Born in Mexico and raised in San Jose, California, Eréndira Ibarra’s acting career has been mostly in Spanish film and television, such as recent roles on Netflix’s
Ibarra is currently starring in Matrix Resurrections in the role of Lexy. She is the first Latina actress to land a role in the mind-bending Wachowski sci-fi series. The film reunites her with Lana Wachowski and several of her Sense8 castmates.
The actress spoke about the impact the original Matrix movie had on her and landing a role 20 years later in the fourth installment of the series.
What do you remember about seeing The Matrix?
I went to see the film with my friends, here in California. I left the theater transformed… with a sense of happiness that there were people who saw the world like me, that they didn’t just buy into narratives the way they were being sold… and I really wanted to change reality.
How cool has it been to be part of the Matrix Resurrections two decades after the conclusion of the trilogy?
It’s been amazing. It’s a dream come true because not even in my wildest dreams could I imagine this. It’s kind of breathtaking, every single time I want to go out or someone sends me a poster in London or a picture of a poster in New York, or walking down the street here in L.A. and to see a building with the projection of the Matrix. It’s so insane. All I can say is I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity for Lana and her friendship that has brought me to where I am now because I’m very very proud of being part of this.
MORE FOR YOU
You previously worked with the Wachowskis on Sense8. Did that help you land this role?
Yes. It was six years of friendship built as a result of Sense8. I like to think that Lana wanted to be surrounded by family to tell this story that was so important to her and to her mother and father, may they rest in peace, as a tribute to her parents. It was important for her to create a sacred space where she felt free to create. And that was what we did. Well, that is what family does – maintain a space and lead with the heart no matter what is happening in the world. And I think that’s why we were there. So she wrote custom-made roles for each of us: Toby Onwumere, Brian J. Smith and Max Riemelt.
What was it like to work again with Lana Wachowski?
Working with Lana has always been like a leap of faith. I call her mom. Basically I trust her in every sense. She can say: jump off this building and I would do it. I find with her the safe space and freedom that I need to create. I think that’s something that is not easy to find. I’ve been on many shows in my life where I felt that I was not necessarily wanted there. And with her, I knew I was there because she wanted me there. And that is the most important thing. It’s also the best antidote for the imposter syndrome that we all live and go through. To know that you’re there because someone wants you there and believes in you more than you believe in yourself sometimes is quite the blessing.
You’re the first and only Latina character in the series and on Matrix Resurrections. What does this mean in terms of change, inclusivity and giving more opportunities to Latinos in big Hollywood blockbuster films?
I’m very excited. As a producer and an activist myself, I think that representation has always been important. But it’s also been very token, like the token Latina, the token Asian. It just doesn’t seem quite fair and honest and I don’t believe that visibility makes any difference or inclusion makes any difference when it’s a formula and when everyone behind the scenes is still the same as usual.
With Lana, the structural changes were made so that the spaces behind the camera and in front of the camera were filled by diverse and dignified people and I think that is something that I appreciate. I get tired of how gimmicky this industry can be and how sometimes we just feel like they’re using social movements or inclusion to fill in the boxes and get away with whatever they want to get away with. In this case, it’s really organic and honest and it’s about really not just taking up the space that we deserve but also creating space for diverse people and women to be able to show full force what we’re made of.
If they end up doing a sequel to this sequel, would you like to be part of it?
Totally! I’m all for it. They already have my headshot, my resumé and know where to find me (she laughs). I would be very happy to be back as Lexy and return to The Matrix.