updated 10/11/2013 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/11/2013 AT 7:30 PM ET
Spy Kids fans are in for a big surprise – former child star Alexa Vega isn’t a little girl anymore!
The 25-year-old, who’s best known for playing Carmen Cortez in the family adventure series, says her latest role in Machete Kills is anything but wholesome.
“It’s edgy, it’s kickass,” the newly engaged star tells PEOPLE of her provocative new role in the film, out Oct. 11. “I think every girl wants to be a badass.”
“I’m excited for people to see me in a new light without going over the top,” she adds, noting that she’s spent years slowly trying to shed her child-star image.
“Making that transition takes so long because you don’t want to lose your audience and you don’t want to shock them too much,” Vega explains. “So you try to take little steps at a time and take on different roles.”
But her role as Killjoy in Machete Kills – which is directed by Spy Kids helmer Robert Rodriguez – is more of a giant leap forward.
“It doesn’t get more badass than a metal bra and leather chaps!” she says about playing a seductive, no-nonsense vixen who’s packing some serious heat.