Real-Life Domestic Workers Hope The Success Of ‘Roma’ Will Lead To Political And Cultural Change

On Sunday, when Hollywood was celebrating the Oscars with various glitzy parties, everyday domestic workers from across the US were also reveling in the evening fun at an Academy Awards viewing party in honor of “Roma.”

During the event, held at the Jane club, dozens of domestic workers chanted “Roma! Roma! Roma!” and “Si se puede!” when the film, which picked up three awards, was mentioned. For the women, the Netflix movie, which documented the life of a live-in housekeeper in Mexico City, played by indigenous actress Yalitza Aparicio, was the first time they felt seen.

The event was organized by the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and had the support of “Roma” director Alfonso Cuarón as well as actresses and activists Diane Guerrero, Eva Longoria, Tarana Burke, Rashida Jones, Dolores Huerta, Monica Ramirez, Karla Souza and Olga Segura.

“To see a story humanized, the role that a domestic worker has, has the impact that it’s had. The way that she is needed, not only by the children, but by the mother in this film. It’s important for us that we see that storytelling in the media,” Longoria, who celebrated with the women on the red carpet, told Forbes.

The event also used the success of the film to highlight the struggle of domestic workers throughout the world, including the US, and push for a federal domestic worker bill of rights.

“A living wage, $15 minimum wage, protections from sexual harassment, and other basic civil rights protections, as well as making sure they have an oversight board so if something goes wrong in their job they have someone they can take that to and get the safety and respect they need,” Jess Morales Rocketto, political director of the NDWA, told CBS.

At the party, the women, who were described as “the heroines in our homes,” received their own sparkly gold awards.

Organizers hope that the film and star-studded event are the start of a cultural shift where domestic workers are seen, heard, valued and respected.

Read: Indigenous Mexicans Were Able To Watch A Special Screening Of “Roma” In Their Native Language Of Nahuatl

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America Ferrera Brings Actors Across The Border To Visit Migrant Shelters


America Ferrera Brings Actors Across The Border To Visit Migrant Shelters

America Ferrera has never been a celebrity to stay quiet in the face of injustice, so it’s no surprise that the actress-activist has boldly responded to the Trump administration’s policy requiring migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico.

Last week, the Superstore star led a group of actors, including Gina Rodriguez, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Wilmer Valderrama, Roselyn Sanchez and Kendrick Sampson, across the southern border to a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico.

There, the group learned how the policy was impacting migrants while speaking directly with immigration lawyers and shelter managers as well as families and children. They hope through this real-life education that they will become better equipped to challenge the Trump administration in the US.

“It is easy for me to look at these human beings and see myself. … This could very easily have been my reality in this lifetime,” the Honduran-American actress told the Associated Press about the trip.

The “Remain in Mexico” policy limits the amount of asylum requests border patrol can attend to per day. The process, which has also forced refugees, including thousands of Central American families who have filed for sanctuary from violence and poverty in their home countries, to stay in Mexico, has slowed down the process and created case backlogs in the immigration system and overcrowding in shelters in Mexican border towns.

“We were able to bear witness to how the current administration is treating refugee families. We MUST demand better,” Washington said in an Instagram post. “Let me be clear: it is legal to seek asylum. When people cross our borders, their human rights come with them. We must protect those human rights.”

@kerrywashington / Instagram

According to NBC News, the visit was organized by nonprofits Families Belong Together and Harness, an organization started by Ferrera, Valderrama and Ryans Piers.

Jessica Morales Rocketto, who heads Families Belong Together, told the news outlet that one of the women she met at the shelter had been waiting with her toddler since November to apply for asylum.

“People get to the border and think that’s the end of the journey, but it’s only the beginning,” Morales Rocketto said.

Read: 20 Major Immigration Facts the American Public Refuses to Hear

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‘Roma’ Star Yalitza Aparicio Says She Wants Everyone To Stop Aging Her


‘Roma’ Star Yalitza Aparicio Says She Wants Everyone To Stop Aging Her

By this point, anyone with a Netflix account or just general access to the internet has an idea of Yalitza Aparicio. The newly minted actress and star of Netflix’s “Roma” has garnered various award nods including an Oscar nomination for best actress, stunned on red carpets and become the face of the progress and representation in Hollywood so many people of color have thirsted for.

In a recent interview with Teen Vogue, the actress from Tlaxiaco, Mexico spoke about her hopes to break barriers and stereotypes in films. 

Speaking about her desire to not be described as “the face of Mexico” Yalitza told the magazine that the country, like Latin America, is made of “very different sort of hues and characteristics.”

