One Of These Latina Actresses Used White Face In An Audition Tape
Not all that glitters is gold… and not all that is Hollywood is glam.
These Latino actors get raw about what it’s like to be cast in Tinseltown.
“I was 18 and putting myself on tape for a movie I really wanted. I got that phone call: They cast a Latino male in another role in the film; they’re not looking to cast [a Latina]. So I defiantly bleached my hair blond, painted my face white and made the audition tape. I never heard back. I just remember feeling so powerless. What do you do when someone says, ‘Your color skin is not what we’re looking for’? Let me tell you: Blond does not suit me. I try not to prove my point on audition tapes anymore.”
“I didn’t speak Spanish [growing up]. I’m ninth generation. I mean, I’m as American as Apple pie. I’m very proud of my heritage. But I remember moving to L.A. and auditioning and not being Latin enough for certain roles. Some white male casting director was dictating what it meant to be Latin. He decided I needed an accent. He decided I should [have] darker-colored skin. The gatekeepers are not usually people of color, so they don’t understand you should be looking for way more colors of the rainbow within that one ethnicity.
“It was frustrating for me at the time auditioning because I would go into a room and based on color sometimes they felt that I looked Black. To have somebody that didn’t know anything about my culture telling me what Latino was. I was like ‘alright, cool.’ ‘So how do we speak again? Ok. cool, I didn’t know. So I’m not dressed Latino? Ok, how should I dress again? Open my shirt again? What do you want me to do? Salsa while I speak?’ And they would be like ‘yeah! More like that! Maybe you gotta be bigger with your moves. More exaggerated.’ I was like ok, damn I didn’t know how to be Latino. Thank you for explaining that to me.”
“My agent was saying ‘We’re having trouble.’ They look at her picture and we send her out for Latina role, but they’re looking more for fair skin or Mexican.’ I ended up booking more African-American roles. I still to this day have a lot of trouble booking Latina roles – just because I’m a brown Latina.”
“A lot of people don’t realize that I’m Latina, which is fine. I don’t expect people to know my cultural background just by glancing at me. I do, however, expect that when I tell people my family is from Puerto Rico, that I will be believed and not accused of trying to be something I’m not.”
“I had to [do my own projects]. It was an antidote to the system, to the Hollywoudn’t-ness of it all because I didn’t want to be a murderer for the rest of my life. That’s not me, that’s not my people.”
“Everybody knows I don’t get considered for every fantastic part that’s out there just because it’s like ‘Oh, that’s not the right type.’ It’s usually an angle actress or an English actress and those are some of the best parts out there, and sometimes I think, ‘I could’ve done that role.’”
“Throughout the years we have demonstrated how much talent we have to offer. I think there is a lack of stories that represent us.”
“I made movies for a long time when I was young and I always had to have an accent. But that wasn’t the worst problem. If I played a Latina, I always had to be too sexy and too easy. I hated that.”
“It was very difficult for [an] actor that comes from a specific cultural background and had certain surnames to, sometimes in the casting process, be able to cross over and say, ‘Just look at that person as an actor, don’t look at him as an actor of Mexican descent, just look at him for what he can bring to the story and how he can enhance your film by his participation and his talents as an actor or actress.”
“You know, you spend a long time getting rid of your accent, but the first thing they ask you for usually, especially when I first started, was an accent.”
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