identities

I Developed At A Young Age, But America Ferrera’s Character Was The Only One Who Really Helped Me Channel My Confidence

When we hear “representation matters” today, we often mean that audiences want to see themselves in pop culture. Back in the day, there was hardly any accountability for that. So, when a little film about the Latino experience was released on the big screen, it was as if the movie gods were answering my prayers.

On Oct. 18, 2002, a film directed by Patricia Cardoso was released titled “Real Women Have Curves” and she didn’t mean big boobs-and-a-size-24-waist kind of curves.

She meant real women. Average women who, like many of us, aren’t a size 24. The trailer alone blew me away.

I cherish other Latino films such as “La Bamba,” “Stand and Deliver,” and “Selena.” But these films were biopics about extraordinary people in particular situations. “Real Women Have Curves” featured someone just like me, and parents just like mine.

While the indie film went on to win numerous awards and has been credited for exploring the struggles of so many women — especially Latina women — but there was more than just physical issues that were addressed.

I had never seen a movie in which the lead was a curvy Latina —and not like Sofia Vergara or Jennifer Lopez — but curvy just like me.

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No offense to Vergara and Lopez, but seeing America Ferrera dancing in her underwear flaunting it all made me feel so empowered.

“Real Women Have Curves” not only reflected my life and aspirations, but the more I looked at Ana, the more I thought we looked alike.

america-ferrera-fan.tumblr.com/ Araceli Cruz

Crazy, right?

America Ferrera as Ana spoke to me on so many levels. Particularly her body type. At the time I felt so uncomfortable with my curves — mainly my breasts. I developed way too early as a pre-teen and wasn’t ready to deal with all of the confusion and harassment that came along with this. There were so many times I just wanted to hide from the world.

Seeing Ana own her body and be so open with who she was, made me want to be like that too. It took me a few years to catch up to her confidence, but she let me know it was possible.

One of those most hilarious and touching aspects of this movie was Ana’s relationship with her mother.

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Ana’s mom was incredibly overbearing and dramatic. She criticized Ana for her looks, for the foods she ate, and generally about the kind of woman she was becoming. Ironically, even though Ana’s mom (played by Lupe Ontiveros) was so outspoken and in-your-face, she clashed a lot with her daughter because she too was outspoken and never compromised who she was.

My mother was (and still is) domineering about so many aspects of my life and everyone else’s.

america-ferrera-fan.tumblr.com/ Araceli Cruz

And she also looks a lot like Ontiveros.

People always tell my mom how much she looks like Lupe Ontiveros — and she hates when people tell her that because she doesn’t want to be compared to a character that is a controlling and, let’s face it, a little nutty. But tbh, she is totally like that, and it’s why I love her so much. It’s my mom’s strong persona that inspires me to be demanding about what I want and need in my life. I have so much respect for women like my mother.

Ana’s supportive and loving dad also reminded me of my dad very much.

america-ferrera-fan.tumblr.com/ Araceli Cruz

It was really amazing to see the dynamic between Ana and her father because I related to that in many ways. Through her close relationship with her dad, Ana came to realize how tirelessly how father worked, and that work ethic that made her strive harder for her dreams. As did I.

The movie also showed what it is like being the youngest in the family with older sisters that didn’t have the same advantages as I did.

Estela resented the fact that Ana had a little more freedom that she did. That’s a struggle that many siblings can relate too. I know I felt that resentment.

Yes, it was easier to be the youngest one. I recognize that I didn’t have to work as hard as they did. I was also the only one in my family to move to another state.

Me and my sisters.

There are many advantages to being the youngest, but biggest is probably the fact that my parents were less strict with me. I traveled a lot more than my sisters and even moved out of state.

The main highlight for me was seeing an adventurous Latina move to New York City to live out her dreams.

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Some might not see moving to New York City as a big deal. But when you’re a Latina, with all of your family in California, moving away is a HUGE deal and it’s something I feel years after moved away. It’s very difficult for Latino parents to let their kids go… and they make sure you know it.

Just like Ana was guilt-tripped about going away to college in New York City, I also felt that many times, and mostly by my mother. But we both did it anyway. I have friends that wanted to move away from their family and weren’t able to because their parents prohibited it, so it’s not something that I take for granted.

Seeing a Latina who’s from California and lives in New York City depicted in a film resonated with me for many, many years.

Araceli Cruz

While this film was groundbreaking in so many ways, it’s a story that remains special to me personally. The film really elevates the idea that a Latina can do anything she wants. She doesn’t have to look like a model, or be a singer or an athlete — she can just be a woman who lives out a life that’s all her own.

I wish they could make more movies like “Real Women Have Curves,” but until then I will continue to watch this movie and never forget how much it changed my view of myself at an important point of my life.


READ: It’s Time Movies And TV Show Us That Female Latina Friendships Are As Important As Our Romantic Relationships

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Cameron Diaz Talks About That Traumatic Scene From ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ That Gave Us All Our First Taste Of Second Hand Embarrassment

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Cameron Diaz Talks About That Traumatic Scene From ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ That Gave Us All Our First Taste Of Second Hand Embarrassment

Everybody’s favorite 90s romantic comedy, “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” is packed with various moments of hilarious victories that make the movie so lovable. The 1997 film stars Julia Roberts as a 27-year-old Julianne Potter who flies to Chicago to break up her best friend (Dermot Mulroney’s) marriage to 20-year-old Kimmy (played by Cameron Diaz). It’s filled with meddling moments and mini-disasters including one iconic scene made of a particular sort of awkwardness.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Diaz spoke about the one scene that prompted everyone to steer clear of karaoke bars.

