Taina's Christina Vidal on show's legacy and potential revival special

As one of the first Latinx-led television shows to launch on Nickelodeon, Taina managed to capture the hearts of viewers in a short amount of time.

Premiering on January 14, 2001, the show followed the Puerto Rican teenager Taina Morales and her friends as they attended a performing arts high school in New York.

Thanks to its fun script, a diverse cast, aspirational messages, and infectious theme song, it became an instant hit.

For the show’s lead actress Christina Vidal, it was hard to imagine that starring on the series for a mere two seasons would lead to fans still lovingly associating her with the show twenty years later.

In an exclusive chat with Metro.co.uk, the 39-year-old admitted: ‘I still can’t believe I ever had that incredible opportunity, the honor of being able to star on that show and everything it represented.

‘I knew it was a big deal at the time but I certainly didn’t realize what an impact it would have on people. It’s strange to think it’s been 20 years but also it feels like another life.’

The actress explained how fans have approached her in the years that followed to explain how the show inspired their life choices.

She recalled: ‘What a great honor I had in God placing me on that show. I still have people coming up to me saying, “I got into the business because of you” or “I decided to try out for that dream job because of this show.”

‘I had no idea the show would have that power. Credit goes to the creators and producers at Nickelodeon for recognizing that this show was necessary and putting it on.’

The Freaky Friday actress also credited the show’s popular theme song for keeping the series alive in the heart of fans as she revealed: ‘Even now, I have friends who will send me videos or FaceTime me because they’re with someone who remembers the show and loves the theme tune.

‘It happens all the time and I love that. I love it because it’s such a sweet nostalgia.’

The lack of social media at the time the show was on air meant Christina didn’t fully realize just how far the love for the show had spread.

Looking back, she explained: ‘I remember one time at a Puerto Rican parade in New York, they asked me to be on a float and then I did a little Q&A afterwards.

‘It was the first time I saw all these young Latina girls looking so happy as they sang and clapped along to the songs. I felt very proud in that moment. I just felt so proud of the show.’

Far ahead of its time with regards to diversity and inclusion, the show followed Taina and her friends Renee Jones, Daniel McDaniel, and Lamar Johnson as they chased their dreams in school, and tried to get past the likes of high-pitched nemesis Maritza Hogg.

Viewers also got to watch as Taina tried to balance the struggles of staying connected to her Latinx heritage while also loving things about American culture.

Kids tuned in week after week to see the 15-year-old and her pal’s antics, however, the show abruptly came to an end in 2002 after just two seasons on air.

Despite the success the show had with both viewers of Latinx heritage and non-Latinx fans, a series similar to Taina didn’t appear on screens for many years to come.

Christina noted: ‘The simple fact is diversity should be far more common, especially in the States. We shouldn’t be noticing it, or the lack of it, because it should just be happening. It’s still not happening enough and it makes me sad that we’re making such slow progress.

‘What makes me sad is when it is a decision that is based on racism that is motivated by fear. That’s even worse than ignorance to me.’

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She continued: ‘The lack of representation is not just with Latinos and for African-Americans, but also Asian culture, African culture – which is actually very different than Black culture.

‘Just thinking about all of this culture we’re missing out on because some people are afraid to see something that is unfamiliar. Entertainment has the power to teach us and influence us and it’s sad that we’re not using that for more good… to enlighten people and to introduce children to different cultures and different family types.’

The United We Fall actress added that she was glad to see that tide appeared to be turning in a lasting way, with more effort being made to create shows like Taina once again.

With reboots and revivals popping up all over the place, it’s no surprise fans have been calling for the show to come back in some way.

Christina revealed she would love to check in with Taina to see where the beloved character would be now.

Discussing the option for a revival special, she told Metro.co.uk: ‘A lot of people have talking about wanting to do a tiny reboot. Maybe we could do a one-off special for the fans and see where it goes. I’d be up for that.’

Fingers crossed.

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