Exclusive: Jessica Marie Garcia Ushers In A New Generation Of Funny Latinas On 'On My Block'

Netflix

The freshman season of On My Block premiered on Netflix Friday, and the series, highlighting the lives of urban youths in Los Angeles, can already count celebrities like Eva Longoria-Baston and Gabrielle Union-Wade among their fans. And while there have been plenty coming-of-age stories on series television throughout the years, none tell the stories of young people of color quite like “On My Block,” created by Lauren Iungerich, who was behind the MTV hit 'Awkward,' Eddie Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft

Jessica Marie Garcia, who stars as the loveable yet sometimes annoying Jasmine, has been working overtime since the series release via social media to answer fan questions and to respond to all the love that her character is getting. Latina.com caught up with the Cubanita at the premiere party last week where we got the scoop on what it was like bringing this colorful character to life and what she’d love to see happen for Jasmine if they get a season two. 

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On My Block has such an amazing cast of young people. I love them all! But Jasmine really jumped out at the screen because she reminds me of myself in many ways. What was it like playing her? 

That’s exactly what I wanted! With Jasmine, I wanted to show that someone like this exists. There’s a little Jasmine in everybody.

My worry with a character like Jasmine is that she will just be the sidekick/comedy relief. Fans will definitely want to learn more about her. 

If we get a season two, you will. In season one, audiences will see that she uses her personality--- a kind of brash/abrasive speech as a defense mechanism. I know I do. Like, if I make a fat joke about myself you can’t say it back to me. Now that I’ve taken that power away, you can’t use it against me. And that’s exactly who Jasmine is. I really hope people don’t see her as a one-dimensional character and realize there’s so much depth in who she is because she’s just worth so much. She’s so sacred to me and I hope people love her as much as I loved playing her. 

Growing up, there weren’t any shows like On My Block that represented me. What would it have meant to you to grow up having a show like this on the air? 

I think it would’ve given me the motivation to know that I could [be an actor]. When you see it, you can be it. It wasn’t until I saw Jennifer Lopez in ‘Selena,’ that I knew that I could follow my dreams. Immediately I thought, ‘I’m going to get bangs and do this!’ That was a very impactful moment for me. So I hope this show will help inspire other Latinos to follow their dreams. I want them to know they don’t have to just be a side character or a stereotype. Our whole cast is all people of color, there are no side characters.

With such a large cast and so many stories to tell, audiences will just have to enjoy what they can from Jasmine in season one. But we are looking forward to seeing so much more from her in the future. 

Yeah, they pepper me in this season but I’ve already had discussions [with the writers] about where we want to take Jasmine if we get a season two. There are really just so many dimensions to her. In the beginning, you’ll notice that she’s kind of a pushover and people easily walk all over her. Even though she is loud and obnoxious--- never afraid to speak her mind--- she has a very sensitive side. She doesn’t show it as much but throughout this season, you’re going to see her break a little bit with how they treat her. Jasmine loves her schoolmates in a way that doesn’t just go away. But they’re just kind of like, ‘Ugh, go away Jasmine.’ And you’ll see her go through all that this season. 

Don’t skip telling us your ideas for season two. What have you talked about? Will Jasmine get a boyfriend? 

Maybe we talked about her getting a boyfriend, who knows?

He should definitely be the coolest guy at school. Ruby turned her down but I don’t think I’m alone in hoping the tables turn for her a bit, at least with her dating life. 

I think she deserves that too. I think you should be one of our writers.