Young adults are hyped for ‘Carmen Sandiego’ series with ‘badass Latina’

By Gwen Aviles

Carmen Sandiego and Maria Vargas Aponte don’t have much in common. One is a fictional criminal mastermind who travels the world to avoid capture, the other is a very real Texas-based video game blogger who makes an honest living as a computer engineer.

But when Netflix released the trailer for its new series “Carmen Sandiego,” which drops on Jan. 18 and features Gina Rodriguez as the voice of the main character, Vargas Aponte watched it “more than 15 times.”

Like other young adults who grew up in the 80s and 90s loving computers and gaming, Vargas Aponte relates to Carmen for many reasons, though one sticks out.

“Many Latina characters are secondary characters, but with Carmen Sandiego, we have this badass Latina character,” said Vargas Aponte, 28, who grew up playing a version of the “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” computer game.

Award-winning actress Gina Rodríguez is the voice of Carmen in the new animated series.

Rodriguez, a native of Chicago who is of Puerto Rican descent, views her character as one that bridges cultures, something that resonates among the increasingly diverse younger generations.

“Carmen gets to travel to so many different places all over the world, and you see her empathy and desire to learn other people’s languages and cultures and religions, and she teaches that,” Rodriguez said. “The show fuses two things I love the most, which is art and education, and when I see that cute little girl with her pretty brown skin, it makes me melt. I almost want to cry when I think about it.”

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