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dancing scene from In The Heights
dancing scene from In The Heights
Photo by Macall Polay / Warner Bros
Culture > Entertainment

Why I think Melissa Barrera is the IT girl of Hollywood right now

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

Melissa Barrera is a 33-year-old actress from Monterrey, Nuevo León in Mexico and is catching her big break. She is one of my favorite actresses and is finally getting the spotlight she deserves. She stars as one of the main characters named Vanessa in the movie “In the Heights” that premiered back in 2021.

“In the Heights” follows a small group of family and friends that live on a specific group of blocks in Washington Heights, New York City. The movie spills over with Hispanic culture in the best way possible, representing multiple groups between the characters’ heritages as well as the actors’ heritages.

Vanessa, Barrera’s character, is an aspiring clothing designer who works at the local salon to make ends meet and is saving up to move out of Washington Heights and start a career of her own with her designs in hand. Her song “It Won’t Be Long Now” is an incredible display of vocal talent and I will recommend it to anyone who asks.

Lin Manuel Miranda created the musical that the movie is based on and it stars many other incredibly talented Hispanic actors and actresses such as Leslie Grace, Anthony Ramos, who was also in “Hamilton”, and Stephanie Beatriz who was in “Brooklyn 99” as Rosa Diaz and was also Mirabel in “Encanto”.

While “In the Heights” is my favorite movie and I can recount every line word for word, that’s most likely not what she is most known for right now. Barrera starred opposite Jenna Ortega in “Scream VI” as Sam Carpenter.

Now, I’m not a huge horror fan but I do know that “Scream” is one of the most popular and still running horror franchises out there. This is clear and evident from the sheer number of people dressed up as Ghostface every year since I was in middle school.

This movie was absolutely huge for Barrera and while she was actively smashing box office records for her starring role in “Scream VI” she was in the process of having another huge project called “Carmen” that she sings heart-wrenching songs such as “Tu y Yo” in, and also stars huge actor Paul Mescal.

Due to both of these huge projects, she was able to be featured as the very first digital cover for People magazine, was featured in Elle magazine, and appeared on the Kelly Clarkson Show.

To have loved Barrera when she was Vanessa and to now watch her flourish and have what seems like non-stop projects and movies coming out truly makes me so happy, as she is incredibly talented. She is currently working on a new horror film called “The One” starring Nicholas Hoult who was in Hulu’s “The Great”, Lana Condor who was our beloved Lara Jean, and Riley Keough who was our reveled Daisy Jones.

I will continue to flock to the theater every time Barrera appears in a project and for those of you who have not seen her works, catch up, because we’re all taking a group trip to watch her next big film!

Leah McElheny is a new Her Campus at SBU chapter member who plans to write about literature, movies, TV shows, and most things pop culture. Outside of Her Campus, Leah is a junior at St. Bonaventure University and is currently double majoring in Adolescent Education with an English concentration and English. She has worked with multiple school districts in the area tutoring and substitute teaching for middle school and elementary school. She currently works for the university as a writing tutor and a peer coach to a group of freshmen. In her free time, Leah enjoys dancing for the SBU dance team, reading, and watching movies. Her favorite books are "The Similars" and "The Pretenders", both by Rebecca Hanover. Her biggest personality trait is loving Harry Potter and she prides herself on being incredibly mediocre at all forms of trivia, other than Harry Potter trivia of course.