As Isabela Moner prepares to launch a music career on the heels of her big summer with the release of Dora and the Lost City of Gold, the actress has revealed she's changed her name. The reason for the name change is a personal one, but it's also very moving and indicative of where her head and heart are at in this moment.
In a new interview with Refinery29, Isabela revealed she has changed her name to Isabela Merced, and she shared that the reason for the name change stems from what she and her family have been through in recent months.
"This is when I begin writing my own story as Isabela Merced," she told R29. "This has been a very difficult year for my brothers, mom, and me. This is how I say goodbye to that and welcome a new chapter with those who are close to me. Isabela Merced represents everything that has and will continue to define me. It represents the values that were passed on from my grandmother."
Isabela's reference to her family's difficult year is likely connected to supporting her mother during her battle against breast cancer. As recently as September, Isabela was celebrating her mom's victories in that battle on Instagram. And on that family note, even though Isabela has never met her grandmother, she told Refinery29 she feels very connected to her grandmother's spirit — hence wanting to identify with it by taking on the last name Merced.
"She was a force of nature, unafraid of anything," Isabela explained. "Always ready to take on every challenge and person that said she couldn’t. At the same time, she loved her familia; nothing came before that. Her ideal day would be a day at the beach with the family, music, dancing, and eating alitas [chicken wings] or ceviche. This is me! I hope this continues on my grandmother’s legacy because she left us too soon."
Later in the interview, Isabela made it clear that her name decision wasn't taken lightly; it's a meaningful change in her life. "I had been thinking [about this] for some time," she said, "[and] it would have to do something with her. I believe some force, throughout all these years, has been giving my mom the strength and determination to guide me; a force that has been protecting us through so many journeys, trips, and experiences. I feel as though if that guardian angel would be anyone, it would be my grandma."
Isabela's first single, "Papi," will be released soon.
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue