“West Side Story was such a labor of love that I continue to hold close to my heart in every endeavor I take on in this industry,” the brunette beauty shared via Twitter. “I learned so much, I loved so much, I cried so much. I cannot wait to share it with you, and I cannot wait for it to be my introduction to you all.”
The musician nabbed her starring role as Maria in the movie’s remake after responding to a casting call for the part with videos of her singing songs from the musical. “I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this amazing cast,” Rachel told The Hollywood Reporter in January 2019. “West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.”
A remake of the 1961 musical movie, West Side Story follows the love story between two teens who are forbidden to be together because of their involvement in rival gangs. Rachel is making her film debut as the female lead alongside some big names in Hollywood. She’ll star alongside Ansel Elgort as the male lead, Tony, Maddie Ziegler and Broadway’s Mike Faist, among others.
Prior to her audition, the songstress had plans to attend college. “I remember sending an email to the head of admissions at Montclair State University saying, ‘I know this sounds like a lie, but this is what happened, and this is why I can’t attend,'” Rachel told Vogue in November 2020. Now, she’s on her way to becoming a household name.
“To the craziest experience a girl could possibly have in this world — thank you. I have learned so much from my time in West Side Story I’m not sure if any words will ever be good enough to sum up just how amazing it was. To my fellow castmates, crew members, creative team and collaborators, and everyone in-between — we made a movie. A real movie!” the star shared via Instagram after filming wrapped in September 2019. Months later, fans got their first look at Rachel as Maria when Vanity Fair shared stills from the musical movie in April 2020.
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