Camila Mendes has been fortunate enough to land her very first acting role playing Veronica Lodge on CW's hit series, Riverdale. Mendes's résumé might be surprisingly short, but her lack of experience doesn't mean she has been spared from racism in Hollywood. Mendes, who is of Brazilian heritage and is currently portraying a Latinx character on the CW, has apparently been told by casting directors that she's not Latina enough.
Being A Person Of Color In Hollywood Is Tough
In an interview with People, the NYU Tisch School of the Arts alumna opened up about her Brazilian roots. When asked if being Latina is difficult in Hollywood, Mendes revealed that despite being new in Hollywood, she has already been subjected to racist remarks with casting directors telling her that she doesn't look Latina enough.
Mendes highlighted that she's "a full-blooded Brazilian, with an entire extended family of Brazilians" who happened to be born in the US – which goes to show how problematic Hollywood's casting is.
"I’m pretty new to Hollywood, but I’m already starting to see the issues in how some projects are cast. I often hear things like, “You don’t look Latina enough,” and that mentality is so backwards. The fact is: I am Latina, so how are you going to tell me that I don’t look Latina?"
Of course, Mendes's account of Hollywood's casting methods isn't an one-off case. Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Chloe Bennet recently tweeted that the entertainment industry is racist, and that's why she had to change her name.
Stories of Hollywood's whitewashing and POC exclusion are still prevalent but creating a variety of representations — especially representations that do not create or perpetuate stereotypes — can have a positive impact on a historically exclusionary industry.
Riverdale has taken a step in that direction by including the story of the Lodge family, who are very privileged and strong despite belonging to a minority group – something that isn’t really common in Hollywood. With this in mind, Mendes appreciates the opportunity to portray a Latinx character who is appropriately represented as intelligent and sophisticated.
"It’s just so refreshing to see a different story being told for Latin families. 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."
Thanks to Mendes's role in Riverdale, we’ll hopefully start seeing more positive representation of Latinx characters on the small screen. You can next see Camila Mendes in Season 2, which will air on The CW on October 11, 2017.
Is Veronica Lodge one of your favorite characters on 'Riverdale'?