The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Torres said there was a time when she had to audition for a role multiple times early in her career because she didn’t fit producers’ ideas of American beauty.
“You’re too exotic and they didn’t want to confuse the audience,” Torres recalled being told.
Afro-Latino performers like Torres have been “hiding in plain sight,” she said, as Hollywood tends to cast them for Black roles because they “don’t look Latino.”
Over the past three decades, Torres has brought her artistry to roles in “Suits,” “Firefly,” “24,” “Hannibal” and numerous other series.
But only recently, when Torres said she stopped sacrificing one part of her identity over the other, has she felt like she’s had significant wins when it comes to representation on screen.
“I need to speak my language (Spanish) whenever possible. I need to let the audience know that this is also a face of Latinidad,” Torres recalled telling the showrunner.
The change made a difference for Torres, who sees her role as Tommy Vega as “beautifully crafted” and more importantly, a “fully realized human being” — something scripted characters of color too often lack.
“That was incredibly…