We’ve got weddings on the brain. Bridal trends, beauty looks, what to wear as a guest—we’ve covered it all and more on Who What Wear. And with one of the biggest nuptial seasons in full swing, it seems only fitting that we are being treated to a new remake of everyone’s favorite wedding film, Father of the Bride, this month. Cue over-the-top in-laws, an eccentric event planner, and lots of laughs!
This retelling of the classic romantic comedy, which was first adapted for the screen in 1950 and again in 1991, centers around a Cuban American family. Adria Arjona plays bride Sofia, and Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan are her overbearing yet well-intentioned parents, Billy and Ingrid. When Sofia reveals she proposed to her boyfriend Adan (Diego Boneta) and wants anything but a traditional ceremony, her father struggles to come to grips with the reality of her upcoming wedding. A heartwarming summer watch, the story follows the blending of two Latin families. “That, to me, was really intriguing and interesting because we have never really seen the clashes between two Latin American cultures,” Arjona tells us. The actress was in shock when she was approached to be a part of the film that her mother first introduced to her when she was a young girl. The marriage of Sofia’s Cuban heritage and Adan’s Mexican heritage made the project all the more appealing to the actress.
Last week, Arjona touched down in Miami for the film’s premiere, and we got to follow along as she got ready for the big red carpet. The actress stunned in a ‘90s-inspired Armani number, complete with Tiffany & Co. jewels and an effortless glowy beauty look. We chatted with the actress about her sequin ensemble and bringing Latin culture to one of the most beloved films.
Can you tell us a bit about your look for the Miami premiere?
The look for the premiere is this beautiful sequin Armani gown, and I really like the simplicity of it. When I went for the fitting [at Armani], we fit a bunch of dresses and none of it was really working for me. So Danielle Goldeberg, who is my stylist, and I were like can we go in the back and see what other dresses you have. We went to the back and found this dress and it just felt so Miami and so right for the movie. It has touches of green and this pink and yellow and it felt very happy and joyous and very Miami in this really simple silhouette, like a 90s slip dress. We dressed it up with the jewelry that Tiffany & Co was kind of enough to lend for the night. I had this gorgeous necklace and these beautiful pink diamond earrings and a pink diamond bracelet that gave it a premiere vibe and sort of closed everything for us, still allowing it to be effortless and beautiful, but giving it that extra glamour.
What are your getting ready essentials?
Before this premiere, I had a press day and woke up at 4:30 in the morning, worked all day doing press, and then got ready for the premiere. So when that happens, I like to do a nice face mask, I ice my face, and I like to keep the energy up because it’s such a long day and I was sleepy. So I never let it be quiet, we were all joking and laughing and listening to music. I definitely put on some Gloria Estafan to put me in the mood. I usually have a palo santo [candle], which I will light, but I forgot it this time. That is very much a ritual of mine. I always put it around the dress. I actually did that the day of my wedding on my actual wedding gown. I like working with people that know me and have worked with me for a while so I can feel comfortable and just let all the good vibes flow.
Can you tell us about your glam for the evening?
The vibe that we were feeling was very flowy, almost curly hair. Because of the Miami humidity, it was really tough because we didn’t know if we were going to go really big from the beginning or start small and let the curls do their thing. I actually loved the way it turned out. It was a blowout that gave me almost French girl waves, just like cool and effortless. And then for the makeup, we used this beautiful Lip Power lipstick, which was like a nude but it gave a little bit of a pop, and we really wanted [the rest] to be glowy and shimmering. Even though it was a premiere, and I was in this beautiful gown and jewelry, we wanted everything to feel simple, cool, effortless, and timeless.
What do you carry in your purse on a red carpet?
I usually carry these little deodorant wipes. I knew there was going to be a lot of dancing at the end of the night and I always like to have those at a premiere because you get nervous and sweat and stuff. And then I’ll always have the lip that I used for the look so I can retouch myself and then I will probably have a little bit of the concealer. I don’t usually powder as the night goes on. And then I will probably have Listerine strips, a little bit of perfume, my phone, I.D., and one credit card.
What are you most looking forward to at this premiere?
I think what I was most excited about for this premiere is I really fell in love with each and every single person in this cast and in this crew, from the director to the producers to the actors to the director’s family to Diego’s family and Isabel’s family, we all got so close that I knew this would be one of the last times that we are all in the same place at the same time. We had the most beautiful time. Gloria Estafan did like a private concert for us and Andy Garcia was playing the drums. It was magical, and I was dancing the salsa. It really was such a beautiful night to celebrate such a special and beautiful movie.
The original Father of the Bride came out in 1950, followed by the Steve Martin remake in 1991, and now, we have the 2022 remake. Why do you think this story has successfully spanned generations?
I think it’s so universal. I think that no matter where you put it or how you tell it … we will forever have family members that have way too many opinions and want to get up in our business and the whole element of traditions. The older generation will always try to preserve traditions, [but] the younger generation will always try to challenge them. That’s a theme that is touched in this so much. I think it’s even more prominent [in our film] because now you are talking about a culture that you’ve brought to another country. You want to preserve it because you are so scared that it would slip right through your fingers. For me, it’s always nice to watch this film and to see that I’m not the only one going through this. We all have a mess in our families, and it’s always fun to watch it and be like, “Oh, my family is actually not too bad” or “Oh my god, that is exactly what my family does!”
You were a year old when the 1991 film came out. Do you remember when you were first introduced to it?
I do, yes. My mom grew up in the States, so that’s probably the reason why I watched it. But I remember watching it, and I was younger so almost being like, “I wonder what my dad will be like [in this situation].” I wonder how my dad will react to this. Or do I want to get married? I started asking all of these questions. It was so funny and had so much heart, so when the idea of me being in it came to play, I was like, “Are you sure? Are you sure you want me? Are you sure you are not making a mistake?” And the fact that it was two cultures clashing, it all made me fall in love with the project so much more.
