‘The Purge’ Interview: Paola Nuñez Discusses Esme’s Discovery into the NFFA’s Secret

The world of The Purge may seem like a chaotic mess, but there rules behind the madness.

Season two of The Purge on USA Network takes a deeper look at the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) by introducing us to Esme Carmona (Paola Nuñez), a surveillance expert who monitors Purge night to ensure everyone is following the rules while murdering and robbing each other.

At New York Comic-Con, The Workprint was able to sit down with Paola Nuñez to discuss Esme’s journey across season two, her ties to the mysterious Purge night death, and how everything Esme knows may be a lie.

You play quite an interesting character. Esme works for the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA). Can you tell us a little bit about your character?

Nuñez: My character is Esme,  Esmeralda Carmona. She’s a believer of the system, the rules. She believes that the NFFA works and she works for surveillance. This is a department that works not only throughout Purge night, but it works during the whole year and it means that we’re watching you. The government is watching you just to make sure you behave and to have the proof if you commit a crime. To pursue whatever has to be pursued in order to maintain the peace in this society. 

That’s where she belongs. The reason that Esme got into working for the NFFA was because she had a really traumatic experience with her family and now she’s looking for something to save her. Then she found that she’s good at this, she’s needed and she becomes really skilled at this. As we discover throughout the episodes, she finds a big secret that the NFFA is hiding. She feels betrayed by the system and that’s when everything changes for her, so she decides to change paths. 

What can you tell us of Esme’s relationship with her coworkers and the woman she knew that dies during the Purge?

Nuñez: What we wanted to do with the first episode with Esme is that Esme’s been there for awhile and Vivian was a new ingredient, a newbie so Esme has to teach her, make her feel comfortable but they’re not friends still. She’s just a new element in the department and you know Vivian respects Esme, she’s probably heard a lot about Esmeralda. We wanted to make Esme the best of the whole department, she’s been there forever and everyone goes and asks her questions how to do stuff and whatever. She has the know how so she’s a really trusted employee. 

So that’s why it makes it more interesting when she wants to rebel against the NFFA because no one would expect that. The interesting thing about what she discovers is that not only is Drew Addams someone she knew from the past, but she also discovers the fact that something is wrong. The way that she was purged is not right. And so it’s not only that she knew this person, is that the way that it is done she feels that there’s something off. That’s why she wants to pursue and to dig in to see what she found. 

Since she’s been part of the process for awhile she knows if something sticks out.

Nuñez: Yea, she can see the red flags, Drew Addams for her is definitely a red flag but she also doesn’t want to be discovered by anyone else because she knows her job in the NFFA surveillance department is just to tag people. She’s not supposed to get involved and if you know someone who is being purged you’re not supposed to get involved, you’re not supposed to do anything else, the only thing you’re supposed to do is to tag that person and that’s it.

Do you see Esme interacting with the other stories or a standalone that’s a part of overall world building? 

Nuñez: She interacts with one of the other stories, they collapse and if that’s a way of saying it. But only one story and it’s really interesting but that’s like the second half of the season.

Do you have your own Purge plan in place?

Nuñez: I have my own Purge list! No, I always think about who would deserve it. I don’t know if I would do it, but you can also see in this season that you can actually hire people to do it if you don’t want to get your hands dirty. 

Bilal Mian
Bilal Mian
Bilal is the Editor-in-Chief of The Workprint. Follow him on Twitter @Bilal_Mian.

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