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?