Stephanie Beatriz Talks Twin Flames, Encanto, & Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Exclusive Interview

From playing Rosa in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" to voicing Mirabel in the Oscar-nominated animation "Encanto," actress Stephanie Beatriz has slowly been taking over our screens. Now, she's taking the podcasting world by storm, too. As the host of Wondery's newest series "Twin Flames," Beatriz is sharing the stories of individuals who have taken drastic measures in order to locate the love of their lives, also known as their twin flame.

Just a few years ago, YouTubers Shaelia and Jeff began hosting online classes all about it, claiming that they know the secret to acquiring anything you want in life. This includes finding your soulmate, your other half, your twin flame. The idea has since tempted thousands of people around the world. After all, if someone told you they held the ultimate secret to finding your soulmate, wouldn't you want to hear it? The better question may be: How much would you be willing to risk in order to find out the answer? 

We had to ask Beatriz all about it. In an exclusive interview with The List, the actress told us why she had to host "Twin Flames" and the impact the podcast has had on her life. She even told us her favorite song from "Encanto," what she misses most about being on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and the actor she'd love to model her career after.

Why Stephanie Beatriz wanted to host Twin Flames

What was it about the story of Shaleia and Jeff that resonated with you and made you want to host the "Twin Flames" podcast?

Most of us understand what it's like to want to be in some kind of romantic love [or] relationship, and almost all of us know what it's like to love or to be loved. What's so fascinating about this is that we're in this time now where everything is so accessible to all of us. We have the Internet on our phones. We have the whole world at the touch of a button. That includes people that are helpful to us, for example, doctors or therapists. It also includes people that have decided that they are experts, and professionals, and project an idea, and project an image of sometimes perfection, definitely knowledge, and then can take that and sell that idea to other people that are seeking something.

In the case of Jeff and Shaleia, they've self-appointed themselves these gurus of love, and have said, "For the low, low price of –" What is it? I think over $2,000 — "you, too, can find your twin flame. We guarantee it." That's a wild guarantee to make, but it's also really attractive to a lot of people that are searching for love in their life and don't know how to do it, don't know how to go about finding someone to love, and someone to love them. I'm fascinated by that.

Had you heard the idea of twin flames before this?

Oh, yeah. I can't remember where. I think we talk about it in the pod, but it's been in the culture for a while, this idea of twin flames. Was it Megan Fox, when she posted about her engagement announcement, spoke about Machine Gun Kelly as her twin flame.

It was this very romantic, older idea. Poets have written about it. It's a beautiful thought that you and some other person somewhere are matched for each other so perfectly that you'll almost burn brighter once you unite with that person.

That excludes people that have polyamorous relationships or perhaps that had healthy relationships with multiple people along the way. The idea is this very romantic, beautiful idea. Whether or not it's actually [real] is something else, but they've certainly capitalized on this language and turned it into something huge for themselves.

Here's how hosting the podcast has affected her

Has doing this podcast changed your own thinking at all about love?

I don't know that it's changed my thinking about love. The thing that I've come away with as we've been working through the story is that Jeff and Shaleia have collected a lot of people around them that are desiring of love and desiring of someone to pay attention to their need. Jeff and Shaleia, in a way, give them that attention. They say, "Well, if you do X, Y, and Z, you will find your twin flame. If you listen to us, as the end all be all, you will find your twin flame." In doing that, they've created a relationship with these followers who now feel important in a way, because Jeff and Shaleia are paying them such close attention, keeping them close and controlled. That's really terrifying, because real love, true love, I think should be, in a way, unconditional, you know? I'm not saying — there are conditions on love. Someone has to treat you well, right? Someone has to be respectful of you.

But, the idea that somehow you owe someone something, because they love you, that's very strange. There's something in the way Jeff and Shaleia have cultivated this community that — I don't know that I'm being very clear, but it's very murky and muddy. That's indicative of where we're at, societally, with access to social media and access to other people that we have. It's very murky water that we're all in.

It's this really romantic idea, but it gets scary as well.

