Cristela Alonzo co-stars in Cars 3 as the first female racing character, Cruise Ramirez. Alonzo spoke about the dynamic between Cruise and the Cars franchise star Lightning McQueen, and how it mirrors the energies between herself and McQueen’s embodiment Owen Wilson.

“Cruise Ramirez gets introduced into this movie and she is a trainer, a really great trainer, she’s the best. She fits in perfectly because Lightning McQueen gets to the point of his career where now he’s known as a winner, he’s known as winning every race, and now he’s beginning to struggle because he’s been a winner for years,” Alonzo told uInterview in an exclusive video. “So the entire story is about, in Lightning McQueen’s case, the evolution of becoming this champion and then having to readjust his career to see if he can still keep it going and still be a winner. And then we also see the introduction of this new character, Cruise Ramirez, who accidentally ends up getting mentored by Lightning McQueen and realizing that, yes she’s a great trainer, but she’s also a great racer, and she has to learn that from the master himself. So I think it’s great because in this story, both Cruise and Lightning learn from each other, and the lessons that they get compliment each other to this big ending.”

Alonzo’s character Cruise is the first female racer the Disney-Pixar franchise has seen, and she believes that is crucial going forward. “I think it’s absolutely necessary [to include a female race car]. That’s one of the reasons I was so honored to be a part of Cars 3,” Alonzo said adamantly. “I think that it’s important to remind people that… a dream isn’t for a boy or a girl, so it’s a nice reminder for little girls especially that it’s ok to like cars, it’s ok to race, you can do whatever you want. So for me to be part of that story and just remind kids, ‘Hey, whatever you want to do you can go do it, I believe in you,’ I think is very important. And I think it’s important to open up this racing world to a female demographic. When the movie came out there were so many women that couldn’t believe that Cruise was such a central part of the tory and thats when you realize that people are hungry for those stories, they need that point of view.”

Because Cars is an animated film, Alonzo didn’t get to do a lot of one-one-acting, but there was one actor she spent a considerable amount of time with while filming. “I got to interact with Owen Wilson the most, we recorded a couple sessions together and I loved working with him. It’s funny because we’re both very different. He’s very laid back, very low key. I’m like this,” she joked, noting how enthusiastic she was during the interview. “If you see the movie, Cruise Ramirez is spunky, she is very energetic and peppy and so am I. So it’s weird how both of our energies are very different from each other but compliment each other a lot, which I think is why the story works.”