Changing Hollywood Through Embracing Hispanic Heritage
By Marcela Royo
From September 15 to October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated throughout the country. This time is meant to embrace and commemorate all the different hispanic cultures that have been brought to the United States. Although there are a multitude of hispanic cultures in the U.S., the Latinx population is underrepresented in Hollywood, and when portrayed, they are usually subject to stereotypes. To combat this, many actors and actresses today are trying to change the way Latinx characters are written and casted. Gina Rodriguez and Diane Guerrero are two award-winning actresses who use their fame as a way to bring awareness to the realities of Latinx communities.
Gina Rodriguez is the lead character of the popular show “Jane the Virgin.” The show is a remake of the original Venezuelan telenovela “Juana la Virgen” and highlights many topics of concern including immigration, stereotypes and the double minority of being a Latina in America. Rodriguez uses the show and her social media platforms as a way to speak out about the Latinx community. Often, she highlights different women and shares their accomplishments on her Instagram in support for them. In interviews she has spoken about having struggled with roles because of the color of her skin and because of the way the characters are portrayed. In an interview with Vanity Fair she emphasized the need to change the perception of Latinx people in Hollywood by ensuring the roles she takes are rightfully portrayed.
Like her Diane Guerrero, actress on Orange is the New Black and coincedently Jane the Virgin, is also using her culture and her struggles to bring awareness to the public. In 2016 Guerrero published a biography tittled “In the Country We Love: My Family Divided” where she recalls the time in her life when her parents and older brother were deported back to Colombia and she was left at the age of 14 to survive on her own. Her story is a common narrative shared with many immigrants living inside the U.S., not just Latinos. In partnership with CBS, Guerrero is planning to create a series loosely based on her life to portray a different side of the Latinx community where struggles and hardships are faced on a daily basis.
The Latinx community is filled with different cultures and traditions that have been belittled into one stereotype. It is more than one culture and Hispanic Heritage Month is a way to celebrate that diversity. Trying to break the mold Hollywood has created and properly show the way of life and the pride that comes with being a part of that community is important and thanks to actresses like Gina Rodriguez and Diane Guerrero steps are being taken to change those portrayals.
Edited by Jenna Caldwell