While no one is immune to typecasting, actors of color experience often experience this to an extreme degree. America Ferrera has been open about the lack of well-developed roles for women of color, as many are scripted as racial stereotypes.
In 2019, Ferrera gave a TED Talk that went deep into her experience as a Latina in Hollywood. On her first professional audition at the age of 15, she was asked to “sound more Latina,” not realizing at the time that the casting director wanted her to speak in broken English. “I didn’t get the job,” she recalled. “I didn’t get a lot of the jobs people were willing to see me for: the gang-banger’s girlfriend, the sassy shoplifter, pregnant chola number two.” Ferrera was understandably frustrated by the roles she was presented with. “I wanted to play people that were complex and multidimensional,” she said.
Despite her hopes for her career and where she wanted to go, her early days were marred by trying to fit in. In order to get the roles she wanted, Ferrera tried to give up her own identity, resulting in staying out of the sun to avoid getting more tan, straightening her naturally curly hair, and constantly trying to slim down. Eventually, she came to the realization that it was the industry that needed to change and not her. In a powerful statement, Ferrera told the audience, “Identity is not my obstacle, it is my superpower.”
Post source: The List