When actress Christian Serratos was a little girl, she would often travel with her mother from her Burbank, California home to visit her grandmother in Sacramento.
“The first time I was on a plane—I must have been six—my mom was trying to get me to sit still, and she told me that when the plane tilted right or left it was because I moved in my seat,” she laughs.
Today, the frequent flier usually travels with her husband, Danish singer David Boyd (of the rock band New Politics) and Wolfgang, or Wolfie; her three-year-old daughter. They are her frequent companions on the go and when she’s shooting The Walking Dead in Atlanta; Serrato has played the role of Rosita in the series since 2014.
Beginning next month, she’ll be seen by millions more in her role as late Tejano music queen Selena in Selena: The Series, on Netflix. The first nine episodes of the two-part series premiere on the streaming service Friday, December 4. Much of the show was shot in Mexico, where Serrato’s mother and maternal grandparents are originally from.
Serrato says connecting with her roots on assignment gave her a great reason to travel. Here, she talks to American Way about growing up with Selena’s music, planning spontaneous romantic getaways and her appreciation for long flights.
Let’s talk about Selena first. She died 25 years ago and you’re only 30. How aware were you of her and her music growing up?
I grew up with Selena. It felt like she was in the house with us. She felt like part of the family. I think that happens to a lot of people and that’s what makes her so special and the icon she is today. It says a lot about who she was and her character. I’ve been singing her songs since I was a baby, and I was always the one to put her on at a party.
You filmed Selena in Mexico; in Ensenada, Rosarito, Tijuana and Tecate. Which locale has been your favorite?
Because I’m a foodie, probably Tijuana or Valle de Guadalupe because those have the best restaurants, and I like to eat my way through a town. My biggest hobby is eating at new restaurants. In Tijuana, I love Estación Federal, Georgina, 52 Kool and Sal de Maple. God, I miss Tijuana!
What are your travel quirks or routines?
I always have to be super cozy on a flight, so I’m usually wearing some really comfortable sweats. I don’t like to wear anything too tight, ever. I usually just watch movies and try to lie down. I love to travel. I love long haul flights. I love lying down on a plane.
What’s your favorite vacation spot to visit with Wolfie?
She’s such an easy kid. She loves everything, and she loves flying. She’ll get on a plane on her own—we don’t help her—and she’ll sit down, buckle herself and just stay there. She likes to travel everywhere. When we take her to small towns in rural areas, we just kind of walk around through creeks and stuff and find animals. But the most fun for her is the actual travel. She loves planes.
What’s been your perfect romantic trip?
I love the Aman Hotels. We went to Amanyara in Turks and Caicos and had the best time. It was such a fun trip because it was so last minute. We needed so badly to take a romantic trip. I was filming The Walking Dead and I found out at around 8 p.m. that I was going to have eight days off. David and I called our family, they agreed to stay with Wolfie for a week and we got on a flight the next morning. It was so wonderful. I always feel healthier when I’m somewhere tropical or by the ocean. My body does better there.
I see you love Disneyland as well…
Yes! I’ve been going since I was a kid. I have an unhealthy love for anything Disney. I think my favorite ride is probably the Buzz Lightyear Ride because it’s interactive and I’m a really good shot. But I would be happy not going on a ride at Disneyland and just eating, walking around with friends, enjoying the ambience. Disneyland is so soothing to me.
The Walking Dead is filmed in Georgia. What’s your hidden gem to eat there?
Oh, my gosh—there’s so much good food in Atlanta! Sotto Sotto is one of my favorite restaurants. Gunshow is amazing. And some of the coolest cafés are in Atlanta. I cook at home and I’m quite good at it, but I love sitting in a restaurant. It’s my activity, it’s my sport. I make friends with all my people there. When I was pregnant with Wolfie, for example, Sotto Sotto really came through for us. I would go there, and they would take food to the car because I was so tired.
Watch Where Hollywood Eats: Gunshow
What’s been your most magical trip?
There are two. I went to Jamaica with my husband and some of the Walking Dead cast and, again, I felt really healthy there. I was surrounded by such real food and real air and real everything. The people were so friendly, and I felt the healthiest I had ever felt in my life. I also really loved going to my husband’s hometown for the first time. He’s from Copenhagen. I love Scandinavia. It’s so airy and fresh and relaxing and fun. You don’t feel the burdens of life when you’re there. Funny enough, the oldest theme parks in the world—Bakken and Tivoli—are there.
What’s on your travel bucket list?
I want to go everywhere. I want to see everything. I’m obsessed with all the YouTubers that travel the world and have been to every country. That is so interesting to me. I’m also interested in languages. That’s the best way to connect with other people: through their language, through their food or their culture. I recently went to Japan; Tokyo was on a bucket list of mine. I’d love to go to Egypt, Dubai, Morocco.
You’re in such great shape in Selena and you’re a wicked fighter in The Walking Dead. Are you one of those people who needs a great gym wherever you go?
Absolutely not. It’s full deception. I’m in no way, shape or form in good shape. I just appear to be. When I’m traveling, the things I look for are great restaurants and cozy hotels. When I was filming Selena I stayed at the Pendry in San Diego and loved it. It became my second home.