Choosing an artistic career has never been easy — especially for people of color.
Growing up as a Latina in the United States, I seldomly saw myself represented on screen beyond Rita Moreno’s riveting performance on “West Side Story” or Jennifer Lopez playing Selena Quintanilla in “Selena.” I also never saw Latinas receiving awards, walking the red carpet, or being cast as a lead who wasn’t the maid, nanny, or over-sexualized exotic character.
While statistics show that representation in Hollywood continues to be an issue, this year’s 81st Golden Globe awards are giving me hope for change. As the first awards show since the SAG-AFTRA strikes, Latinas and other women of color were seen in a different light — and we all felt it.
Latinas like Jennifer Lopez and America Ferrera received praise like never before
If you’re like me, the Golden Globes start with the red carpet. In the presence of JLo, “Lessons in Chemistry” actress Brie Larson was all of us fangirling over the Bronx native. While interviewing with ET, Larson realized Lopez was walking up behind her — and the rest is history.
“Oh my god, oh my… I’m gonna cry,” she said. “I can’t deal with JLo… She’s the reason I wanted to be an actor.”
Then, she shot her shot, telling JLo how “Selena” inspired her to become an actress.
“You mean so much to me,” Larson said after Lopez greeted her. “I’m such a huge fan. I saw Selena, and it made me want to be an actor. You always meant so much to me. I just, it’s been a dream of mine, so, thank you so much. Your work ethic is so important. Thank you.”
But JLo wasn’t the only one who received praise on January 7. None other than Kevin Costner surprised Ferrera with her empowering “Barbie” monologue. As both actors took the stage to present the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series, he praised her performance in the record-breaking film.
“You know, you have a scene that I really love. I think a lot of people really love that scene,” he started. “You know, ‘It’s literally impossible to be a woman.’ You know that ‘You’re so beautiful. You’re so smart and kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough.’ That was pretty good,” the actor added.
To which Ferrera replied, “Did you, Kevin Costner, memorize my monologue about womanhood from ‘Barbie’?”
Yes, it was even more heroic than his role in “The Bodyguard.”
Lily Gladstone’s historical Golden Globe win turned a new page for Hollywood
Taking one of the most coveted awards of the night for best actress in a drama, Lily Gladstone opened up a new world of opportunities for POC. The “Killers of the Flower Moon” star is the first Blackfeet and Nimiipuu descendant to win a Golden Globe.
“I love everyone in this room right now, thank you. I don’t have words,” she said, after reciting a few words in her native language. “I just spoke a bit of Blackfeet language, a beautiful community, a nation that raised me, that encouraged me to keep going, to keep doing this.”
Beyond her historic win and outstanding performance, it made me think of how for two years in a row, women of color have won best actress. Last year, Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian actress to be awarded Best Actress for musical or Comedy Motion Picture for “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” She has been in Hollywood for 40 years (40!!!!).
With a long road still ahead, the only thing I see is this: there is light at the end of our fight. People want to see themselves represented and are inspired by the performances of the actors who continue to blaze a trail for us.
For me, a Colombian woman who has been in this industry for two decades, seeing Latinas and women of color represented at the Golden Globes is astonishing. They are all my muses. Because when one of them wins, we all do. Just ask Selena Gomez and Meryl Streep.