As a scientist in this month’s action remake RoboCop, Mexican and Puerto Rican actress Aimee Garcia continues to promote change in Tinseltown by portraying Latinas in a more positive light. She tells us her story:
"When I was in my early 20s, I was having lunch with a friend and, as I was leaving, five teen girls came up to me, totally giddy, and said, “You’re the girl from George Lopez! We love you! Veronica is such a blast. We love that she’s a millionaire but she didn’t get her inheritance.” At that moment, I thought, 'Wow, I don’t just make decisions for myself and my career; I make decisions for my community. What I do affects people whom I may never meet.' I also thought, 'Okay, I’m a role model and I can either embrace it or not. And I accepted that responsibility. Why not pick roles that portray Latinas in a positive light?
On the 2009 TV series Trauma, I played Marisa Benez, an EMT helicopter pilot. It was an honor to represent a woman in a guy’s world and, moreover, to represent military personnel, someone who had been to war and stood on the front lines. On Dexter, Jamie Batista was Dexter’s nanny but she was also a graduate student specializing in child psychology, and that was one of the first things that drew me to her character. Whenever there was a scene of her on the phone with Dexter, I made sure there were textbooks around and that she was studying. And in RoboCop, I play Kim, a scientist and MIT graduate who is schooled in biology, chemistry, robotics and computer programming. She helps bring RoboCop to life.
In the original RoboCop script, my character was Korean. I decided to audition for it anyway. I thought, ‘Why can’t a scientist and MIT graduate be Latina?’ I have three degrees. I just felt like I get this person. I won the role—and they changed her ethnicity to Latina. To me, that’s the way that you win the battle. You just go in and you focus and you keep your head down and do good work. The movie opens on Valentine’s Day weekend, so hopefully people will go on dates and the girls will be like, If this girl can be a scientist, so can I.
Latinas are smart, funny, passionate and energetic. We have this voracious appetite for life and I, for one, am happy to portray that on the big and small screens. But my inspirations come from real life. My goal is to show everyone the rich potential our community has."
As told to Celia San Miguel.