The daughter of Cuban immigrants said there was a time when she had to audition for a role several times early in her career because it didn’t fit the producers’ idea of American beauty.
“You’re too exotic and they didn’t want to confuse the audience,” Torres recalled.
Afro-Latino performers like Torres have “hidden in sight,” she said, as Hollywood tends to cast them for black roles because they “don’t look like Latino.”
Over the past three decades, Torres has used her artistry in roles in “Suits”, “Firefly”, “24”, “Hannibal” and numerous other series.
But only recently, when Torres said she had stopped sacrificing part of her identity to the other, did she feel she had made significant achievements in terms of on-screen representation.
“I have to speak my language (Spanish) whenever possible. I have to let the audience know that this is also a face of Latinidad,” Torres reminded the showrunner.
The change made a difference for Torres, who sees her role as Tommy Vega as “beautifully crafted” and above all as “fully realized people” – something that the colored characters too often lack.
“That was incredibly important to me because so often marginalized people are not really portrayed as fully fledged people. They don’t get the same amount of attention, they don’t get the same amount of time, they don’t get the same families, ”said Torress.
Torres will continue to appear in “9-1-1: Lone Star,” which has been extended for a third season and aims to forge new, more robust color characters through additional production projects.
“It’s only part of them and it affects how they see the world in certain ways,” said Torres. “After all, we are all human.”
questions and answers
Surname: Gina Torres
Job: Actress and producer
Projects you have worked on: “9-1-1: Lone Star”, “Suits”, “Pearson”, “Firefly”
Years in entertainment: 33
Mentor: “I’ve had a lot of mentors throughout my career. I can’t say it was a person who took me by the hand. I was very fortunate to have Diahann Carroll in my life as a woman who saw it all. had torn down so many doors and exceeded all expectations of what she was capable of. ”
Latina … de dónde ?: First Generation Cuban Americans, Afro Latina Af
I would ban Trope from television forever: “Spicy. I don’t even have to explain it.”
Latinx actress / actress who I think will become a big star one day “I have to say that I’ve been so moved and proud of Julissa Calderon’s appearances in ‘Gente-fied’ lately. The whole cast is really beautiful, but when she first appeared on screen as an Afro Latina, I gasped. It made my heart so happy that she was there in all her beautiful brownness and spoke Spanish with a beautiful family. She’s very talented, Isabel Arraiza who co-starred on ‘Pearson’ and Michelle Veintimilla who starred in ‘The Baker and the Beauty’.
Latinx show I wish everyone watched / seen: “‘The Baker and the Beauty’ – it deserved more than a season. I still hope someone gets it right and says, ‘Let’s get this cast back together.’ It was such a beautifully done show. It was the story of a family and all the things a family goes through, they happened to be Latinos and this is an advancement day for me, there is nothing more powerful than that. ”
Overused line executives say when handing out a Latino on a project:
“When I was casting for ‘Pearson’ there was an actress from Miami and one of the producers said, ‘The way I imagined this character, you know, she was born here, she was here, she’s not an immigrant.” . ‘ I said ‘what? Why are we having this conversation at all? I do not understand.’ The producer said she had an accent. Having an accent doesn’t mean you weren’t born here. For me it was a plus, there was something wonderful to explore and have on screen, but it threw him off. It’s such little things.
What I think all professionals in the industry could do to increase Latinx’s presence on TV:
“Hire us. It’s not that difficult. We have to be in front of the camera, behind the camera, we have to write the words, we have to direct these stories. There is so much space in the industry. If we all come together and create a system where we can nurture each other’s talents, bring people under the umbrella, and bring them into the community. Then the pool will widen so you have more to choose from and more to choose from. “