Exclusive: ‘Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion’ star Marianna Burelli talks family, identity, and comedy

Photo: Isaac Sterling

Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion, Disney’s latest superheroic offering, kicks off today, with the story introducing audiences to a magical luchador mask, and the 13-year-old girl who becomes “ultra” when she dons it.

Violet Rodriguez is a typical teenage girl trying to find her footing in the world, and that’s made more difficult by the strength and determination of her parents, who have ideas for her that aren’t always in step with what she wants for herself. Scarlett Estevez plays Violet, with Marianna Burelli taking on the role of her mother, Nina.

Nina isn’t just a mother, though, she’s a working woman trying to balance it all, and her story will undeniably be relatable to women worldwide. We had the opportunity to chat with Burelli about Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion, and the societal impact she hopes the series has on viewers around the world.

Burelli is making her American television debut with the series, but she’s been an actress in various film and television projects for several years. Her passion for the entertainment realm and for making the world a better place is evident in everything she does, and the chat we shared highlights how intensely she focuses on her projects and roles.

Burelli says that part of the reason she loves Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion so much is that it focuses on family, and it plays a strong hand in telling a Latinx familial story, but the light it shines on the importance of that togetherness is the real glue of the storytelling process. Check out what she had to say to We Got This Covered below.

Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion
via Disney

Billed as a superhero comedy series, Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion seems like the kind of series that highlights magic in many different ways. There’s the heroic aspect, the luchador mask, and the importance of family and Latinx culture — what drew you to the series initially?

Marianna Burelli: Honestly, I love comedy. I find it hard and delicious at the same time. From the very beginning of the audition process, it became clear that the tone of the show was very humorous and playful. That was appealing to me. Also, the fact that it was a Latinx family dealing with life and issues unrelated to their ethnicity was a breath of fresh air. I believe it’s so important to be able to watch stories of families from other ethnicities that get on with life and are not constantly dwelling on celebrating their origins.

What surprised you most as you all came together to tell this story?

Burelli: The insanely strong chemistry that emerged from us being together. One comment that seems to be the constant feedback is that the “Rodriguez Family” is like a real family.

You play Violet’s mother in the series — and the principal of her school; what was it like watching your television daughter discover her power both heroically and within herself as the series progressed?

Burelli: She’s starting to realize her little daughter isn’t all that little anymore, and has noticed how her ideas and opinions have become much more assertive and confident as the show progresses.

What did you enjoy most about portraying a working woman and a family woman?

Burelli: I love the fact that this is a reality for so many women nowadays. It’s not easy, especially if you are like Nina and want to excel at absolutely everything. I love how flawed she is, and how she struggles with having to be the principal of the school her kids go to.

She then transitions at the same time to having to be their mom when she’s at home. We really get the opportunity to see many facets of who she is. We also get to see how much she cares for her community no matter the circumstances they must face. They are a united family force.

Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion is a significant series for Disney as it highlights Latinx culture, actors, and crew — what do you most hope viewers take away from the stories and the characters?

Burelli: Ultimately, I hope people really enjoy it! I wish they could take with them that sense of belonging we found in portraying the characters. The show depicts that you belong to this world and that there is a space and a voice for you.

You starred in Paramedicos as Natalia Velasco, highlighting young paramedics in Mexico City — what was your favorite part of that storytelling experience?

Burelli: It was a life-changing experience. It shifted my perspective on many levels so much that in-between seasons, I completed training to become an EMT with the Mexican Red Cross. In going back to your initial question, my favorite part has to do with the awareness we raised about the work those volunteers do. It is important to recognize their willingness to go far and beyond to save someone’s life.

How to Break Up with Your Douchebag was another hit for you, and it grew to become Mexico’s highest-grossing comedy — what did you love most about your character in that project? Did you bring any relatable experience to the movie?

Burelli: The arc of my character was huge in that story, and that will always be very satisfying to portray. I also got to work with so many women, and I love that!

You’ve also got a passion for environmental justice, and you’re the co-creator of AMAI; tell us more about the cosmetics line and why that was an important cause for you.

Burelli: AMAI is a project and a brand I created with a dear friend of mine in 2019. I’ve always enjoyed treating my hair with different creams, hydrating masks, and conditioners. I found that it was really disturbing to see how much plastic I would accumulate when buying these products. I had tried many solid brands and none of them felt good enough.

I found that they just never worked for me. After this experience, my friend and I decided to make the products that we had dreamed about ourselves. After a whole year of trial and error, our online shop came out www.amai.mx. In AMAI, we handcraft shampoos, conditioners, make-up removers, facial creams, and body butter all in bars (solid).

None of our products carry any plastic and are all wrapped with compostable rice paper. Also, all our bars are free from sulfates, palm oil, silicone, parabens, and artificial fragrances. Our commitment is to the environment and to our bodies. I believe small changes in our habits create huge waves in the world.

Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion
via Disney

If you could describe Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion in three words, what would they be?

Burelli: Hilarious. Endearing. Bold.

Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion is your American television debut; what do you want readers and fans to know about you?

Burelli: I loved making this show! We went through such a long and arduous process for it to be where it is today. That is truly a testament towards the amount of people that poured their minds and hearts into it. Finally, I’d like to share that I love hazelnut ice cream, but since I’m plant-based, it’s hard to find it dairy-free. Share tips if you know where.

You can see Marianna Burelli in Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion, with the first episode airing on Disney tonight, and the 10-episode series streaming on Disney Plus starting on June 8.