Tale of two Michelles: Valley woman stars in Netflix show

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Nubia Reyna, The Brownsville Herald, Texas
·3 min read
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Mar. 14—Puppeteer Michelle Zamora, a Brownsville native, will star with former First Lady Michelle Obama in a new Netflix show "Waffles + Mochi," which is set to premiere Tuesday.

The children's series is about two best friends, Waffles and Mochi, who are in The Land of Frozen Food and want to become chefs. Zamora, now Los Angeles based, will voice and perform the movements of Waffles, who is part yeti and part frozen waffle.

"I went to school at Lopez High and then I graduated and wanted to come to Los Angeles. I just knew that it was the place I wanted to be because I wanted to perform and be an actor. That's what I love, I love theater and performance," she said.

"I was doing a lot of performances, I was on the trajectory of being an actor and then I just woke up one summer and I said, 'I want to make a puppet.' I don't know why, or what that little inner voice was, but I just remember following that."

The show intends to motivate kids to eat healthier by introducing them to different foods throughout the world. Some of the show locations include Italy, Peru, Japan and South Korea.

"Never stop, never look back and follow your dreams, follow your wildest dreams, but keep them specific so you know exactly where you're going. There's so much world that is out there. I've traveled more during this show than I've traveled during my whole life," Zamora said.

"Follow your dreams, go for it, see the world and don't let anybody tell you that you can't. Because if I can make a living puppeteering and making puppets, it's such a specific field, and I feel that you can do whatever you want."

The Brownsville native co-founded "Viva la Puppet" back in 2000. VLP is a Los Angeles based puppet shop. The company consists of a team of designers, builders, and puppeteers who specialize in many forms of puppetry. From hand and rod puppets to shadow puppets and everything in between, the official website reads.

Zamora said she has a big sense of pride when she puts her puppet up, now more than she ever did before because there aren't many Latina puppeteers in the industry, but hopes that changes. She said being in the same room as Michelle Obama is magical and a dream come true.

"I don't think I really understood what it meant to be a Latina in the entertainment industry," she said.

"Ultimately, being a puppeteer Latina, there's not many. And I didn't see it before, and now, being in this role of Waffles and puppeteering down the streets of Italy, Japan, and all these amazing places around the world, I just have a sense of pride in puppeteering Waffles. I just remember myself as a kid and how I look at myself now, and I think I would make my little self proud."