Jessica Alba Was Told She Couldn’t Be A Leading Lady Because Of Her Ethnicity

Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.
In white and male-dominated world of Hollywood, it can be challenging for women and actors of color to get their big break. And when they do land a role, it’s unfortunately not unusual for directors and producers to want to play up some stereotype of their identity, like writing female bosses as "divas" or insisting on an accent – this discrimination has been noted by actors like Mindy Kaling and America Ferrera, who told the New York Times she was once asked to “sound more Latino.” Successful, ass-kicking Jessica Alba revealed to Pop Sugar that she too is no stranger to being put in a box, thanks to her ethnicity. “They couldn’t figure out my ethnicity,” said Alba, whose mother is white and father is Mexican-American. “They were like, ‘You’re not Latin enough to play a Latina, and you’re not Caucasian enough to play the leading lady, so you’re going to be the ‘exotic’ one.’ Whatever that was.” Though she was baffled by the comments, Alba wasn’t having it. “I never had to look at myself that way or stick myself in a bucket. So I was more determined to be a leading lady to show that girls can look like me, and we can be leading ladies,” she said. She’s since been starring in movies like Sin City and Machete, not to mention heading up Honest Company, her eco-conscious home and beauty brand, proof that women on color can rise above the racist comments thrown at them.

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