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In Praise of Mj Rodriguez’s Sofia on ‘Loot’

The Apple TV+ comedy series, Loot, unleashed a fiery first season that follows Molly Wells’ (Maya Rudolph) ugly divorce from her cheating billionaire husband. She’s admittedly a little lost without someone to dote on, so when her long-forgotten charitable foundation calls her to come into the office, she sets her sights on philanthropy as a way to re-discover herself. The Executive Director of that foundation, Sofia Salinas (Mj Rodriguez) initially greets Molly with a no-nonsense attitude, and a direct order to stop publicly grieving in a way that undermines the charity work associated with her name. Our first look at Sofia imparts the impression that she will have to be Molly’s warden throughout the series. Thankfully, Sofia’s growth throughout the Season 1 presents a character that isn’t afraid to learn from others, as well as embrace the parts of her that make her unique. Sofia is a pillar of this season and her phenomenal contributions to Loot will keep us coming back for more in Season 2.

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Between the first episode of this season and the finale, Sofia transforms immensely while still remaining authentic. The story captures a phase of her life during which she is willing to evolve. Yes, she wants what’s best for her community and coworkers, but she also strives to constantly improve herself. She resists change because she’s unable to prioritize anything above her important work, but she soon lets down her walls and becomes all the better for it. In no way does Sofia start the series as a bad person, which is why it is so refreshing and compelling to observe how even the most composed, passionate person is still ready to expand her horizons.


Sofia’s Newfound Friendship With Molly Encourages Growth

Molly comes to Sofia expressing a desire to “do the work” to reestablish herself as an independent woman with her own goals and dreams. Sofia helps her to facilitate that journey at every turn while still holding her accountable when she goes astray. She doesn’t belittle Molly when she fumbles but doesn’t give her a pass because of her vast wealth. Sofia holds firm in the workplace simply because she knows best, and she knows she knows best. An admirable quality is that she never shies away from a conversation with Molly when it’s time to assert her expertise. Sofia possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of her industry and always wants to use to it propel her charity work forward. That being said, when Sofia is not on the clock, she allows Molly to open her up to new sides of herself that she ought to embrace to achieve more happiness and balance in her life. Molly is never asking her to change who she is as a person, just to relax, and it truly benefits everyone in the office when Sofia takes a breath and reminds them all what great work they’re doing. Just because she is in charge, doesn’t mean she’s inhuman.

For Sofia, There’s Beauty in Healing

Rodriguez does an excellent job of not leaning too far into the aspects of her character that make her different from Molly. As an actress, she knows that lessening the gap between them by finding an unlikely common ground is a more pleasurable and hilarious viewing experience. It would be significantly less fun for tension between the two to arise from performances that accentuate those differences thus creating a cold distance. Over time, the women see eye-to-eye more than ever and they both become better people for it. Rodriguez describes this dynamic as “oil and vinegar”, they don’t necessarily mix but they are an iconic duo. Until Molly waltzes into her life, Sofia is the type of person to present as impermeable. She fears that any perception of weakness or even levity might set her back in the opportunities she’s worked so hard to achieve. In the second episode, she delves into what caused her to pursue charity work as a vocation and she tells the story of when her family lived in a car. Yes, she overcame great hardship, but the fear she describes of having all sense of security ripped from under her would naturally incur long-lasting anxiety that everything she cherishes could be gone at any moment. Her unflappable facade provides her with the confidence to push through any obstacle when it comes to helping others. But she has neglected herself for too long. Her path in Loot demonstrates the beauty that comes from unburdening herself enough to heal but to still remain steadfast in her commitments. Sofia shows us that both traits are honourable.

Sofia Really Shines in the Show’s Season 1 Finale

Her best moment of the whole season might just be at the top of this episode. After her Uber driver makes some degrading remarks about LA’s unhoused population, Sofia immediately hops out after schooling him on his ignorance: “I have a lifelong policy that if someone says ‘those people’ I end the conversation.” At the Silver Moon Summit, Molly prepares to introduce a water purification machine during an elaborate presentation. This was a side project she worked on with her new beau that doesn’t exactly fit in with the Wells Foundation’s mission statement. Sofia confronts Molly during her rehearsal where she fusses over lighting and costume, reminding her that this song-and-dance for fellow billionaires is not what she and her team have set out to do. Sofia condemns Molly for her performative activism and begs her not to go through with this just to impress another man. Sofia is the only one who is truly able to call Molly out when she reverts to old bad habits, the very same patterns she was striving to get away from when she first walked into her office. The reason why Molly now takes Sofia’s words so seriously is because over the span of their relationship, Sofia has inspired a higher standard for Molly. In this episode, we see that Molly now not only re-evaluates what she accepts for herself but also what she puts back out into the world. Sofia was the one person to pop that bubble she was living in and make her want to be and do more. Sofia makes personal growth a stipulation in their relationship, but it goes both ways. She is equally willing to accept Molly’s help as Molly is ready and willing to accept hers. They both internalized the lessons they learned from one another and that female friendship is a beautiful thing to witness on television.

Sofia is the undeniable voice of reason on Loot. She holds it down, keeps everyone focused on the goals of the Wells Foundation, and successfully turned Molly from a liability to their biggest champion. The small glimpses into her personal life make her so intriguing and mysterious while still managing to portray a fully lived-in character. Will we ever know more about Sofia’s love triangle or her “real friends”? Maybe someday soon, but for now, the Sofia we know and love is all we need to have us anticipating the return of Loot and its amazing cast.


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