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“Spy Kids” Star Alexa PenaVega Talks About the Importance of Faith, Family, Getting Outdoors & Being a Role Model No Matter Who You Are

The actress and singer says “I just want to remind people that we are all role models and we play a pivotal role in our world.”

Chances are, you first remember Alexa Vega as a tween in 2001’s hit family movie “Spy Kids” where she starred as the daughter of Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino. Three sequels and dozens of other movies and TV shows later, the 29-year-old actress and singer is now Alexa PenaVega, a happily married first-time mom who is busier than ever.

Along with her year-round movie schedule–you can see her co-starring with her husband Carlos PenaVega this summer in Hallmark’s “Love at Sea”–Alexa also has a YouTube channel with Carlos called LexLovesLos, owns a retail site called Cross Your Heart and still manages to get outdoors as much as possible. Alexa recently partnered with TakeMeFishing.org to encourage her millions of social media followers to get out in nature. Watch our video below to see what she says to Homegirl Talk when it comes to family, faith, getting in touch with nature and being a role model.

We know you from your movies including the “Spy Kids” series, “From Prada to Nada” and “Machete Kills.” Is there one character you’ve played that has stayed with you more than the others?

Absolutely. There was this film I did when I was about ten years old called “Run the Wild Fields” and it was kind of most at home for me. It was about a young girl who lived in the country on this big ranch, and for me, I love the outdoors, so that would be it.

We love that you are a fellow Latina and a proud Colombian American. How important is your ethnicity to you? 

My ethnicity is super important to me. I grew up in a family where we celebrated our culture and we do that a lot with food. I feel like the Hispanic community is always gathered around the kitchen table making arepas, sancocho, gallo con pollo… for me, food is my love language, so I’m very much involved with that. But also, family is the most important thing. Whether it was cooking together or fishing together, we just wanted things that kept us together and close.

Do you feel you are a role model for other Latinas?

As far as being a role model, we are all role models because people are always watching our every move. Whether you’re an actor, an athlete, somebody who works at the gas station or grocery store, you’re a role model and you have an opportunity to be a good role model to all of those who are watching you. I just want to remind people that we are all role models and we play a pivotal role in our world.

Scrolling through your Instagram and Twitter accounts, it’s clear how much you love your husband and son. What has becoming a wife and mother taught you about life?

I always thought that being a mom would be exciting, but not until you have your child do you realize this overwhelming love that fills your life. Honestly, it’s brought my husband and I so much closer together. Ocean is my cute little chubby baby … he’s something that Carlos and I created and we get to bring him up how we want him to be raised and we get to take him on these adventures that we’ve experienced together. We’re kind of reliving those moments but now through [Ocean’s] eyes.

Looking through your social media posts, it’s also obvious that you love the great outdoors, especially the water. You even named your son Ocean! Tell us about the importance of spending time in nature. 

My husband and I have always been kind of in adventure mode. We do love the great outdoors. I grew up fishing, Carlos grew up fishing and that’s something we always wanted to pass on to our children. Right now with Ocean I’ve taken him fishing a couple of times, you probably can see it on my Instagram.

That’s why we decided to encourage people to go outside and we got involved with TakeMeFishing. It’s been incredible to see how many moms are actually out there fishing with their children and getting connected with nature. The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation ran a survey to find all these top mom-approved spots in all 50 states where you can take your kids fishing and boating. If you to go TakeMeFishing.org you can find your spot in your state.

Alexa Vega has gone fishin'

With children spending less time outdoors–on average, as little as 40 minutes a week–what are some practical tips to increase the amount of time spent outdoors with family and friends?

I think right now we live in a screen world. Whether it’s our phones, our tablets or computers, we’re constantly mindlessly scrolling and before you know it, the day is gone, you’ve wasted a complete day. The best thing I can say is to be really intentional with your time. I understand that it might be hard at times because parents have to work. But when you’re at work, be at work and  intentional with your work. But when you’re at home, be intentional with your family. Go make that adventure happen, take the time with your kids. It’s’ something that they will value. My favorite memories are fishing on the dock with my sisters and my grandpa and my parents; it’s something that will stay with me forever. So I really encourage you to be intentional with that time.

You and your husband Carlos PenaVega also share a YouTube channel called LexLovesLos, which aims to “spread love and grace around the world.” Why was this an important project for you to do together?

My husband and I have always considered ourselves a strong team. For us, we want to keep the family together. It’s so easy to be separated now, or like I said, glued to your phones to where you’re so distracted you’re not present anymore. For us, we wanted to show that everybody has an opportunity to be a role model. Everybody has the opportunity to give grace and give a little extra love in this world. So for us, it’s meaningful and impactful. We all want to be world changers, right? So let’s go change the world with a little bit of extra love today!

Familia is the best!

A post shared by Alexa PenaVega (@vegaalexa) on

You have said that faith is the most important thing in your life. How do you share this with others even they do not follow a particular religion or spiritual practice? 

For me, faith has always been the forefront of everything that I do and it’s really given me a lot of balance and a true foundation. I met my husband at bible study! But I know that when we do our YouTube videos, it’s a great way to talk to people about our faith, but in a respectful way that whatever beliefs that they may have, we’re still respectful of it in the same way that I would hope people would be respectful of ours. We just share what we know, what we love and why our faith is important to us, and hopefully we can do it in a way that’s kind and inspiring.

What’s your advice to women out there who want to make their dreams come true?

This is something that I get asked a lot, like, ‘What do women have to do to make it?’ And I just feel that whatever you say about yourself will come true, so you have to speak life over yourself. Your words are so powerful. Enough with the negative talk. Enough with ‘I’m not enough’ or ‘I can’t do it’ because the truth is, the more you say I can’t do it, you won’t do it! So speak life over who you are and the goals and the dreams that you have. My husband and I have this motto: If you want anything badly enough, you can make it happen. It’s just all about how hard you’re willing to work. So don’t be afraid of the work. It’s going to take work. Just like going for a run, it takes work but the payoff is so good. Do it!

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Written by Mar Yvette

Mar Yvette is an on-air host, lifestyle expert, writer and editor with 10+ years of experience working with some of the world’s most recognized media companies.