Bertila Damas on Home Economics Season 3 and Hispanic representation

HOME ECONOMICS - “Wedding Bouquet, $150” – Reflecting on the past, we flashback to Tom and Marina’s wedding day. A defining moment in all the Hayworth’s lives, this catastrophic reception proves that while you cannot have your cake and eat it too, family sticks together for richer or poorer, better or worse, on an all-new episode of “Home Economics,” WEDNESDAY, OCT. 12 (9:31-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Temma Hankin)BERTILA DAMAS, KARLA SOUZA
HOME ECONOMICS - “Wedding Bouquet, $150” – Reflecting on the past, we flashback to Tom and Marina’s wedding day. A defining moment in all the Hayworth’s lives, this catastrophic reception proves that while you cannot have your cake and eat it too, family sticks together for richer or poorer, better or worse, on an all-new episode of “Home Economics,” WEDNESDAY, OCT. 12 (9:31-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Temma Hankin)BERTILA DAMAS, KARLA SOUZA /

Bertila Damas has taken on a wide range of roles since she began her acting career in the 80s. From The Golden Girls spin-offs and Star Trek series to animations like King of the Hill and thriller detective shows like Dexter, Damas has walked in a lot of shoes. But there’s a role she comes back to more often than others; playing a mom, like her recent in Home Economics Season 3.

Michael Colton and John Aboud’s family-centered ABC sitcom takes a look at the heartwarming, but sometimes frustrating, relationship between three adult siblings–Tom (Topher Grace), Sarah (Caitlin McGee) and Connor (Jimmy Tatro)–all of whom live at different financial ends of the economy.

Karla Souza plays Marina, Tom’s wife, and Episode 4 of Home Economics Season 3 is the first time audiences get to see Marina interact with her mother, who has passed in the show’s present-day timeline.

The episode recaps Tom and Marina’s wedding and Damas plays Marina’s mother, Christina. Damas has played a lot of moms on screen, but this role was special not only in the speech Christina gives to her daughter, but also with the episode paying celebrated attention to Marina’s Hispanic heritage.

Bertila Damas on Home Economics Season 3 and Hispanic representation
HOME ECONOMICS – (ABC/Temma Hankin) /

So, as Home Economics season 3 heads towards its midseason finale, let’s revisit one of the season’s best moments that still gets us right in the feelings.

Bertila Damas Talks Home Economics Season 3 and Hispanic representation in Hollywood.

We got the chance to talk with Damas about her speech, the pep talks she received that helped her through the start of her career, how far entertainment has come in Hispanic representation, and swooning over Jake McDorman in her new role in the upcoming Mrs. Davis.

Hidden Remote: How did you get connected with Home Economics Season 3? What made you want to be part of this show?

Bertila Damas: The series has a really wonderful amount of diversity and it’s got a great dynamic. I found it funny and charming. I have a brother, two half brothers, a sister and a half sister and I know how crazy the whole sibling thing can be.

Everybody’s in everyone else’s business but we’re all still really close. My little brother also makes a fortune as a big software genius and I went off and became an actor. The show is all really similar to my family.

Hidden Remote: What did you enjoy most about playing Karla Souza’s mom on the show?

Damas: Karla Souza is truly a lovely and thoughtful human being. This crew really knows what they’re doing and the writers do as well. It’s really a wonderful show to work on and to be a part of, so I was really very honored. And I don’t say that to blow smoke. I really enjoyed it. And they were delightful.

I’m also a mommy to a lot of really great girls on television. So it’s kind of a fun little niche I’ve gotten into.

Hidden Remote: I really loved the line that you said to Karla in Episode 4 of Home Economics Season 3: “Have faith in your choices…No matter what bumps in the road come, you’ll handle it.” I love that line. And I know that you’ve had quite a journey yourself getting into Hollywood. Is this speech to Karla’s character a sentiment that you really took to heart in your life?

Damas: Yes, and it’s been such a wonderful, unexpected journey for me. A casting director, a long time ago, told me, ‘Just ride the waves when you’re lucky enough to catch one. You’ll be up and you’ll hit the shore, and you got to paddle back out again.”

But I’ve had great disappointments and faced a lot of challenges that I did not expect. I don’t want to portray myself as a victim but, when I started, a lot of people were prone to point out that I was Hispanic. So I would do an audition, and it would be great, and then they turn over my resume, and they’d go, “Are you Hispanic?” And I knew it was the end right there.

They would tell me I wasn’t “urban” enough and in order to just get hired for on-camera work, I learned to be as “urban” as they wanted me to be, trying to look a particular way, talking a particular way.

I eventually went to work in Spanish television for Telemundo and that was wonderful, so I don’t want this to come off like a complaint, but it was just something I didn’t know was going to be a challenge.

All I wanted to do was be a good actress and I think I have filled that part of my portfolio. I mean, people have said it. So, I’m going to take their word for it. The journey’s been challenging. But now, things are good and I’m happy. And I’m working with wonderful people.