Oh, 100%. I know that. I would say scary. There's scary stuff that happens in the podcast as we go along. I don't want to mince words: there's behavior in there that's illegal, and yet, to this day — I don't want to be liable for anything. I'm not saying that Jeff and Shaleia have engaged in illegal behavior, but they're still going. The Twin Flames Universe is still accessible. You could go online right now and buy a course. The fact that [this type of] behavior that has stemmed from and sprouted from the Twin Flames Universe has gone so far, in so many dark ways, and scary and controlling ways, it's really wild.

The lesson Stephanie Beatriz wants listeners to take away from Twin Flames

What is it that you hope listeners take away from the podcast "Twin Flames"?

Empathy for the people that – It's so easy to stand back and say, "Oh, that would never happen to me. No one could ever pull a grift like that over my eyes, catch me in such a — I'm too smart for that," right? In little ways, I think all of us are — None of us are so smart that we could never be fooled. I hope that listeners come away with this empathy for people that have been through it.

Would you ever be up for starring in a TV adaptation of "Twin Flames" if it goes to the screen?

I'm not sure I should answer that question. I love stories so much. It feels like the thing that I'm supposed to do with my limited time on this planet is to help share stories. If I'm ever lucky enough to help share stories like the ones that I've — I have been so lucky in my career to help share stories like the one that I'm sharing with this podcast. I'm so lucky and grateful that Wondery asked me to host it. That's probably the best answer I could give without getting myself caught in a trap.

The Encanto star shares her favorite song from the movie

I have to bring up "Encanto" while I'm talking to you. Is there a song from the movie that is always stuck in your head?

That's an easy answer. "We Don't Talk about Bruno" is such a little earworm. It gets in there, and it doesn't get out. It's such a jam. It's so well done. It's so layered. It's so well-written. It's so well-performed. Everyone in it is just amazing.

I truly love "Dos Oruguitas," because it's such a beautiful song. I believe [it's] the first that Lin[-Manuel Miranda] has ever written fully in Spanish. I don't know that everyone knows this, but even though "Encanto" has been translated to many different languages all around the world, that song remains in Spanish for every iteration of "Encanto," no matter where it's shown across the world.

That's really special, because Spanish is a beautiful, beautiful language. Colombia is an incredible, amazing country. Sometimes, as we've all seen over the last 10 to 15 years, we're starting to realize that representation in media isn't just a sort of buzz phrase. It really matters. It matters that when a kid says, "Oh, my family's Colombian," that another kid responds, "Oh, like 'Narcos.'" That's the kind of stuff that means something. For that song to be such a special, beautiful song, such a storytelling, epic storytelling moment, and for it to be in Spanish all around the world, that's really important and beautiful.

Stephanie Beatriz opens up about working with Lin-Manuel Miranda

You've worked with Lin-Manuel Miranda on multiple projects at this point. What do you enjoy the most about working with him?

Lin-Manuel is such an amazing talent. He's your biggest cheerleader anytime you're working with him. He's so positive, and lovely, and smart, and constantly trying to create better work, better himself. Like anyone else, he makes mistakes, and someone that's so high profile is probably going to make mistakes that are under a microscope. He really is generous with his time, with his energy, and with his positivity.

I don't think I would've been as confident singing the songs that he wrote for "Encanto" if it had not been for him and his face right there the whole time on the Zoom while I was in the recording booth, egging me on, and walking me through moments, and helping me make choices.

We had a great Disney shorthand, because both of us are such huge Disney fans. Multiple times during recording, he would give me a reference of a Disney moment. "Sing it this way, [like how] Ursula sings this one line in ['The Little Mermaid']." I would deliver it, and that's all he had to say.

That shorthand is really valuable and it made for a really fun experience. I think Lin-Manuel is one of the most generous and talented people I've ever met.

The actress talks the impact of Encanto

Not only did you get to become a Disney character, but "Encanto" has now been Oscar-nominated. What was your first thought when you found that out?

It was really exciting. I was also changing a diaper at the same moment. [Laughs] The dualities of the glamour of an Oscar nomination for the film that I'm in, and also a dirty diaper pretty much encompasses what my life is right now.

