Emeraude Toubia is redefining badass beauty. Born in Canada and raised in Texas, Toubia passed up steady work in telenovelas and moved to California to pursue her dream of acting on the big screen. Eventually, she landed the role of Isabelle Lightwood, the heroine on Freeform’s sci-fi series Shadowhunters. The up-and-comer is currently filming Season 2 episodes the fantasy series, returning June 5. “I feel so blessed to be one of the Latinas on television who doesn’t play a stereotypical role,” she says. As guest editor for Chica in the May issue of People en Español, the actress sat down with us to talk Shadowhunters, moving to Hollywood and her relationship with singer Prince Royce.
In Shadowhunters, do you feel that you bring your Latina background into your character Isabelle?
It’s inevitable. I think that Latinas—we are how we are—so I guess there is a little bit of that in Isabelle. It’s also who I am and we have to bring a little bit of who we are to each character. Starting with her name Isabelle Lightwood, it shows you how the industry is starting to look at us differently.
And how does it feel to be in such a diverse cast?
It’s what America is today; we’re a melting pot. You have all types of ethnicities in the show and it’s really cool that a show without a multicultural cast is not going to work on TV anymore, when back in the day it was completely different. It’s nice!
How’s the support from Latin countries for the show?
The show is on Netflix worldwide so the fans have been insanely supportive. It’s pretty cool!
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You actually got started in the reality pageant competition Nuestra Belleza Latina, do you feel that experience was a launching pad?
I’ve always said it— Univision and Nuestra Belleza Latina was definitely a huge part of my career. They showed me discipline, they showed me how in life you really have to work hard for what you want, and thanks to them, it’s what pushed me to keep fighting hard.
Starting off in the Latin market, did you ever see yourself stepping into the American market?
I did do some telenovelas for that market and I was like, “Why not try out Hollywood?” At the end of the day, ones dream is to be in Hollywood and maybe star next to Ryan Gosling. I moved out to LA and I feel blessed that 3 months in, I got one of the leading roles in [Shadowhunters].
Now that you are in Hollywood, how do you stay connected to your cultural roots?
I am half-Mexican and half-Lebanese. Every time that I have some time off, I go back home to Brownsville, Texas, which is where my parents live and where I was raised. I eat Tacos and I go spend some time with my grandparents. My grandma makes the best food in the world! That’s how I keep connected to my roots; always being there for family reunions and spending Christmas together. I think that family is very important. It’s what keeps you grounded and for me, it’s what keeps me mentally, physically and emotionally happy.
How are you able to manage being on set while in a relationship with someone who’s in the spotlight as well?
I think it’s really nice to have a relationship and the person that you’re with supports you and is with you at all times. It’s nice to have that balance between work, being happy and being in love.
Be sure to check out Emeraude’s takeover in the May issue of People en Español, on stands now!