Tag Archives: Lala Vasquez

Quoted: Lala Vasquez on the Concept of Ethnicity

A lot of people don’t realize that I’m Latina, which is fine. One thing about being Latina is that there isn’t one look that comes with the territory. I don’t expect people to know my cultural background just by glancing at me. I do, however, expect that when I tell people my family is from Puerto Rico, that I will be believed and not accused of trying to be something that I’m not. It usually goes something like this: a person having a conversation with me discovers one way or another that I’m Puerto Rican and fluent in Spanish. That person then expresses their shock over these realizations for any number of reasons–common responses are, “You don’t look Latina” and “I thought you were black!” I never said I wasn’t black. And since when does being black and being Latina have to be mutually exclusive? [...]

As I start to get my feet wet in Hollywood, I already know that there are certain parts I won’t even be considered for. The character can be Puerto Rican and speak Spanish just like me, but Hollywood defines Latina as Jennifer Lopez and Sofia Vergara. As beautiful as they are, we’re not all one race in Latin America. But I don’t go to auditions so that I can give history lessons to film executives. I’d rather skip the entire process.

—From “Personal Essay: Yo Soy Boricua” on the LaLa Blog

(Thanks to N for the tip!)