Cristela Alonzo, Cruz Ramirez, and Empowerment Take the Lead for CARS 3

Comedian Cristela Alonzo voices the new character Cruz Ramirez in CARS 3. On June 10th, the Anaheim Convention Center was scrubbed and shined for the World Premiere of CARS 3 later that day. The director, producer and cast of CARS 3 shared stories and behind-the-scenes info with us at the Global Press Conference held right in front of full-scale cars Lightning McQueen, Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm. However it was Cristela Alonzo and the women of CARS 3 in the lead for this race.  Continue reading to learn more about what Cristela Alonzo and Kerry Washington bring to CARS 3.

"Cars 3" Press Conference

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 10: A view of the atmosphere at the "Cars 3" Press Conference at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 10: A view of the atmosphere at the “Cars 3” Press Conference at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

The cars were pretty cool, but then our stars entered:

  • Owen Wilson (voice of “Lightning McQueen”)
  • Armie Hammer (voice of “Jackson Storm”)
  • Cristela Alonzo (voice of “Cruz Ramirez”)
  • Kerry Washington (voice of “Natalie Certain”)
  • CARS 3 Director Brian Fee
  • CARS 3 Producer Kevin Reher
  • Ray Evernham, Press Conference Moderator

To watch the Press Conference in its entirety, hit play. Keep reading if you’re at work and can’t watch a video right now…

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 10: (L-R) Producer Kevin Reher, director Brian Fee, actors Kerry Washington, Armie Hammer, Cristela Alonzo, Owen Wilson, and Ray Evernham pose at the "Cars 3" Press Conference at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Owen Wilson;Cristela Alonzo;Armie Hammer;Kevin Reher;Brian Fee;Kerry Washington;Ray Evernham

(L-R) Producer Kevin Reher, director Brian Fee, actors Kerry Washington, Armie Hammer, Cristela Alonzo, Owen Wilson, and Ray Evernham (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Less than a week before the CARS 3 Press Conference, WONDER WOMAN lept to the forefront of the box office and pop culture. A female-led, female-directed film broke records and boosted the social conversation about female empowerment. It was no accident that the new car Cruz Ramirez and her voice, Cristela Alonzo, received tons of questions and attention. She was the star of this press conference! Here’s a bit of background on Cruz and her voice:

Cruz Ramirez is a sunny-but-fierce unconventional trainer at the Rust-eze Racing Center. She expertly arms the team’s talented rookies with cutting-edge tools to tear up the track—but she nearly stalls when her longtime idol Lightning McQueen shows up. While she’d love to help him find his way back to the top, she knows the competition is faster than ever, and victory is all about speed—or is it?

Cristela Alonzo (“The Angry Birds Movie”) was called on to help bring the character to life. Alonzo’s debut stand-up special for Netflix, “Lower Classy,” which premiered on January 24, 2017, showcased the comedian’s life as a the daughter of an immigrant, touching on important issues like social class, breaking the glass ceiling and how she can’t get the hang of Zumba.

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 10: (L-R) Actors Armie Hammer, Cristela Alonzo, and Owen Wilson speak at the "Cars 3" Press Conference at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Owen Wilson;Cristela Alonzo;Armie Hammer

Owen Wilson;Cristela Alonzo;Armie Hammer

In CARS 3, Cruz is the trainer hired by Sterling to get Lightning McQueen back in shape for the next racing season. But her role expands as the story deepens.  I fell in love with this character, and Cristela tells us why.

Cristela Alonzo: Cruz Ramirez is a great little character. What I like about her is that she’s very good at what she does, but at the same time she still has doubts about herself. She’s very relatable to both boys and girls. You may have doubts, but at the end of the day you realize that the only way to do your best is to just go for it and trust your instincts. I think we all struggle with that sometimes.

When asked about what CARS 3 brings for female empowerment, the two women on the panel jumped in.

Cristela: What I like about this story and Pixar creating this world. We tend to forget that it really is about skill. We don’t reference that she is a girl. We talk about how good she is, and we see it in the story. It’s not about a boy or a girl doing something, it’s about the best person doing the best that they can. That’s a great way to get a story about female empowerment by reminding everybody that we’re all pretty much alike and if you work hard and have the skill, whoever is the best will win.

Kerry Washington: I’m just really happy to be a part of this franchise. I do think it’s fun to see women in the film who are brave and smart and courageous. And also teachable. They are humble enough to learn the lessons they need to learn by the end of the film.

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 10: Actor Kerry Washington speaks at the "Cars 3" Press Conference at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Kerry Washington

ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 10: Actor Kerry Washington speaks at the “Cars 3” Press Conference at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

This movie is about mentors. You work hard, you have skill, and your mentors help you take it that much further. When asked about mentors, Armie Hammer jumped in to say that he’s had so many different mentors in his career. Every time you work is an opportunity to get a new mentor you can learn something from.

Cristela mentioned that her mentors were her mom and her 8th grade drama teacher.

Cristela: My mom is an immigrant who came from Mexico. She sacrificed so much so I could be where I am today. With her I learned that hard work and being nice and really just giving it your all is the best way to succeed. I grew up in a border town and I always thought that i was going to end up doing a blue collar job like everyone else in my family. My 8th grade teacher taught me that if I wanted a dream I could go do it, which is why I love this movie so much because it has the same theme.

Once again, it’s all about hard work, in CARS 3 and in life. Now let’s look at the impact this film has on kids.

Armie Hammer: I have a young daughter. The fact that there is a strong female figure who is told that you can do anything you want; as a father to a little girl I love that. Getting to be a part of a movie with that message, I’m happy to be a part of that movie.

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 10: Actor Armie Hammer speaks at the "Cars 3" Press Conference at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Armie Hammer

ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 10: Actor Armie Hammer speaks at the “Cars 3” Press Conference at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Kerry: I had the pleasure of watching this film with my mother and my daughter. This film is so much about empowerment beyond gender. It’s such an honor to be part of something that embraces everybody’s heart. It’s really exciting to be part of that.

At this point, the director Brian Fee spoke about why he created a story where hard work wins the day, and why a female car, Cruz, is involved so heavily.

Brian Fee: My kids have influenced this movie so much. I want my daughters to never be afraid to try something because they think they’re not going to be good at it. I never want to hear them say, ‘certain things are for boys. Certain things are for girls.’ As a father, if I see that something I said or did had an impact on them, that they are a little better off, then for me, that’s what life’s about. Those are the moments that we fight for and try to get on the screen.

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 10: Director Brian Fee speaks at the "Cars 3" Press Conference at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Brian Fee

ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 10: Director Brian Fee speaks at the “Cars 3” Press Conference at Anaheim Convention Center on June 10, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Cristela: I want everyone to know, especially the people in my hometown, that it’s possible to have a dream and actually achieve it.

CARS 3 is not just about female empowerment, it’s about empowerment. This film teaches a valuable lesson: working hard paves the way to achievement.

Disney Pixar’s CARS 3 is out in theaters June 16th – rev up your engines and head to your local cinema! For more family movie news, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Richard & Sarah Woloski

Richard and Sarah Woloski are the co-hosts and creators of the Disney / Star Wars Podcast Skywalking Through Neverland. The husband and wife team strives to create a polished, positive and fun weekly show celebrating fandom. They also love writing for Adventures By Daddy. Find them @SkywalkingPod