Latinx and Latin American artists made history at this year’s Coachella. At the massive music festival in Indio, Calif., heavy-hitters like Cardi B, Selena Gomez, J Balvin, Bad Bunny and Ozuna lit up stages with their Spanish-language bangers. But our musicians weren’t the only ones attracting audiences. Yalitza Aparicio — or rather a cutout of the actress’s face — also gained attention.
According to Remezcla, Jesus Nuñez, a fan of the “Roma star,” brought a giant cardboard cutout of Aparicio’s look from the Oscars to the event. Nuñez, who is the son of Mexican immigrants and was raised in Baja California, was inspired by the indigenous actress’s story of survival and wanted to highlight her in a crowd of tens of thousands.
“The reason why I was inspired to make the sign with the image of Yalitza was because of her story. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your culture is, you can achieve a lot of things as long as you propose to do it. Despite all her success, she’s still down to earth,” he told the news site through email.
Aparicio’s presence at Coachella is significant for another reason: real indigenous representation. Attendees of Coachella, and festivals like it, have long been criticized for wearing native headdresses. You know the photos: The almost-always white girl sporting a feathered ornamental covering on her head and getting called out via social media. This time, there was an actual indigenous woman in the crowd, and she was donning a smile and a graceful hand wave.
The cardboard version of the actress was a big hit at the festival, with fans asking to take photos with her. Aparicio’s welcoming grin could be found participating in the La Chona Challenge at Los Tucanes de Tijuana’s performance, taking photos with fans during Mon Laferte’s set and enjoying Bad Bunny’s show.
Indigenous Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio marked her New York Fashion Week debut at a Michael Kors show this week. The 25-year-old was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress last year when she made another debut. It was Aparicio’s first time acting when she was cast in Alfonso Cuaron’s 2018 drama Roma. Aparicio has staked her claim as one of Hollywood’s most talented leading ladies.
She is the first Latinx actress to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar in 14 years, making her the second Mexican woman to do so, and the first Indigenous American woman to get a nom. Aparicio is Mixtec and Trique. Raised by a single mother who worked as a maid, Aparicio has no formal acting training. She has a degree in early childhood education and was pursuing another in pre-school education when she was cast in Roma.
Aparicio’s ascent comes at a time when Latinx and indigenous representation are sorely lacking and much needed in media.
Yalitza Aparicio attends Michael Kors Show at NYFW.
Yalitza Aparicio made her New York Fashion Week debut at Michael Kors’ Brooklyn Navy Yard show. Other celebrities in attendance included Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Sutton Foster, Lucy Hale, Emily Ratajkowski, Mafalda, Olympia of Greece, and Ella Hunt to name a few.
“I will see how it actually is because all I know is what you see online,” Aparicio told Women’s Wear Daily of seeing the clothes up close for the first time.
The 25-year-old Roma star is still adjusting to life after awards season. Her breakout performance quickly ushered her into the Hollywood stratosphere, and while Aparicio is in talks for some new roles, she is focused on adjusting and humanitarian work.
“I was trying to assimilate all that had happened,” she said. “[People] wanted to meet me and ask questions about the film and how it had been filmed all over the world; it was all sort of a big dream.”
Aparicio sits front row.
In fashion, it’s considered an honor to be sitting in the front row of a runway show. It’s why snaps of Vogue’s elusive editor Anna Wintour sitting poised with her signature sunglasses have become iconic. Aparicio was not denied a seat at the table, as she was sitting in between the notable leading ladies Sutton Foster, Kate Hudson, and Nicole Kidman.
Aparicio looked statuesque in a silver, metallic crushed silk lamé wrap dress from the 2019 Michael Kors Collection.
“I really didn’t think it would happen this soon, but fortunately, through this experience, I’ve been able to really take on the next step,” she told E.T. of her unexpected and exponential rise to success.
