I'm A Latina Actress, But I Want The White Girl Roles

I'm A Latina Actress, But I Want The White Girl Roles
I'm A Latina Actress, But I Want The White Girl Roles
It is frustrating when a casting director says, "Can you be a little more Nuyorican?" And I'm like, uh, I'm not Puerto Rican, but okay. But you know what? It’s a character, so I don’t mind creating this imaginary Nuyorican character — after all, I'm Dominican, but Flaca on OITNB is from Mexico. It's interesting to me and challenging to play someone who's different from myself, but I do want to make sure the character is layered — and not just some stereotype of what Hollywood thinks a Latina is.

I'll get those stereotypical accented cross-the-border auditions, but then on the opposite end, there are tons of auditions for Latina characters that I still don’t book because I’m not the glamorous 'Hollywood Latina type.' Most casting directors are used to pretty, dark haired, petite girls like Eva Longoria and Salma Hayek. I don't look like them. But you know what? That just means that I need to break some barriers, which is why I want to create my own production company. If you’re not going to hire me, I’m going to hire myself, and I’m going to write for myself. I’m going to show you that I can do it.

The reality is that aside from being Latina, sometimes I’m just too tall, or too short, or just not the right fit for a particular role. But I’m still going to try and never give up, because look at how long it took me to even get where I am now. I've been at this since I was 15, and it was only recently that I got my one big yes. I’m so grateful for Orange Is the New Black. I hope eventually that will open doors to my next dream, which is to book a movie.

I want to encourage my fellow minorities to speak up, especially in the time that we're living in right now. The recent election taught me that no voice is too small. I'm going to stand up for what I believe in and keep pushing for inclusivity, both on screen and off. Yes, I’m Dominican, and yes I speak this language and this is my culture, and I want my people to be represented so the world can get to know us. But I also hope that eventually, we'll get to a point where people like me can book roles or get jobs simply because of their talent — not the color of their skin."

—As told to Arianna Davis


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