Sunday, September 12, 2010

Being Latina and Breaking The Mold

I was recently asked what was the most rewarding part and the most frustrating part of pursuing a career as an actress - as a Latina.

I think the portion of my answer that relates to my frustrations transcends acting.

I can easily be talking about my experience as a Puerto Rican girl in law school, or being the only Latina lawyer in the law firm where I work.

Nevertheless, here's how I answered the question. 

The rewarding part of being a Latina pursuing a career in acting:

I find that the most rewarding part of being a Latina actress is that I am finally pursuing something for me, just for the love of it, for the joy of it. I think that many Latinas often struggle when it comes to doing something creative as opposed to doing something "practical," in terms of career.

If I can set an example for other Latinas, letting them know that it's ok to follow dreams, pursue the unbeaten path and to do things that make one happy as opposed to only satisfying "la familia" then my plight is definitely worthwhile. Inspiring others by blazing a trail is definitely rewarding.

The frustrating part of being a Latina pursuing a career in acting:

The most frustrating part appears during that struggle to "achieve the dream" when the outcome only serves to fit a stereotype as opposed to break the mold. Latinas are more than what the media makes us out to be. Many think times have changed, and the perception has shifted, but I don't think it is changing fast enough.

Latinas are not only "hot" or "sexy" but we are smart, we are educated, we are leaders, we care about community, and we are ambitious. We are so diverse in our appearance, our mannerisms, our backgrounds and in our voices. We are a beautiful mix and blend of cultures. It's unfortunate that this multifaceted nature of Latinas is not readily embraced. Frustrating indeed.

So what are your deep thoughts on this? Did you / have you ever felt like you could not escape a stereotype?


  1. As always, there is such insight into this post. I find it interesting that people always have to define others. Why is it so important to be a Latin actress? Why can't you just be an actress? Right, because OTHER PEOPLE need to make themselves feel better by giving others a name. It's not possible that your struggles are the same as other women actresses. There is always some add'l modifier for woman - race, religion, color, nationality, height, sexual orientation, hair color, weight, fashion sense, and so on.

    To me you're not a wonderful Latina friend. You're a wonderful friend. I won't limit you, so please never limit yourself!


  2. I loved this post. I think post like this break down stereotypes (even those among Latinos) on the who, what and why of latinos is the us. I think getting our stories out is so important. It's really good news that blogueras are coming out and telling their stories. I am so impressed at the skill and diversity of the latina bloggers. It gives me great hope! I think the rapid growth of latina bloggers will help our community! Gracias!

  3. When I was the only Puerto Rican and woman in the early days of my business career, I would feel variously privileged that I was breaking barriers and also frustrated for many of the same reasons you mention for yourself as a Latina actress. I salute you for remaining resolute in your goal and acknowledge as well the difficulties. What I think you will never regret is having attempted to follow your dream. While that may not be reward enough, it is a start.

  4. Me alegro por ti!

    Good for you, it is hard trying to break the mold when society remains stereotyping us. I think is good to have role models like you in the law firm and acting career. To show other latinas not to give up on their dreams, to use their creativity and remain confident. We are good, lawyers, acters, singers, doctors, teachers, cooks, drivers,preachers and above all good Mothers! For all the latinas in the blogging community CHEERS!

    I definitely agree that it is worthwhile, inspiring others by blazing a trail and that is rewarding, to see other inspired by your creativity and perseverance.

    Thank you for sharing you space.

  5. First and foremost I am overwhelmed by all of your thoughtful responses. Thank you so very much.

    @Sara I agree with you. I think that women in general have similar struggles. when theres is only a focus one aspect of anything/anyone, well, we miss the entire picture.

    @julie thank for your support. Yes getting our stories out IS important. Because if we don't shed light on it, how can anything change? How can we connect and move forward? ;)

    @Judith absolutely! I hope that in my attempt alone I will inspire others. That's what counts. thanks for your encouragement.

    @Mari gracias! Yes we are so much and more! I really do hope to make change. If I can fulfill that purpose then I will consider myself successful, no matter where life takes me. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Great post! I am always the only one and its difficult being a great embassador for latinos all the time.


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