“I really learned a lot over this past year, but the most important thing is that at its core, my essence, I’m still the same person,” she continued. “It’s just a matter of adapting everything I’ve learned that really works for me.”
Native American appropriation still runs rampant in fashion.
Just last week French fashion brand Dior pulled an advertisement following accusations of cultural appropriation. The ad was for the fragrance “Sauvage,” whose spokesperson is Johnny Depp, and featured indigenous people of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota performing the Fancy War Dance. Indigenous people were offended.
Who are the real sauvages?
“Using Indigenous people and our culture for your new perfume aesthetic and feeling the need to name it “Sauvage” is a completely bad take. Do better @Dior,” an indigenous person wrote.
Sauvage is the French word for “savage” an offense term used to describe indigenous people by white colonizers, and one that is still used today to dehumanize indigenous people. This is well-known information, even the Disney animated film Pocahontas, which is a lazy retelling of history at best, features a song called “Savages” sung by the colonizers.
Indigenous people have long faced discrimination and erasure.
“To describe a Indigenous Person as Sauvage…. Is not cool.. Period. I am not a Savage..we are described in the Declaration of Independence as “Savages”…. So no honor no respect. Coming from a 100 percent indigenous two-spirit… Not cool Johnny,” said one Twitter user.
Others have pointed out that indigenous people are described as “savages” in the Declaration of Independence as a means to deny their rights. Many indigenous Canadians were especially upset. Canada has a large population of French-Canadians as well as a relatively larger indigenous population, thus the word sauvage, in its most derogatory form, is a constant presence in the lives of indigenous Canadians.
Aparicio’s presence in NYFW, and in Hollywood, is all the more important as indigenous and Latinx voices need to be heard and represented.
Back in February of this year, “Roma” actress Yalitza Aparicio dominated fashion headlines after her appearance on the red carpet of the Oscars. The actress made her first appearance at the 91st Academy Awards as a Best Actress nominee for her breakout role as Cleo a maid of Mixteco heritage working for a family in Mexico City during the early 1970s. Aparicio had already had a big night, not only had she nailed a coveted nominee slot, she’d done so for her first role ever in a movie. And while awe over her talent was much talked about, it was the mint-green and silver metallic tulle gown she wore by Rodarte that caught so much attention.
The fashion brand has long been an established designer on red carpets but there’s no denying the actress has helped raise interest in its designers. The red carpet match of the designers and the actress proved not only to be a success at the Oscars, but it also proved worthy of a lasting partnership.
For the fashion brand’s latest lookbook, Aparicio was selected as a model.
The rising star wowed in the brand’s dreamy fashion shoot.
Aparicio appeared in the Spring lookbook in a polka-dot belted black and white dress and a pair of sheer gloves studded with pearls which also speckle her hair. She modeled the dress in a magazine that featured Hollywood veterans such as Gabrielle Union and Kirsten Dunst.
Aparicio appeared in simple colors and extravagant gowns.
For her other appearance, the actress could be seen wearing a black and white plaid dress that featured a ruffle color and puff sleeves.
Of course, it didn’t take long for reactions to Aparcio’s appearance to set fire online.
Fans of the actress were quick to call her a “reina” and other celebrities including “Mad Men” actor January Jones, who also appeared in the shoot, commented “Love. ❤️”
Aparicio’s feature is another reminder, that the indigenous actress has her heels dug into Hollywood and the fashion industry and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Back in January of this year, Vogue México honored the actress with a feature and photoshoot that served as an ode to her culture and home state of Oaxaca. Not only was she featured on the magazine’s cover, but she was also thrown a party at the Patio del Huaje en el Jardín Etnobotanico in Oaxaca.
While the finicky nature of Hollywood and its attention to actresses of color has a strong pattern, Yalitza’s star does not seem to be dwindling. In fact, her appearance in the lookbook nearly seven months after her appearance at the Oscars, and without any announcements of new roles, proves she must have a lot coming up for herself.
Share this story with all of your friends by tapping our little share buttons below!