Over the past year, the Hollywood industry has made a strong push for women empowerment and inclusion. While there’s certainly a lot of work to be done before women of color are properly reflected both on and offscreen, recognition of actresses like Yalitza Aparicio provide concrete examples that we are moving in the right direction.
A few years ago, Yalitza Aparicio was living in Mexico, a recent graduate on her way to teach preschool. Today, in 2019, she is an Academy-Award nominated actress for her leading role in Netflix’s Roma. Written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, Roma loosely tells the story of Cuaron’s upbringing in the colonial Roma neighborhood of Mexico City.
Since its debut at the Venice International Film Festival, Roma received a number of accolades, including three Academy Awards (Oscars). While Aparicio did not win an Academy Award for Best Actress this year, her nomination made her the second Mexican-actress to be included in the category. Salma Hayek became the first in 2002, nominated for her role in Frida. That’s not the only history Aparicio has made during her short time as an actress. Landing the January Vogue Mexico cover, Aparicio became the first Mixtec woman to grace the cover in the magazine’s history.
Aparicio continues to prove that she has the ability to break down barriers that existed prior to her breakthrough in the industry. In addition to making history, Aparicio also gives back to many communities – including those in her hometown. Aparicio takes pride in her Mexican heritage and makes efforts to improve local communities within Mexico.
Recently, she returned back home to Oaxaca to help promote local festival Guelaguetza. The July festival traditionally known as “Fiestas de Los Lunes del Cerro” celebrates the culture and heritage of the people of Oaxaca. During her recent visit to Mexico, Aparicio also took time to donate laptops to students, an ode to her prior career as a teacher in the community.
We are rooting for actresses like Aparicio and others who too often have been left behind, and continue to prove that despite their circumstances, success is possible. We look forward to hearing and seeing stories of all kind reflected and portrayed both on and off screen.
Photo Credit: @tmagazine