'With Love' Star Emeraude Toubia on 'Breaking Barriers' With Latinx Rom-Com Series (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
Television has brought viewers many dysfunctional, hilarious and admirable families, but none like the Diaz family. Family knows no boundaries and that's what With Love is all about. This multi-holiday rom-com series introduces an eclectic familia navigating the highs and lows of love during the holidays. And as Emeraude Toubia tells ET, With Love is "breaking barriers" with Latinx representation, while still preserving the cultural authenticity -- and bringing the laughs.
"I'm just so glad that With Love is really breaking barriers and showing this beautiful romantic comedy that revolves around general and timeless topics," the actress, who portrays lead Lily Diaz, expresses. "And that is something that [creator and writer] Gloria [Calderón Kellett] pulled off so beautifully..It's just so exciting!"
The five episode mini-series follows the Diaz family -- rounded out by Mark Indelicato, who portrays Lily's brother Jorge Diaz Jr, Constance Marie as matriarch Beatriz, and Benito Martinez as Jorge Diaz Sr. -- during a different holiday throughout the year; Christmas Eve/Nochebuena, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, the Fourth of July and Día de Muertos. Among the relationship storylines, there's overbearing and chismoso family members and nosy tias and abuelos.
"Aren't we always being judged by who we're dating?! That has to stop, right?" Toubia says with a laugh about her family and past relationships. "Yes, I have an aunt that's just like Tia Gladys, which is a character that Gloria Calderón Kellett plays. I'm just like, 'Stop touching my boyfriend! Stop doing this to him, stop asking for photos.' They're going to think we're crazy. They always want to know what's up. They always want to be involved. Son chismosos! Obviously, it comes from a great place. They want what's best for their family."
With a family so involved like the Diaz clan, the holiday-centered episodes bring an added element of fun and stress to the characters.
"And then sometimes [your partner] has better relationships with your family and when you're going to break up with someone, you're like, '[How am I] going to break up with them? They have a relationship with my family,'" she jokes.
Toubia's character's journey begins as she breaks up with her "ideal boyfriend" and goes in search of true love.
"With Lily, I just feel she's like what every girl is kind of going through, trying to find love. We all want love. We all want our better half," the actress explains. "So I just think it's so fun how she's breaking up with her 'perfect on paper' boyfriend. And sometimes that's hard to do, and it takes a lot of courage to do that, especially with family pressures and societal pressures. So, she finally makes the choice to follow her heart, which sometimes is not always easy." Could love or heartbreak ensue?
With Love has also features a dynamic and diverse cast, which also includes Vincent Rodriguez III as Jorge Jr.'s boyfriend, Henry Cruz, Rome Flynn as Santiago Zayas and Desmond Chiam as Nick Zhao. There's also Isis King as Sol Perez, Lily and Jorge Jr.'s trans non-binary cousin, Sol Perez, who has their own journey to finding love with co-worker Dr. Miles Murphy, played by Todd Grinnell. The show has a little bit of everything for viewers, including cultural moments of creating ofrendas on Día de Muertos, introducing your partner to your family for the first time -- "They're OK that I'm down with the D, as long as the D isn't the devil," Jorge Jr. cracks at one point -- and keeping the flame alive in a long marriage.
"I think it's just so important for accurate representation to be out there. I think the media influences how we see ourselves and how we see others and that is something that they need to be aware of," Toubia says, also adding, "Sometimes this isn't addressed on TV, and it's how hard it is to maintain a marriage and to keep it alive. And I think it's done really nicely in our show. It just shows how sometimes complicated it is."
"I really can't wait for everyone to see the show! It's really like the big warm hug you can see with your entire family. It's sexy," she excitingly says, before teasing, "Watch out for episode two, the beginning of episode two! Parents, don't be scared. It's still great. It's just sexy enough. [The show] is done with a lot of love and and I can't wait for everyone to see it."
All five episodes of With Love are now streaming on Prime Video.