Descanse En Paz: Lupe Ontiveros


Lupe Ontiveros: 1942-2012

I don't normally talk about things I'm working on. I don't like it. I think part of it might be because my mother taught me to always be modest...and by modest I mean to be ashamed of yourself as much as possible.

Having said that, I'll share something that I did this week. I had a meeting with people that wanted to meet me. It was a typical Hollywood meeting where I go and meet someone that could possibly, one day help me do something cool. Lots of people get these kind of general meetings. Really, the meeting itself is not important, it's what was talked about IN the meeting that makes this blog important for me to write.

I was talking about the state of Latinos in the entertainment industy (the lack of, the representation of us, etc). I never have an idea of what I'm going to talk about at meetings. I just try to speak what is on my mind and my heart at that moment (at least, in regards to meetings). I started talking about how much I loved Lupe Ontiveros in the meeting, how in an ideal world I would love to be on a TV show where Lupe Ontiveros plays my mom because to me, Lupe is the epitome of what a Mexican women is.

This meeting happened two days ago.

I never met Lupe Ontiveros...but I loved her, if that makes sense.  I loved that she was a fellow Texan, a fellow Mexicana that carved a place for herself in Hollywood. In a way, she gave me hope. Hope that what I wanted to do since I was child, wasn't crazy. Hope that what I wanted to do was actually a possibility. 

She played a maid more times than any other actress, some say it could be as close as 300 times. To me, she reminded me a lot of my mother. I had no idea what it was but there was always something about her that reminded me of my mom. Then one day I realized what that thing was and it was actually very simple: it was heart.

Lupe Ontiveros added heart to every role she played. She made every role a real person; someone that we've all met at one point in our lives.

When I heard of her death, I cried. I cried because at that moment I realized how important she was to me. 

Every time she graced the screen, she unknowingly gave many Mexican kids with immigrant parents like me, a chance to dream. To dream about attaining something that seemed bigger than us. To dream about doing something that many of us are told we will never do and for that, I thank her.  I thank her for letting me dream.

I leave you with a quote she told The New York Times:

"I'm proud to represent those hands that labor in this country. I've given every maid I've ever portrayed soul and heart." -Lupe Ontiveros