Melissa Fumero kicked off 2020 with a smattering of celebrations. Good news brimmed on all fronts of the 38-year-old Latina’s life. She marked 12 years of marriage with her husband David Fumero, 47. The pair and their son Enzo, four, welcomed a second baby boy named Axel. Not to mention, her hit series Brooklyn Nine-Nine was renewed for an eighth season. Then 2020 showed its true colors.
“It’s been really hard with the new baby, lack of sleep, and the pandemic to focus on my creative needs,” Melissa tells us. “Thankfully, I have had a couple of projects I’ve been developing so I’ve been able to pour some energy into those endeavors, but I really really miss work and being creative with other artists.”
One of those projects is a sweet Halloween collaboration with her favorite candy Butterfinger, which she graciously took the time to chat about. While the Cuban-American’s lips were sealed on any Brooklyn Nine-Nine news, Melissa lifted our spirits with a ghoulishly good conversation that, by the end, will have you calling her a Hallo-queen!
HOLA!: What have you been doing to keep creative in this unsettling time?
Melissa: Honestly, not enough. It’s been really hard with the new baby, lack of sleep, and the pandemic to focus on my creative needs. Thankfully, I have had a couple of projects I’ve been developing so I’ve been able to pour some energy into those endeavors, but I really really miss work and being creative with other artists.
In a recent interview, you said you “never felt ‘othered’ until I started working in the entertainment business.” As a successful performer and Latina powerhouse in your own right, do you have any advice for people currently facing adversity in the Latinx community?
I think it’s up to us to be more outspoken about how we are portrayed, and I think we have to seize this moment where it feels like we are being listened to just a pinch more. When we see stereotypes or stories or characters that don’t feel authentic, I think it’s ok for us to question them and when necessary say, “I’m not auditioning for that.”
Lastly, we have to go to each other for help and support one another in this industry. I am constantly trying to meet and form relationships with more and more Latinx talent for this very reason. The more connected we are to each other, the more we hire each other, the more power we will have.
Well said! Now, we send you and all parents so many extra kudos in 2020. Any funny stories with the kids at home that you’d be willing to share?
Oh man, it’s like a million little moments ya know? We definitely have laughed our way through these rough times as much as we’ve cried because of our kids. Our four-year-old is a very proud big brother, and loves to make Axel laugh so he’s always dancing for him, making faces or silly voices for him. He’s an early riser, and one morning we found him at 6 am sitting on the kitchen counter attempting to make a bottle of formula for the baby. It was a huge mess! We had to try not to laugh or be like “oh no!!” because he was so proud.
That’s hysterical! What’s also funny is the new video of you hiding candy around your house for Butterfinger. It’s so relatable. What made you want to partner with the brand for their campaign this Halloween?
First and foremost, I’ve always loved Butterfinger! It’s one of my favorite chocolate bars – Chocolate and peanut butter is the ultimate combo to me. Obviously, when they came to me for the collaboration, I was interested from the start since I’m such a big fan. And, the “Turn Yourself In” campaign, just sounded so fun! Like you mentioned, it’s just so relatable and humorous and we all need a bit of humor in our lives right now during these times.
So, I’m working with the Butterfinger Investigators to encourage Butterfinger-swiping culprits to turn themselves in by Friday, November 6, via digital confession at butterfingercasefiles.com for a chance to win $25,000. Who wouldn’t want to win $25,000 for simply being honest about their Butterfinger sticky-fingers?
Where are you hiding your #Butterfinger? Don’t tell us, confess by clicking here https://t.co/zBWCdg7qHO just like our friend @MelissaFumero did, who knows you might win big! #TurnYourselfInpic.twitter.com/9Ucgv3Qi0v— Butterfinger (@Butterfinger) October 16, 2020
Obviously, these are insane times, but I hear you’re going to make sure spooky season is fun for your kids no matter what. Any pro tips for fellow parents ?
I’m just trying to think outside the box this Halloween to keep everyone safe, but also make it a special day for the kiddos. We definitely need it! So I’m thinking an egg hunt, a piñata, and maybe some type of candy shoot made out of poster tubes so we can shoot candy to any trick or treaters we get.
Incredible! And it’s baby Axel’s first Halloween, right? So exciting. Doing anything special on that front?
Not really, he’s only eight months old so, of course there will be lots of pictures taken of him in his costume next to pumpkins. Otherwise, he will hopefully be entertained by big brother’s sugar-induced wild antics that I’m sure will take place that day.
Do you have any family Halloween traditions?
Not yet, our kids are still so little, but I imagine we’ll start to form some as they get older.
What’s been your favorite Halloween costume to date?
I once dressed as a Titanic ghost, so I wore a vintage dress and I actually made a life raft ring with an old sheet sewed around some pillow stuffing I had and wrote Titanic on it. Made my face all ghostly white with sunken eyes and frozen looking hair. While I was on my way to a party, I got a lot compliments on the subway that night
It must be pretty surreal seeing people dress up as you and your Brooklyn Nine-Nine costars.
It really is! And it is really awesome too!! I never imagined I’d become a Halloween costume, and I just love seeing all the pics on social media every year.
If you could remake a Halloween-esque movie, perhaps with a totally Latinx cast, what would you do? Personally, we’d love to see a Latinx Clue just sayin’.
Clue is hands down one of my favorite movies of all time! I geeked out when Martin Mull guest starred on Brooklyn Nine-Nine! A Latinx Clue would be so bomb, though I am admittedly weary of remaking such a classic. Maybe The Worst Witch would be a better choice, which is another classic favorite of mine.
Lastly, everyone has some sort of ghost or supernatural story. What’s yours?
We have a very creepy video of Enzo when he was a baby, he’s in his crib and he looks like he’s looking at something and smiling at it- he even reaches out a couple of times, then he follows it across the room, we hear a noise like a door close or a floor creak, and then Enzo looks forward again as if whatever it was is gone and lays back down and goes back to sleep. We have shown that video to everyone we know!