Abbott Elementary has been appointment viewing since its Season 1 premiere in 2021, but in Season 2 there’s even more reasons to tune into the Emmy-winning comedy which includes the addition of recurring guest star Keyla Monterroso Mejia.
The actress broke through in 2021 with her run as hopeful young performer Maria Sofia in Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s 11th season. Her willingness to deliver certain lines or perform certain actions with such confidence makes for one stellar comedy combination. This has also been on display in her role as teacher’s aide Ashley in the ABC hit.
“It’s easy to get pigeonholed and, in my head, I thought I hit the peak of writing,” Mejia says of her initial breakout with Curb. “I didn’t think I’d ever do a character like Maria Sofia again. I thought I had the best of the best, and here comes along Abbott Elementary.” The opportunity to be a part of the show excited Mejia who says, her initial reaction to being hired for the gig was, “anything you want I can do.”
“Quinta [Brunson] had seen me on Curb,” Mejia explains to TV Insider. “She commented on my Instagram saying that she thought I was funny and I didn’t think anything of it. Fast-forward a couple months later and I got the opportunity for Ashley.” And Ashley’s quite the character, introducing herself to assigned teacher, Melissa Schemmenti (Lisa Ann Walter), with an unparalleled enthusiasm in the form of a Jennifer Lopez cover.
When it comes to Ashley as a character and her interactions with the students at Abbott, Mejia reveals, “I approached it was like, they’re my best friends. I didn’t really think of them as my students. When I was around them, I thought of it as play time in a way.” And that play time got particularly out of hand in the Halloween episode, “Candy Zombies.”
Charged with watching over the general bag of sweets for the kids at the school, Ashley became too distracted with her phone to notice an elaborate heist taking place. The lapse in attention leads to pure chaos as the children run wild in the hallways, leading to another eye-roll from Melissa. But despite the displeasure Melissa might have in Ashley’s company, she’s even more upset over the lack of order, and teacher aide’s “lookalike” Scarlet Witch costume.
Yet there’s nothing but love between the stars behind the scenes as Mejia gushes about Walter.”She’s so kind and so welcoming and was just so open to anything that I was willing to do. I think our moments where she gets annoyed with me, work so much better because she was so kind to me in real life.”Along with getting to build this dynamic with Walter, Mejia says she was excited to learn more about the mockumentary style as well. “Getting to see her up close and know how she just hits her marks and timing was such a good learning experience overall.”
Admittedly, it doesn’t seem that Ashley will be holding onto her position at Abbott forever, but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t return in some other capacity. “There are very few times where you find writing as good as this and I’ve been so lucky not only with Abbott, with Curb but just to work with some of the best that this industry has to offer… I would love to come back in any capacity that they would have me.”
For now, fans can catch Mejia as she appears in episodes of Abbott Elementary Season 2 along with the upcoming Netflix series Freeridge, a spinoff of the series On My Block. And don’t miss her breakout role as Maria Sofia in Curb Your Enthusiasm by tuning into HBO Max anytime.
Abbott Elementary, Season 2, Wednesdays, 9/8c, ABC