10-year-old actress from San Juan to make Hollywood debut on April 28

A 10-year-old actress from San Juan is making her big screen debut in an upcoming Hollywood film.

“I loved this experience,” said Manelly Zepeda. “It was super fun making it.”

Zepeda is a fourth grade student at Sorenson Elementary in San Juan. She will play the young version of Salma Hayek’s role as Sara in the upcoming Lionsgate film, “How to be a Latin Lover”.

“It was really exciting to be with all these different actors, especially Eugenio Derbez,” Zepeda said. “He was really funny and nice.”

Zepeda was casted for the film at a casting call held at the PSJA school district. Zepeda and her family traveled back and forth to Los Angeles to film the movie during the summer of last year.

Manelly’s mother, Mayra Zepeda, migrated from Mexico almost 20 years ago. Zepeda said she’s proud her daughter can represent bilingual girls across the country.

“For me as a mother, I’m super proud of her,” Mayra Zepeda said. “She had gone so far and we never imagined. She’s such a good girl. She’s very intelligent. She’s so good at school.”

Zepeda’s fourth grade English teacher, Elizabeth Vega, said Manelly is a great asset to PSJA’s dual language program.

“She’s a well-rounded individual,” Vega said. “I mean, she’s marvelous. She did share with us that she’s coming out in Hollywood movies, so the kids are very excited having her and come tell us about the Hollywood life.”

Zepeda said she would like to focus on acting, modeling, singing, and dancing in the future. Manelly’s mother says their family plans on going to Los Angeles in the summer to support her daughter’s acting career.

The film “How to be a Latin Lover” will hit theaters April 28.