Meet Miss America: 5 facts about Xochitl Gomez, the teen travelling the multiverse in Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange 2’

  • The 16-year-old actress, who starred in Netflix’s ‘The Baby-Sitters Club,’ makes her debut in the MCU as queer Latina superhero America Chavez
  • The teen talks about being star-struck by Benedict Cumberbatch, her love of musical theatre and dealing with haters on social media
Tribune News Service |

Latest Articles

Hong Kong internet providers concerned over enforcing possible protest song ban

WhatsApp debuts ‘Channels’ one-to-many broadcasting feature

What is a panic attack? How to recognise the symptoms and when to get help

Apple TV+ announces four-part Lionel Messi documentary

Xochitl Gomez plays America Chavez in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” starring alongside Benedict Cumberbatch. Photo: AFP

Xochitl Gomez kept her cool hanging out in a trailer on her first day filming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Then it fell apart when she got a glimpse of Benedict Cumberbatch in all his glory, complete with the wig, moustache and Cloak of Levitation.

“It just really smacks you in the face: this is really happening,” Xochitl says.

The 16-year-old actress, who starred in Netflix’s now-cancelled The Baby-Sitters Club, makes her debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as queer Latina superhero America Chavez in the Strange sequel (in cinemas now). America has the ability to travel the multiverse, and when she’s hunted for those powers by a magical villain, she finds protection and a new ally in Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch).

What you need to know before watching Marvel’s Moon Knight

The MCU version of America is 14, younger than her comic-book counterpart. so she’s “less experienced and more unsure, which is tricky because I still wanted to keep that confidence and sass,” says Xochitl, whose first name is pronounced “SO-chee,” She also infused the role with her own “kid spirit,” a quality that comes through watching the actress’ dance-filled TikToks or the random moves she busts out wearing a Doctor Strange hat and Avengers T-shirt before a recent interview.

With film-goers’ eyes on the Multiverse of Madness this weekend, here are five things you need to know about Xochitl.

She gets her on-set swagger from mum

Strange co-star Elizabeth Olsen says Xochitl fit into the Marvel world really fast. “If you cut her open, it would just be like pinks (and) glitter – amazing youth, but also a lot of strength. She really knows who she is as a person.”

That was how Xochitl’s mother always raised her, the teenager says. “Just be you, and if people don’t like it, just walk away and find people who enjoy who you actually are.” Entering the MCU, it was “a lot of fake-it-till-you-make-it confidence for me because I was like, ‘OK, yeah, man. How are you?’ when really on the inside, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m talking to Benedict Cumberbatch. Whaaat?”

Ms Marvel trailer introduces Kamala Khan, Marvel’s first Muslim superhero

She once rocked a Dora the Explorer haircut

Xochitl was raised in Los Angeles, but never saw much young Latina representation on-screen, though she was a huge fan of Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer and Selena Gomez on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place. “Thankfully, we’ve come a long way from what I saw when I was a kid 10 years ago,” Xochitl says. That’s why she’s proud of America and ready to “grow with her in every aspect. I love that she is a leader and a problem solver, and she just happens to be lesbian.”

Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, Benedict Wong as Wong, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr Stephen Strange in a scene from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Photo: Marvel Studios via AP

Musical theatre was one of her first loves

When Xochitl was 5, her mom put her in musical theatre – “She was like, ‘I can’t take you to work. You gotta do something fun” – and her first role was as one of the mermaids in The Little Mermaid. By 12, she had performed in 22 musicals and was working in TV shows and commercials, so busily that her mom quit her job. The next year, Gomez was cast in Baby-Sitters Club and had her first Marvel audition for Strange. America was originally supposed to be 18 in the film, but by the time of Gomez’s second audition, she was aged down to a 12-to-15-year-old. “I was like, ‘OK, I think got a shot at this one,” Xochitl says, laughing.

Shang-Chi sequel is officially a go

She knows how to deal with haters

Some Marvel fans took issue with Xochitl’s casting and the fact her skin was lighter than the America in the comics. Xochitl was also a target for trolls when the film was banned in Saudi Arabia for including an LGBTQ+ character with two mums. Xochitl is “really happy” that Marvel didn’t back down and stayed true to the character.

As for the negative comments, she tries to be careful on social media: “I’m all about positivity and creativity (but) sometimes I can’t ignore that completely,” Xochitl says. “‘I’m grateful to have very supportive fans that are so much louder and more enthusiastic than haters. And it’s really important, since I do have a really big young following to show them that things happen and it’s better to stay strong and continue and move forward.”

Xochitl attends the premiere of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Photo: EPA-EFE

Xochitl is already thinking about her heroine’s next step

With America leading the Young Avengers in the comics, she has several paths forward in the Marvel film universe. Xochitl thanks it’d be “really fun” to see her character opposite Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop from Hawkeye, and she’s excited to see her fellow rookie heroines in the Disney+ shows Ms Marvel and Ironheart.

More diversity and inclusion is needed in the MCU but so are stories about young people, she says. “People underestimate what teens go through and how much they have to grow up so fast. That was also why it was so important to show that youthfulness of America. I didn’t want her to be very serious. Remember, she is a kid.”

Sign up for the YP Teachers Newsletter
Get updates for teachers sent directly to your inbox
By registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy