Strong and determined Fear the Walking Dead favorite Ofelia Salazar returns to the show this week — but who is Mercedes Mason the actress who plays her?
Mercedes was born in Sweden in 1983 and then emigrated to America with her parents at age 12. The family settled in Chicago where Mercedes was discovered by the FORD modeling agency at 13.
Young Mercedes enjoyed modeling but felt that she was often discriminated against because of her looks and assumed to be stupid.
Her traditional parents insisted the talented ingénue had a backup plan so Mercedes studied psychology in college.
Ultimately, she chose not to pursue a career in psychology in favor of acting but her studies would later come in useful in preparing for challenging roles.
It was especially helpful for FTWD as Ofelia went from demure daddy’s girl to a strong fighter over the course or a few episodes.
Mercedes started auditioning for small parts in TV and movies and started landing parts in shows like One Life to Live (2005), and Entourage. (2008)
Her surname Mason, previously Masohn is a stage name derived from the combined names of herself and her two childhood friends from Sweden who played ‘actress’ with her as a kid, dreaming of Hollywood stardom.
Although they have lost touch, Mason still uses the name (minus the h) in homage to her origins.
More TV work followed; Mercedes played Vanessa in Three Rivers (2009) and won the lead in sequel Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011). Playing Agent Del Campo in NCIS: Los Angeles again boosted her profile.
The part of Ofelia in the hugely successful Fear the Walking Dead series followed.
Mercedes splits her time between the FTWD set in Mexico and the home she shares in Los Angeles with husband David Denman, a fellow actor known for playing Roy Anderson on the US version of The Office.
Mercedes became an American citizen in 2016. Aside from acting, Mercedes speaks four languages, loves weight training, hiking and her Chihuahua and holds an ambition to become the first ‘Jane Bond.’
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.