Things That Matter

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

@iamginatorres / Instagram

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.

A Woman Claims To Be The Daughter Of La India Maria And Raul Velasco And We Have Some Thoughts

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A Woman Claims To Be The Daughter Of La India Maria And Raul Velasco And We Have Some Thoughts

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As far as cultural icons in Mexican television you can’t get much bigger than Raúl Velasco and La India María. The former was the host of the huge show Siempre en Domingo, which saw stars such as Luis Miguel, Emmanuel and Timbiriche first reach the upper echelons of Latin American pop culture. His power as a gate keeper, a sort of padrino for musicians and almost all Mexican showbiz personalities in the second half of the twentieth century is unparalleled. Think of Velasco a Don Francisco a la décima potencia. On the other hand, La India María was the film persona of María Elena Velasco-Fragoso, who through her character used comedy to talk about the struggles of indigenous women in Mexico City and paisanos in Los Estates. 

Both Raúl Velasco and La India María have passed away (him in 2006, her in 2015), but this story and the echo it has generated in Spanish-speaking media revels their lasting popularity in the collective Latino memory. But we gotta remember that public figures, particularly those aligned with the Mexican media monopoly Televisa, are helped in showing their best face to the audience. Even though this story is surprising, it isn’t a complete shock.

So the bombshell news was quite surprising: a woman called Mirna Velasco claims to be their daughter.

Credit: Twitter. @raulbrindis

Showbiz journalists on both sides of the border just drooled at the potential scandal. The 50-year-old woman, who lives in Los Angeles, revealed her claimed identity during the YouTube show Chisme No Like

Her story is quite heartbreaking and if true would make us look at her presumed biological parents in a new light.

Credit: Siempre en Domingo / Televisa

MIrna claims that she was given away as a child and that she is product of an affair between Raúl, who was married, and María Elena. The story goes that La India María gave her baby away to one of her domestic workers. Sounds like straight out of a telenovela but stories like these are plausible and more common than one would imagine. Mirna says that her adoptive parents were “not very nice people” and that she vowed to have a large family and be different from them. If Mirna’s story is true, her biological father would have been 36 and La India Maria 29. Mirna was born on the same year that Siempre en Domingo first aired: 1969. 

¿Les da un aire a ambos? She kinda does, hey?

Credit. Instagram. @mirna.velasco

Mirna has eight children. She told journalist Javier Ceriani that as a teenager she would wonder why she didn’t look like her mom, so her adoptive mother told her the truth. But the truth was revealed in a horrible way: her stepdad was accused of molesting Mirna’s younger sister, and it was all revealed during the court case, according to MSN News. She never looked for her biological parents because, she was told, they didn’t want her then and didn’t want any further contact. Just wow. This makes the fact that she built a career as an actress even more amazing.

So who is Mirna Velasco? Well, she is a pretty big deal actually, a self-made Latina queen.

Credit. Instagram. @mirna.velasco

She is an actress and working mom. She is pretty active on Instagram, where she announced her interview and the big reveal. She has said that she doesn’t need money and is only revealing the truth to set an example for her kids. 

She is an exemplary United States Latina working hard for her community.

Credit: YouTube. @ChismeNoLike

And she is very active in building bridges between Latino communities and the City of Los Angeles. She has even been recognized by city officials as an outstanding citizen who works to create connections. 

The Mexican Internet is heartbroken.

Credit: Twitter. @GuillermoRuiz

Raúl Velasco and La India María were the epitome of wholesome entertainment for millions of Spanish-speakers all throughout the Americas, so this story shatters the innocent public persona that was carefully tailored by both. We of course cannot confirm Mirna’s story (perhaps no one really can), but this case leaves a stain of doubt on their reputations. 

Let’s get one thing straight: we have no right to doubt her.

Credit: Twitter. @PeriodicoAMNoticias

No one can attest to the validity of Mirna’s story unless DNA tests are conducted. If she is lying or her adoptive family gave her inaccurate information then that’s on them. But we are better than the chisme culture that doubts everyone and believes we all have the right de opinar on other people’s lives, right? So let’s not come to conclusions. It takes a lot of courage to do what Mirna did. 

