'Doctor Strange' Breakout Star Xochitl Gomez on the Importance of Feeling Seen (Exclusive)
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At 16 years old, Xochitl Gomez is one of the youngest stars to officially join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a superhero. The former The Baby-Sitters Club actress plays America Chavez in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, marking the franchise’s first onscreen Latinx queer character.
“I mean, it’s just crazy,” Gomez exclaims to ET’s Matt Cohen.
In the action-packed film from Loki writer Michael Waldron and director Sam Raimi, Chavez’s arrival sends Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) on an unexpected journey through the multiverse as he tries to prevent evil forces from capturing the budding hero, who has the power of traveling between dimensions.
And thanks to a confident debut, Gomez will quickly become the sequel’s breakout star -- and one that fans can hope to see more of as the MCU continues to introduce diverse, younger avengers to the films and TV series as they slowly expand the representation seen onscreen.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t really have too many people to look up to,” Gomez says, revealing that her idols were Selena Gomez and Dora the Explorer. “I absolutely love Dora. I even had the cut!”
As someone fully aware of what it means to see yourself in what you watch, “it was just so heartwarming to have DMs and emails of people just saying how, with me on the screen, they felt represented and that just meant the world to them,” she says, revealing those messages would make her cry.
“It’s just so crazy that I get to be that person,” she continues. “Then, of course, it's taken to a whole other level with Marvel. In America, it’s really important that people feel seen and I’m glad I get to do that.”
While speaking with ET last summer, Gomez shared how honored she was at the time to land a role like this, which is “not only a Latina, but just a girl, a young girl, a superhero, it means so much,” she said. “I’m just so happy I get to be the one that plays that character. I hope that a lot of people look up to America and me, hopefully.”
When it comes to the LGBTQ representation, Cumberbatch says “it’s amazingly necessary,” especially in the wake of the news that the film has been banned from certain countries for its inclusion of an openly queer character.
“Sadly those attitudes expectedly disappointing,” he says. “It’s a shame in a way. She’s a really feisty character. She’s a strong, kickass [addition] to the MCU… She comes from a family with two mothers and she is Latinx.”
Looking back on landing the role, she says now that “it took [her] a couple weeks for it to truly sink in that [she] was America.” But now that she is, she’s all in when it comes to the MCU and whatever the future may hold for the character, which may include the rumored Young Avengers.
“Whatever they plan to do, I’m willing to do it,” Gomez says, revealing that she’s already started making friends with some of her young counterparts across the franchise. “I have made friends with lots of people. I mean, of course through IG and stuff. But I mean, why not?”
In the meantime, when it comes to being part of Doctor Strange, Gomez appreciates how much time she got to spend on set with Elizabeth Olsen, who reprises her role as Wanda in the film. “She plays this magnificent character,” she says of her co-star, just gushing over how “grounded she was and how just her personality, just herself, is completely different [from Wanda]... I definitely look up to her.”
While looking back on the entire experience, she says she is most grateful for “creating friendships.” Gomez adds, “I used to be a huge fan of the MCU. So, to think that I get to work with these amazing actors and actresses, I’m very thankful that I get to have this amazing opportunity.”
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now in theaters.
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