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Keyla Monterroso Mejia Is a Comedy Secret Weapon

Keyla Monterroso Mejia is a delight: punctual, funny, nice, humble, and overwhelmingly grateful—everything her iconic comic characters aren’t. She has a knack for playing headstrong and boisterous characters whose comfort in their own skin often discomforts others. On the last season of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm she played Maria Sofia Estrada, a confident-but-horrific actress who ends up brawling with Ted Danson. And she’s stealing scenes during an arc on the ABC comedy Abbott Elementary as Ashley, a teacher’s assistant who gets along better with the kids than with her mentor. She appeared in the recent Toni Collette/Anna Faris dark comedy The Estate as a Dungeons & Dragons obsessive, and some reviewers griped that she wasn’t in it enough.

GQ talked to Monterroso Mejia about breaking out on Curb, playing difficult characters, and why she’d like to be a little more like Maria Sofia.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten such quick and unanimous approval on a pitch as I did when I said we should talk to you.
Oh, my God. It’s insane to think how fast things just changed and I had no idea at the time when I was shooting Curb what it was going to turn into and how much it was just going to be a blessing on my life.

It feels really fast for you too?
I’ve been trying to act for almost 10 years now. Thankfully in the last three years, and specifically with Curb, it was the first time anybody actually let me in. And it had just been such an uphill battle.

After Curb the phone just started ringing?
Yeah, yeahhhhh. I remember when Curb premiered, [Abbott Elementary creator] Quinta Brunson had commented on my Instagram something like, “Oh, you’re so funny.” Then, maybe a year later, my agents are like, “Hey, you know, Quinta Brunson and Abbott called and they are asking about you. I was like, “Oh, what? Wait what?”

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