Entertainment

‘Real Women Have Curves’ Is The Body Positivity Message We Need Now More Than Ever

Shockingly, it’s been over 15 years since “Real Women Have Curves” hit the big screen, exposing the world to America Ferrera for the first time, as our Latina icon of body positivity and self-love. In a thousand ways, this film sparked real change in Hollywood and in our Latino-American culture. In a thousand other ways, from overbearing, manipulative Latina mothers to virginity as the measure of female value, it’s as if nothing has changed.

Let’s check out some unknown facts about the film and how its still offering an important lesson to young Latina women owning agency over their bodies. THe internet was still pretty new in 2002 so some of these might come as a shock.

The film is based on a play written by Josefina López.

CREDIT: @50playwrights / Instagram

The idea for the play didn’t come to her in an instant. It was a building fury beginning as an 18-year-old in her high school drama class when her teacher had something hard to say. In a recent interview, López shared her teacher’s response to her student’s embarrassment to wear a leotard:

“‘If you’re really serious about being an actress, you have to lose weight, because no one will ever cast you as the ingénue if you don’t lose weight.’ And I started to cry because I was always afraid to even think that I could be an actor, because I thought you had to be white, and I equated being white with being beautiful. When she told me that I cried, and then she started crying with me, and she said, “I feel so bad telling you this, because I was told the same thing. I’m not telling you this because I think you should change, but this is the way the business works. Men want to play the heroes in all the stories, so I guess women have to be thin enough to be lifted up into their arms to walk into the sunset, because men get to be the heroes of all of the stories.”

“If there are no stories about chunky girls getting laid, or being heroes, then I’m going to write those stories. “

CREDIT: HBO

That’s when an American classic was born. The similarities between López’s childhood and that of her protagonist, Ana García, played by America Ferrera, are poignant. Both struggle with society telling them to be ashamed of working class parents, of being dark-skinned, of being curvy, of being Latino.

There isn’t a single mention of outside society telling Ana she’s fat. It’s all from her mother, Carmen.

CREDIT: HBO

We have the studies today to back up López’ powerful claim that our mothers offer the most formative perception we will have of our bodies. I have never, ever, seen my own mother not be on some diet (“solo yucca because it’s mostly water”) or seen her eat a slice of flan without whispering, “ok just one bocadito,” as if anyone cared but herself.

Anyone else have a mami like that?

Their “que pesado” dynamic is relevant for all of us.

CREDIT: HBO

Carmen: Straighten up, walk like a lady. Even l, in my condition, I walk like a lady.

Ana: [mockingly] *Flips hair ~17 times* *Shakes hips so silly*

Carmen: Payasito

Lupe Ontiveros won an award at Sundance for her performance of Carmen.

CREDIT: HBO

Ontiveros, who died in 2012, always played women we loved to hate (“Selena,” duh). Her life was truly remarkable, though. She worked as a social worker for 18 years before she started taking some extra work, which turned into a long career in Hollywood.

Ana wants to go to college, but Carmen forbids her from “breaking the family apart.”

CREDIT: HBO

Much later, a movie called “Lady Bird” came out that read like a white version of López’s story. The mothers are overbearing and won’t let her go to college. López spoke through tears when commenting about the differences, however.

“I also deserve a place in Hollywood and the opportunity to continue telling impactful stories. I co-wrote a better version of ‘Lady Bird’ that challenges the status quo,” she said. “I wish my film had been appreciated [the same way].”

Carmen uses the guilt tactic for casi todo to control Ana.

CREDIT: HBO

At first Carmen succeeds in guilt-tripping Ana from going to college because of her abuelito, but she later decides that it’s just something she has to do. Her father gives her his blessing and her abuelito tells her that she’ll always be in his heart.

Carmen, meanwhile, never even gets out of bed to tell Ana goodbye.

Meanwhile, Ana’s older sister, Estela, is fighting to keep her factory going.

CREDIT: HBO

She’s sewing designer dresses for Bloomingdales that sell for $600 on the rack, and is paid $18 for each. She struggles to meet deadlines and pay rent alongside the mental health effects of knowingly being exploited. Her dream is to start her own line.

After Ana asks for a small loan from their father for Estela, she designs a dress just for Ana.

