“Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life” star Isabela Moner reveals her own school struggles
Between her starring roles on Nickelodeon and two upcoming feature films, Isabela Moner memorizes a ton of lines every week and recites them perfectly on camera, over and over again. You’d never know it, but English wasn’t her first language. “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.”
Isabela worked hard to perfect her English, and a few years later, she started acting professionally. Everything came full circle when the Spanish accent she was once bullied for helped Isabela land 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!
You can catch her on the big screen next Friday, when her movie Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, hits theaters.
photo: Michael Simon/startraksphoto.com