15 Latino Actors Discuss Their Experiences in Hollywood
In an interview with the New York Times, a Latina actor shared her first audition experience as a teenager, where she was asked to sound “more Latino.” She was confused by the request and thought it meant speaking in Spanish. Later, she realized that the casting director wanted her to speak English with a broken accent, which she found perplexing as she believed that being Latino meant speaking a certain way. Another actor, known for his role in The Last of Us, faced racist backlash from some fans of the video game. He emphasized the importance of change and representation in Hollywood, urging casting directors to consider actors without limiting characters to their racial identity.
A Latina actress has been open about not landing roles because she didn’t fit the stereotypical image of a Latina. In an episode of Love & Hip Hop: Miami, she confronted a producer who criticized her afro, questioning whether she couldn’t be elegant with her natural hair. She strives to fight against Latina stereotypes in Hollywood whenever possible. Similarly, another actress expressed her pride in representing indigenous women in films. She believes it’s her responsibility as an artist to break down barriers and challenge how indigenous people are portrayed on screen. She appreciates roles that don’t rely on stereotypical symbols such as dreamcatcher earrings or feathers in her hair to convey her Native identity.
Despite being proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, an actor has struggled to land Latino roles in Hollywood. He has encountered resistance from directors who question his knowledge of his own heritage. Another actress, who is Afro-Latina and a trans woman, wrote an essay expressing her struggle to break free from the limitations imposed by her intersecting identities. She mentioned how casting directors, often white men, dictate what it means to be Latin, insisting on accents and darker skin tones. She believes that gatekeepers in the industry should be more open to the diversity within ethnicities.
An actress shared her experience of being limited to supporting ethnic roles, preventing her from pursuing lead roles. She questioned why she was considered non-traditional and found it disheartening. Similarly, an actor successfully influenced the ethnicity of his character on Insecure, asking to be portrayed as Black and Panamanian, which provided an opportunity for another Panamanian actor. He also highlighted the industry’s bias against accents, with actors being encouraged to lose them.
Another actress revealed the pressure she faced to conceal her Afro-Latina features and conform to the narrow standards of beauty prevalent in Hollywood. She believed that success for Latinas in the industry often meant being thin with lighter eyes and hair. She actively avoids sexually subversive roles to challenge the exploitation of Latina women in film and television.
An actor discussed the progress Hollywood has made in recognizing Afro-Latinos, acknowledging the industry’s previous tendency to stereotype all Latinos as looking like Jennifer Lopez. He celebrated the increasing awareness and sensitivity toward the diversity within the Latin and Black communities.
Lastly, an actress shared her early career struggles, where character descriptions in casting programs limited opportunities for actors of certain ethnicities. The specificity of these descriptions made it difficult for her to pursue roles that seemed perfect for her. She also highlighted the lack of diversity in the audition rooms, often finding herself surrounded by blondes.
These 15 Latino actors have shared their unique experiences and challenges in Hollywood, shedding light on the need for more inclusive and diverse representation in the industry.