My Best Friend’s Wedding/ TriStar Pictures

In one of the film’s most beloved scenes, Cameron Diaz’s Kimmy stands before a packed karaoke bar at the urging of Julianne and sputters and cries her way through Dionne Warwick’s “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.” The scene is awkwardly heavy, with Diaz’s blotchy, clammy, pink face tearing apart every note and Julia Robert’s conniving character’s satisfied smirk. The patrons in the bar sit awkwardly still in their seats as they watch the trainwreck and experience the ultimate form of secondhand embarrassment. Then suddenly, through Kimmy’s show of good sportsmanship, the scene turns around.

The patrons join in on the song, singing, and clapping. Julianne is noticeably dumbfounded by her failed scheme. No doubt, the entire experience was humiliating for everyone watching (audience included) but there’s also no denying that the proper people have been charmed, even us the viewers who were supposed to be rooting for Julianne, can’t help but have a change of heart over the girl who has a father worth billions.

That’s just good acting. Or, so we thought.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly for its latest reunion special, Diaz explained that the film was far more real than we might have guessed.

During the interview that commemorated the film which is now over twenty years old, Diaz admitted that the idea of standing up in front of the bar and singing actually, truly made her miserable.

“I was terrified to do that scene, for real,” Diaz, who is of Cuban descent admitted. “I allowed the true terror of singing in front of people to be alive in me. I wanted to run and hide, and Dermot kept me there. He said, “You can do it, you can do it.” In the scene I’m just staring at him the whole time because he’s looking at me like, “You’re okay. You’re not gonna die.” And I was like, “But I’m dying.”


Read: Actress Dayanara Torres Encourages Fans To Seek A Doctor’s Opinion When Something “Feels Funny” After Learning She Has Cancer

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20 Crazy Facts About “Spy Kids” You Didn’t Notice In The Movie

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20 Crazy Facts About “Spy Kids” You Didn’t Notice In The Movie

In 2001, Latino kids across the globe were met with a rare treasure never to be seen. A Latino spy family featuring two kids with top-secret espionage badges on the big screen. The heroic movie “Spy Kids” launched a mega movie franchise as well as the imaginations of Latino kids.

Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, “Spy Kids” was an epic espionage movie packed full of wonderment, surprise, gadgets oh yeah and Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino and new faces Alexa PenaVega and Daryl Sabara.

Check out these 20 things you never knew about your favorite movie from 2001!

1. Robert Rodriguez, the director, used ideas from his childhood for his characters.

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Rodriguez had drawn a picture of men with thumbs for heads, arms, and legs as a child. The thumb people made an appearance as the clumsy robots known as the Thums Thumbs.

2. Rodriguez’s family made appearances in special ways.

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As an homage to his family members, Rodriguez named the characters of Gregorio, Carmen, and Juni after them.

3. George Clooney wore pajama pants during his appearance

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Robert Rodriguez was the director behind the movie and had worked with Clooney before. He showed up as a one-man crew and shot the Clooney scene himself. The scene was shot from the waist up since Clooney was still wearing his pijama.

4. Selena Gomez made her debut in the franchise.

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The “Wolves” singer made her film debut as “Waterpark Girl” In the 3rd movie.

5. Gregorio Cortez was named after a thief.

Instagram / barrio2barrio

In real life, Gregorio Cortez is the name of a famous Texan thief from the early 90s.

6. IRL, Carla Gugino was too young to be an adult mom to her kids in the movie.

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In reality, Gugino is only  17 years older than Alexa PenaVega, who plays her oldest child Carmen.

7. Carla almost didn’t accept the role because of her age.

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At 29 years old during the time of filming, Carla felt she was too young to have kids that were 10 and 12 years old. But Rodriguez convinced her by sharing that his own mother had had him and all of his siblings by the time she was thirty. 

8. Production was super speedy.

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The movie was shot over a period of 10 weeks.

9. It held box office for almost as long.

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The movie stayed at number 1 for three straight whole weeks in the United States bod office charts.

10. Carla Gugino wasn’t even supposed to be here.

Dimension Films

Kelly Preston had been offered the role of Ingrid Cortez, but when she gave birth, Carla was offered the role. 

11. Which means the movie didn’t dodge blackface.

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Kelly Preston is white and Carla Gugino is Italian AKA not Latina.

12. Angie Harmon almost got the role of Ingrid.

Dimension Films

Harmon is also not Latina. She’s Greek and German/Irish. Makes you think someone was determined to cast a white mother eh? Like where was Salma Hayek?? OR, a Brown casting director?

13. The kids helped pick Gugino as Ingrid.

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Rodriguez wanted to make sure the mother looked like the kids and Gugino’s dye job.

14. That’s not San Diablo.

Dimension Films

In the notorious arriel shot that’s not San Diablo it’s a view of Santiago de Chile! 

15. Rodriguez edited the movie in a “garage.”

Dimension Films

Rodriguez’s garage is really an elaborate editing studio in his home.

16. Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega own this film

Dimension Films

They’re the only actors to appear in all four films of the franchise.

17. Carmen has such a Latina tame.

Dimension Films

According to the credits and a scene where she uses it as a password Carmen Elizabeth Juanita Costa-Brava Cortez.

18. The location has a fun oxymoron.

Dimension Films

San Diablo is a Spanish oxymoron meaning Holy Devil or Sainted Devil.

19. The initials of the Organization of Super Spies is copy pasted.

Dimension Films

The Organization of Super Spies or O.S.S. has the exact same initials as the Office of Strategic Services,. That’s the version of the WWII-era C.I.A.

20. Rodriguez has a trademark and a thing for knives.

Dimension Films

Rodriguez’s film’s featuring Danny Trejo usually have his characters named after a knife. In Spy Kids he plays Isador “Machete” Cortez.


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