Exclusive Q&A Part 2: Coral Peña talks Aleida opening up & teases For All Mankind Season 3

Coral Pena in For All Mankind Season 2 - Courtesy of Apple TV+
Coral Pena in For All Mankind Season 2 - Courtesy of Apple TV+ /

Coral Peña’s performance in For All Mankind Season 2 was so good, we couldn’t limit our exclusive interview with her to just a couple of questions. Instead, we rearranged just a couple of things in order to break it up into two parts.

Part One focused on what it meant to the actress to be able to play someone like Aleida Rosales, whose identity as an immigrant was neither ignored nor presented as the only aspect of her character. We also discussed why representation is so important, especially in sci-fi.

But what’s next for Aleida? How might some of her journey in For All Mankind Season 2 lead her to grow, and what could that mean for Season 3?

Check out what Coral Peña had to say about those issues. The first question is a follow-up on one her answers in Part One: “They can strive to be whoever they want. They are given permission to.”

Coral Peña For All Mankind
Coral Pena in season two of “For All Mankind,” now streaming on Apple TV+ Image Courtesy of Apple. /

Coral Peña on Aleida learning to trust

Hidden Remote: You can be the smartest person in the room and still be the most terrified of making a connection, right?

Coral Peña: Yes! That’s the other thing about Aleida that I hope people take away: Aleida is just kind of awkward. She doesn’t know how to connect with people, and it’s going to come across like someone who pushes people away.

But it’s really just someone who doesn’t know how to be vulnerable and is terribly uncomfortable with themselves. It comes from a place of real distrust of the world because she’s been through so much.

HR: Aleida’s run-in with Bill Strausser from Episode 8 plays right in with that idea of not knowing how to make friends…

Coral Peña: It’s funny because in the episode, she thinks: “Hey. You’re being mean to me? I’ll be mean to you back!” And she has no understanding of consequences at all.

HR: None. [Laughs]

Do you think, by the end, she finally realizes that it’s going to be a long journey, but it’s maybe is OK to be vulnerable with some people, sometimes? Is Aleida moving toward making some connections?

Coral Peña: What she’s learned is, it’s not about being different—or changing who she is. There’s nothing really wrong with who she is. It’s more about allowing people to understand where it’s coming from. And how that can open up her ability to be a better engineer at work and a happier person.

She doesn’t have to stop being this smart alec; she doesn’t have to stop being someone who is a little more brash. She just has to let people into why she’s that way.

Because we all have that person that maybe we went to high school or college with, that at first, you’re like, “ugh. This guy,” and then you get to know them and realize, “they’re actually really lovely. It’s coming from this, actually, special place.”

So, to trust people: That’s the biggest thing that’s working against her. And it makes sense—you get why—but once she starts trusting even Bill, Bill then feels an almost fatherly connection with her.

He feels like he has to defend her because he understands where it’s coming from now, and he just wants other people to know. And he values that she trusted him with this.

I actually got very close to Noah Harpster, who plays Bill. We always made jokes, where we’re like, “we’re always monologuing at each other.” Episode 8 is where we monologue at each other’s faces.

But then, you know, you watch it, and you go, “oh, I understand. I’ve been there,” where you’re just with someone. You don’t know why, but the feeling is right. And you just feel like, “I want to tell you something about my life.”

It’s beautiful, and it’s human. And it’s really special to see Aleida trust someone. That’s the most beautiful part about that scene. You’re seeing that Aleida maybe trusts for the first time in a long time.

We want that for Aleida because we want her to just be able to relax for maybe just once, you know?

HR: Well, and then everything happens with NASA. Relaxing is kind of out the window at that point.

CP: Whether work is stressful or not, that’s another thing. But maybe in her personal life, she can relax and trust people a little more.

Coral Peña on what’s next for Aleida in For All Mankind Season 3

HR: Aleida saves the day twice. She comes up with the ring for the docking system, or else it was going to be a disaster. And then she happens to come across the message from Tracy and Gordo.

Now that she’s clearly proven that she’s the best there is—which, Margo already knew—looking forward to For All Mankind Season 3, is it safe to hope that she might make more connections beyond Margo and Bill?

CP: We did start filming, so I do know. The question is, “how much can I say?”

I think the audience wants nothing more than for Aleida to have a support system. Because she hasn’t had a support system for a really long time, clearly.

She’s been on her own for a really long time. And I think the writers know this and know that the most exciting thing they can offer the audience is to give Aleida a group of people that she trusts and a support system.

Without spoiling anything, they do their best to provide that. That’s all I’ll say about Season 3.

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HR: Thank you so much for your time, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Don’t miss Coral Peña in For All Mankind. All episodes of Season 2 are now streaming on Apple TV Plus!