How Gina Torres Felt Trapped ‘In A Box’ As Latina Woman Early In Career


Gina Torres has appeared in many of our favorite TV shows, from Law & Order and Bones to Gossip Girl and Riverdale. The actress recently opened up about her struggles in Hollywood as an Afro-Latina, and how she felt like there was “no place” for her in the industry. 

Torres’ Career Success

Torres initially trained as a singer, but after her graduation from the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, she decided to pursue her dream of being an actress. She made her onscreen debut in 1992 in an episode of Unnatural Pursuits, and continued to work steadily through the years. 

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She has been nominated for her work on shows like Angel, Suits, Hannibal, and 9-1-1: Lone Star, and won an ALMA Award and Imagen Award. However, for all her success, Torres said she was not always comfortable with her place in the industry. 

Why The Actress Felt Like She Had ‘No Place’ In Hollywood

“I feel like I was living in three worlds,” Torres said while taking part in a roundtable discussion for MSNBC. “There was my world, that I grew up in, also Spanish-speaking. Home, Cuban parents, and then you go out into the world, and I’m speaking English and I’m in the Bronx. And then, going into this industry as an actress, then nobody recognizes you as either one.” 

She explained, “There was no place for me as a Latina, and then as a Black woman—I didn’t identify as a Black woman, because for me it was cultural. Because, of course, I present Black, I am a Black woman. I am also Cuban. When you’re here in the United States and they ask you to be in a box, and you don’t fit into the box…culturally, it was different. It was not one that I identified with. But to work, to survive, it was something that I had to learn.”

Torres Used ‘Jedi Mind Trick’ To Fit In To Industry

“To then learn to be whatever ‘Black’ was, and then feel like I was alienating that other part of myself, that Latina self, it just kind of became a Jedi mind trick, to keep myself from just being sad all the time about not being able to fully experience and express the entirety of myself,” the actress finished. 

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Since her early days in Hollywood, it seems like Torres has found her place in the industry and has carved out a place for herself as an Afro-Latina, but there is definitely still work to be done in the industry. Torres is one of many stars in the entertainment industry who are calling for more diversity and are speaking up about their own experiences in Hollywood. 

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