CREDIT: HBO

At first, when Ana sees the dress, she scoffs, “Come on, you know I can’t fit into this.” Her response is everything, and since 2002, the clothing industry has changed. There are “plus size” lines in so many stores from Target to Bloomingdales.

Personal opinion: we still need to redefine what “plus size” really is, because ‘regular’ sizes leave little room for athletic builds, curves and hips that are absolutely beautiful and normal for Latinas.

Ana and America Ferrera are the same person: dreamers.

CREDIT: Oscars / YouTube

In a memorable Q&A on the 15 anniversary of the film’s release, Ferrera talks about how the film changed her life:

“I could have never known that at 17, being one of six children to a single Honduran immigrant mother, growing up in the Valley, where months went by where we didn’t have warm running water, or running water at all, or electricity, having this dream of being an actress, coming from where I came from. My own family, my friends, my teachers, people would say to me, ‘That’s very unlikely.’ But I, with the naïveté of a young person, had been told there was nothing I couldn’t do and I believed it.”

All summer that Ana works in her sister’s “sweat shop”, she’s secretly applying to colleges.

The mother-daughter relationship is the most important to Ana, just like us.

CREDIT: HBO

Her mother is always making up maladies to manipulate her family to give her attention. She even wakes Ana up one night to share her secret: she’s pregnant. When Ana tells her she’s imagining things, her mom just averts her eyes and changes the channel, in the most passive aggressive Mexican mother way possible.

But the relationship that changes her is one with white boy Jimmy.

CREDIT: HBO

It literally blossoms while you hear Carmen in the background talking about a telenovela where a boy tells a girl, “he didn’t care what she looked like… that he loves her, that he wants her.” Spoiler: she gets pregnant and while she’s on a bus to Rio to elope, she sticks her head out the window to say bye to her mother…and is decapitated.

Carmen: “Ana, you better listen. That’s what happens to people who don’t listen to their mother.”

For the first time, Ana confides in someone outside her family what it’s like to feel fat and ugly in her mother’s eyes.

CREDIT: HBO

Mamis listen up, because Carmen is pretty brutal, but most of us didn’t grow up with mothers who straight up called us fat (gordita, claro, but it was loving). Studies show that even if your mother tells you up and down how guapa you are, when children witness their own mother’s criticize their own bodies, they learn to do the same. Monkey see, monkey do.

And she lives the life she wants to live.

CREDIT: HBO

She’s not having sex or trying to go to college to spite her mother. Ana is reclaiming her own body and future outside of what her family expects from her.

“Real Women Have Curves” gives us the most tender love scene to date on the big screen.

CREDIT: HBO

This wasn’t a passionate, aggressive sex scene. This was Ana telling Jimmy to turn the lights on first, “I want you to see me. See, this is what I look like.”

“What a beauty.”

CREDIT: HBO

This is the story that we need more of in 2018; one that shows a young woman affirming her consciousness around her sexuality. She’s rejecting the shame that she was raised with and is intentional and thoughtful about accepting, and sharing, exactly who she is.

We never rooted so hard for a teenager to run away.

CREDIT: HBO

Carmen: Why didn’t you value yourself?

Ana: Because there’s more to me than what’s in between my legs!

It takes so much courage and self-awareness to not let that mierda eat you alive. Ana won’t put up with any of it and calls her mother out on her fake pregnancy. The next scene, they’re at the doctor and it’s confirmed: Carmen is going through menopause.

The most iconic scene of the whole film is revolutionary even to this day.

CREDIT: HBO

While back then, seeing any women strip down to their bra and underwear was edgy and scandalous, this wasn’t a sexualizing moment for the women in Estela’s factory. This was pure empowerment and validation. It’s obvious that Ana is in full ownership of her body post-sex and casually takes off her shirt because it’s too hot in the factory.

Carmen starts to shame Ana, “Look at you, you look awful,” when the women rally around her and start complaining and comparing different parts of their bodies they don’t like. In the end, they all laugh about it and decide to just work sin ropa.

Even better, Ana finds her way out of the sweat shop and into Columbia University.

CREDIT: HBO

While college was the answer for Ana, and the hope for those of us who idolized her in this film, the education gap for Latinos and whites has only widened since 2002. Only 22 percent of Latino Americans ages 25 to 64 held a two year college degree or higher in 2016 compared to more than 30 percent of black Americans and half of white adults.

We need to do better to make Ana’s dream a more feasible reality.

