Karen Fratti
September 02, 2017 12:11 pm
Maarten de Boer/Getty Images Portrait

It’s no secret that Hollywood has a problem with diversity, but it’s more complicated than it sounds sometimes. In a recent interview, for example, Riverdale star Camila Mendes said she’s “not Latina enough,” according to some casting directors. What does that even mean?

The Brazilian American actress told People Chica:

What those casting directors are really saying is that she doesn’t look like some image or stereotype of a Latina they have in their heads, which, as Mendes said, is so freaking backwards. What good is casting non-white people if you’re just going to perpetuate damaging stereotypes when you do it? That’s not progress, and it is dangerous to communities of color.

Mendes added that, casting director BS aside, she loves playing Veronica Lodge and depicting another kind of Latin family on television. It’s not something that American audiences are used to seeing, sadly. Mendes said, “It’s just so refreshing to see a different story being told for Latin families.”

She added, “The Lodge family is a much-needed departure from the underprivileged, sleazy Latino drug-dealers we’re used to seeing in entertainment. It’s rare that you see Latin families being portrayed as intelligent, sophisticated, and powerful entities.”

For her part, Mendes says that she identifies as “American Latina.” She explained to People:

Playing Veronica means a lot to Mendes. It was exciting for her to slide into a role she could actually relate to. She recently told Coveteur, “I would go out for shows like Blue Bloods and Shades of Blue, and all of these crime dramas where they are looking for these foster child Latinas, like ‘underprivileged and urban,’ as they would say. I never really fit that stereotype, and I didn’t want to play a stereotype.”

In addition to “not being Latina enough,” she explained that has apparently never been “enough” of anything.

“I kept getting the note that I’m not ‘urban enough,’” she said. “So it’s like, okay, I’m not urban enough and I’m not white enough, what am I? Why are there no roles out there that fit me!”

Luckily, she found one in Riverdale. And we’re so psyched that she did. More like this, please.

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