We had the good fortune of connecting with Kenna Flores and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kenna, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
Growing up, my parents used to tell me about the hardships they faced being illegal immigrants in America. Essentially, their childhood was taken away because they had to work from a very young age to survive. At the age of 14, my dad began working several below-paying minimum wage jobs. My dad’s day consisted of waking up at 4 am to work the opening shift at the store, walk to school, then work the closing shift at the store. At the age of 5, my mom began working by picking grapes in the arid fields of Corcoran. My mom’s day consisted of waking up at 4 am to pick grapes at the fields, walk miles to school then continue picking grapes at the fields. For my parents, giving up was not an option nor was it a consideration. My parents knew they had to continue working for their survival. It is because of my parent’s bravery, courage, and determination that I refuse to give up. Whenever I think I can not do something, I remind myself of the countless obstacles my parents were able to overcome. Knowing that my parents were able to overcome so much with so little, inspires me to continue to work hard, follow my dreams and never give up. If my parents did not give up with all the barriers they had in their way, then I certainly do not have an excuse. One day, I hope to make a strong enough impact to help lessen the struggles of immigrants trying to pursue a better life for themselves and their families.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I work as an actress. I knew I wanted to act from a very young age. I grew up watching all things Disney. My favorite show was Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place. I love the show because of its witty humor, relatability, and inclusion of sci-fi. However, I also love the show because I had never really seen someone who was like me on Disney. It was really exciting for me to see a Latina, Selena Gomez, play a leading role on my favorite show. Wizards of Waverly Place made me realize that I want to be that representation for the younger generation of Latin@s. I strive to work on every production I am offered so I can promote more representation for my community. Whenever I work on a production, I always make sure to make it my best work because I want to make the Latin@ community proud.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love every single part of Los Angeles. I think that there is so much to see and do. If my best friend was visiting the area, we would need at least a month. Part of the reason why we would need at least a month is that I am very spontaneous. So even if we had a plan, I would most likely find something else and want to see it ASAP. However, a for sure must-see is Olvera Street. Olvera Street is a historic street in downtown LA. Olvera Street was the main square of Los Angeles when California was still part of Mexico. It is a very cool street that has street vendors, restaurants, and beautiful historic buildings. I would also make my best friend watch the sunset at Malibu Sandhill with me every day. And, of course, after we would get Salt & Straw ice cream! Malibu Sandhill and ice cream is the only way to end a day in Los Angeles.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, I would like to give a shoutout to God. I really feel like he has been a leading factor for all the good that has happened in my life.
I would also like to give a shoutout to my parents. My parents have been the biggest advocates/fans in my acting career. I do not think that I would have been able to accomplish so much without their financial help, emotional support, and career advice. I know whenever I do literally anything, they are on the sidelines cheering me on. I am forever grateful for them.
I would also like to shoutout Tustin High School’s Advance Theater Arts program and theater teacher. My theater teacher, Sarah Markley, taught me so much about acting, taking a chance, and being a kind person. I transferred to Tustin High School when I was a sophomore and I was absolutely ready to audition for Advance Theater Arts. However, I had already missed the auditions to join Advance Theater Arts because of the transfer process. However, Ms. Markley allowed me to join the class. She took a chance on me not knowing if I even had an ounce of talent. The Advance Theater Arts program is the place where I grew the most as an actress. I am forever grateful to the Advance Theater Arts program and Ms. Markley for giving me a chance. I hope I can make the program and Ms. Markley proud!
Johnny Pena Photography