Eye on Film: Mylene from The Get Down

The Netflix series The Get Down is heading into part 2 of its first season, and all of the characters that we have grown to love when the series debuted are back. They’re evolving and becoming who and what their destiny dictates.

For those new to the series, The Get Down is a musical drama that takes place in the South Bronx in 1977 during the formative stages of Hip Hop, right before the musical genre was about to become a nationwide, then a worldwide a phenomenon. The series is slated to return to Netflix on Friday, April 7th.

20-year-old actress and singer Herizen F. Guardiola stars as Mylene Cruz. Like The Get Down Brothers upon which the plot is centered, Cruz is on the verge of stardom in her own right. 

“I didn’t know much about this generation or about Hip-Hop until the show,” said Guardiola in an exclusive interview with The Shadow League. “We got to work with the OGs of Hip-Hop in the ’70s. The fact that we captured it and it’s authentic to people that were actually there, I’m happy and I’m good. That’s what we set out to do. According to people that were there, we did it pretty well.”

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Many young women and girls watching the show can identify with Mylene Cruz, her drive to achieve something and her quest for stardom.

“I have people that ask me, ‘I’m really good at singing or another art form and I really think I have a chance. Do you think I should drop out of school and pursue it?”’ said Guardiola. “And I’m like, ‘If you really think you’re good at it, then I think you should just follow your dreams. You’re not going to be happy doing anything else. You need to be happy with your life. Do what you gotta do.'”

Of Cuban and Jamaican heritage, Guardiola told The Shadow League that the show opened up a side of herself she rarely explored before.

“For me, coming on to this show, I feel like I’ve opened up a whole new chamber to myself and I’ve let it expand and I’ve grown so much,” she said. “I’ve even gotten in touch with my Latina heritage even more. I’ll be with my friends and we’ll be in a heated conversation and all of sudden I’ll just start speaking Spanish. They’ll be like ‘What the hell! Where did that even come from? You never do that.’ And I’m like ‘Yeah, that was Mylene.’ For me, it’s been an eye-opener and a learning experience. Yeah, I’ve become a different person through this but in the best way.”

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The Get Down’s upcoming new episodes are not a season two offering, but rather the second part of season one. The manner in which the episodes were shot, as well as the space between episodes, was lengthy. For Herizen, this was a completely new experience.

“I learned that I have a lot more patience than I thought I did, and tolerance,” she said. “I’ve learned a whole new side of understanding. It’s not just you that’s a part of something. You’re working in a collective consciousness to get a story across with so many amazing people. I really became a team player.”

“I’ve played sports all my life and so I’ve always been a team player,” she continued. “I’m part of a big family, the oldest of three girls. So, you learn that give and take. I learned that even more on the show because we really had to be each other’s support system.  I came to New York straight out of high school at 18 by myself. Not knowing anyone, not knowing anything. They have been my support system. We’ve become a family.”

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