Things That Matter

Gina Torres, The Mother Queen, Says ‘Afro-Latinos don’t fit into a box, they fit into all the boxes’

When you think of Gina Torres, you probably think of an actress who has built a career playing the role of the kick-ass tough girl. From Jessica Pearson in “Suits” to Cas in “The Matrix Reloaded”, Torres has carved out a space for herself in a hyper-competitive, cutthroat industry. With over eighty-nine IMDB credits to her name stretching back to 1992, Torres has been in the game for a long time. And she’s not planning on stopping anytime soon. 

Torres’s next project is the highly-anticipated USA “Suits” spinoff “Pearson”, which follows her character Jessica Pearson as she makes the transition from heading up a New York-based law firm to entering the dirty world of Chicago politics. 

But although Torres is an industry veteran, you may not know that she has struggled with self-doubt and “imposter syndrome” throughout her career.

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That’s right–this woman who seems to ooze confidence and self-assurance is the same as you and me. In a new interview with Bustle, Torres got candid about the feelings of self-doubt and second-guessing that have plagued her throughout her 20-year career. But instead of letting her fears stop her, Torres instead chose to face them head-on. Case in point: she had no problem going to auditions for characters that weren’t necessarily supposed to look like her. 

“Very often I was in the room for a part that was not specifically written for anyone that looked like me,” she said, possibly referring both to her status as a black woman and as an Afro-Latina. But unlike other people who may have given up in the face of such constant rejection, Torres proved to her critics that she had as much a right to be there as any other actress. 

“You’re in the room for a reason,” Torres said. “And you can take your space and show everybody why you’re in that room. Every opportunity has to be taken”. 

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Unfortunately, ambition like Torres’s is generally hard to come by in women. Most women are routinely plagued by feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome like Torres is. One Hewlett Packard study found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, while women only apply if they meet 100% of the qualifications. In other words: women don’t even try to aim higher because they’re conditioned to believe they’re not good enough. Torres’s confidence in herself and her abilities it what sets her apart from the pack and makes her a great role model for working women everywhere. Her ambition is both singular, intense, and inspiring.

This confident attitude is exactly what has made Torres a stalwart in an industry that is notoriously shallow.

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Hollywood executives are notorious for filling a role based on what they think a character should look like–not based on the reality of what a character would actually look like given the circumstances. 

And Torres, as a Cuban-American Afro-Latina, knows better than anyone the pitfalls of Hollywood’s reliance on stereotyping. In the past, Torres has been honest about the struggles she’s faced trying to land roles as both a black woman and as an Afro-Latina: “When I became an actress, I quickly realized that the world liked their Latinas to look Italian and not like me,” she’s said. 

Torres has also talked about how Hollywood “likes everything in a little box”. 

“They have operated that way for many years,” she’s explained. “And what happens is that Afro-Latinos don’t fit into a box, they fit into all the boxes”. But Torres has come to a point in her career when she can finally create her own box. Credited as an Executive Producer on “Pearson”, Torres has reached a position of power where she no longer has to defer to an old white man to decide what type of character she gets to play. 

So, this time around, Gina Torres is intent on doing things her own way. First order of business? Fleshing-out Jessica Pearson’s personal background. “I was very specific about reinventing Jessica’s mythology and making sure, for the first time in my life, I would actually be playing an Afro-Latina character,” she said in an interview with Vibe

Indeed, in the second episode of the new season, Pearson is seen speaking Spanish to a non-suspecting Latina who thinks she can get away with speaking in front of her. Pearson surprises her by sassily responding in fluent Spanish. “In the past, it was never an issue for me because I wasn’t in a position of power, but now, in this instance, I was, and I got to say, ‘This is who she is and we are going to reintroduce her to the world as a proud Afro-Latina character’.” We’re confident that with Gina Torres, the best is yet to come.

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Harvard-Bound Latina Daughter Of Undocumented Immigrants Accepted To Four Ivy League Schools

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Harvard-Bound Latina Daughter Of Undocumented Immigrants Accepted To Four Ivy League Schools

With her family crowded around her computer, Santa Ana High School senior Stephany Gutiérrez anxiously checked the status of her college applications. Like most students, Gutiérrez had her heart settled on top schools but unlike so many, she was accepted into not one but four Ivy League colleges.

