Dascha Polanco Talks About the Importance of Diversity in Latinx Representation

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Representation of any marginalized identity in the mainstream is always going to be a hot topic, but it’s particularly heated when the conversation is had within the community.

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, Netflix recorded a roundtable discussion on Latinx identity, culture, and representation starring the notable Latinx actors of their original series. In a conversation about representation in television and film, there was a heated but significant point of contention.

When Fuller House actor Juan Pablo Di Pace began to talk about representation, he began by saying that young Latinx actors should know that what’s most important is the heart that they bring to the role, not their skin color or size. However, Orange is the New Black actress Dascha Polanco quickly spoke up to disagree with his point, bringing up the way that colorism and sizism rule the entertainment world are undebatable.

“We can’t just sweep it under the rug and say it’s your heart that’s going to cast you because that hasn’t been the case,” she said.

The Argentinian actor was then quick to acknowledge his privilege, being light-skinned with dark hair and looking the stereotypical part of a man that is usually cast for Latinx male roles.

“When I was little, what I’d see on screen is only one type of female lead actor,” she said. “I would not see someone who looked like me so I would think, ‘Well then that’s not possible for me.’ It’s not about how I feel. I know I have the talent, I know I’m supposed to do this. But … why is everyone here so thin? When you reflect on your own life it’s like, ‘my family has variations.'”

You can check out the rest of the video up above.