Land of Women's Victoria Bazúa Is So Good, Eva Longoria Changed the Show for Her

Land of Women is by all accounts escapist television. The fun and frothy—yet still substantive—dramedy tells the story of three generations of women (grandmother Julia, mother Gala, and daughter Kate) as they start life anew in a small town in northern Spain amid a stunning landscape, gorgeous people, and plenty of wine and food. But as Eva Longoria’s Gala is forced to protect her family from her husband’s shady business dealings, it’s Kate, played by newcomer Victoria Bazúa, who becomes the emotional core of the Apple TV+ series.

On the whole, Kate’s concerns are that of any teen, such as navigating a relationship and figuring out her future. But as viewers learn during a flashback in the second episode, there’s another lens through which she views the world: She’s transgender. “Remember when you told us you were going to transition?” says Kate’s father, Fred, in the scene. “I just couldn’t take it all in. But your mom made it crystal clear that if I had any objections, then they were my problems, not yours.”

The way the scene is treated—as any other regular, heart-to-heart conversation and not a Very Special Episode—would have been unheard of on TV years ago. In fact, Fred only mentions it in order to explain why he wants to protect his daughter. “That’s all your mom and I ever wanted,” he says, before adding that he loves her.

It’s a sweet and moving scene that almost brings Bazúa to tears when I bring it up. Like Kate, Bazúa is transgender and very much relates to her alter ego’s journey. “I wasn’t conscious of what my own parents were going through at the time of my transition,” the Mexican model turned actor tells Glamour. “Because it’s not only a transition for us, it’s for the whole family. So getting the opportunity to have that conversation as Kate and with her father was moving.”

Getting to that scene wasn’t easy. Finding an actor who is trans and could also play Gala’s daughter while balancing the necessary comedy and drama was a tall order, for Longoria and cocreator and showrunner Ramón Campos, who also served as writer and executive producer Says Longoria, “Ramón Campos and I were so committed to being authentic and casting a transgender person, but it was hard because that age is usually when they’re transitioning or when they’re not quite transitioned.”

For Bazúa, she was very young when knew she was transgender. “When I expressed to my parents that I wanted to transition, that that’s who I was, I think I was two years old,” she says. “I was like, ‘Mommy, I’m a girl.’ Mentally, I accepted myself when I was seven; and then the whole process of uniforms, estrogen, and hormones happened around 12, before puberty. I never really went through male puberty, I guess.”

While Bazúa was perfect for the part of Kate, there was one small issue that had be figured out: “She was in Mexico, which was a problem because of the accent,” Longoria says. “A Mexican accent is very different than a Spanish accent, and then I have an American accent. We solved it by explaining where we lived in Mexico and New York; so that’s why I’m American, and my mother is from Spain. Victoria was so perfect that we changed the story for her. You couldn’t tell this was her first time acting, ever.”

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