As talented as Rosie Perez has been over her 34-year career in Hollywood, the actress is honest when she thinks back to those times when she wasn’t at her best – as few and far between as those instances were.
During a recent interview with Variety, where she was one of five Power of Women cover stars, Perez pointed to one specific audition she went on that didn’t go as well as she would’ve liked. It was a few years after Perez had earned an Academy Award nomination for her supporting role in the 1993 drama Fearless when she auditioned for the role of Trinity in the 1999 sci-fi classic The Matrix.
“I was horrible,” Perez said. “As I was walking out, I was like, ‘I know I didn’t get the job. I really sucked,’ and the Wachowskis were like, ‘No,’ and the casting director was trying not to laugh. And then, finally, I looked at her, and I go, ‘I really sucked,’ and she just burst out laughing. We all were laughing. I just gave the Wachowskis a hug and I said, ‘Well, good luck with this.’”
Earlier in the interview, Perez described a time when she parted ways with her agent circa 1990 for something she suggested Perez do if she wanted to get more work. Perez declined to name the agent because she said she didn’t want her to be “canceled.”
“She told me that if I dyed my hair blond and got a nose job, ‘I can get you more jobs. Because you’re not Black,’” Perez said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness. Like, thank you, fired.’”
Rosie Perez has done just fine for herself without taking her former agent’s advice. Her most recent project was playing an assistant U.S Attorney in the Showtime drama series Your Honor. The series stars Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), who said of Perez in the Variety profile, “We threw her to the wolves, and she just stood up and conquered it.” We wouldn’t expect anything less from this Latina icon.