'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' actress on how her dad shut down her pandemic 'pity party'

Melissa Fumero was feeling isolated and overwhelmed until her immigrant father put everything in perspective.
/ Source: TODAY

When “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actress Melissa Fumero welcomed her first child in 2016, there was rarely a vacancy in her guest bedroom.

“My mom stayed with us for three weeks, my mother-in-law for two,” Fumero, 38, told Parents Latina. “We had so much support.”

But that hasn’t been the experience with baby No. 2, who was born right before COVID-19 swept the world.

Melissa Fumera posed on the cover of Parents Latina with her husband, David Fumera, and their sons, Enzo and Axel. Mark Williams + Sara Hirakawa for PARENTS LATINA

Though Fumero’s folks were able to meet 8-month-old Axel, her husband David’s parents still haven't hugged their newest grandson.

“I was crying about that to my parents on FaceTime recently,” she revealed. “My dad, who left Cuba when he was 15, said, ‘Well, it’s not like you’re leaving your island, never to return again.”

The tough love was just what Fumero needed.

“Leave it to an immigrant parent to put things in perspective,” quipped Fumero. “I laugh about how quickly my dad shuts down pity parties, but it’s a good thing. When you’re first generation, you learn to be tough from a young age. That has helped me in my career too. It’s my superpower.”

Melissa Fumero and Axel. Mark Williams + Sara Hirakawa for PARENTS LATINA

At the moment, it’s “sweats and tank tops all day, every day,” but soon Fumero will be suiting up in her police uniform to shoot season 8 of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

The "One Life to Live" alum landed the role of rule-abiding Sergeant Amy Santiago in 2014.

“I never felt “othered” until I started working in the entertainment business,” Fumero, who is Cuban-American, told Parents Latina. “The only acting roles that I could find and audition for were hood girl, maid or some overly-sexualized woman in a nude scene.”

For that reason, Fumero felt nervous when she and Stephanie Beatriz both booked “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

“Two Latinas on a network show! We were terrified that one of us would get fired. So before shooting the pilot, the two of us talked privately and decided to make ourselves look as drastically different as possible: ‘I’ll make my hair straight and you make yours wavy!’’ Fumero recalled. “We really stuck together, and I’m so grateful that we did.”