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The Cast Of Freeridge On How It Breaks Down Bisexual Stereotypes

The Cast Of Freeridge On How It Breaks Down Bisexual Stereotypes

The cast of Freeridge
Courtesy of Netflix

PRIDE spoke with Keyla Monterroso Mejia, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Ciara Riley Wilson, and Bryana Salaz about their charming and groundbreaking new show.

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Bisexuality rarely gets anything resembling positive representation on TV, but Freeridge, the spin-off series of the belovedOn My Block is here to change all that — and it’s a funny, quirky, coming-of-age story with a supernatural twist.

It’s doing a lot, but the show somehow manages to pull it off with plenty of panache, laughter, and tears.

Watch PRIDE’s full interview with the cast of Freeridge below. 

The series focuses on a group of Latinx teens; at its center are rival sisters Gloria and Ines. Following the death of their mother, Gloria has always felt responsible for her sister, a perfect breeding ground for resentment and sibling rivalry. Rounding out the crew are Cameron, a proud bisexual with a boyfriend he just can’t seem to break up with, and his bestie Demi who has a taste for the occult.

When the group happens upon a box at a yard sale, little do they know that they’re unleashing a curse they will have to unravel — before it’s too late. Cue the spooky music.

The cast of Freeridge around a lunch table

Courtesy of Netflix

In tone, it’s not unlike the wonderful Los Espookys, but the issues that these kids are dealing with are far more adult, like illness in the family, dealing with internalized homophobia, and processing grief following the loss of a parent.

There is this wonderful blending of the surreal with the real, and one of the most real plots of all surrounds Cameron and being comfortable in his sexuality. When we first meet Cam, he seems out and proud — and he is, but it’s also more complicated than that. He’s caring around the weight of some thoughtless words from someone close to him that have left an unhealed wound. Getting to tell that story means a lot to Tenzing Norgay Trainor, who plays the character.

Cameron kisses his boyfriend in Freeridge

Courtesy of Netflix

“I think that it’s a story that definitely deserves to be shared. And I’m so glad that it is being shared, and so many people will hopefully be able to see it,” he tells PRIDE. “Cam is a young kid, like a lot of kids out there...he’s going through a lot of complicated and complex emotions, and thoughts. We get to see him navigate through that. It was just so great to play such a fulfilling and rich character.”

Ciara Riley Wilson, who stars as Demi, plays a pivotal role in the plot point, which was very meaningful for the actress as well. “I’m very, very proud to be a part of the storyline, I think it’s representing bisexuality in a way that we have never seen in the media before, especially in the teen space. I think these are important and very real conversations. I can believe that many teens out there have had a conversation like this with their friends,” Wilson tells PRIDE.

While Demi’s story may offer an example of what not to do or say to a queer friend — more importantly it offers a roadmap to come back, and to learn and grow. “Throughout the series, Demi really learns how to have accountability for her words and actions. Even if she didn’t remember it being a big deal, it can be to someone else, and something that Cam has thought about for years and has affected their relationship,” she explains.

Cameron is hugged by boyfriend while Demi looks on

Courtesy of Netflix

Wilson hopes that audiences come away from the show with a more open heart. “I really hope that viewers can see this important conversation as a way to have compassion,” she says. “And to not only make sure they hold the people in their life who are saying these negative things accountable, but also approach it with compassion with empathy, and have an open mind that people can really change if they have the ability to sit face to face and talk about it head-on.”

While Demi and Cam are dealing with internal struggles, Gloria (Keyla Monterroso Mejia) is the glue that holds the group together and often finds herself with the weight of the world on her very young shoulders. Many young women will recognize themselves in Gloria, someone who is just expected to always be strong, no matter what. But at the end of the day, she’s a teen, and a human being, and that kind of expectation can be crushing. Mejia infuses Gloria with as much sass as she does vulnerability, and serves as wonderful counter-programming to the narrative that strength and vulnerability are polar opposites.

The cast of Freeridge sit on a bed

The cast of Freeridge

Mejia tells PRIDE she had no trouble connecting with Gloria. “I am the oldest child of two immigrant parents, and I empathize a lot with Gloria and I see her struggles,” she explains. “I think we as women always had more responsibility. You can see it in Gloria, how frustrated she is and how unfair she feels like this is sometimes but I also think what is very interesting is it this also portrays her loyalty and her love for her family, and that sometimes you want what’s best for them, even if they can’t see it for themselves.”

One of Gloria’s greatest stumbling blocks is that she has trouble not taking on the problems of everyone around her. She’s a natural leader and a fixer, but again that kind of pressure can be soul-crushing. One of the ways she grows throughout the season is in learning to let some of that go — again Mejia found that all-too-relatable. “[Gloria’s] evolution... also helps me personally, to maybe realize just sometimes let things go and let people live,” she shares.

Freeridge premieres today on Netflix. Watch the trailer below.

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author avatar

Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.