‘Vida’ Star Mishel Prada on That Nico Shocker & Being Liberated from Labels

Vida Mishel Prada
Spoiler Alert

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 2 of Vida, “Episode 18.”]

If you’re a fan of the Starz’s Vida, then you know relationships are never easy for anyone. And while we could all rejoice at last week’s final season premiere, which saw tough-on-the-outside Emma Hernandez (Mishel Prada) really letting her guard down and enjoying being with Nico (Roberta Colindrez), it was inevitable that something would come up and get in the way.

That thing was the the revelation that Nico is still married and hadn’t brought that up to Emma yet. But, as Prada reasons with TV Insider, maybe Nico didn’t owe her much of an explanation as their relationship is still fairly new. And how will the two now-exes exist in each other’s world, considering Nico works in the bar Emma owns with her sister, Lyn (Melissa Barrera)?

We asked Prada about all of that, as well as why Emma isn’t interested in meeting her father — who it turns out isn’t dead after all, and may have some legal claim to the bar — while Lyn is the complete opposite and wants to get to know him. Read on below.

I was worried that the other shoe was going to drop with Emma and Nico and then it did. But it was nice to see Emma embracing this relationship up to this point. It’s different than we’ve seen her behave the first two seasons.

Mishel Prada: Yes, sitting in the mess and not blaming somebody else and making someone suffer because they’ve hurt her. That is called growth and it’s called evolving and it’s not easy. Nico’s done so much for Emma and has proven herself in so many ways that she is there for her and we’re just seeing that Nico’s a human being. And Nico, in the second season, is very much knight in shining armor but it’s still a representation of who Nico is, as we do a lot of times in the beginnings of dating somebody when you’re just getting to know people but we’re scratching beneath the surface. But you sit in the pain and you’re not constantly reacting to it and that’s what we’re seeing Emma do, which is growth.

Watch a scene between sisters Emma and Lyn in “Episode 18”:

Yeah, it’s a long way from the pilot, where we saw her and also Lyn. They’ve come a long way!

Yeah, they really have and it’s really great to see the dynamic between Emma and Lyn because Lyn has really found her strength and Emma’s really found her vulnerability, and within it, they’ve found their survival skills. They almost taught each other different things and realizing there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind or evolving. That’s why you put the hard work in.

Because we all know it’s uncomfortable to have an ex still floating around in your world post-break-up but what we do see moving forward with Nico and Emma?

Emma is practical and they need Nico to run the bar. Emma, as much as she wants to react emotionally, Nico technically hasn’t done anything wrong-ish. I feel like it’s a little debatable. But really, this is just a few days after the end of Season 2, so they’ve had a crazy, amazing, loving weekend but Nico doesn’t really owe her anything and I think Emma understands that. So she’s just doing her best to kind of accept and be like, ‘I’m gonna accept that this is just the way that it is and this was just a fun weekend.’ But Emma’s still trying to be like, ‘I’m fine,’ but she’s not. She loves her. She really, really loves Nico.

Emma and Lyn have very different reactions to their father being alive. Can you talk about Emma’s feelings there since she says she’s not interested in seeing him?

I mean, can you really blame her? She’s like ‘This man left us and never came back for us. Why would you want to go and find this person? I’ve found my place in this world. Why am I going to complicate it and bring somebody in who technically has rights to the bar because he’s next of kin.’ And it’s hard for Emma because Lyn wants to know him, Lyn has to know him, and we see her essentially transferring her reliance on men to her father figure and what that looks like.

From day one, Vida has always been very upfront about labels and labeling somebody’s sexuality and that comes up with Emma again this season. I love that part of the show and I know audiences do, too.

So many people love it because I think a lot of people want the freedom to be liberated from that. I’m sure we’ve all been with some really lovely partners but that’s usually not the most interesting part of us, if it happens to be a man or a woman or a non-binary person. I think there’s a liberation in not feeling the need to constantly label yourself, because people want to paint you in the way they see you, as opposed to just allowing yourself to exist, and allowing yourself to love– and to change your mind! You know, maybe this is the way that you feel at this point in your life, and maybe later you don’t. I think a lot of people really love the idea of being able to do that, and hopefully the world will head in that way.

This final season only has six episodes. What’s a word you would use to describe what’s coming next and takes us through to the series finale?

A word…I keep thinking “forgiveness” but I don’t really know if it is. I really do feel like it’s “acceptance.” It’s acceptance that sometimes disappointment is part of the human experience, acceptance for a person and for yourself in your less impressive moments. And acceptance for our natural fragility because we sometimes aren’t as strong as we need to be or want to be, and letting that stand in its own space and letting that be okay.

Vida, Sundays, 9/8c, Starz