When you first became aware of the Cobra Kai project, were you already familiar with The Karate Kid movies — and did you have a favorite movie in the franchise?
Yes, of course. I mean, I grew up in the 1980s. I’m the youngest of three. I had an older brother and an older sister, so I was always trying to act older to keep up with them. My brother was really into The Karate Kid, so this was just a movie that was on repeat in our house along with a few others like The Breakfast Club or The Last Dragon. And yeah, I mean, who doesn’t know The Karate Kid? My personal favorite is the first one. Although I love the tsunami scene in the second one. When I first heard about the project, I guess I didn’t take it too seriously, for my own actor purposes, not to throw myself off. So I was just like, okay, I’m just going to treat it like another thing and just do my best and not get too bogged down with the whole big story that it was continuing.
When you met Ralph Macchio for the first time, did the old fangirl who grew up in the 1980s come out?
Totally. Oh gosh. Yeah, I’m not immune to fangirl-ism. I was like “Oh my God. It’s freakin’ Ralph Macchio.” It was amazing, but it was also very grounding too, because I had grown up with the series. And there’s this thing where you feel like you know him. And he’s so generous and graceful and just very classy.
Now that this show is on Netflix, it’s going to be seen by a lot more people. Have you noticed a difference in the fanbase between the time the show was on YouTube and now?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, Netflix is the biggest streaming service in the world, so it took on a whole new life when it went to Netflix. And there was a period when we were on YouTube and it was successful, and it was great and the social media numbers did grow. And occasionally, I’d get recognized. And then there was this interim period where we didn’t really know where it was going to end up. And I just remember that I was just like, “Please, Netflix, please,” so I was really happy that was where it ended up.
What are you most excited about this season? Do you have a favorite moment or scene that you’re dying for the fans to see?
I don’t know. I just treat all the scenes as they are. They’re all very special. I think there’s just so much good stuff happening in season 3. My character is just so grounded in this emotional reality of what’s happening, the rehabilitation of her son, and this relationship with Johnny that is still figuring itself out. I particularly love the scene when Carmen goes and talks to Johnny and gives him a kick in the ass to, pardon my language, to fight for the tournament, because she is the least likely you’d expect to do that. But I think it goes in line with how perceptive and intuitive she is. She knows what’s going on and she’s that gentle, but firm voice that’s like, “Okay, you really want to do this? Let’s do this.”