Netflix’s Freeridge Cast Opens Up About The Moments They Truly Felt Connected To Their Characters While Filming The On My Block Spinoff

On My Block was arguably one of the best shows to grace Netflix over the past several years, and it enjoyed a solid run before concluding after four seasons in 2021. Many were sad to see it end but, now, the coming-of-age show’s legacy continues through Freeridge. The spinoff takes place in the titular town, like its predecessor, but focuses on a new group of teens who get wrapped up in a kooky mystery involving a cursed box. These new kids on the block are incredibly delightful as are the stars who play them. And recently, the actors opened up about the moments when they truly felt connected to their characters while filming Season 1.

Fans became quite attached to Monsé, Ruby, Jamal and Cesar over the course of On My Block’s four seasons, and they’re sorely missed. But viewers are sure to love Freeridge’s Gloria, Ines, Demi and Cameron once they get to know them. I had the opportunity to speak to the cast, who are still getting to know their characters in some respects. With that in mind, I asked the group about filming the first season and when they truly felt in sync with their roles amid production. Keyla Monterroso Mejia, who plays headstrong leader Gloria, answered by recalling a subtle scene that also features her co-star and on-screen sister, Bryana Salaz:

Yeah, I think there's a beautiful scene where [Gloria and Ines are] on the couch, and we're laying together and we're sort of going throughout our day. And I think it was the first time that I felt like, no matter what, I love her. And I think because I maybe was loving [Bryana Salaz] in real life. Like, that moment, it felt very authentic to me, and it felt nice. And I felt like no matter what, we're gonna be fine. It was very special, something about it was very honest, and I felt closer to her in a way that I don't think I had the rest of the season.

An actor is in a very interesting position when they’re just starting to play a character because, at that point, they’re still getting a feel for the role. It can sometimes take a while for a performer to get a grasp on the person they’re playing. Sometimes they find that synergy when acting out big scenes. But if you’re like Bryana Salaz – who plays the reckless but mostly well-meaning Ines – you find that link through the more intimate moments. The Team Kaylie alum also explained that there’s a key commonality between her and the younger Salazar sibling:

Anything shared between [Ines and Gloria], whether it was the emotional moments or the fights, not the physical fights but the screaming fights, I think that's where I would really tap into Ines and understand and resonate with her so much. There's one specific line that literally, like I can see [myself]. It's ‘Why does everybody keep treating me like I'm a baby?’ And I'm the middle child in my family, and sometimes, even now, I feel like I am looked at in that way of like the young one of the family and everything. And I just want to be taken seriously as an adult sometimes. It's like, ‘I am competent on my own,’ you know? And so that line was a very, very real moment for me.

The Salazar sisters have a “tense” relationship, to put it mildly, though it certainly mirrors the kind of bond that many real siblings have. In the context of Freeridge though, their squabbles can sometimes tire their friends, including Demi, played by Ciara Wiley Wilson. The supernatural-loving young woman is arguably the quirkiest person in her friend group and has attributes similar to the vivacious Jamal of On My Block. So its only fitting that it was one of the more over-the-top moments that made her feel most connected to her character:

Yeah, I have a little bit of an oddball answer. I would say for me, I felt most connected to Demi, I believe it's the second episode, where I'm holding the leave-out ceremony. And it was like… [laughs] Well, let me tell you why. Because it was only [the] second episode, so we'd only been filming for two weeks. And it just clicked why Demi feels the need to do all of these like spiritual, external things. And it's because she's also trying to get answers from her friends in her personal life. And so I feel like she uses that as like a big, you know, marker of her personality to try and navigate her own funny, teenage problems while still being obsessed with the whole spiritual realm.

Demi’s superstitious nature certainly contributes to some of the more humorous moments within the season, though her knowledge is crucial for her and her cursed friends. Also adding to the comedy – in a somewhat more subtle way – is Cameron. The lone boy in the group, Cam typically serves as the straight man to his friends’ antics and, at the same time, he works to navigate his insecurities and other growing pains. Tenzing Norgay Trainor, who portrays the young man, discussed his personal bond with Cam and recalled the exact moment he came to understand his character:

I think that my connection to Cam only grew as the season went on, like, to where towards the end, we were like, almost the same. I even said last night, we were hanging out, and I had said something. And I was like, ‘Oh my god, that was literally Cameron.’ … But one scene specifically is like one that takes place in the Handy Mart. I think that scene really just showed how people kind of ignore Cameron and put pressure on Cameron, and like things that he says and the emotions within that scene, like really establish that bond from the start because that's like in the first episode, it’s like the second scene in the whole show.

Should things work out, the stars could get to spend even more time in their roles down the road. It’s far too early to say whether the series will be renewed or cancelled at Netflix but, in my humble opinion, there’s reason to be optimistic. And there are plenty of additional stories that can be told in this universe. We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves, but know that the since-concluded Lil’ Ricky Saga from On My Block, was just the tip of the iceberg. We’ll see what lies ahead for this new crew and, hopefully, the actors gets to spend at least a few more years bonding with these characters. 

Freeridge is now streaming, as are all four seasons of On My Block, so be sure to grab a Netflix subscription to check them out. You can also do yourself a favor and look over CinemaBlend’s 2023 TV schedule for information on other shows that are headed your way this year.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.