When everyone in my family and me all got sick (COVID and a bad flu) this winter, the forced isolation and downtime allowed me to catch up on season two of the Gossip Girl reboot, which is now my favorite version of Gossip Girl. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a special place in my heart for Blair, Chuck, Serena, Nate, and even (I hate to admit this) Jenny. After all, I spent a good chunk of my teens and twenties reading (and then watching) all about their messy-yet-fabulous lives in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
But the reboot features a Mexican-American actress and I’m sorry, but I’m always going to prefer anything where Latinx talent proudly gets to take center cage. Which is why it’s super frustrating (if predictable), that we’re not getting a season three. Still – let’s enjoy what we have!
And what we have in this Gossip Girl is Zión Moreno – a 27-year-old, El Paso, TX native, trans actress and model who plays Luna La, the stylist mastermind behind the UES’s best-dressed teens in the reboot. Moreno is one of the first Latinx trans actresses to get a role in a franchise as popular and beloved as Gossip Girl. While she might be a relatively new face for many Spectators of the show, she previously starred in Netflix’s Control Z, where she played her high school’s it-girl, Isabella de la Fuente (who by the way, has a similar story to Zión’s own experience with bullying regarding her gender).
Gossip Girl was Euphoria before Euphoria. It’s always pushed boundaries and caused a number of parents of teenagers to have minor heart attacks due to the topics and imagery featured in the show — they might hate it, but that’s also part of that is also why so many of us loved it. In both the book series and the early 00s show, GG was known for bringing all of those “taboo” things that teenagers and young adults do into the mainstream media: sex, drugs, relationship drama, scheming, cliques, and intense family drama. They were all heavily featured in the show, and much like IRL, whether parents liked it or not.
This new version continues in that same mission to push boundaries, but it does so with a much more diverse cast. This time instead of an all über-privileged, all-white cast we get (a still very privileged) cast that features gender and racial diversity.
While at a first glance, Luna La might seem like a secondary or supporting character in the show’s reboot, upon further reflection, she wields a lot of power. Think about it! In a world like theirs, where who you are wearing and how you are wearing it matters more than who you are, being the brains behind the Queen B’s style is a position to be envied. She’s the trendsetter and tastemaker who people look up to. Not only is Luna La the best dressed among the best dressed, but she also happens to “secretly be the wisest one among us,” as Max Wolfe says. For once, it is a Latina woman holding all the cards (and all the power!) – and a trans Latina woman at that.
Sure, the fact that she’s the only Latina in the show and she’s the one that inevitably ends up solving everybody’s problems is giving some major Luisa Madrigal/oldest sister vibe, (that’s a story for another time), but let’s take the time to celebrate a trans Latina stealing the hearts of millions of people around the world – even if we didn’t hear nearly enough from her.
If Zión Moreno’s Luna La is not proof enough that Latina women can (and should) rule the world (or at least the entertainment industry), I don’t know what is.