It's really incredible, and I'm very lucky in that I got to go to Disneyland [on February 23] here in California, in Anaheim. Walking around the park and seeing all these kids dressed as characters from the movie was really moving. So many of them, not Latino, absolutely obsessed with the film — that, to me, it's so big, the repercussions that loving this film will have for those kids.

Whether or not the film wins an Oscar — it would be wonderful if it did, because so many people at Walt Disney Animation worked so hard for so long, and they deserve to be recognized in that way. If it doesn't win, then that's okay, too, because the legacy of the film is going to live on for a long time.

If there is ever a sequel, what would you like to see happen in it?

More of the same, you know? More of the joy, more of the incredible animation from the animators at Walt Disney Animation. They surpassed themselves with "Encanto." I'd love to see more of what they can do. Walt Disney Animation is [full of] story and legacy, and has such a brilliant, beautiful history behind it. I would want to see them continue to shine in the way that they do.

Stephanie Beatriz looks back at Brooklyn Nine-Nine

You recently finished up on the last season of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." How did you find out that it was finally coming to an end after eight seasons?

It had been in discussion for a while. Eight seasons is very, very long time for television shows to run now. Most television shows don't get the chance to run that many seasons. We had all been talking about the fact that all good things must come to an end. We didn't know quite when. Dan Gore and Andy Samberg and everyone at NBC decided that was going to be the end, and they were going to end it the way that they really wanted it to end.

I thought that was amazing, brilliant, such a gift to us as a cast, because we got to go out on our own terms. There wasn't a weird cliffhanger like, "Are they going to come back or not?" We all knew going into the last season that it was going to be the last. It made it all the sweeter for us, as a cast, and the crew, too, because everyone savored every moment that we were together.

What do you miss the most from working on that sitcom?

My friends. My beautiful, wonderful, talented, amazing, hilarious, generous friends. I miss seeing them every day. Yeah. I got moved to tears [just now], because I really do love them and miss them.

Oh, I'm so sorry!

Oh, no. It's okay!

You worked on it for almost a decade, so I'm sure you guys are all really close. Eight seasons is almost unheard of in television.

I really deeply love that entire cast. So many of us got to know many of the crew members as well. Our director of photography, Rick Page, was on the show from the very beginning. He was a camera operator. He became director of photography after quite a few seasons. He's such a special person and totally behind the scenes, but such a supporter of the show, such a fan of the show as he was working on it, and such an incredible human. Now, [he] has gone on to DP other things, and his work is amazing. 

I miss all my friends, and I'm excited for them for the future. All of them are doing so many different, amazing things, and it's thrilling when you know someone is talented and nice. Oh, it's the best, because then when you watch all of their successes, it makes it all the better.

These are the actors Stephanie Beatriz admires most

What's your dream role? If you could have any role, what are you looking for?

I'm looking for things that combine the things that I do ... Bryan Cranston, to me, he is an actor that I admire. I read his biography, and I think he's incredible. I think his work is incredible, and he started out as this goofy dad on a sitcom. That was his first big, big thing, right? "Malcolm in the Middle."

We also all know him as this iconic, intense, sometimes hilarious, very volatile role on "Breaking Bad." We've seen these two sides of him and all the things that he can do in the middle. Those are the kind of roles that I want to play. I want to test myself and push myself to both ends of my spectrum and see where I can grow and see how I can change.

I don't want to be limited to doing one kind of thing. Andre Braugher is another excellent example of the kind of actor that I want to be. Here he is in this incredible series "Homicide," where he's playing this very real, deeply realized role.

Years later, here he is on a sitcom called "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" [Laughs] playing the captain of a precinct full of goofballs. And yet, he's absolutely, totally, utterly believable in both roles,. so much so that often he's recognized by critics and organizations that recognize work like that. He doesn't need that recognition when what he thrives on is learning about himself as an actor, and challenging himself to new and different things all the time.

I can't quite give you an answer [for "what's your dream role"], because it's probably constantly evolving and changing. If you ask me the same question in a year, I'd probably give you a different answer.

You can catch Stephanie Beatriz in the podcast "Twin Flames." New episodes are available to stream every Monday, but you can listen early by subscribing to Wondery+ in the Wondery app.