A young, talented, up-and-coming actress who has already begun to leave her mark on the world of entertainment across a variety of films and television — this is YaYa Gosselin.
YaYa Gosselin stars in Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming Netflix film We Can Be Heroes, which follows the story of a group of superheroes that are kidnapped by alien invaders. Left to save the day are their children, with Gosselin’s brave and resourceful Missy Moreno as their leader. Currently, Gosselin is a series regular on the CBS crime drama FBI: Most Wanted, in which she portrays Tali LaCroix. She has also appeared in other television shows such as 13 Reasons Why and The Purge, and the feature film Peppermint.
Nerds and Beyond had a chance to chat with Gosselin ahead of the premiere of We Can Be Heroes. Check out the interview below!
Nerds and Beyond: Were you a fan of Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids movies or The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D before you joined the cast of We Can Be Heroes?
YaYa Gosselin: I had actually only seen Spy Kids 4 because it was on Netflix. People used to stop my Mom all the time when I was a baby and tell me I looked like the baby in it, which is pretty funny considering! I hadn’t seen any of the others when I booked the movie but watched them while we were in Austin filming. He makes the best kids movies!
Nerds and Beyond: The children of the Heroics were really the stars of We Can Be Heroes. What was it like to spend most of the film working with a group of kids your own age?
Gosselin: It was quite the adjustment and a lot of fun! It was my first time working with kids on a kids project. I am the only kid on my show and I am home-schooled since I was 7 so being in a large group of kids definitely had its challenges for me. I met some of my best friends making Heroes and I am so grateful for the experience.
Nerds and Beyond: Even though Missy may not be fighting off the aliens in hand-to-hand combat, she’s still right in the middle of all the action, and she plays a very important role throughout. What kind of preparation did you have to do for the role of Missy?
Gosselin: I honestly related to Missy so much that preparing to play her wasn’t terribly difficult. But all the physicality in the movie and the harness and stunt work was so fun to learn. We arrived to Austin two weeks early to start training for all that. I come from a dance background so it was new to me. I can’t even count how many times they told me not to point my toes when I kicked, lol!
Nerds and Beyond: What was your favorite scene to film in We Can Be Heroes?
Gosselin: I would have to say in addition to all of the scenes with Pedro (he is so fun!) my favorite scene was the tightrope scene. Filming that was crazy fun. From the harness to the wind machines and the men in green suits holding me up. I felt like an action movie star. And the way the scene was narrated by Haley Reinhart’s angelic voice just gave me chills watching it. I just love her.
Nerds and Beyond: Pedro Pascal plays the role of your character’s father, Marcus Moreno. What was it like working with Pedro?
Gosselin: As I mentioned above, Pedro is FUN! He made me laugh a lot and even had a real Dad moment with me when we were filming the breakfast scene. I am not allowed to eat sugar cereal in my real life so when they would yell cut I would keep shoveling it into my mouth. I had to take advantage of the moment ya know? He finally had to take it away from me because I was eating all the props!
Nerds and Beyond: This movie had a really great message for audiences, because Missy didn’t let her lack of powers stop her from being a part of the team. Instead, she found what she was skilled at (being a leader), and she embraced it. Like Missy, what’s a real life superpower that you believe you have?
Gosselin: I feel like Missy and I are both mission minded people. True leaders can’t waste time worrying about what people think of them or what people are saying about them. I have pretty thick skin when it comes to that and I think that is a true superpower. Robert gave us all cards at the end of production with our individual superpowers on them. Kind of like a cast superlatives list. One of mine was quiet confidence. Making this movie helped me to realize that for a girl to be a leader she doesn’t have to be an alpha type. I am NOT an alpha female but I am also not a follower. I do my own thing. I want other girls to know that confidence doesn’t have to be loud. His words for me were really empowering and they meant a lot to me.
Nerds and Beyond: We Can Be Heroes feels like The Avengers, but for a younger audience. The kids that watch it will see children that are their own age saving the day, someone they can relate to, instead of adult superheroes. How does it feel knowing that you and your co-stars have played a part in something that will be inspiring to other kids out there that are watching at home?
Gosselin: Honestly, I feel so excited for kids to see it. I think it’s the best way to close out a really tough year. I feel grateful to have been a part of this project for many reasons but when we made this movie in 2019, we had no idea what was to come. I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all that the beautiful messages in our film are landing at the perfect time to give kids hope that things are going to get better.
Nerds and Beyond: It was recently announced that you were promoted to a series regular for season 2 of FBI: Most Wanted. What has your experience been like working on that show?
Gosselin: Working on FBI: Most Wanted is incredible for a few reasons. First of all, I get to live in the greatest city in the world for part of the year. I LOVE New York City. I love vintage shopping and there is literally a vintage store on every block here. Also, I am so lucky to get to work with Julian McMahon. We have a beautiful relationship and bond. He is a very special person and really goes out of his way to make me feel special and included. Being the only kid on the show has its perks but it’s an adult show so I am super grateful to have him play my Dad. I love him so much.
Nerds and Beyond: What made you want to pursue acting?
Gosselin: As long as I can remember I was acting and performing. I’ve always loved to emote, first through dancing, and then I discovered acting when I was about 6 or 7. I did commercials and stuff when I was 5 but I didn’t really connect to acting for television and film until a little later. Even before I started booking work I would love to work with my coaches and break down scenes and emotions. It’s a good outlet for me because I am not the type of person to talk about my feelings openly. I tend to bury them. I often work through my own emotions in the characters I play.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have any dream acting roles, like appearing in a certain franchise or portraying a particular character?
Gosselin: Missy was a dream role for me. I read comics in real life and love superheroes so when I got the audition for this, I was thrilled. It’s kinda weird to be able to say that I have already achieved a dream role at 10 years old. It is so surreal. I feel like I say I am grateful all the time but I am. Missy Moreno was a dream come true for me. Another dream role would be to play a horse girl. I love horses and one good thing about the pandemic is that when the acting world stopped, I was able to spend more time riding. I was riding 3x a week during the shutdown. Horses are my passion and my therapy so to be able to combine my two worlds would be amazing. Also to work with Kenny Ortega. It would be a dream to work with him on something musical.
Nerds and Beyond: And finally, just for fun. Even though Missy is absolutely a force to be reckoned with regardless of any superhuman powers, what kind of strange, unique, or interesting power would you give her if she had to have one?
Gosselin: I honestly love that Missy has a heart for leadership because anyone can be a leader. And it doesn’t cost anything! I truly feel that her power is the greatest of them all! But if I had to give her a superhuman power I would want it to be inspired by Wonder Woman’s golden lasso. She uses it on people to make them tell the truth. I would like my ukulele to have a similar power. I taught myself how to play the ukulele during quarantine so I think it would be really cool if Missy played the uke and something powerful comes from it! Especially because it’s such a small instrument. Power comes in all sizes right?
Don’t miss out on We Can Be Heroes, which arrives on Netflix globally on Christmas Day! You can also catch YaYa Gosselin in FBI: Most Wanted on CBS, the second season of which will return in January 2021.