America Ferrera once went to extreme lengths to try to land a role. In a New York Times feature detailing the struggles of minorities in Hollywood, the Hispanic actress revealed she once painted her face white for an audition.
"I was 18 and putting myself on tape for a movie I really wanted,” Ferrera, now 31, says. "I got that phone call: They cast a Latino male in another role in the film; they’re not looking to cast [a Latina]."
But she wasn’t willing to give up so easily. "I defiantly bleached my hair blond, painted my face white and made the audition tape," she says. "I never heard back.”
The “Superstore” star adds of the frustrating ordeal, “I just remember feeling so powerless. What do you do when someone says, 'Your color skin is not what we’re looking for?' Let me tell you: Blond does not suit me. I try not to prove my point on audition tapes anymore."
She also says it wasn't the first time she encountered discrimination in Hollywood. On her first audition when she was 16, a casting director told her to "sound more Latino."
"I genuinely didn’t realize until later that she was asking me to speak English with a broken accent," she says. "It confused me, because I thought, I am Latino, so isn’t this what a Latino sounds like?"