You Had Me at Hola is a contemporary romance by Alexis Daria. Jasmine is a soap opera actress who hopes to make it big in Hollywood. Her father is Puerto Rican while her mother is Puerto Rican and Filipina. While Jasmine speaks some Spanish with excellent pronunciation, her Spanish isn’t that great. However, she’s been hired to star in a telenovela, Carmen in Charge, where she will have to speak some of her lines in Spanish.
Carmen in Charge films in New York, which is where Jasmine’s family lives. Getting to see her favorite two cousins and her grandmother are a bonus. Her relationship with her immediate family is more complicated even though she loves them. It’s also a good time for Jasmine to be out of LA as her boyfriend of 2 years has just broken up with her publicly; she found out from a magazine. Even though she wasn’t in love with him, that stings.
Primas of Power
With her cousins Michelle and Ava, Jasmine is part of a Primas of Power group chat. They encourage each other. Michelle and Ava are also lobbying to have her move back to New York
After the disastrous breakup, Jasmine is ready for a change but is not convinced about moving to New York. She is still chasing her dream of fame in Los Angeles. Her response to her latest breakup is to create a Leading Lady plan of action. There are 3 rules:
Leading Ladies only end up on magazine covers with good reason.
Leading Ladies are whole and happy on their own.
Leading Ladies are badass queens making jefa moves.
Love is not on the agenda, nor is a relationship, even though her costar, Ashton Suarez is very good looking. He’s had a successful career in telenovelas and her family loves him but Jasmine is determined to keep drama at bay. This means keeping away from Ashton to avoid the awkwardness of a relationship on set.
Arms Length Ashton
Ashton keeps everyone at arms length. He declines invitations to go out with colleagues from the set and disappears quickly on weekends. No one knows what he does with his free time. They don’t know his secret.
Ashton has a secret son, Yadiel, who lives with his parents and grandparents in Puerto Rico. The mother signed away all rights to him on the condition that he does not reveal her name to anyone. Since a stalker fan tried to break into his house when Yadiel was a baby, Ashton has kept him a secret to protect him.
At the Hutton Court Hotel
Both Jasmine and Ashton live in a long-term stay hotel, Hutton Court. To help with their chemistry on set and Jasmine’s Spanish, they decide to meet to read lines together. There is chemistry between them but they manage to keep apart from each other until they return to their hotel together after a night out singing karaoke with others from the film. They end up together in Jasmine’s room. After that first night, they spend many nights together. There is definitely physical attraction but they also seem to be building an emotional connection.
Carmen in Charge
Their characters, Carmen and Victor, are divorced. But when Victor hires Carmen and her father to help him with his public image, the two of them end up spending a lot of time together. They revisit the past and open up to each other, showing some vulnerability. Carmen realizes that Victor has changed and he is in love with her.
As their characters Victor and Carmen get closer in their storyline, finding their way back to each other, Carmen and Ashton grow closer as well. They start to share secrets about their life, revealing more of who they are, but Ashton holds back from sharing his most important secret, his son.
Ashton calls his father every day for news of Yadiel and to talk to him. He also goes to Puerto Rico for weekend trips whenever he can so that he can spend time with Yadiel. On one such visit, his son asks to come to visit him in New York. His father thought it a good idea even though Ashton did not. In the end, his father, mother and son come to visit him in New York.
The reporter Kitty Sanchez breaks the story of Ashon’s son. Hurt that he kept the secret from her, Jasmine pulled away. She met his son and parents on set when they came for a tour and enjoyed spending time with the boy. She and Ashton were avoiding each other until he showed up at her home one night. When he finally checked his phone, there were several missed calls. Yadiel had broken his collarbone and ended up in the hospital. Ashton felt guilty for being with Jasmine and unavailable when his son needed him. He accused Jasmine of sabotaging his family and career and told her he didn’t have time for her.
From a Distance
Ashton pulled away once more. Jasmine decided that the relationship didn’t have the depth of connection that she wanted and that she would return to LA. She also decided that she would not film a second season of Carmen in Charge even if offered one. She was done with Ashton. But first, she needed to attend her grandmother’s birthday party. It had been planned for weeks. Her grandmother was a big fan of Ashton and although she had invited him to the party as a surprise for her grandmother, she didn’t think that he’d show up.
A Grand Gesture
On the day of the party, Ashton’s family came to his hotel room. They had decided that it was time for his son to live with him. His grandparents would help take care of him while his parents focused on their restaurant in Puerto Rico. Ashton resisted the suggestions but they did not relent. His father helped him realize that he couldn’t keep his personal and professional life completely apart, and he did want Jasmine to be part of his personal life. The family all got ready and attended the birthday party.
Attending the birthday party was Ashton’s grand gesture, a chance to show Jasmine how much she meant to him. He wasn’t only showing up for her grandmother but to also publicly show his feelings for her. He decided to make time for her and show her that she is important to him.
As they talked at the party, Ashton and Jasmine found out that their show was already picked up for another season. Jasmine agreed to continue in the role of Carmen.
The Ending of You Had Me at Hola
Carmen in Charge was a big hit. Jasmine is in therapy to get help with her need for external validation and her tendency to self-soothe with alcohol and Ashton is getting help for his PTSD and anxiety from the break in. Jasmine and Ashton attend the awards ceremony with Ava, Michelle and Yadiel. On the red carpet, they are interviewed by Kitty Sanchez who reveals she is a big fan. Despite the many unfavorable articles that Kitty had written about Jasmine over the years, Jasmine finally realized that Kitty was doing her job and that it wasn’t an easy one. She’d also made Jasmine a household name. Jasmine and Kitty shared a hug before Jasmine, Ashton and their guests continued into the awards ceremony.