Actress Gina Rodriguez has earned positive praises for her powerful role as an aspiring rapper who struggles to survive after her mom (played by Jenni Rivera) is incarcerated in the indie NYILFF favorite, Filly Brown. Now movie lovers wonder what kind of roles the talented 27-year-old actress plans on pursuing next.
During a panel discussion last week in New York titled, Changing Faces of Latinas in Media, sponsored by Macy’s and the New York International Latino Film Festival and moderated by our own Executive Editor, Damarys Ocaña, the Hollywood newcomer candidly revealed her resistance towards playing stereotypical roles and encouraged a new movement among Latina actresses.
“I respect any woman who is willing to do [whatever it takes] to feed her family,” said the Puerto Rican actress. “I do not devalue the role of a maid or nanny, or the stereotypical roles that some members of our family have actually done to feed our families in real life,” she says.
However, fictional scripts are a different story. From Jennifer Lopez playing a cleaning lady for the romantic comedy, Maid in Manhattan to Devious Maids getting picked up by Lifetime, Gina represents a new wave of Latina actresses who are fighting for more empowering roles in Hollywood.
“What I will not do is continue to perpetuate stereotypes. I’m the daughter of a maid, why do I have to also play a maid? My mom was a maid so I didn’t have to be a maid,” she said.
How can Latinas fight for more diverse roles? She believes, “If we all stick together and say no, that project would not exist.”
What are your thoughts on stereotypical roles for Latinas in Hollywood?