While she may not have been around very long, it’s very easy to see why so many Wynonna Earp fans have already fallen in love with Rachel Valdez (Martina Ortiz-Luis). The teenager has proven, on more than one occasion, that she’s perfectly capable going toe-to-toe with Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) when it comes to snark and sass. Since discovering that her mother, Gloria, a Black Badge scientist seemed to be dead, Rachel has even taken up residence at the Homestead with Nicole (Katherine Barrell) while everyone was stuck in the Garden.
In this week’s episode, “Afraid,” viewers will continue to learn more about Rachel, as she continues to build a life at the Homestead and keep finding her place in her newfound family. The role of Rachel is the first major acting one for Ortiz-Luis, the first-ever official anthem singer for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Earlier this year, the talented singer released an original song, “No Love”, with plans to release more music later on in 2020. She recently spoke to The TV Junkies about what it was like to join the Wynonna Earp gang in Season 4, how she’s already gotten lots of love from Earpers for Valdez, and what she loves the most about Rachel.
The TV Junkies: The Wynonna Earp cast is pretty established and the show is in Season 4. What was it like being the new kid on the block and joining the party this season?
Martina Ortiz-Luis: It was definitely a bit intimidating at first. I’m that new kid, and I’m also the youngest one on set. Walking into the table read for Episodes 401 and 402 — which is when I first met the cast — I was genuinely a little bit intimidated. The first person I saw when I walked in was Dom, and she’s beautiful, and of course, she’s Waverly. Then I walk into the bathroom and there are Melanie and Emily. It was intimidating at first, but all of them are just so kind and so welcoming.
I actually remember right after my agent told me I got the role, she told me to call Emily [Andras, showrunner]. When I called her she was so nice and asked if my parents were with me. She spoke with my family and is just so kind. Two minutes after that, I get a text from Melanie Scrofano welcoming me to the show. Kat dm’d me. When I got on set, Varun [Saranga], Tim [Rozon], and Dom [Provost-Chalkely] were just so, so kind.
The Earpers are also so supportive and welcoming. Everything they’ve said is so heart-warming and nice. I just feel really welcomed, and I’m so grateful to be a part of such a wonderful group of people.
TTVJ: You mention the Earpers, what has it been like getting involved with fans now that Season 4 is airing?
MOL: I definitely didn’t expect it, especially so early on. After the first three episodes, people have been reaching out to me, being so kind and so welcoming, and sending me artwork. It is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It just felt like a big warm hug from the Earpers.
TTVJ: I’ve been impressed to already see some really great Valdez artwork out there. They have wasted no time!
MOL: Just this morning, Melanie sent me a t-shirt that someone put out about Rachel and her kombucha. It’s so funny that a little detail like kombucha is artwork and stuff now.
TTVJ: I think it’s fair to say that most of us have quickly fallen in love with Rachel. What was it about her that you took to and love the most?
MOL: What I think is really cool about Rachel is that she’s young, but she’s feisty. She has that sass and badassery to her, but at the same time, she’s been alone for a really long period of time. She’s looking for family and the only person she’s really been vulnerable with is Nicole. There’s something about that that I really enjoy. She has a hardness, but she’s also very loyal, loving, and a weird teenager who says weird things. She also makes kombucha, which is such a random thing for a teenager to do. [laughs]
TTVJ: This past week’s episode was actually the first one you shot. What was it like having Melanie direct right out of the gate for you?
MOL: First of all, I love Episode 403. It’s so incredibly ridiculous and so Wynonna Earp. Working with Melanie was just amazing. I love her. She’s so talented and amazing at what she does. She was very straight-forward with what she wanted and you could tell she had a vision. She was very helpful, especially since it was my first day on set.
TTVJ: I bet you never thought you’d be signing up for a character that milk skunks. [laughs]
MOL: Definitely was not expecting that! Also, how do you even milk a skunk?
TTVJ: We’ve seen some of the effects that the 18 months passing has had on Nicole, but what about Rachel? Will we see how she handled that time, and will she and Nicole continue to be close?
MOL: What’s so great about Nicole and Rachel’s relationship, is that they both found each other at a time when they really needed one another. Rachel has gone on for so long without her mom, or a mother figure, in her life. Nicole has been alone without Waverly and Wynonna for a really long time. They helped each other heal through those 18 months, and I think Rachel definitely heard a lot about Waverly during that time. She saw how much Nicole cared about taking care of the Homestead, and keeping it safe for Waverly, and it then meant a lot to Rachel as well. It gave her something to care about within that time.
TTVJ: You recently released an original song called “No Love.” Do you plan on releasing more and where can fans learn more?
MOL: I have a couple of songs that I’m hoping to release in the next couple months. You will be able to find them on any major streaming service: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Google Play. I’ll post updates on my social media and fans can get more information there.
Wynonna Earp airs Sundays at 10/9c on SYFY and CTV Sci-Fi.