For Saved by the Bell star Haskiri Velazquez, the reception to the new Peacock series is still sinking in. While promoting her new indie horror film What Lies Below, I had a chance to speak to the actress about fronting the NBC Universal streamer sequel series, how much she relates to her character Daisy, and her creative autonomy. "It's a very surreal moment," Velazquez said, noting how amazed she is from the attention the series is getting. "I can't believe I play Daisy on 'Saved by the Bell' because her character means a lot to the Latinx community. As a Latina myself, it means so much to bring a character like Daisy to screen, who has such a great fanbase."
Daisy Jiménez is one of three transfer students from Douglas High, a school forced to shutter due to budget cuts implemented by Gov. Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), the main character of the original series. Her along with her best friend Aisha Garcia (Alycia Pascual-Pena), and Devante Young (Dexter Darden) try to adjust to the better-funded Bayside High. They end up making friends with established and more affluent like cheerleader and drama student Lexi (Josie Totah), captain of the football team Jamie Spano (Belmont Cameli), and resident schemer and governor's son Mac Morris (Mitchell Hoog).
Velazquez sees Daisy as a character of empathy and grateful for the opportunity to lead. "It's definitely everything I ever imagined and much more," she said. "There's a lot of Daisy I see in myself and vice versa. It's very fun to play around with that character." What the actress also loves about the series is how her co-stars nurture her space to make the character her own. One person Daisy is a lot like is Dr. Jessie Spano, played by Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, who's been nothing but supportive like the rest of the cast and crew. Like Jessie, Daisy strives to do her best no matter what obstacles are in front of her.
"Elizabeth was there when I needed her," Velazquez said. "I think she created a space there. I think one of the amazing things I have in my career is that I'm able to work with people, who allow me to bring myself into the character and bring my own ideas. She sat back and watched and let me do my own thing. If she felt like she needed to help out in a sense, she would let me know. A lot of the time, she's like, 'You're doing perfect'. This is your canvas and you make her your own. You create her from the ground up and that's exactly what I did." The first season of Saved by the Bell is available to stream on Peacock. What Lies Below comes on demand and digital on December 4.