America Ferrera is getting real about the lack of diversity in Hollywood; in a recent and powerful TED talk titled "My Identity is a Superpower – Not an Obstacle,’" the actress revealed that people were pigeonholing her into certain "Latina stereotypes."
"These were the kinds of roles that existed for someone like me. Someone they looked at and saw as too brown, too fat, too poor, too unsophisticated," America said of the roles she was sent to audition.
"These roles couldn't have been further from my own reality or from the roles I dreamt of playing. I wanted to play people who were complex and multidimensional, people who existed in the center of their own lives. Not cardboard cutouts that stood in the background of someone else's," Ferrera added.
"I worked my hardest to overcome all the things that people said were wrong with me. I stayed out of the sun so that my skin wouldn't get too brown, I straightened my curls into submission. I constantly tried to lose weight, I bought fancier and more expensive clothes,"she explained. "All so that when people looked at me, they wouldn't see a too fat, too brown, too poor Latina. They would see what I was capable of. And maybe they would give me a chance."
The famous Hispanic actress then realized there was a problem with the way she was acting because she was changing and not the system.
"If I could go back and say anything to that nine-year-old, dancing in the den, dreaming her dreams, I would say, 'My identity is not my obstacle. My identity is my superpower.' Because the truth is, I am what the world looks like. You are what the world looks like. Collectively, we are what the world actually looks like. And in order for our systems to reflect that, they don't have to create a new reality. They just have to stop resisting the one we already live in."