It is no secret that Latinos have been grossly underrepresented in Hollywood. And when Latino actors are included, they are often portraying criminals and domestic workers. Back in the earlier days of film and television, we were “greasers,” “banditos,” immoral and/or angry women, and comedically dim-witted individuals.
Today, however, the tides are changing, with a variety of roles being interpreted by Latinas, and people of our ethnicity and culture(s) are creating those projects which are absent. But we still have a long way to go. Here are 11 actresses in Hollywood who are holding it down for Latinos everywhere have spoken out about both the stereotypes assigned to us as a people, as well as the notion that all we look, act, and are the same.
Afro-Cuban actress Gina Torres found resistance when she would audition for Latina roles in Hollywood. She noticed that when a part called for a Latina, that often meant the casting department wanted someone with dark hair, dark eyes, and lighter skin, who essentially looked Italian. “My view of myself doesn’t change. I know who I am,” Gina has said. “I’m Cuban American; both my parents are Cuban — one was a little browner than the other one. That’s who I am. I feel sorry that it’s taken so long for the film industry to figure it out and to catch up.”