"We thought about putting latex on my face to age me, but it was too obvious and I'm allergic to latex. So we figured, 'she could have had him when she was 16.' He's playing younger and I'm playing older. Women age differently now anyway," she notes, though she admits her reps questioned her taking the role.
As Peña reminds, "In Hollywood, you're not supposed to age." Nevertheless, she's gratified that there's more work for women of all ages these days— Latin women in particular.
More from YourTango: The 10 Best Romantic Comedy Duos Of All Time
"The talent pool has always existed," she notes. "The difference is, we are generating income for studios. What is really different for me is now I get these really wonderful scripts. Before they wrote for Latin people like we were two-by-fours, cardboard figures, not human. Now the projects have a chance to get greenlit."
She hopes there will be more female-centric movies like Garcia Girls that explore real human issues people care about.
More from YourTango: 25 Celebrity Love Predictions For 2011
"One of the most important things it says to me is not to be afraid of change," she reflects about the film and its message. "It's never too late to change your mind about a way of life and to begin anew. Your sexuality doesn't end," she reminds. "It just morphs."