'Vida' Star Mishel Prada Details Emma's Final Journey Filled With Betrayal and Acceptance (Exclusive)

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Warning: If you have not watched episode three of Vida, do not proceed. Spoilers ahead!

It's hard to tell how Emma's (Mishel Prada) story will conclude as Vida comes to its end.

With only three episodes left of the Starz series, there's still so much left to unravel when it comes to the eldest Hernandez sister. Emma has always had a tough exterior, finding it difficult to open up to others, including her own family, whom she feels constantly betrays her.

Sunday's episode saw Emma and Nico (Roberta Colindrez) take a step back in their relationship and it quickly headed south. Meanwhile, as things between Emma and Lyn (Melissa Barrera) are on the up and up, Lyn tells her sister that she met their back-from-the-dead father. With Emma's emotions all over the place, she begins to wonder what her next steps are and what her path is.

As fans start to say goodbye to Vida and stories start to wrap up, Prada chatted with ET about what Emma's final journey looks like, where Nico and her dad fit into her life and much more.

Lyn Emma Vida Season 3

At the end of episode three, we see Lyn tell Emma she's decided to pursue a relationship with their father. How will this affect them and change their relationship?

Mishel Prada: I think by the time we get to that final episode, it's a real, you want to hold the puppet strings, you want to try and be like, "This is going to work and this is the way that it's going to be. I have these plans and this is the way that it's going to happen." But I think you see that Emma gets left with a lot of hard choices and that's one thing, love her or stomp on her, but she will make the hard choices. She's making those hard choices and I think both sisters are going to be in that position.

Why is Emma so reluctant to meet her father?

There's a few things. Number one, he abandoned them so it's like, if someone doesn't want to be in our lives, why the eff are we going to sit here and bring this person in when we've worked so hard.

I feel like the bar symbolizes [Lyn and Emma's] relationship, they have worked so hard to get it to a place where it's harmonious and it's working. Why in God's name would we bring someone in who didn't want to be in our lives? And of course, Lyn can't help herself because Lyn's like, "But I know it's working, so why don't we throw a wrench into the thing." Also with Lyn, it's a thing that mirrors her relationship with men because she finally finds herself, but yet she still is clinging to another person. Our parents tried [to protect us] but they, in one way or another, unbalance us, some more than others.

Will Emma give in and at least talk to their father?

We'll see. I don't know. Emma is not good at giving in. Her victories do not come easy because she is very used to being in control. Emma has a good instinct. She knows things. In a lot of ways, I feel like even with Nico she betrays her instinct. When things look a little shady, she's like, "My instinct is coming off, but how do I trust this person?" And then of course, she kind of ends up being betrayed in a certain way. Life, it's so messy.

Emma and Nico took their relationship to the next level, only to have viewers find out that Nico is still married. Does Emma consider that a betrayal - will that be the end for them?

I remember reading it and, it's just the type of life I live where, I was like, "What's the big deal?" Like, yeah I get it, they're married but they're not together. So that was my mindset, but then having to step into Emma's mindset, I was like, "Oh, this person lives in a very black-and-white world. She has a very high sense of morality and a very strong sense of right and wrong." So for her, that's a big thing to have to reconcile and be like, "Oh wow, you didn't tell me this thing?" But for Nico, it almost doesn't seem like a big deal -- [she's] not with her ex. Nico lives in that gray [area], that's all Nico knows how to do. 

Emma Nico Season 3 Vida

How will we see them move forward?

Nico, especially by the end of season 2, is like a knight in shining armor, perfection. This season, Nico goes through a journey that both Emma and Lyn started in season 1, which is we have these personas that we present to the world and it's essentially what has allowed us to survive. This is who I am. I wear my hair this way. I shop at this place. I eat this food and therefore I am this type of person. It's really important for us to present that way to the world. And what we see for both [Nico and Emma], and the sisters, is that this persona is getting ripped shred by shred and that persona is not going to work for them anymore. So I think that with Nico and Emma's relationship, you start really seeing what's behind Nico. And Emma has to come to a point of acceptance because she can't find her love in somebody else. She has to find it in herself.

What’s holding Emma back from opening up to another person?

It's a survival mechanism. We are taught pretty young the tools we need to survive and Emma from a very young age was told, essentially from the way she perceives it, that love wasn't for her. That she wasn't worthy of being loved, that she wasn't worthy of any of those things. So with that, she goes and throws herself into her work, which a lot of us do. That is where that validation is for her. That is where you're like, "I can do X, Y and Z and then I get that job promotion and that makes me worthy, that makes me powerful, that makes me the woman that deserves to show up in the world." It's all survival stuff and we've been taught that and we get to a point where it's easy to be like, "Why are you like that?" But it's, "How can you not be?" We get hurt and it sucks and it doesn't feel good and it's easy to hide behind a wall because behind that wall, you are by yourself.

How does Emma grow through all of this?

Emma is a realist. We see this season that she goes through situations that she wouldn't normally go through in her Chicago life. She's so black and white, she's really leaned into this pursuit of perfection which is impossible. So what happens is that she starts to see that the opposite of perfection really isn't failure, which is how she's looked at it, and that it's actually acceptance. She starts to see that and [begins to accept]. The way she accepts Nico, the way that she accepts her mom -- and you don't know the whole story. Honestly, in a way, especially in the beginning when she accepts Lyn, she realizes that Lyn brings a lot to the table that Emma doesn't. So we see them kind of learning from each other, even if it's subconsciously. Emma becomes a bit more vulnerable and Lyn becomes a much stronger person and leans into her instincts.

Emma Vida Season 3

With three episodes left to go, what will surprise viewers the most about the finale?

Emma is going to party. I think she has this "acting out" thing where she's, like, straight [and all business] and then all of a sudden [she lets loose]…Honestly, the most surprising thing is that we're really going to understand why Vidalia is the way that she is and everybody has a different perception of her. Lyn has a different perception, I'm sure the fans do, Eddy does, Emma does. Vidalia was different for every single person and we're going to actually see why she was that way.

And isn't that the way with our parents, though? As you start growing up a little bit, you're like, "Oh wait, you were going through that while you were taking me to school?" or "You had this suppression those years while I was in high school or in college?"

As the show comes to an end, how does it feel to have this story told and be a part of it?

I think we would have loved to go on and I think there is so much more story left to tell, but when it's all said and done, three seasons is a great amount for a show... and I hope it inspires people to make other shows like this. Yes, we would have loved [to have more seasons] but what it feels like is more of a transition more than anything. I think this show will open the doors for, not only other stories like this, but also for the people specifically on this show. I'm moving into producing, Melissa is moving onto producing as well, a lot of the writers are now showrunning other shows. A lot of the directors got their first TV opportunity and Vida opened the door for them to do that. It's important to understand that this is part of something much bigger than even just Vida. It's gonna live forever. You'll always be able to log on and watch the show. We're so proud of these three seasons.

Vida is a Latinx story and about Latin women, but at the end of the day, it's an American story. It's a story about humanity, identity and longing and figuring out your place in the world. And I hope that we have left one little bread crumb that will lead somebody back to themselves in a way.

Vida airs Sundays at 9 p.m. PT/ET on Starz.


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