In an emotional video, Gutiérrez and her family react as they check the status of her admission to find that she was accepted into Columbia University, Brown, and Dartmouth.

Gutiérrez was recently accepted into Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, and Columbia.

The daughter of undocumented immigrants and with dreams to become a pro-bono attorney, Gutiérrez was accepted into four of the five colleges she applied to. No surprise, she also got into her first choice, Harvard.

“It was difficult, my parents are still illegal immigrants here in the United States. Their support in particular has been excellent, my father and mother have always told me that education is the way to get ahead,” Gutiérrez explained in a recent interview with Univision.

In the video, Gutierrez reads off her acceptance status to each school to her extremely thrilled parents.

“I got in!” she can be heard saying of her acceptance to Columbia University and then the other Ivy League schools.

“It took like an hour or two for the news to settle in,” Gutierrez explained in an interview with CBS. “I was in disbelief. I was like, wait, actually, let me go back and read all of it, maybe I missed a part, but, yeah, it’s starting to settle in. It’s very exciting.”

Gutierrez’s mentor Gloria Montiel-Itzel, an alumna of both Santa Ana High School and Harvard, underlined in a recent interview that it takes more than good grades to get into Ivy League schools.

“I think it’s a commitment to something other than themselves,” she explained about Gutierrez and two other seniors (Oziel Flores and Cielo Echegoyen) in her class who were also recently accepted to Harvard. “And I think all three of them, in different ways, have really shown that they care more about their community, their school and making things better for others, and I think that’s something that Harvard really loves.”

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She Moved Up The Ranks From Janitor To Nurse Practitioner, Now She’s Viral

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She Moved Up The Ranks From Janitor To Nurse Practitioner, Now She’s Viral

Talk about a dream fulfilled.

For ten years, Jaines Andrades harbored her desire to move up from her custodial position at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts to nurse. Now, ten years later, as an RN she’s excelled well past her drams.

Andrades worked her way through nursing school while working at Baystate Medical in Springfield, Massachusetts, as a janitor.

Ten years ago, Andrades accepted a position as a custodial staff member at Baystate Medical Center with big dreams of being a nurse. Born to Puerto Rican parents Andrades moved from her family home in Springfield, MA in 2005 when she was 14 years old. From there she and enrolled as a student at Putnam Technical-Vocational Academy with hopes of moving up the ranks as a nurse.

“As I got older and approached graduation I just didn’t see how a little girl like me could ever become a lawyer. I didn’t see it as something that was possible for me, so I got discouraged from the idea,” Andrades explained according to Masslive.com.

That all changed after she struck up a conversation with a nurse during a doctor’s visit for her mother. According to Andrades, the nurse tipped her off on the benefits of nursing. “He told me about the program to become a nurse, and, the more he talked, I just thought, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ It’s a respectable profession, and I could provide for myself financially, so the idea grew from there.”

Soon after she enrolled at Holyoke Community College, ticked off all of her pre-requisites and a handful of introductory nursing classes. Then, in 2010, she transferred to Elms College.

The same year she transferred, Andrades applied for a job in Baystate’s Environmental Services Department and became a custodian at the hospital.

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“It’s tough to be the person that cleans. If I had to go back and do it again, I would. It’s so worth it,” Andrades explained in an interview with WBZ-TV.

In a Facebook post, Andrades wrote about her journey from hospital custodian to nurse practitioner and posted a picture of all three of her IDs.

Andrades’ story went viral after she shared her experience to Facebook.

Speaking about her journey from custodian to nurse practitioner, Andrades shared a picture of all three of her IDs.

“Even if it was cleaning, as long as I was near patient care I’d be able to observe things. I thought it was a good idea,” the RN explained in her interview before sharing that her favorite part of being a nurse has been her ability to provide patients with comfort. “I just really love the intimacy with people.”

“Nurses and providers, we get the credit more often but people in environmental and phlebotomy and dietary all of them have such a huge role. I couldn’t do my job without them,” she went onto explain. “I’m so appreciative and like in awe that my story can inspire people,” Andrades told WBZ-TV. “I’m so glad. If I can inspire anyone, that in itself made the journey worth it.”

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