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.

Latinas talk “Imposter Syndrome”

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Latinas talk “Imposter Syndrome”

Oli Scarff / Getty

Imposter syndrome. It may happen when you finally got accepted to college and have found yourself overwhelmed by the student body, or when you accepted that dream job, or even while doing your job. It can happen in relationships, in friendships. Basically anywhere and amongst us Latinas too. Even despite our hard work and much-earned credentials.

We wanted to talk about Imposter’s Syndrome and how to deal with it, so we reached out to our FIERCE audience on Instagram for their thoughts.

Latinas got real with their responses about feeling as if they were undeserving.

Check them out below!

Remind yourself that you’ve worked hard and are deserving.

“Thank you for posting this! I actually just got hired on as a school counselor and I’m feeling this intensely right now. I have to keep reminding myself that I worked so hard for this and that I AM WORTH IT!” – adelitafamania

Understand that anything can trigger it.

“It happens to me every single day on so many levels. It’s been holding me back my whole life and I keep pushing against it, some days it gets the better of me but I won’t give up on myself even when I really feel I’m not capable. I get so stressed all the time thinking someone is going to discover that I’m not smart, or fun, or whatever it is at that moment that I shut down. It’s so good to openly discuss it with friends or even professional help.” – pinatapink

And it can lead to social anxiety.

“This is so hard, I feel like this nearly every day. Lately, it’s been getting in the way of my entire purpose and whether or not I want to work hard at all. I tend to think, “Like for what? I don’t deserve to have the things I want because I didn’t work hard enough.” Yet, I did. Probably more than anyone else in my programs, jobs, teams, even my friend group. This is so tough and often it leads to my social anxiety which affects a whole multitude of behavioral patterns like procrastination and chronic lateness.” –curlsofroses

But you can battle it by not shrugging off your achievements.

“Happens to me all the time. And when people give me praise I tend to say “oh it’s not a big deal.” But I’m trying to remember that I’m enough and hell yeah I’m a big deal.” – erika_kiks18

Because it can happen to brain surgeons and Fortune 500 CEOs too.

“Our country and our community has been through a lot since the middle of March. Now more than ever is the time to nourish our goals and inspirations. In my podcast, I bring together some of the highest achieving Latinos that our country has to offer: Dr. Quinoñes-Hinojosa: who went from migrant farm worker to a world-renowned brain surgeon
Hector Ruiz: one of the very few Latinos to be a Fortune 500 CEO of an American Company Louis Barajas: the #1 financial Latino expert in the USA. (He is most likely your favorite Reggaeton artist’s to-go financial guy.)
Cesar Garcia: an actor who has seen. dozens of times in music videos, shows, and movies. He’s known for his roles in Fast and Furious and Breaking Bad. Chef Aarón Sánchez: The most well-known Latin Chef in the country. Find an episode that catches your attention or share an episode to a friend of loved one that would like to hear from other Latinos on how they achieved their dreams and goals.” – trailblazinglatinospodcast

And you can cure it by not reminding yourself to not give weight to other people’s thoughts.

“I cured mine by not giving a fck! The enemy is a LIEEEE.” –stephaniesaraii

And last but not least, know that it can be hard to defeat but you ARE worthy.

“This was me on the first day after I transferred to University. The feeling still follows me sometimes. It hard to defeat.” – dianalajandre

Take A Look Inside J Balvin’s Gorgeous Homes And Prepare For Some Serious House Envy

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Take A Look Inside J Balvin’s Gorgeous Homes And Prepare For Some Serious House Envy

Victor Chavez / Getty Images

Fact: J Balvin is a fashion icon. Apart from inspiring millions of fans with hit after hit, the reggaetonero is well known for his iconic looks that also inspire his stans. Whether its leopard print-dye hair or a fashion-forward collection in partnership with Guess, Balvin is an artist with an eye for pretty much everything.

With such an outrageous and fashion-forward aesthetic, many fans may be surprised to see where the Colombian superstars calls home.

The ‘X’ and ‘Mi Gente’ singer owns two properties in Colombia — a loft in the city, and a massive, Japanese-inspired country house.

In a recent interview with Architectural Digest (AD), Balvin introduces the world to his two beautiful homes in Colombia. The Grammy Award-winning artist has a loft apartment in Medellín and a country home about thirty minutes outside the city.

He says that he designed the homes with hosting friends and family in mind, but that the space has also been a peaceful place to quarantine during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“I really enjoy that it is a place where, basically, I’m living now,” he says in the video. “Now that quarantine has started for like three months now, I’m really happy that I created the place that I wanted. It’s not a place to show off, it’s a place for my soul to rest.”

In an interview with Architectural Digest, Balvin opens up about his personal style and how he gets inspired.

Credit: JBalvin / Instagram

Balvin tells AD that “architecture, music, fashion – they’re all forms of expression,” and he holds that belief close to his heart. He adds that “a house should be a place where you can rest your spirit. I’ve tried to create places that feed my soul, not my ego.”

Given the clean and luxurious aesthetics of both of his homes, it’s obvious that Balvin enjoys neutral spaces that allow him to connect with his artistic side.

His Medellín loft-style apartment is the home that many dreams are made of.

Credit: Anita Calero / Architectural Digest

In his Medellín apartment — which Balvin describes as one giant “man cave” — high ceilings, concrete floors and a muted color palette give the space an industrial feel, allowing his art collection to shine.

Paintings and sculptures by artists like KAWS, WhIsBe, Josh Sperling, and Takashi Murakami splash color in an otherwise spare space, and give structure to the open floor plan. (There is only one door in the loft — to the bathroom). 

A garage-style door leads out to the apartment’s private pool, where Balvin likes to kick back. He describes the urban sanctuary as “a place where I can vibe with art and architecture, the things I love.”

His country home – no less luxurious – draws inspiration from his love for the energy and culture of Japan.

Credit: Anita Calero / Architectural Digest

Tucked 30 minutes outside the city amidst a jungle landscape in Llanogrande, Balvin’s country home is similarly artful, but is more family-focused. Balvin says that the home’s design was influenced by Japan because he loves the energy of the country. 

The majority of the expansive, one-level property — which is surrounded by lush jungle — is designed with black and oak wood features. Bonsai trees can be found both inside and outside the home. 

In a video tour, Balvin shares that he never actually sleeps in his bedroom. Instead, the main suite is equipped with a massive walk-in closet that houses his 850 pairs of sneakers. “I like to sleep around the different rooms… I don’t like to get bored of my own places,” he says.

The bedroom, like many of the rooms in the house, has a glass door that leads outside, allowing Balvin to take in his natural surroundings, with ample greenery providing plenty of privacy. He says he likes to sit outside and meditate, drink tea and think — often by the swimming pool, which runs down into a reflecting pool surrounded by areas to dine and lounge al fresco.