For All Mankind: Coral Peña discusses Aleida’s Season 2 journey

Coral Pena in For All Mankind Season 2 - Courtesy of Apple TV+
Coral Pena in For All Mankind Season 2 - Courtesy of Apple TV+ /

We recently chatted with Coral Peña about taking on the role of Aleida Rosales in For All Mankind Season 2. The significant time jump between seasons means that several roles were recast with older actors to highlight the changes and Aleida was one of them.

You might recognize Coral Peña from some of her other projects like The Post, The Enemy Within, Chemical Hearts or 24: Legacy. But she’s also been quite the scene-stealer this season of For All Mankind, especially given her complicated relationship with Wrenn Schmidt’s character Margo.

We chatted with Coral Peña about what it was like coming into the new season of For All Mankind playing the older version of an already established character and what her journey has been like throughout the second season!

Chatting with Coral Peña about her work in For All Mankind Season 2

Show Snob: Your character was introduced in the first season albeit when she was much younger. So for you as an actress, what’s it like for you to come in and pick up a role because it’s the same character, but it’s almost a different character because it’s so much further on in her life.

Coral Peña: Yeah. This is a lot more green than when you usually play these older, younger versions. Because as you can tell from the latest perception, the second season, this is episode 3, she’s been through so much and you can tell a lot of her spirit has been broken. A lot of her innocence has been lost somehow because of the experiences that she went through in that 10 year period.

It was actually kind of freeing and I was excited about the idea of portraying her completely differently because I wanted people to wonder the second they met her, “Oh my God, what could have possibly happened to make to a person to make them so different?” Because when we left Aleida in Season 1,  she was so light and innocent, the world was her oyster. And then you see her in Season 2 and she’s become a bit of a harder person. So, it was freeing for that reason.

Brittany Frederick: There’s something really cool about her story too. Considering that her father’s introduced in the first season as an undocumented immigrant bringing her to the country. And now she’s hoping to play America’s future and the American dream instead. I was going to ask her how that resonated with you, because to me, I thought it was really cool, is it just me?

Coral Peña: No, I mean I’m an immigrant, I didn’t become a citizen until I think, six years ago. And I understand that you have a complicated feeling like, “I’m not welcomed here, yet I am an American and this is the world I know the most,” and fighting those two things at the same time or feeling like I just want to exist in a country that I’m in and the country that I’ve known as home for so long, but I’m also being seen as an antagonist by a lot of the people. And at the same time, it’s complicated and it’s complicated to balance those two feelings at the same time.

And that’s what’s exciting about Aleida’s storyline that almost none of that matters to her because she just wants to be a good engineer and she just loves science, loves the possibility of what’s in the stars. And, that’s the focus, I often feel like, within the facility, they are trying to tell you all those things at the same time when the reality is, I don’t think about the dichotomy on a daily basis. I’m just thinking about, how can he get food to me, on my table and how can I, get to the next day. So her focusing all that attention on just the love of what he does allows for that storyline to circle around her, instead of assuming the main story.

For All Mankind
Coral Pena in For All Mankind Season 2 – Courtesy of Apple TV+ /

Show Snob: I want to be vague here because I don’t want to give anything away, but I was curious, do you have favorite moments or favorite episodes that have resonated with you playing this character? Whether it’s stuff that’s coming up or stuff that we’ve already seen? What were your favorite parts of playing her?

Coral Peña: Yeah, definitely Episode 10 which you know hasn’t happened yet, you see two exciting things happening. I’ll do those as well in those last few episodes, a better understanding of Aleida as it develops because I feel like there was this suspense and tension of what happened to Aleida!?

And then on top of that, as Aleida becomes more integrated into NASA, you get to see her flex her muscles even more as the further in the NASA she is integrated, the more you see her –– not to be kind of cheesy about it –– but her dreams come true! It’s exciting. So those are my favorite episodes and I hope Aleida fans also find that to be exciting as well.

Show Snob: Okay, so I’m going to be a little bit of a nerd here, but I’m hoping is that, as the season winds down, people can go on and see other things that you’ve done. And I know you from a couple of different shows, but I wanted to ask you, which are the favorite other roles you’ve had that you would say to people if you love me in this show –– this is the next thing you should watch?

Coral Peña:  I would say the next thing is The Post. It was just insane, and the most exciting experience ever. And I don’t think I’ll ever get over it, to work with Meryl Streep and to work with Steven Spielberg was insane. And it was amazing. And that role to me, I remember it comes at the end of the movie, but I remember Steven coming up to me and saying that the secret of the film was my theme and the way it held for him and the way it holds in explaining what was the point of telling the story? And to me, it feels like the biggest gift that landed on my lap.

Show Snob: I have to ask this because I found it on IMDB and I’m not sure it’s right, but it makes me smile reading it. You’re credited with a bunch of episodes of Antiques Roadshow. Is this an actual thing?

Coral Peña: Yeah. I’m the voice of Antiques Roadshow, yes. If you want to watch a recent episode, and you hear a young person’s voice. It is me. I feel like I sound very different, cause I’m very announced, like “Welcome to Antiques Roadshow” but it’s great working with Antiques Roadshow. No one ever asked me about that which is so funny. They’re the best team ever, they’re so kind and so great. I am so lucky to be a part of that show, it’s an institution you know, it’s amazing!

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For All Mankind Season 2 is currently streaming on Apple TV+ with new episodes releasing weekly on Fridays.