February 25, 2021

The hard road of Latino actors against the stereotype in Hollywood

Sherry Mandujano has been preparing for years and looking for that in the US. give her a role for her talent and not for being Latina but, like hundreds of Hispanic actors, she still can not overcome the stereotype with which the Hollywood machine pigeonholes her.

"When they put us in a story we are still very stereotyped, we are the service, the funny, and you have to be teaching the directors, writers, producers that you can do more than what they are putting on paper," he said. Efe Mandujano, born in the Californian city of San José.

The frustration of the actress, who has been seen in series as "Shameless" and "Ray Donovan", is not only for the roles for which it is considered, but even for the accents that require.

Mandujano can characterize a Puerto Rican in New York, a Mexican in California, or a Latina who lives in the southern border of Texas, however, this quality rather than help has become a burden.

"I do not want to do more accents," sentenced Mandujano, who studied at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, with frustration.

"If (the accent) is for the joke or if this is making fun of the same character I'm not going to do it, I do not want to use the accents because this does not serve the Latino community," the 29-year-old actress explained.

For the president of the National Coalition of Hispanic Media (NHMC, in English), Alex Nogales, the obstacles Mandujano lives with and hundreds of Latino actors are due to little or no Hispanic representation among the executive positions and the same creatives of the industry in Hollywood.

"They are white men who have their white working groups with whom they understand themselves culturally, and they got an idea of ​​how we sound and see each other, but they do not really know us," he told Nogales.

The activist says that in his meetings to promote Hispanic inclusion, the producers of the big studios tell him that "they do not find Latino talent or that they sound like Latinos".

The non-inclusion starts from the auditions. Mandujano, who has a "mezzo-soprano" background, points out that they have never seen this quality in their curriculum and that "they only care if I dream and see myself as a Latina".

Ironically, it is the Latin accents that have allowed Wilber Zaldivar to nurture the dream of excelling in Hollywood and is that with only 18 years he has spent five years in the industry using his voice for dubbing or animated characters.

"I can speak English with different Latin accents, even Salvadoran, I also speak Spanish with an accent," explains the young man born in the United States and the son of immigrant parents.

Despite the doors he has been able to open, Zaldivar says that every time he arrives at an audition, the goal is to overcome the concept of Latin in Los Angeles, "morenitos, bajitos".

"Sometimes I am very tall for them," acknowledged Zaldivar, who is 1.80 meters tall.

To the sum of obstacles that Zaldivar and Mandujano experience in the world of acting because they are Hispanic, in the case of immigrant actors they must add the fact that they were not born in the United States.

"They want you to sound like an immigrant but also that you do not have an accent, so it's time to work your accent to be able to speak English as if you were born here," Efea's actress Viviana Sarrade tells Efe.

Sarrade emigrated to the United States more than 10 years ago and since 4 years ago he has been looking for a career in Hollywood.

"Almost every week I have auditions but I have not had any luck, it also bothers them that I am very white, that I look very American," he said.

"But as an immigrant I already have experience with rejection, so I think it's a question of continuing to touch doors, of perseverance," Sarrade added.

In that sense, Nogales said that the only option is to continue "injecting into the industry an increasingly notorious reality: The Latino community is very good business and therefore must be well represented in their stories and characters in Hollywood."

(tagsToTranslate) path (t) actors (t) latinos (t) stereotype (t) Hollywood

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