Fashion Nova Debuted A Halloween Collection Inspired by Iconic Fashion Moments — Including Selena’s Purple Jumper And J.Lo’s Versace Gown

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Fashion Nova Debuted A Halloween Collection Inspired by Iconic Fashion Moments — Including Selena’s Purple Jumper And J.Lo’s Versace Gown

Fashion Nova dropped it’s Halloween collection and it is massive. However, there’s one particular section that is causing a stir: celebrity dupes. While Fashion Nova has had multiple run-ins with celebrities over copying their looks and the looks of independent designers, that hasn’t stopped them one bit. This time around they want you to dress up in your favorite celebrities’ most iconic outfits — with slightly more skin showing. 

Some people like to make their own costumes, others like to buy their own costumes. If you fall into the latter group and don’t mind baring it all, you might want to check out the internet retailer’s Cardi B, Selena Quintanilla, Jennifer Lopez, Aaliyah, and Lil Kim costumes.

Fashion Nova launches Celebrity Halloween Costume Collection

Fashion Nova has launched its new season of Halloween costumes. They’re claiming they have the “sexiest” costumes on the internet. Because you know, that’s the most important thing, being sexy. I personally, couldn’t care less how women dress on Halloween, but I do think we should have options other than essentially walking around naked during one of the colder months of the year. 

All your faves are available

This time around, Fashion Nova has continued to dupe celebrity outfits. Although Kara Nesvig of Teen Vogue makes an important point, “As fun as these costumes may be, Fashion Nova has landed in hot water after being accused of knocking off clothing designs from both independent designers and big names, like a look-alike of the Mugler dress worn by Kim Kardashian West that was made the brand and sold just days after she wore it, causing Kardashian West to speak out. While these Halloween designs are ‘celebrity-inspired,’ it’s worth remembering where each came from and honoring the designers and inspiration behind each look as you rake in the Halloween candy come October 31.”

Jennifer Lopez

https://www.instagram.com/wwd/?utm_source=ig_embed

This look is so iconic — and you may not know this – it is the reason Google image search exists. When J. Lo wore this super-duper low-cut Versace dress to the 2000 Grammy Awards so many people were searching for it that Google came up with the idea for a way to search for specific images. Her impact! 

“People wanted more than just text. This first became apparent after the 2000 Grammy Awards, where Jennifer Lopez wore a green dress that, well, caught the world’s attention,” Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt said. “At the time, it was the most popular search query we had ever seen. But we had no sure-fire way of getting users exactly what they wanted: JLo wearing that dress. Google Image Search was born.”

Lil Kim

When Lil Kim wore her purple one-armed (and one-boobed) jumpsuit and matching wig to the 1999 VMAs, it caused quite a stir. While announcing an award with Diana Ross, Ross grabbed Lil Kim’s boob. It’s hard to believe that Janet Jackson was ostracized from Hollywood years later for exposing her pasty-covered nipple at the Super Bowl, but life makes no sense.

Selena

This controversial reinterpretation of Selena’s iconic disco outfit had some fans last Halloween clutching their pearls on social media. “What would Selena’s father think?” Many asked. Who cares? He was always controlling of her body in the most sexist way with regard to how she dressed. Or are we blinded by machismo here? Selena herself never agreed with him, so why do we care what he thinks? 

Saying her dad would have abused her if he saw this makes the argument kind of null. We don’t know if Selena would have liked or hated this. Sometimes that’s just how it be.

Aaliyah

The “One in a Million” costume pays homage to Aaliyah’s “Try Again” music video outfit. This is probably the most accurate of the bunch. 

Cardi B

Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy album cover comes to life here. I am assuming that because the cover only features the top of Cardi’s body, Fashion Nova just assumed she wasn’t wearing pants? The rapper has had multiple collections with Fashion Nova so it is no surprise to see her included here. 

“You’re going to see a lot of skin,” the rapper said. “A lot of cleavage. But yet it’s so pretty and so elegant. I made sure it was sexy but also beautiful,” Cardi said of her second Fashion Nova collection, which sold a $1 million worth of product within 24 hours of its launch. 

Fashion Nova refuses to acknowledge that sometimes the weather is cold, but anyone who is going to buy one of these costumes probably doesn’t care either. Check out Fashion Nova’s Halloween collection here