We need more real stories of Latinos that mirror our own.

CREDIT: HBO

We’re doing better with shows like One Day at a Time and Jane the Virgin, but telenovela obsession is in our blood.

In the 15 year anniversary interview, America Ferrera shares:

“It is so painful sometimes to think about how little has happened for Latina women in film, or just people of color, since this film, and the way that it was received. But I think what keeps me going and a lot of women and people of color going is, if we don’t break down the doors that we can break down, then we’re not doing justice to the people coming behind us.”

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13 Spooky Movies To Watch That Are Guaranteed To Make Your Skin Crawl

Entertainment

13 Spooky Movies To Watch That Are Guaranteed To Make Your Skin Crawl

RgStudio / Getty Images

With Halloween fast approaching, we’re getting ready to cue up those scary movies for the best quarantine fright- fest yet. Horror movies are the one thing that seals the deal on making spooky season official. Time to butter up that popcorn, sip on that chocolatito, and snuggle up in front of the TV.

So, are you looking to kick back to some great horror films but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with a list of our top 13 scary movies just in time for spooky season. These films range from classic horror to psychological thrillers. This list is the perfect way to get you into the spirit. Are you ready for the best scare yet?

The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Let’s start off with a Guillermo Del Torro classic. After 10-year-old Carlos becomes orphaned after the death of his father, he soon discovers the secrets of the haunted school that shelters him. Set during the Spanish Civil War and filled with ghosts, defused bombs, and a whole lot of mystery, this movie is one that will definitely keep heads turning.

Carrie (1976)

Carrie White seems to think the world is against her and I mean: she’s not wrong. Who wouldn’t get upset and lash out with their mother and peers constantly antagonizing her? Little do we know, Carrie reveals her telekinetic powers that eventually leads to some problematic outcomes as she starts to seek out intense revenge on those who’ve wronged her.

Poltergeist (1982)

A classic tale of ghosts and exorcisms all combined in one. When the California-based Freelings’s family encounters that ghosts are communing in their television set, they are seemingly terrified. The parents have no choice but to hire an exorcist to help as soon as they discover their 5-year-old daughter is now missing. But the question is: will this help or hurt them?  

Mama (2012)

When two twin sisters mysteriously vanish on the same day of their parent’s death, their uncle and his girlfriend go on a thrilling search for their bodies. The twins are found in a decaying cabin in the woods after searching. This is when it becomes clear that their escape will not be as easy as it seems. A short by Argentinian director Andrés Muschietti, it’s no wonder why the film won the ASCAP award for the best Top Box Office Films. 

BirdBox (2018)

A mysterious force has wiped out humanity and everyone knows that if you see this thing you die. Everyone is now strategizing the best way to overcome this and stay safe. One woman desperately tries everything in her power to keep her children safe and away from sight. The best and safest way to seek this shelter ultimately results in them figuring it out blindfolded. This Netflix original sent chills down my spine, and I promise as soon as you watch it, you’ll get them too. 

Us (2019)

The protagonist Adelaide revisits her childhood town with her family and has a gutted feeling that the past may now take over the present. The movie recount a terrifying incident of her childhood when she was traumatized in a carnival fun house. The family soon encounters four strangers who look exactly like each one of them. This Jordan Peele creation leaves viewers the opportunity to piece together the puzzle pieces slowly but surely, and journeys you through a horrifying storyline that will leave you glued to your television screen. 

A Quiet Place (2018)

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Actions speak louder than words,” right? Well in this thriller it’s certainly the truth. A horror film that essentially has only a few pages of real dialogue, the premise is that if “they” hear you, “they” find you. The family of four must be the quietest they’ve ever been so that a breath or even a footstep won’t reveal their presence. You’ll be jumping out of your seat so maybe don’t watch this alone in the dark.

Vampires vs The Bronx (2020)

Sometimes the best films are the ones that scare you but also make you laugh. This coming-of-age horror comedy recently made its Netflix debut earlier this month and fans are non-stop raving about it. It follows a group of teens from the Bronx who are forced to save their neighborhood from an incoming vampire invasion. The concept incorporates prevalent societal issues with a lighthearted twist and is a perfect treat for all audiences to enjoy.

