This episode really marks our first big backstory download for Rosita where you talk all about how your character hated not being able to take care of herself so went to guys who could protect her so she could pick things up from them, and then once she learned what she needed and outgrew them, she would take off. What do you make of all that and how nice was it to fill in some of the past blanks with this character?
I loved it. I was very excited. I had known about her backstory for a while. It was something that I thought about and I asked questions about, so I have known all that information. It was like this juicy secret that I had, but I also really couldn’t wait to share it. I’ve been asked about it a lot, so the way I got to do it was perfect. And I love her backstory. It shows her strength. It shows how fierce she is.
We already know that this world is something nobody can really understand, but they lost everything and they had to go down to the mere basics, and she knew that what she had to offer was her appearance and that it could benefit her if she chose to utilize it, and that’s what she did to survive. And I thought that was just really cool, and the fact that she was doing it 10 times better than all these dudes is a really cool message.
You all change the mission to save Eugene, yet he says he doesn’t want to go with you all so he runs away — a very Eugene move, by the way. You want to go in there and finish Negan off, but Sasha locks you out and goes in there solo. How pissed is Rosita at that moment?
Of course there’s frustration and there’s a sense of being pissed off, but I think more than anything it was guilt. Their agreement was that they’re going in to kill Negan and to hell with their lives. They’re both on a suicide mission, so by locking her out she’s essentially saving her life, and I think that’s really touching for Rosita, especially since she opened up to Sasha. I think that there then starts to be a lot of guilt.
What do you think Rosita does if she does go in there and she runs across Eugene again? What happens?
[Laughs] She probably just tells him to sit down and get out of the way.
What is it like when you know you have this big episode coming?
It’s exciting. It’s nerve-wracking and I love that it’s still nerve-wracking. And I hope that as long as I’m still doing this that I never stop getting nervous about scenes, because when you get nervous about a scene, it’s because you care about it, and it’s good and you want to make sure you give it your all, and you make the fans happy, and you please people, and you grow — all these checkmarks that you just want to make sure to hit.
And there’s also the fear of, this is a lot of dialogue. [Laughs] I remember getting that scene between me and Sonequa, and it’s so simple. It’s so trivial, but it was the most dialogue I’ve ever had on the show. That comes very naturally to some people and it doesn’t for others. I find myself right in the middle, so that was definitely a struggle for me, but I had just been sitting with this information for so long that I wanted to make sure that this was finally when I was going to get to tell the audience who she is. I was going to let them in a little bit, and I just didn’t want to disappoint, so even watching it, I still think, “Oh, what could I have done or not done?” But that’s the game. You learn from yourself. You grow and you hope to do better the next day.
We knew where Rosita’s head was at going into this whole mission. So what about now after what just went down?
I definitely think that she’s never one to just sit back and say, “Well, that didn’t work.” So there’s definitely going to be a lot more strategizing for Rosita. Whether we see that on camera or it’s more methodically, we’ll have to find out, but she’s never one to just accept a failure.
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