Entertainment

It’s Finally Justina Machado’s Time to Shine

Photo: Getty Images

On Monday, beloved (and not to mention, underrated) actress Justina Machado sat down for a wide-ranging interview with the Los Angeles Times.

In it, Machado covers everything from her lengthy career, to the sad state of Latinx representation in Hollywood, to the offensive phone call she had with a tone-deaf TV exec in the ’90s.

Finally, after almost 25 years of hard work in Hollywood, Machado is dominating America’s Monday nights with two high-profile gigs: a spot on “Dancing With the Stars” and the return of “One Day At a Time” to CBS after it was unceremoniously dropped by Netflix.

Naturally, with so much on her plate, the Puerto Rican actress in not only mentally, but physically exhausted. After all, “Dancing With the Stars” is notorious for its grueling practice and shoot schedules. “Every day when I come home, my routine is dunking my feet in [an ice bath],” she told the LA Times. “The first week and a half of rehearsals, forget about it–I was crying.”

But Machado is glad that she took the DWTS opportunity for what it means in terms of Latinx representation on network television.

“The thing about ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is it reaches so many more homes than [‘One Day at a Time’]…,” she told the publication. “I know they’ve had Latinas on the show, but they need a whole lot more. And so I was like, ‘I’m going to do that. I’m going to be that Puerto Rican woman that’s on that show.’”

Throughout the interview, Machado gets candid about what it’s like to be a Latina in the American entertainment industry–which is an unforgiving business.

She described the beginning of her career as plagued by insecurity. Before she began a professional acting career, Machado was convinced she couldn’t make it as an actor because professional acting “wasn’t a part of [her] world.” “Nobody was an actor in Chicago that I knew, in my neighborhood, in the inner city of Chicago,” she explained.

After she finally established her footing in Hollywood, she was then met with further doors slammed in her face in the form of racism and anti-Latino sentiment.

Like when an executive called her to tell her why her TV show wasn’t moving forward, back in the ’90s.

“He literally called my house, nice man… and said, ‘My God, your pilot is so great. Everybody loves you, everybody. But we don’t think America is ready for a Latino family.’”

What’s depressing about this story is that Latino representation onscreen still hasn’t gotten much better over 20 years later. But Machado is hopeful that the tides of change are turning

“That was acceptable for him to say…Like, what? And that was the ’90s! And look at today. How many Latino families do you see on television? So America better get ready because we’re here. We’re here.” We know that if Machado has anything to do with the future of TV, we’ll be seeing Latino families more and more often.

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Everything You Need to Know About Clare Crawley, the First Latina ‘Bachelorette’

Entertainment

Everything You Need to Know About Clare Crawley, the First Latina ‘Bachelorette’

Photo: bacheloretteabc/Instagram

On Tuesday night, the newest season of “The Bachelorette” premiered and, as usual, ABC is promising that this will be the most dramatic season ever. And although the show made headlines recently for finally casting their first Black male lead, it has also broken down another barrier. This season’s lead, Clare Crawley, will be the first Latina Bachelorette.

There has been little fanfare about Crawley’s status as the first Latina Bachelorette. Instead, people have been focusing on what is supposed to be a bizarre season. Rumor has it that Clare falls in love-at-first-sight with one of the contestants and cuts her season short. But still, we might be more excited about the fact that she is Latina!

Clare Crawley was born and raised in Sacramento to her Mexican-born mother, Lilia, and her American-born father, James.

When Clare Crawley first appeared on Juan Pablo Galavis’s season in 2014 (who was the first Latino Bachelor), she revealed that her mother was Mexican. Before she left for the show, viewers even saw Crawley’s mother suggesting that she bond with Galavis by speaking Spanish to him.

Although we never saw Claire speak Spanish with Juan Pablo, we did get to see her mother have a brief conversation with him in their native tongue (which was adorable).

