Why did you move to Maui?
Carlos and I are actors, but we didn’t fit in in L.A. Maui is so relaxed that it feels right. I grew up on a ranch in Florida and spent lots of time fishing. Something about the outdoors feels freeing, and we want the same for Ocean.
You and Carlos star in the Hallmark channel’s Movies & Mysteries series. Do you enjoy working together?
It’s hard when we have to be in different locations because of a project. One time we didn’t see each other for a month! We never want Ocean to be without either of us, so we made a rule: If Carlos is working on something, I won’t take anything on, and vice versa. That’s why we prefer to work on the same projects.
What inspired you both to combine your last names when you married?
We thought it was a cool way to meld our lives together, for two to become one. I gave a piece of myself to Carlos, and he gave a piece of himself to me. We’re from kooky families, so it’s a fresh start for us with a new name. Ocean is the first true PenaVega!
How did you choose your son’s name?
Every year we go on a fishing trip and turn off our phones. It’s so peaceful. I was pregnant during our last trip, and Carlos insisted on the name because we’re always on the water. It was perfect for our son—he even came out with blue eyes.
You’re Colombian, and Carlos is of Dominican, Venezuelan, and Spanish descent. How are you exposing Ocean to his Latino heritage?
I grew up eating Colombian food, so I make him sancocho, and we’ll have arepas at Thanksgiving because my husband’s father was born in Venezuela. Right now, Ocean’s going through a phase and wants to eat only crispy pork chicharrones!
Are you teaching him Spanish?
I speak some Spanish, but I understand all of it because we spoke the language at home until I was a teenager. Thankfully, my dad is moving in with us, and he’s fluent, so he’ll speak Spanish with Ocean.
This article originally appeared in Parents Latina Magazine as 'Alexa PenaVega’s Island Life.'