Paola Lázaro brings representation through Princess

Josh Stringer/AMC

At Fandemic Dead, fans showed their love for Paola Lázaro and her character, Princess.

Despite the panel featuring The Walking Dead’s newest power couple “Princer,” AKA Princess and Mercer (Michael James Shaw), the focus went to Paola because her character really captured the audience and means so much to each of us. Paola talked about how Princess raises awareness for mental health as well as bringing representation for the Puerto Rican community.

Paola has often said that her character, Princess, was her as a child. 

Paola: Well, I used to get into a lot of trouble when I was a kid because I was very hyper and, you know, I was told that I wasn’t ever going to do much with my life because of always getting in trouble. And so being able to be on a show where my character speaks about mental health and opens that conversation up is like a huge honor for me. And when I get fans who come up to me and say, ‘thank you for the episode “Splinter” because she spoke about things that I’ve gone through,’ it gets it gets me emotional. It’s a huge blessing and and it feels like every obstacle that I had in my life and every ‘no’ that I had in my life brought me to this moment to be able to somehow inspire others and to make them feel less alone by talking about these topics and representing this character the way I do.

Jace Downs/AMC

Paola revealed her favorite line to be something Princess says, “I’m not crazy if that’s what you’re thinking. I mean, there’s the ADHD the depression, the PTSD, the anxiety and the crushing loneliness, but maybe that’s the only sane response to an insane world.” And this is a perfect line because Paola does a lot to advocate for mental awareness.

Paola: I talk about that freely and I suffer from depression and anxiety and ADHD and the list goes on and on and on. But, I definitely will continue to be an advocate for that because those things that seem like obstacles have made me who I am today. And I like to think I’m a pretty good person and I treat people with kindness and respect and compassion. So yes, I will definitely continue to talk about it. I do it a lot in my writing. I write scripts, and I’m doing my play, that I wrote and I’m acting in if you guys want to come see it. It’s from May to June in Washington D.C. and it talks a lot about that. And it’s gonna have some pamphlets and stuff about the topics that we talk about in the play, for everyone to to have some more knowledge of it. 

The play is called “There’s Always the Hudson” and will run at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington D.C. 

Paola: It’s an awesome theater. The play is hardcore. Do not bring your kids, please and thank you. Nobody under 15 should be watching that.

Paola also revealed that Princess was not originally Puerto Rican, and that she asked the writers to make Princess Puerto Rican.

Paola: My character was supposed to be Mexican American, but when I got cast in the show of I don’t know how I got the ovaries to write to the show and tell them that because there was already a Mexican American character, who was strong and tough and intelligent, I was like, ‘can we make Princess Puerto Rican?’ I wrote that email and I was like, ‘Oh my god…,’ but they said yes. I wanted, for the sake of representation, to show different types of strong Hispanic women. For me, it’s a huge honor and I am forever thankful and it’s a huge blessing.

Josh Stringer/AMC
You can catch Paola on season 11 of “The Walking Dead” with new episodes airing every Sunday.