‘Stargirl’s Yvette Monreal: ‘Wildcat Is a Rebirth for Yolanda’
The teens at Blue Valley High School are really finding themselves by suiting up as part of the new Justice Society of America on DC’s Stargirl.
For Yolanda Montez (Yvette Monreal), becoming Wildcat after Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) recruited her is helping her move past the fallout of mean girl Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy) blasting out a photo to everyone that was only meant for Yolanda’s then-boyfriend Henry King Jr. (Jake Austin Walker). Her parents, however, can’t get over the disgrace they say she’s brought upon herself and her family.
And fans will get to see Yolanda confront Henry about their history in an upcoming episode. “We’ll see where it goes from there, either up or down” is all Monreal would tease.
Here, the actress discusses the importance of being Wildcat and the team to her character, what she finds relatable about Yolanda, and more.
What does being Wildcat mean to Yolanda at this point, especially compared to when she first put on the suit?
Yvette Monreal: Wildcat is like a rebirth for Yolanda. She had never had the courage before to talk to her family and her parents and just tell them how she really feels and how [what happened] shouldn’t account for her whole life. The shaming needs to stop. If Wildcat hadn’t come into her life, that probably would have never happened. It gave her the strength to face them. Wildcat is probably the most important thing for her right now, aside from the JSA and the relationships she has with them, because it’s giving her all the strength she needs to move forward with her life. That relationship with her family is really strained, so that’s the only thing she has. It means everything to her.
Speaking of her relationship with her family, will we see more of that? And will anything change this season?
Right now, Yolanda tried to make amends with her family, but you never know. The parents could hopefully come around. They seem pretty strict.
My mom was actually really pleased with how they depicted the family because my mom is very traditional and she was like, “I really appreciate that they gave such an accurate representation of how Hispanic families are.” Obviously, not all Hispanic families are like that, but she was mainly speaking about herself because my mom is very traditional and she’s Mexican and she even said, “that’s how my family was.” And me, growing up, that’s how she was. It’s very important that the representation was there because even though not all Hispanic families are represented like that on TV, I’m glad that this one was because in reality, there are families like that and it’s very relatable. It was very relatable to me and my mom.
Hopefully they repair the relationship and hopefully Yolanda can move forward with them on her side.
Putting Wildcat aside, Yolanda seems to really be discovering herself again by joining this team.
Yeah, she was a loner for these past three months, and she didn’t have anybody to depend on. Everyone who was there for her ended up leaving, and it’s a big sense of betrayal, these friendships she thought were so real ended up not being that. She’s shamed not only by her peers, but also her school, so yeah, being a superhero is very important and all these relationships she’s coming across are so genuine. She never really experienced this level of loyalty, so it means a lot to her.
Of the four, would you agree Courtney and Yolanda are the closest friends outside of the team?
Yeah, [Courtney] is [Yolanda’s] best friend. Yolanda was really in a place where it was tough to trust again [when they first met]. The one person she thought wouldn’t betray her actually did and that’s a hard pill to swallow. The fact that Courtney has come time and time again to try and establish a relationship with her, I don’t think Yolanda was used to that. I think Yolanda felt, “once she finds out about the pictures, she’s just going to leave, too.” She was so scared of having her leave because that’s what everyone else did in her life.
The relationship with Courtney is really special to her because she sees Courtney’s loyalty is actually real and she’s never experienced that before. That’s why Yolanda pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed, because she thought she would leave anyway, but now that she sees her loyalty is real, she’s like, “this is who I want to surround myself with,” and that’s what makes them so close because she’s never had someone like that and now that she does, she’s not going to let it go.
And what about Yolanda’s relationships with the rest of the team members?
Rick makes Yolanda nervous because he has these aspirations to get revenge more so than to help the JSA at first. “Do we trust this?” So that’s kind of like a wild card. And then Beth stumbles across the goggles, and [Yoland’s] just like, “What’s going on? I thought we were going to do this together, we were going to choose this team together.” She does have her doubts, but in Episode 106, when they prove basically they can be a team, it changes her mind slowly but surely. She gives Beth a little pat on the back when she figures out the code. She’s warming up to everyone.
What role does Pat play with the team going forward?
Pat said in this last episode, 106, he has no choice but to make us the new JSA because we’re all very informed in what’s going on. We all have the suits. We’ve fought these villains already. Having Pat on our side gives us a little bit of a relief. He clearly knows we’re in over our heads a little bit, and he helps us. He trains us and teaches us the importance of team work and the dangers of the ISA, but things don’t really go quite as planned and the team still has a lot to learn.
DC’s Stargirl, Tuesdays, 8/7c, The CW