This telling of the story centers around a Cuban American family and the blending of two Latin cultures, Sophia’s Cuban heritage and Adan’s Mexican heritage. Being Latina, what was important for you to see represented in this film?
I think we’ve always seen a Latin American woman going into an American family and how that clashes or vice versa. But in this case, it’s two Latin American families, and that, to me, was really intriguing and interesting because we have never really seen the clashes between two Latin American cultures, right? And sadly, to a lot of people around the world, they really do think that Latin is just one thing, and what they don’t realize is we have so many different cultures within our Latinadad. We have so many different accents, and we are just so different. We are as an American would be different to an English person. It’s accent. It’s culture. It’s history. That’s how different we are. I’m Puerto Rican, but people have said to me, “But yeah, you’re Mexican.” And I’m like, “No, we eat different food. We talk differently. We are an island. We cannot be more different.” It’s bothered me for years, the ignorance that a lot of people have toward Latin American culture. So in this movie, what I really love about it is you’ll see the differences between a Cuban American family and a Mexican family. But at the same time, we’re all human and want the same things. We all want to be loved. We all want our families to get along. We all want a bright future ahead of us. So it puts everything into perspective. It doesn’t matter whether you are Latin, Asian, Black, American, English, European. We can be so different, but we are still in the human experience.
You have the ultimate on-screen parents in Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan. Can you tell us about your experience working with both of them?
It’s so strange to say that I was even working with Gloria Estefan and Andy Garcia. Even saying that, I’m like, “What?!” Even FaceTimes to talk about either the role or let’s go out to dinner, I’m like, “What the fuck?! You are getting a FaceTime call from Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan.” I would always play it really cool and be like, “Sorry guys, I got to go. Andy is calling me.” Working with two masters really sets the ground when you are working. I never heard Gloria complain. Our hours were wild while filming this movie, and she was in 20-inch heels and never complained, always had a game face on. And you are talking about an icon. You are sharing space with an icon. It was good to have a Latin American example of what it means to be so incredibly successful in this business yet be so funny and cool and chill. They are both amazing, and they have such a beautiful friendship. Looking at them, it’s like, oh, you really can have it all.
At the heart of the story is the relationship between a father and his daughter. How could you relate to Sofia and Billy’s bond?
She’s a first-born child, I’m also a first-born child. I think my dad has always seen me and been like, “Oh, Adria can take over the world.” And there is a lot of pressure that he has put on me, which I am so grateful that he has. And Billy does the same thing for Sofia. I think Billy pressures her to be a little more like him, and I think my dad has really given me wings and been like, “The world will be your universe if you go find out who you are.” So that was interesting in terms of how to explore within that. But I think their bond is really special, and I have a really special bond with my father. It was really funny when they met, [my father and Andy Garcia]. They got to meet each other, and I was like, “Oh my god, you are actually quite similar”—Andy and my dad, not so much Billy and my dad. And now, Andy has become like my second dad in this industry. I get to call him when I’m thinking about a project. I get to call him for advice. He’s been doing this for so long that I’m grateful I’ve gotten almost like a second dad out of this.
Sofia isn’t a traditionalist when it comes to her wedding. How does she compare to you as a bride?
I think I went back a little bit to traditions. I was always that girl that never wanted to get married. I was like, “I’m never going to do that. I’m never going to wear a white dress. No, no.” I was very much like Sofia. And then when we were going to get married, I was like, “Oh, I’m only doing this once, so I’m going to do it and go all out with it.” I got married in Guatemala, so I went back to my roots and really was able to share [my different cultures], like Sofia. She wanted to make sure that both sides [were represented]. My mom is Puerto Rican, my husband is Puerto Rican, and I’m half Guatemalan, so in getting married in Guatemala, I wanted to introduce the Guatemalans to what the Puerto Rican culture was and the Puerto Ricans to what Guatemalan culture was. But I definitely had to put my foot down a little bit and be like, “No, this is my wedding. This is how I want to do it.” Why do parents always want to make it their event? It’s hysterical.
The wedding planner has become such an iconic character in these films. In this one, Saturday Night Live’s Chloe Fineman plays Sofia’s wedding planner. What do you love about what she brought to this character?
Just talking about Chloe gives me goose bumps. I think she’s brilliant. She’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. I love her and adore her. She brought the comedy elements of it and made fun of the stereotypes we have and really went down that hole. I love that choice of hers. It was risky, but I think she does it so well. Also, I think she brought a lot of heart to it. At the end of the movie, you completely fall in love with her. She brought that caricature element to it and then really grounded her at the end of the film.
I want to talk about Sofia’s wedding dress in the film. It’s understated but chic and is made by her younger sister, who is an aspiring designer. Can you take me inside the wardrobe fittings for this film and the conversations around that dress specifically?
The dress was a talk. I think our costume designer, Caroline Eselin, did a really great job. She designed it herself, and I would just go in and tweak the way it fit my body. By the time I got to the fittings, it was very clear which one was going to be the dress, and I like the fact that it’s understated and that it’s more modern and something that Sofia would wear. It’s quite simple, and I really like that. We talked about it paying homage to [Ingrid’s] dress. So the sleeves, she made sure they were there and [brought] in those elements of the original dress to make it warm and fuzzy for Ingrid.
Photographer: Omar Cruz
Stylist: Danielle Goldberg
Hair: Kiley Fitzgerald
Makeup: Cedric Jolivet
Father of the Bride is now streaming on HBO Max.