Strange New Worlds’ Melissa Navia On Ortegas’ Big Moment & What To Expect In Season 2 [Exclusive Interview]

Ortegas has a crucial storyline in “Among the Lotus Eaters.” When you got this script, what did the showrunners or the writers say to you? How was it presented to you, the whole arc of the episode for your character?

Well, when I saw it, first of all, I’m always happy when I have more Ortegas scenes, especially with the fan feedback from season 1. I’m like, “They are ravenous, they want more of my character,” and so let’s make it happen. But throughout the season, I was dealing with personal grief stuff, and so I was really just in another world. So, whatever scripts were coming, I was just like, “It’s cool. Let’s do it. Let’s rock and roll.” And everyone on the set was extraordinary. And when I saw this story, where it requires her to get to a breaking point pretty much, where she forgets what she does, when so much of what we know about Erica is what she does. She’s best described by her profession: She’s the helmsman of the Enterprise. She’s a pilot. She’s a soldier. She’s Starfleet.

So, suddenly when all that gets wiped, you see what that does to her and what it takes internally to remember for the sake of the lives of everybody on the ship. For me, I loved it because metaphorically, it was something that I think so many of us can relate to when we do not feel like we are up to what is being asked of us, and we feel imposter syndrome, and we are the last person who can do this thing that somebody is asking us to do, when it turns out so often that you’re the one who has to do it and who can do it better than anyone else.

So I kept going back to that where I was just like, “This is something that audiences will be able to really relate to and a story that you can continue watching.” That’s what I love about “Star Trek” episodes: You can watch them over and over again, and each time, depending on where in your life you’re at, you’re going to get something else out of it. For me, that’s how I approached it. And I was very happy with the writers, that they worked this arc into it. And the fact that she did not get to go to the planet was very fortunate in the end.

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