Starz’s “Vida” started with a parent dying, so it makes sense that the final season also includes a loss. Sunday’s episode revealed that Mari and Johnny’s father died, and the episode followed their mourning. Mari actress Chelsea Rendon talked to International Business Times about how the loss will affect her character and why it might actually be good for her.

International Business Times: So how does losing her dad really affect Mari moving forward?

Rendon: I think it breaks her, but I think in a good way. Because she was always pushed down or shushed … by her dad and by her brother because of her dad. So I think even though she loves him and she mourns him and it's really hard for her, I think it ends up being beneficial to her at the end of the day where she can finally start becoming the woman that she was meant to be instead of the woman she had to be to play the part in her family.

IBT: It really is emphasized that she was the caretaker. Her brother only had a few weeks that he had to be in that role himself and he messed it up very quickly. Will Mari hold a grudge against Johnny?

Rendon: Well, I definitely think she blames Johnny for not taking him to the appointment. I don't think she blames him for everything, especially in the last moment on the bed. She sees that he has the conchas. So that was him doing it to himself where Apa was responsible for his own wellbeing at the same time. It wasn't just us. … There's definitely some anger, and also, just how do they react and relate now? Because there's always been that brother/sister dynamic, with the father figure putting all the cards on Johnny's side because he was a man and the machismo-ness of the family. So now they have to see how their relationship is without that factor.

IBT: So one of the moments that I really loved in the episode was when she decides to put on the blue lipstick anyway. Can you talk a little bit about that moment and what that meant for her?

Rendon: Well, for Mari, the lipstick, the bandana, the hook, the look is part of her armor. It's part of her war paint that she feels ready for anything. And so when Johnny tries to tell her not to do it, it's like, "How are you going to try to take away a piece of me?" But then she's also trying to be respectful for the situation. And that's why there's no poof. There's no eyeliner. Her face is pretty naked until the moment she looks at herself and she's like, "I can't face this without my armor." And that's when she puts it on. It was really beautiful because in that moment it was like, "This is what I need to survive." Putting herself first, which she's never really done.

Vida Chelsea Rendon
Chelsea Rendon appears in "Vida" Season 3. Starz

IBT: How are we going to see that play out for the rest of this season with her finally being able to put herself first?

Rendon: Well, I think it's still new, so it's baby steps for her, but I think that when we go down with this ICE storyline in the next couple episodes, that's a big thing for her on her own.

IBT: We definitely see that she's starting to diverge from her political activism group and go her own way. Is her dad what's affecting the situation or is it a genuine outgrowing type of thing?

Rendon: Well, I think that from Season 2 with the sisters and the fact that she was living there, it showed her that there is a gray area. The world isn't black and white. It isn't whether you're for gentrification or against it. And that was a big thing for her to take that step back and realize that, and that's why she didn't help with the protest. But then she also didn't stop the protest. So that was the beginning of the end in a way, or the beginning of the end of this way of thinking that she had.

This season, which you haven't seen yet, but [soon] you see her butt heads even more with the vigilantes. You saw it in episode 1 when they were trying to be like, "Oh, you're [expletive] up. You weren't there for Yoli." But she clapped back right away with, "Hey, you didn't do [expletive] either. Sit down." Luckily, Yoli was cool about it and was like, "It's no good for both of us to be in jail."

I don't think it has to do with her dad so much as that she's no longer in chains by her family dynamic. I think that by his death it released her from the chains and now she's almost beginning a new life and figuring things out with a new lens.

IBT: I really liked that “Vida” Season 3 is showing her and Yoli, who have been shown to be the best of friends, just generally growing apart rather than falling out. Are we going to see that friendship dissolve this season or get strengthened or weakened?

Rendon: Well, you're definitely going to see some issues, just like any friendship and especially with Mari and this big transitional time in her life. She now realizes there's a gray area. She wants to fight for immigration and with the ICE situation. So it's just, are Yoli and the vigilantes going to be on the same page with that or not? And what does that mean for Mari going forward?

IBT: This is the final season, which I'm very sad about. Did you guys know that the end was coming? Did you get to craft a real ending for your characters?

Rendon: The writers did know going into the writers room, but the beautiful thing about Tanya [Saracho, showrunner], she really ended each season with a possibility that it could have ended there. … I am really happy with how every character ended up and Mari especially, and I'm very proud of her and it was more of an ending of a chapter. This was the first act and this is the end of the first act, and the next chapter in their lives is starting. We just won't see it.

[The final season is] a wild ride, and I'm actually really glad that it's not bingeable because we get to live it for the next six weeks together every Sunday. Especially it's really sad that because of the quarantine, we can't be together as a cast. So at least we have every Sunday where we're on Zoom and live-tweeting that we can look forward to.

Chelsea Rendon and Carlos Miranda in "Vida" Season 3 on Starz. Starz

IBT: What’s coming up next for you?

Rendon: Well, so I have a film called “The Infiltrators” that's part documentary, part fiction that was supposed to be released in theaters at the beginning of April, which didn't happen. But it just got released online. But it's a really important film because it talks about immigration and it talks about a detention center, a for-profit detention center in 2012, where these two activists infiltrated and got themselves detained in order to help people on the inside get out...

And then I have another film, “The Tax Collector,” that's supposed to be coming out in August that's written and directed by David Ayer starring Bobby Soto, Shia LaBeouf, myself, Noemi Gonzalez, Lana Parilla, George Lopez. There's a lot of great talent in this film, so I actually haven't even seen it yet. So I'm just excited to see it...

Right before the quarantine, I finally got the money for a romantic comedy that I am producing and also starring in. So I'm really excited for that because it'll be the first time playing a girlier character, even though she has an attitude and she has sass to her. But I'm also playing a woman [who is in her mid-20s] for the first time. … So I'm really excited for that.

“Vida” Season 3 airs Sundays on Starz at 9 p.m. EDT.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Chelsea Rendon
Chelsea Rendon stars in "Vida" Season 3. Vince Trupsin