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Yalitza Aparicio Admits Her Greatest Fear Is Speaking In Public And Not Being Able To Express Herself Correctly

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Fans of “Roma” actress Yalitza Aparicio might be surprised to learn that the 25-year-old Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca native has a very common fear that you wouldn’t expect an actress to have. Even though she comes off as a glamorous actress who has graced the cover of “Vogue” and been nominated for an Oscar, Aparicio is just a young woman who has normal fears like the rest of us.

At the TIME 100’s Gala, Aparicio admitted that she is afraid of “speaking in public” and not expressing herself correctly.

While walking the red carpet at the TIME 100’s Gala, Aparicio was asked what some of her fears are. As usual, Aparicio answered with her standard honesty and candidness. Aparicio spoke through her translator, who also happened to be “Roma” producer Gabriela Rodriguez

“Speaking in public, speaking in front of the camera and being fearful of not being able to express myself correctly,” was Aparicio’s response.

Aparicio had no acting experience before landing the role of Cleo in Alfonso Cuaron’s semi-autobiographical Oscar-winning movie, so adjusting to the novelty of being the center of attention must’ve been challenging, to say the least.

When further asked about how she musters up the courage to face her fears head on, Aparicio insisted that it was a “process”.

“It took me time in the beginning when we were shooting the film,” she said. “It was day by day, and [it was the] same with the red carpets. In the beginning, it was a struggle and after I got used to it, it got better.”

Aparicio was attending the TIME 100 event because she had been named by TIME as one of the 100 most influential people of the year. “Roma” director Alfonso Cuaron himself wrote her tribute in TIME magazine, writing that Aparicio has the ability to “take any task that’s put in front of her and excel in ways no one thought possible”.

Aparicio was also celebrated for being a “force of change and empowerment for indigenous women” and for “embracing the symbolic value of what she has done” in the entertainment industry.

As for us, we appreciate Aparicio’s honesty when it comes to the challenges she’s faced since embarking on this new career path. It’s not often that we see celebrities embracing their vulnerability and getting real about what it takes to navigate fame when the world’s eyes are constantly watching. Aparicio’s willingness to share her inner life with her fans makes us love her even more.

In Colombia, Women Are Cleaning Up The Remnants Of Its Bloody War

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In Colombia, Women Are Cleaning Up The Remnants Of Its Bloody War

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In Colombia, women were directly impacted by the more than half a century-long bloody war between the military and the guerrilla rebel group, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo (FARC). Their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers were killed. They were often subject to sexual violence, including rape and forced abortions. Today, three years after a peace pact was made between both armies, the women are now cleaning up the conflict’s deadly remnants.

In war zones throughout the South American country there are leftover explosives. Guerrillas planted landmines in towns, by schools and homes, as well as fincas years ago, prepared to ambush their enemies when they needed to. While the land is no longer occupied, many still fear walking through affected areas, knowing the risk they take stepping on a mine and detonating a bomb that could take off their leg.

Humanity & Inclusion (HI), an internationally funded humanitarian aid organization, is working to remove these mines — and it’s largely powered by women. In fact, 40 percent of the group is women and some, like Erika Romero, also lead teams.

“In the armed conflict, the mines were the most effective mechanism to do damage. Mines don’t discriminate,” Romero, HI’s base manager in Caquetá, told Teen Vogue. “Mines aren’t going to just target people in the military. The mines are going to take down civilians, the most vulnerable population. They’ve taken down children, animals, mothers, farmers.”

From 1990 to 2017, more than 11,000 people were killed or injured by mines and explosive, like grenades, mortars or bombs, that remained after the war.

This makes the women’s work essential. Before they started, 31 of 32 of Colombia’s departments were sullied with mines. That’s down by three. It might not seem like a lot, but the work is dangerous, making it meticulous and time-consuming.

Still, it’s labor that excites Marifer Culman Ortiz. The 19-year-old wakes up each morning, puts on her shatter-proof mask and anti-explosive gear, and begins her day in the minefield, moving away scrubs in the jungle and hovering her metal detector over the ground until she hears a long beep.

“It’s a very beautiful kind of work,” Culman Ortiz told the magazine. “That is, you have to go out to these areas and free them from many dangers like mines. Then people can pass through these pathways without fear that they’re going to step on the ground and lose their leg.”

Without women, this crucial work couldn’t get done. In the rural communities largely impacted by the war, there’s still a distrust of outsiders. This complicates the work of deminers, who often count on locals to identify areas where mines might have been planted. Those from the area are more comfortable speaking with familiar faces, who tend to be young women eager to rebuild their communities.

“Families are not going to trust people they practically don’t know and give this information because they could say ‘No, it could put my family at risk,’” Andrea Trujillo Ramirez, one of the women who works with the organization in the community she grew up in, said. “When we [women] go there, they almost always give us the information because they aren’t scared of us.”

Trujillo Ramirez was raised in a farmhouse near an encampment-turned-demining locale. Her childhood was plagued by war. She remembers hiding in bathrooms and under beds to protect herself from bullets as well as her mother pulling her out of school so she wouldn’t be hit during an unexpected, but common, shoot-out. She knows the pain of losing an uncle to a land mine and a brother, a member of FARC, to a clash with the military.

“The importance of this work is that I don’t want my family to have this experience of pain that I have had to live,” Trujillo Ramirez, who has a 7-year-old daughter, said.

While the Colombian government and the rebel group signed a peace pact in 2016, many fear that new conflict may soon arise. The government, which promised reparations for victims, reintegration of former combatants into society and developing the country’s destitute and rural areas, haven’t carried their vows through. Most recently, Colombian President Ivan Duque, who was elected last year, has questioned the accords altogether.

Former FARC rebels, upset by the unfulfilled pledges, have returned to war zone areas, carrying guns and sparking fear into many community members who are familiar with what a war-torn Colombia looks like.

This puts the women’s work at risk. They now face being at the center of violence themselves for attempting to detonate the remnants of yesterday’s brutality — a danger that could potentially put an end to their demining efforts.

“There would not be guarantees that we wouldn’t be forced out,” Romero said. “We could be at risk for the work we do with the communities so we would have to stop.”

For now, the women continue cleaning and hoping for a safer time ahead.

Read: This Queer Colombian Muralist Is Changing The World One Wall At A Time

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