Instagram / @yalitzaapariciomtz

“What I would like to see is for more of that diversity to be represented,” Aparicio explained. “For there to be more of those faces that you’d see and live within your day-to-day. For example, for me, growing up, I never got to see people who looked like me or like any other people that I grew up with. That, over time, made me lose interest in cinema and to really focus on things that I considered to be more like reality because everything that I saw in the film just seemed completely like fiction.”

On the various stereotypes, the actress would like to see mainstream media rid itself of, the actress said she wants a start with the portrayal of mothers.

Instagram / @officialmazia

“Another thing that I really like about the movie is that you see a single mother, which was not something that’s looked upon very nicely, but you see the strength of that mother and her ability to survive. I think that’s also very valuable,” the actress said.

The actress revealed the film gives her quite a bit of hope for the future of Mexico City and how it is perceived.

Instagram / @silk__knives

“For the people who are Mexican, that they don’t forget certain aspects of our history, and for people who are not Mexican, that they get to learn more about all the different languages and different landscapes that make up Mexico.”

Speaking honestly about the process of filming, Aparicio admitted that she caught stage freight on a few occasions.

Instagram / @yalitzaapariciomtz

“There were many things. One of them was just being surrounded by cameras and trying to forget and not get so nervous, to be able to just act and do the things that were being asked of me. Something that I always forget to say in interviews is that I actually had to learn Mixteco. I don’t actually speak Mixteco. The person who taught Mixteco to me is Nancy [García], who plays Adela in the film. Because we didn’t have a script, we had to practice right before the shoot every day in how to pronounce it and how to get it right.”

On her Vogue Mexico cover, Aparicio says she was deeply moved by public reaction.

Instagram / @anyluhp

“I wasn’t expecting how much happiness people expressed at seeing such a different face on the cover of something like Vogue México. A lot of people wrote to me and said to me that it really meant a lot to them to see that because they aspired to that and they didn’t think that they could do that. For me, the thing that means the most to me is giving people a sense that this is possible, that this opportunity would actually be something that could happen.”

Aparicio credited her mother for helping her develop the right presence for her role.

Instagram / @yalitzaapariciomtz

“I would give my mom the credit for that. I think she really is the one who inculcated certain values like these in me. It goes back to my mom.”

Of course, Aparacio’s family is very excited about her success.

Instagram / @latimes_entertainment

“They’re very happy, and like myself, they’re very surprised to hear some of the things that are happening because they don’t know anything about this world. They just keep encouraging me to keep moving forward.”

In regards to the nonstop screenings and red carpets, Aparicio says she still grounded.

Instagram / @alfredomartinez_brand

“It has been overwhelming. A lot of actors who have a lot more experience than me come up to me and tell me that in fact my experience is a really overwhelming experience, that everything that’s happening is really big. I’m very aware of the fact that this might not happen again, so what I really try to do is ground myself in appreciating every moment and taking full advantage of what I can learn from every single moment I’m living through.”

Of course, the opportunity to wear established designs for the red carpets has been one huge perk from her view.

Instagram / @lachambrehq

“It’s very fun because I really sort of sometimes can’t get why they’re putting certain things on me or how they’re combining certain colors. Then I see the photographs, and I’m really taken aback by how great it all looks. It’s amazing to me because I’m not even good at combining colors.”

Speaking about her future in Hollywood, Aparacio admits she’s uncertain if she’ll continue acting.

Instagram / @followerinfashion

“At some level, yes, I do feel that responsibility and particularly toward people who look like me, a way in which I could continue to inspire them and give them the strength to keep doing what they’re doing. In that respect, I do feel a responsibility. Then also I feel like I discovered a love for acting that I’m still curious to see whether it’s something that I would deepen — [whether] it’s actually a love for acting, or whether it’s just an illusion that I’m living through at the moment.”

Surprisingly, the actress says that the first thing spent her big Roma check on was books.

Twitter / @Cinema Tropical ‏

YA: The first thing that I did, because I was finally receiving an income, was buy a bunch of books. Now I can have some books that I’ve been wanting. The Lovely Bones — I bought that in Spanish. The Little Prince. One that’s called La Tregua in Spanish, a book by Mario Benedetti who’s a very well-known novelist.”

When it came time for Teen Vogue to do follow up questions with the star, they asked if there was anything else that she wanted to talk about and she said:

Instagram / @yalitzaapariciomtz

“That I’m 25 and not 26 like some people are saying.”

LOL girl.

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