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Hidden Remote: You also have served on the Screen Actor’s Guild Board of Directors and also on the SAG-AFTRA Board as their National Chair of the Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee with this huge desire to make these opportunities better for other people. 

Damas: I was on the board for many years, though I’ve been gone for about five years now. But we had such an amazing committee, we put on more events across the country having to do with diversity than any before us.

I was the chair for seven years and we had the largest Black History event in the history of the Union. We had Latino events, Asian events, and we brought diversity to the foreground in this Union.

Bertila Damas on Home Economics Season 3 and Hispanic representation
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 12: Actress Bertila Damas (L) and SAG National 1st VP Ned Vaughn attend the Screen Actors Guild welcoming representatives from the Actors Guild of Nigeria event at Marmalade Cafe Farmers Market on October 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images) /

Hidden Remote: And now, five years later–looking back on the journey you had and the role you played in bringing more diversity, and appreciation for diversity, to this business–was it particularly special getting to be a part of a Home Economics Season 3 episode where Hispanic heritage is being so colorfully celebrated with this giant wedding and huge celebration of love?

Damas: It was so great. And it really was a wedding. We had huge tents set up outside and the mariachi band and several dozen background actors that were awesome because they sat under these reflectors that made us all look beautiful in 100-degree heat. And then we had the reception inside. I mean, anyone could have used the set to get married that day.

And I really loved the scene inside with Karla. I just love it. And that room was also just a gorgeous setup. The art design was wonderful. Really cute. Very over-the-top Mexican, I thought. But it was stunning and very 2009.

Hidden Remote: In the roles that you’ve been in since your time with the Union, from Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Camila Santiago to Helena Ortecho in Roswell, New Mexico and, most recently, Prime Minister Selena Fernandez De Las Casas in the upcoming Mrs. Davis–do you ever just sit and absorb the fact that Hispanic culture is now a point of celebration in these shows and being highlighted in a way that it wasn’t back when you were first starting?

Damas: We’re doing a lot better than a lot of people think we are. I mean, Ana de Armas is playing Marilyn Monroe and Bobby Cannavale is playing Joe DiMaggio. I think we’re crossing some lines.

I think people are beginning to see that we’re not a race, per se, but that we are a culture, with a variety of races inside of our culture. We have people who are European, Black, Asian, Indigenous…it’s a beautiful thing, actually. I mean, the music scene, we captured that a long time ago. But some of the biggest talents we have on camera right now are Latinos.

I think we’re going in the right direction. I still don’t think there are enough Latin-centered TV shows, but we’ve had some of the biggest hit animations and movies. There’s a lot around the culture that is expanding. So I’m very proud. We are growing and I’d love it if more people focused on all the great stuff that we’ve been up to.

Bertila Damas on Home Economics Season 3 and Hispanic representation
LAS VEGAS, NV – AUGUST 03: Actress Bertila Damas speaks at the “Guest Stars of DS9” panel during the 17th annual official Star Trek convention at the Rio Hotel & Casino on August 3, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images) /

Hidden Remote: Comedy is also a big part of your career, having roles in Shameless and King of the Hill as well as Brooklyn Nine-Nine. What do you love about being part of a TV series, including Home Economics, that has a strong comedic backbone? 

Damas: It’s my favorite thing to do. I’ve worked with people like Andy Samberg, Melissa Fumero, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, a lot of really incredibly funny people. But good comedy is hard, it’s serious, and making people laugh is not so easy.

Hidden Remote: But you make it look so easy and natural. You don’t have a ton of outlandish humorous moments in this episode of Home Economics Season 3, but one thing that I thought was so quick, but so great, was when you and Cheech Marin are watching your daughter Marina get married. Cheech has been pretty hard on Topher’s character but then says something like, “I never doubted he was the right choice,” and you just look at him with just this blank stare.

Damas: That was a fun little scene. Some of the most fun interactions I had were those with Cheech. He and I had worked together before on a spin-off series of The Golden Girls called The Golden Palace,  where his character falls in love with my character. We also worked together on Lodge 49. So it was great to see him again.

Hidden Remote: Episode 4 was the first time we’ve gotten to visit the past with Marina and her mother, but do you think we’ll get the chance to watch you play Marina’s mom again on the series with some other flash-back episodes?

Damas: I do think it’s a possibility. I have yet to play a mom and not be called back.

Hidden Remote: Do you have plans to play any more mom roles at the moment? 

Damas: There are some things pending, so we’ll see. But I have my my role coming up in the new series, Mrs. Davis and I think it’s going to be a super mega hit. It’s written by the producer of Lost and has Betty Gilpin and Jake McDorman who is a dream boat, oh my god. I found myself saying things like, “Well, if I was 30 years younger…”

I can’t say too much else other than I play a Prime Minister and I got to wear an amazing piece of wardrobe.

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Are you all excited for the Home Economics season 3 finale? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!