NBC’s ‘Lopez vs. Lopez’© GettyImages
George Lopez, Mayan Lopez, Selenis Leyva, Al Madrigal and Matt Shively of NBC’s ‘Lopez vs. Lopez’

With season 2, the father-daughter duo are going even deeper, as they touch on George’s sobriety, dysfunction, and unconventional family affairs.

“I feel like Lopez vs Lopez is such a love letter to our community, and it’s a very positive thing, especially in the scope of a lot of shows about us being canceled is that we’re still going and we’re still surviving, just like my family has survived so much. We, as Latinos, have survived so much.”

On the day the show premiered, HOLA! USA had the opportunity to visit the set and talk to George for an emotional interview for their digital cover. We later had a candid conversation with Mayan, who celebrated her birthday the day of the season premiere. Check out the special interview below. 

First of all, happy late birthday. What did you do to celebrate?

I was working. We were working that day, and it was so nice, because we had a whole premiere screening on stage with the crew, cast, and everyone, and then they brought out a cake for me. It was really a very cool, beautiful moment to have the world see the first episode while at the same time working on what is now our ninth or almost 10th, toward the end.

So to be able to be working on it and know what’s going to be coming, while the world gets to start seeing it was a really cool moment, and it all happened on my birthday. I feel like it was very kismet. We’re all a bit of brujas and brujos on the stage, so I definitely think the moment, it’s something very special.

It seems super symbolic. Did you get a gift from your dad? Is he a gift giver?

He is a gift-giver. He got me some Gucci shoes, which are just like the Lopez’s - we be dripping. It was very nice, and he got me beautiful flowers, as well among other things. 

Mayan Lopez and her dad, George Lopez at their show’s “Screening & Reception” in Hollywood, CA on April 11, 2024© GettyImages
Mayan Lopez and her dad, George Lopez at their show’s “Screening & Reception” in Hollywood, CA on April 11, 2024

One theme in the show is generational trauma, and I love that in an episode he’s like, “Mayan’s been saying that around.” When did you start coming to terms with that idea and what made you say, “I’m going to start healing myself because if I heal myself, I’m going to start healing generations of my family.”?

I think really it became when my parents divorced when I was 15 and just knowing that my dad cheated on my mom and how public it was. Three generations of women on my mom’s side have been cheated on. So even seeing that happen and seeing my mom’s reaction and thinking of how the women in my family may have felt, made me scared. And it’s something that Mayan talks about on the show, how George’s actions have made her feel a lack of trust in men and those movements.

My dad’s father wasn’t really in the picture. [My dad] didn’t really know how to be the best father. He did as good of a job as he can. As I continued on my therapy journey, it just made me realize how much things can be out of your control and that your parents are just people, and there’s no rule book when it comes to raising a child, and they do the best that they can.

It may have been your parents’ mistakes, but it’s your responsibility if you take it up with yourself to heal that. I knew that I wanted to be a mother, just like I am in the show, someday, and that it’s very important for me to heal that. I almost always equate it as a dirty faucet or a faucet and there’s mud underneath and if the water keeps going then it’s going to dirty everything under it. But if you turn it off, then things can grow.

I always thought of that visual as I was going through my journey. I want to stop the water, and I want things to be able to grow in the garden that I want to create for my life and my family that I choose to have someday. I’m able to do that and almost role-play it out as Mayan on the show.

I’m still learning things and seeing things and figuring them out, but I think it’s important for oneself to think about what your life is. Your parents made their choices and it may have affected you, but what choices do you want to make for your life and the family that you choose to create?

That’s so true. It takes a lot of courage to start doing that work too, because you have to look at so many shadows.

It’s the greatest thing to be able to look at yourself. On the show, we’ve tried to take away the fear of it and see that it’s okay and nothing really horrible is going to happen. 

“It’s not a weakness to express yourself. If anything, it’s one of the strongest things that you can do and the scariest things you can do is to look at yourself in the mirror and see these things. But if you have your family around you, it makes it easier.”
The 28 year old actress began this journey by sharing TikTok videos talking about her father.© NBC
The 28 year old actress began this journey by sharing TikTok videos talking about her father.

 In the first episode, you and George are having lunch and you have that line, “Are we having fun?” When did you realize that you were having fun with your dad again after your reconciliation journey started?

Even during the pandemic we had more time with one another. My dad is immunocompromised as my mom donated a kidney to him 17 years ago. Weirdly, it was such a time in our whole world that has changed since then. It’ll never be the same, but for some people, it brought people together, it brought people apart.

With our family, we were apart and it brought us together and we were able to be this pod, and my mom and I would go get food for him. It was being able to be in these closed quarters with one another again. My parents had really not spoken to one another directly if it wasn’t through me or about me in 10 years. So to have that time really that’s when we got to see George, Ann, and Mayan become what would be Rosie, George, and Mayan in “Lopez vs Lopez.”

That kind of dynamics that were being found out again of how Rosie and George interact with each other after so much time was very much taken by the inspiration of how my mom and my dad would interact with them with creative license. But it was then when I got to laugh with him again and spend more time with him, it made me realize while we were making up for a lot of lost time maybe things aren’t as serious as they can be.

I can just work on myself and do what I need to do so that I can just accept him for who he is and not expect him to maybe change so much. We can just evolve and work on what we have. Parents are going to be who they are, you have to accept who they are and just enjoy them for who they are and what they can give you. That’s what we’ve been able to do.

That’s very true. And what has your mom’s reception been like watching the show?

I mean, she’s so proud of both of us to do this. She’s in the audience every single week watching every episode. It’s not always easy on her either to see some of these things happen, which speaks to how authentic this show is. There are real times where sometimes maybe my dad will say something that my mom had never heard.

Mayan Lopez on manifesting her dreams, reconciling with her dad, and their hit show© GettyImages
Matt Shively, George Lopez, Al Madrigal, Mayan Lopez and Selenis Leyva of NBC’s ‘Lopez vs. Lopez’ pose for a portrait during the 2024 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour

We’ve all gone to the dressing room afterward and we’ve had a conversation. And that was in the first season with the Christmas episode where I actually got jealous of Mayan, because she had Christmas with both of her parents and some of the things that George was saying and Mayan with Rosie, we all had never had that conversation and it got us all thinking.

Then that Christmas, we had the first Christmas with one another for in 11 years. And I had tried so hard outside of the show to do, so that was something... That’s a positive example of how this show has inspired even us as a family to change outside and take inspiration from what happens with us into future episodes.

Hopefully, Lopez and Lopez will go on for the next 20 years, just like The George Lopez Show. What are some other goals or dreams that you have for your life, whether it’s personal or professional that you want to start moving towards?

It’s so interesting because I was just a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and that was my biggest goal, so I’ve already achieved that of being also on a show that it so helped me and to be able to use my voice to also serve a community that means so much to me, and that has also been ostracized. With the Latino community, I feel like the gay community has always been there for me.

Mayan Lopez on manifesting her dreams, reconciling with her dad, and their hit show© NBC
Mayan Lopez: “It’s the greatest thing to be able to look at yourself.”

We always both feel like in our own different ways we face hardships. For me personally, I want to continue to make stories based on my life or other people’s lives because I think the best stories and the best shows come from truth, everyone just universally wants to feel like their experiences are being seen or they’re being heard. I hope I get to find a way through any medium to keep doing that for the rest of my life.