No topic is off limits for the Estefan family, who is set to star in their very own Red Table Talk, a spinoff of Jada Pinkett Smith’s hit Facebook Watch show.
Gloria Estefan, her daughter Emily Estefan and niece Lili Estefan, three different generations, will take center stage at the Red Table Talk: The Estefans, which premieres today (Oct. 7).
“I’ve been pitched many times to do a talk show before but because I knew it would be a rough schedule, it would be impossible,” says Gloria, who takes on the role of mediator in the conversations. “But I was immediately jazzed about the idea because it involves spending time with family, which I love.”
The idea about a spinoff was pitched to Gloria two years ago when she was already a fan of Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk. After proposing the idea to her daughter, rising singer-songwriter and producer Emily, and Lili, host of Univision’s El Gordo Y La Flaca, they immediately said yes.
“When I actually watched the show for the first time after Gloria told me about it, I thought, ‘what did I get myself into it? Did I answer too quickly?,’” says Lili who brings a 20-plus years of talk show experience to the table.
Meanwhile, Emily is the passionate voice of the Millennial youth. “You should never be forced to share things you don’t want to share,” she says. “If you’re a good person and you’re brave and put it on the table (no pun intended), only beautiful things can come from that.”
Red Table Talk: The Estefans is an eight-episode series with a new installment airing every Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET. Featured guests include Rosie O’Donnell, Kate del Castillo, Michelle Rodríguez and Gloria Guillen, mother of slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen.
Billboard caught up with the three leading ladies just as the first episode drops on Facebook Watch. Read our Q&A below and then watch the first episode here.
When was this idea proposed to you three and what was it that made you three want to say ‘Yes’?
Gloria Estefan: The idea was proposed to me two years ago in a meeting in L.A. where they said they wanted to expand Jada’s Red Table. I’ve been pitched many times to do a talk show before but because I knew it would be a rough schedule, it would be impossible. But after hearing about this idea, I was immediately jazzed about it. I already loved the concept so I pitched it to Lili and Emily and they agreed.
Lili Estefan: When I actually watched the show for the first time after Gloria invited me to be part of it, I thought, ‘what did I get myself into it? Did I answer too quickly?’
Jada has often said that the table is a place for healing, what did that concept mean to you and did you experience that while recording your talks?
LE: It’s exactly that. You sit in that table and there’s something that it just makes you feel comfortable, even with eight cameras around you. It doesn’t feel like you’re even doing a show.
Emily Estefan: We have those genuine moments when we have realizations within our own family and we hope that inspires realizations in other people’s families.
GE: We’re people and we go through the same things and it’ll create a feeling of sameness and connectedness, especially in these moments. The first show is like a baptism of fire because the week before filming I kept saying ‘our first show has to be the first show like we can’t move it around.’ Divorce became our first topic and Lili was like, ‘why me?’ If there is ever a way to get into this and really show people that we are going to be very versatile, then this is the way to do it. La flaca lived through hell during her divorce but as her family we were there with her. It’s a painful thing but as a family we can heal together.
You have some really interesting guests throughout the season including famous guests and non-famous people like Vanessa Guillen’s mother, can you talk more what went into the selection of the guests?
GE: The guests obviously had something to do with the subject matter that we chose. The Guillen’s are fighting hard to get laws changed to protect soldiers and that was very hard because my dad was a soldier – later a captain and a major – in the army so I lived the army experience. It was a subject that was very timely and at the same time so painful to sit across from Vanessa’s mom. This woman’s pain was palpable. It was a tough day. We wanted to help in whatever day we could.
We had Kate del Castillo on the entanglement episode and we got entangled with a bottle of tequila. Michelle Rodriguez on the sexuality episode. She’s been a family friend that I love.
EE: We also had people who can professionally speak on the topics too. That was important because we touch upon difficult topics such as mental health, sexuality, loss. I learned so much from all these episodes and I hope people resonate with the topics.
Now that you’ve wrapped up the season, if you can each share your biggest takeaway, or maybe something you learned about each other while filming?
EE: I learned that ‘the right moment’ is never going to come and what I mean by that is that you should never be forced to share things you don’t want to share. However, as human beings, so many times we keep things inside because maybe we feel guilt or shame or we worry we will hurt someone. If you’re a good person and you’re brave and put it on the table (no pun intended), only beautiful things can come from that.
GE: It was an eye-opening experience. To think you know the people closest to you abut you actually may not know them like you think you did. It’s important to get to know them and listen to them.
EE: We are a very close family. We learned that there were a lot of things unsaid, especially in 2017 …
GE: On a personal level, this year has not come close to what we lived through in 2017. And people will find out why that was on the Red Table. So, don’t miss it.
What role does music play in the series?
GE: Emily and I did three performances throughout the show that had something to do with the subject matter we talked about in that specific episode. We also debuted a theme song and because we know that no one will ever actually get to hear it during the show since we only use snippets of it. Emily produced the song and we wrote it together.