Inside Isabela’s Private Struggle
With her starring role as CJ on Nickelodeon’s 100 Things To Do Before High School, Isabela Moner has to memorize a ton of lines every week and say them perfectly on camera, over and over again. But believe it or not, there was a time when the now 14-year-old was having trouble simply speaking English. “Growing up, Spanish was my first language and English was my second,” she tells YSBnow exclusively. “And so I didn’t learn to read English books, I’d read Spanish books only. When I went to kindergarten, the teachers thought I was a little slow or not processing things as well because I didn’t speak English.”
Isabela’s main struggle was that Spanish phrases aren’t directly translated into English. For example, if you say “white shirt,” it’s translated into Spanish as “camisa blanca.” The words are in the opposite order – so if Isabela wanted to say “white shirt,” she’d say “shirt white.” And other students noticed. “I wouldn’t say things correctly – and kids would make fun of me because of my accent,” she reveals. “I just sounded so different from the rest of them.”
She didn’t know it back then, but the thing that made her different is what got Isabela her first big role! “The great thing about speaking Spanish is one of the first jobs I ever got was Dora & Friends Into The City,” she smiles. “I watched Dora growing up because my whole life was Spanish and Dora was a big part of it! It was really, really cool.” What’s also cool? Loving your culture and embracing the things that make you different from everyone else. Look how it worked out for Isabela!