camila mendes latina
credit: Camila Mendes/ Instagram

One of our fave Riverdale stars Camila Mendes recently got super real on finding awesome roles for Latinas and — shocker! — it’s super hard!

Speaking with People Chica, she opened up about how grateful she felt to find a role where she didn’t have to be a Latina stereotype.

“It’s just so refreshing to see a different story being told for Latin families. The Lodge family is a much-needed departure from the underprivileged, sleazy Latino drug-dealers we’re used to seeing in entertainment. It’s rare that you see Latin families being portrayed as intelligent, sophisticated, and powerful entities.”

Mendes is Brazilian American herself and often finds it hard to find good characters to audition for. And the few options she does find for Latinas? Sometimes she hears she’s not even “Latina enough” to get them!

“I’m pretty new to Hollywood, but I’m already starting to see the issues in how some projects are cast. I often hear things like, ‘You don’t look Latina enough,’ and that mentality is so backward. The fact is: I am Latina, so how are you going to tell me that I don’t look Latina?”

This is, of course, not new information. Other actresses like Orange is the New Black stars Jackie Cruz and Diane Guerrero have also faced casting stereotypes. Jackie herself has even heard that same line, that she’s “not Latina enough” to get certain parts. How absolutely absurd.

And, as we know, there aren’t even enough roles for Latina actresses in the first place. A recent study found that roles for minorities haven’t increased since 2007. So as much as we like to think that we’ve made some kind of progress, we’re still not seeing that progress on screen. What’s it going to take to make some real change?

According to Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez, Latinas need to organize and take action against films that don’t properly represent them. She previously told Bust magazine,

“Latinos make up 38 percent of the box office every weekend. That’s a lot! So if you want to see Latinos in big studio films, and they don’t exist in them, don’t see them, because in this industry, money talks more than anything. If you do not see yourself and your community in the ways that you want, don’t purchase tickets. If you don’t purchase, they’ll stop making [something exclusive]. If you don’t purchase, they’ll start to include.”

Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Categories: Race/Identity