Unfortunately, Crawley and Galavis did not work out, and the break up culminated in the legendary moment when Clare told Juan Pablo off for eliminating her after leading her on.

“I lost respect for you,” she infamously told him in the series finale. “What you just made me go through? I would never want my children having a father like you.” The epic speech instantly made her a fan-favorite.

Clare Crawley is the youngest of six sisters, whom she says she hangs out with “all the time.”

Her father passed away from brain cancer in 2004, and she still feels the pain of that loss. Also, on Tuesday night’s season premiere, she revealed that her mother is currently battling Alzheimer’s and dementia. Right before Clare went into quarantine before filming, her mother suffered a nasty fall, which Clare admitted took a mental and emotional toll on her.

We also know, based off her social media, how proud she is of her Mexican heritage.

When she appeared on “Bachelor in Paradise” in 2015 (which films in Mexico), she tweeted about how “beautiful” her “homeland” is.

Clare also consistently posts delicious-looking photos on her Instagram of authentic Mexican food.

Usually, these posts happen around the holiday season when Crawley and her family are gathering together and practicing Mexican traditions–like tamales and pan dulce at Christmas.

We can’t wait to watch the rest of this season! We hope Clare shares more about her culture with “The Bachelorette” viewers.

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Latina Actresses Are Pivoting to Directing and Producing In Order to Get More Latinx Stories Told

Entertainment

Latina Actresses Are Pivoting to Directing and Producing In Order to Get More Latinx Stories Told

Credit: EVALONGORIA/AMERICAFERRERA/INSTAGRAM ; KEVIN WINTER/GETTY

The numbers are bleak. Latinos make up 18% of America’s population but only 5% of the number of speaking roles in movies in 2019 according to the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

Hollywood seems to be late to the party when it comes to Latino representation onscreen. But luckily, there are a handful of Latino artists and creators out there who are taking the fight to appear in front of the screen to behind the camera.

Take, for example, Eva Longoria, who was just announced to be directing and co-starring in the new action-comedy film, “Spa Day”

This marks the third movie the Mexican-American actress will be helming and the first Latina to ever direct more than one major studio film.

The other films on Longoria’s roster include a vehicle for her and Kerry Washington tentatively titled “24/7”, as well as the upcoming biopic “Flamin’ Hot”–a movie centered around Richard Montañez, the man who invented Flaming Hot Cheetos.

Longoria has been candid about how the decision to move into directing and producing has been a strategic one.

“One of the reasons I went into producing and directing was I wasn’t going to sit back and wait for somebody to create a role I wanted to do,” Longoria told Variety in 2018.

“You can’t just sit around waiting for [good projects], and I wanted to create that — not just for myself but for other Latinas.”

But her career transition isn’t unique as a Latina in Hollywood. She has joined the ranks of other Latinas in Hollywood who have began to produce and direct their own projects in order to finally see Latino stories told on screen.

Her peers include Jennifer Lopez (“Shades of Blue“, “Hustlers“), Selena Gomez (“Living Undocumented“), America Ferrera (“Gentefied“, “Superstore“), Gina Rodriguez (“Diary of an American President,” “Carmen San Diego“), and Salma Hayek (“Ugly Betty”).

All of these women have thrown their weight behind projects that otherwise wouldn’t be made if their names weren’t attached to them.

All of these women are creating stories that feature Latino stories and Latino talent–in front of and behind the camera.

America Ferrera explained the reason behind her conscious career pivot from acting to directing/producing: “My genuine heart’s desire is to tell stories that haven’t been told,” she told CBS This Morning. “It’s hard to get stories about people like us made. And then to get those stories told by us is very very uncommon.”

Although the endgame is to have Latinx stories greenlit without having to first be a famous singer or actress, the work these ladies are doing might be laying the foundation for an easier road for future industry players of Latino descent. Or as Longoria so eloquently put it: “If we unite and create opportunities for each other and pull each other up, there could be a lot more success for representation on TV.”

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