Though the Latine community had minimal representation during the Super Bowl this year, this doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the moments where we were present.
Let’s take the “Run With It” Super Bowl commercial, for instance.
It featured the badass Latina, Diana Flores, the 25-year-old quarterback of Mexico’s world-champion women’s national flag football team. Well, not only did it feature her, it starred her. Her accomplishment even brought her family to tears when the news was revealed to them, which was kept a secret until the very last moment.
Diana Flores didn’t tell her family she was the star of the NFL’s Super Bowl commercial.
— NFL (@NFL) February 15, 2023
The commercial also had other inspiring people in it, including the Latina actress who played her mom in the commercial, Denise Santos.
This commercial, which served as a vehicle to empower Latinas, women, and the NFL’s understanding to be more diverse, was a dream come true for her.
“It was an honor to play superstar Diana Flores’s mom in this groundbreaking commercial, highlighting women in sports and Latinas in Media, [while] speaking in Spanish on the world’s biggest stage,” Santos told BELatina News in a recent interview.
Diana Flores and Denise Santos are the representation we need in media
Being brought up in Miami, Florida by her Ecuadorian family, she considers herself to have been very shy. But she recalls that her mom always knew she had the potential to shine. Later in life, she took drama in high school and college, allowing her to start her journey into an acting career. Though her family pushed her to come out of her shell for a long time, they were not as encouraging when she broke the news to them. As we all may know, a lot of Latine families don’t hold any career in the art space with the highest regard. This, however, didn’t deter Santos from pursuing what she felt was her calling.
“I would sneak behind my mom’s back and audition for short films and do background work,” she said.
During our interview, we spoke about the challenges she’s faced as a Latina actress, how she became part of this monumental Super Bowl commercial, and other projects she’s working on.
Find the interview below.
Interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
When did you decide to give it your all to your acting career?
Well, I moved to Atlanta in 2009 and signed with an agent once I was there. After that happened, I hit the ground running, auditioned, and took acting classes. Upon seeing the need for representation of Latin actors in Atlanta, I co-founded “Latinas in Media Atlanta.” Currently, I continue to advocate for the inclusion and representation of Latin talent in Film and Television.
What have been some challenges in your career and how have you overcome them?
I was a late bloomer in the sense that I didn’t really start acting professionally until my early 30s. This is when I started booking bigger commercials and getting paid for them. I didn’t grow up having a community of creatives or people that supported my journey, so I really had to do this on my own. However, something I realized over the years is that rejection is truly a state of mind, and how I choose to receive that is up to me. That wasn’t the case for me early on, but now, as I become more comfortable in my skin, I realize I can just move on to the next thing and keep moving forward.
How did you become part of the ‘Run With It’ Super Bowl commercial?
The audition came in through my agent and I immediately connected with the lines and idea. I knew it was about a young Latina, female athlete running from her mom. Being a Latina mom, this was not a far-fetched situation for me! The audition took place via Zoom and it was pretty active. It tested my improv skills and movement. I said my lines, and then it was done. The next day, I received a call back where I was able to work more closely with the director, Bryan Buckley. He gave me notes, changed up some scenarios, and more improv; I was having a blast. At this point, I had a good feeling and a better idea that it was what I was beginning to think it was for.
What happened when you received the news that you were cast for the commercial?
I was at the movies with my husband when I received a call from the casting director that they enjoyed my audition and wanted to check my availability. Soon after, I received confirmation that I had BOOKED IT. Those words are music to the ears of all actors. The ball rolled really fast after that and I had to jump on a plane to Los Angeles.
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
I have a couple of indie films that I worked on that should be out sometime soon. I will definitely share more when I can!
Anything else you’d like to share with the BELatina News audience?
Thank you for including me in this piece. The attention (and positivity) that the Super Bowl commercial is receiving is overwhelming. I feel incredibly honored to be a part of it. Overall, we must make sure we keep the conversation of inclusivity going!