Hereditary (2018)

A family in mourning finds ways to cope with the loss of a loved one while experiencing supernatural phenomena. The encounters with the supernatural begin to grow more and more disturbing. The family is left with these moments linking to a grand unveiling of family history and secrets. It’s so haunting that this movie will stay with you forever.

Veronica (2017)

“Veronica” tells the tale of a girl and her friends summoning the spirit of her dead father during a solar eclipse using a Ouija board. However, there are more undesirable spirits that have come through. She’s quickly surrounded by evil spirits and presences that are now known to pose a threat to her family. Sandra Escacena was nominated for the Goya Award for Best New Actress in 2018 for her work.

The Cabin In The Woods (2011)

Basically, a college cabin vacation gone wrong. A camping trip with five friends takes a turn when they are attacked by a family of zombies. The camping trip turns into a fight for their lives as the zombies are part of a ritualistic sacrifice. A Rotten Tomatoes reviewer even said “Would you like your head thoroughly messed with? Then check straight into ‘The Cabin in the The Woods.’” So that sums that up pretty nicely.

The Witches (2020)

Witches in the U.K. are plotting to rid the island of children by turning them into mice. Fortunately for all of the children, one young boy and his grandmother catch wind of the plan. The movie is all about the boy and his grandmother working together to make sure the witches fail in their dastardly plans.

READ: 17 Perfectly Creepy Horror Movies By Latinos To Watch Before You Die

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Here’s Who We Want to Play Legendary Cuban-American Triple-Threat Sammy Davis Jr. In His Upcoming Biopic

Entertainment

Here’s Who We Want to Play Legendary Cuban-American Triple-Threat Sammy Davis Jr. In His Upcoming Biopic

Photo: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Looks like Sammy Davis Jr. is finally getting his place in the sun. On Wednesday, Variety announced that MGM will be producing a biopic about the Cuban-American triple threat. The prolific writer and actor Lena Waithe will be co-producing. The script will be based off of Davis Jr.’s daughter’s biography: “Sammy Davis Jr.: My Father”.

According to reports, the movie will take a close look at the legendary singer’s later life and his relationship with his daughter. It will also give us a peak into Davis Jr.’s younger days, showing us flashbacks from his time as a “child prodigy” to a “global superstar”.

For those who are unfamiliar with Sammy Davis Jr., he was an immensely popular star of ’50s and ’60s. He was what some people would call the original “triple threat”–he could dance, sing, and act. And he did all three excellently.

Throughout his life, he would lie and say his Cuban-born mother, Elvera Sanchez, was of Puerto Rican descent. Later he admitted that he did this because he was afraid that the prevailing anti-Cuban sentiment in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis would have hurt his career.

But Sammy Davis Jr. was perhaps most known for being a member of the legendary “Rat Pack”–a powerful group of Hollywood hotshots that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. Their collective power and raucous Vegas stays made them living legends in their time.

But beneath the fortune and fame, Davis Jr. struggled with internal demons. He was of a victim of the brutal racism of the entertainment industry, as well as his unrelenting health and addiction problems. He eventually died in 1990 at the age of 64 due to cirrhosis.

We hope that the upcoming movie does Sammy Davis Jr.’s story justice! Here are the actors we would love to see fill the very talented shoes of the Afro-Cubano star.

Jharrel Jerome

PHOTO: FRAZER HARRISON / GETTY IMAGES

Jharrel Jerome took the world by storm when he portrayed the wrongly accused Korey Wise in “When They See Us”. His performance was so moving that he won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series. We’d love to see this gifted Dominican performer try his hand at playing Sammy. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a music career too.

Miguel

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Miguel captured our hearts long ago with his powerful but soothing vocals. We fell in love with him even more when the Mexican-American singer sang “Remember Me” at the 2018 Oscars. Plus, he’s acted before. So you know he’s no rookie.

Kid Cudi

Photo: kidcudi/Instagram

You may know Kid Cudi mostly as a hip-hop artist, but this rapper of Mexican descent also has a successful acting career. We also know that he would be able to tap into the pain and struggle of Davis Jr’s inner turmoil.

Elijah Kelley

Photo: oneelijahkelley/Instagram

Elijah Kelley is an immensely multi-talented singer-actor who you may know from hits like “Hairspray” and “The Butler”. He isn’t Afro-Latino (which we would love to see), but he’s a phenomenal singer and dancer. And he even looks a bit like Sammy Davis Jr!

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