Yalitza Aparicio didn't plan on auditioning for Roma. In fact, she didn't even have plans to be an actor at all.
When casting on Alfonso Cuarón's highly personal film, based in part on his own childhood, came to her hometown of Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca in Mexico, she'd never even heard of the famed director. Instead, she was studying to be a school teacher and had to be convinced to attend the open casting call that she admittedly had suspicions might be a front for a trafficking scam.
And now, here she is, gracing the cover of Vogue Mexico—a historical moment for indigenous women like herself—traveling to Italy for the film's world premiere at the 75th Venice International Film Festival, and, as of last month's Oscar nomination announcements, adding an achievement to her resume that she'd never even dreamed of: Academy Award nominee.
With her Best Actress nod, Aparicio becomes only the second Mexican-born actress to be recognized in the category, following in the footsteps of Salma Hayek (nominated in 2003 for Frida), and, in a story that seems only possible on the pages of a script, her road to Hollywood's biggest night is nothing short of miraculous.