When Gina Torres watches a TV show or movie and notices the production has cast an Afro-Latinx actress, she is “so moved and proud.” It’s one thing to be the one breaking barriers in front of the camera on TV series like 9-1-1: Lone Star and Westworld hersefl, but quite another to watch a fellow Afro-Latina do it, too.
“When [Julissa Calderon] first showed up on the screen, I gasped,” Torres toldCNN. “It made my heart so happy… There she was in all her beautiful brownness and speaking Spanish with a beautiful family.”
Torres is a first-generation Cuban-American Afro-Latina who broke into Hollywood in the early 1990s. Since then, she’s starred on TV series like Firefly, 24 and Suits. Her film roles include two Matrix sequels and Serenity.
Torres wishes white Hollywood producers would stop limiting representation on screen. When she was working on the show Pearson, one of the producers auditioned an actress from Miami who happened to have an accent. In his mind, having an accent meant she was an immigrant.
“I said ‘What? Why are we even having this conversation? I don’t understand,’” she said. “Having an accent doesn’t mean that you weren’t born here. For me it was a plus. It was something wonderful to kind of explore and have on screen, but it threw him off.”
For Torres, having more Afro-Latinx and Latinx talent in Hollywood is fairly simple. All producers must do is widen the talent pool. “Hire us. It’s not that hard,” she said. “We need to be in front of the camera, behind the camera, we need to be writing the words, we need to be directing these stories. There’s so much room in the industry.”