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Melissa Barrera: 5 Things To Know About The Stunning ‘In The Heights’ Breakout Star

‘In The Heights’ is the movie to see in theaters right now. Melissa Barrera stars in the epic musical event. Here are 5 key things to know about the talented actress who is Hollywood’s next big thing.

Melissa Barrera is a rising star in Hollywood. She stars in the Lin-Manuel Miranda-directed film In The Heights, which is in theaters and on HBO Max now. In addition to In The Heights, Melissa has a number of exciting projects coming up as well.

So, who is Melissa Barrera? From her previous roles to her personal life, HollywoodLife has rounded up 5 things to know about this rising star. Melissa is an actress you’re going to remember for years to come.

Melissa Barrera and Anthony Ramos in a scene from ‘In The Heights.’ (Everett Collection/Warner Bros.)

1. Melissa plays Vanessa in the film ‘In The Heights.’

Vanessa Morales is Usnavi’s love interest in the 2021 film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. Vanessa works at the local salon, Daniela’s, but dreams of a career in fashion. Usnavi is played by Hamilton alum Anthony Ramos. “It’s still unbelievable to me that I’m a part of this, having been a huge fan of the show,” Melissa said in a statement. “I saw it, probably, 15 times on Broadway. I still feel, ‘How is this even real?’ I’m so proud of each person and what they accomplished, and so lucky that I not only got to work with them, but now I get to call them ‘family.’ It’s what we became, what we are.”

2. Melissa rose to fame on ‘Vida.’

Melissa received critical acclaim for her role as Lyn in the STARZ series Vida, which ran for 3 seasons. The show won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2019.  The role of Lyn had a profound effect on Melissa. “I feel like I’m another human being now. Three years later, after three seasons shooting this show and being Lyn, I am changed. I’m completely changed, in a lot of ways,” she told Collider.

3. Melissa is happily married.

Melissa is married to Paco Zazueta. They wed in 2019 after getting engaged in 2017. Melissa and Paco met on the set of the reality show La Academia in 2011.

Melissa Barrera
Melissa Barrera at the 2021 premiere of ‘In The Heights.’ (Shutterstock)

4. Melissa is from Mexico.

The actress hails from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. She went on to study musical theater at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating, Melissa nabbed the leading role in Siempre Tuya Acapulco. “It was a big deal because I’d only done small parts in telenovelas prior to that and I was young compared to leading ladies in other telenovelas,” she said. “I was shocked and nervous. I had never led a telenovela, which meant shooting 20 or more scenes a day, six days a week and basically carrying the story,” she told The New York Times.

5. She will be your next ‘Scream’ queen.

Melissa will next be seen in the fifth film in the Scream franchise, which is set to be released on January 14, 2022. “[Directors] Matt [Bettinelli-Olpin] and Tyler [Gillett] bring their freshness to it, but we’re honoring Wes [Craven],” Melissa told Variety. “I think it’ll make the fans happy, but also bring in a new audience to the movies, which I’m excited about.” She also stars in the upcoming musical drama Carmen alongside Jamie Dornan and Normal People breakout Paul Mescal.


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