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Yalitza Aparicio "Decided" to Continue Acting After Roma for This Reason

Roma catapulted Yalitza Aparicio to fame, but as she continues to her acting career, she has specific goals in mind. Hear from the Oscar nominee in E!'s "Ones to Watch" video series.

By Allison Crist Nov 15, 2021 10:18 PMTags
Watch: Yalitza Aparicio Talks New Hulu Short Film: Ones to Watch

On a mission. 

Yalitza Aparicio went from being a preschool teacher to an Oscar-nominated actress after starring in Alfonso Cuarón's 2018 drama Roma. Now, she's continuing her acting career in pursuit of roles that "give visibility and a voice to Indigenous communities."

As Aparicio explained during E!'s "Ones to Watch" series celebrating Indigenous heritage, she takes her time choosing between projects. 

"I feel like there has to be coherence between my words and my actions," the actress, who's of Triqui and Mixtec heritage, continued. "And the projects I have coming up have a lot to do with the importance of how Indigenous people are portrayed on screen."

Most recently, Aparicio starred in the Hulu short film Hijas de brujas—a project that she described as "a little bit complicated for me." 

Why? Her character had a part in English. 

"Actually, a majority of the short film was supposed to be in English, but then there were a series of changes during development," Aparicio explained, recalling having "a lot of nerves" in the beginning. "But with those nerves I was accompanied by hope and enthusiasm to learn and speak a different language."

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Plus, Aparicio had experience. She learned Mixtec for Roma, and hopes other films will follow suit by featuring Indigenous languages.

"We must work with the rest of the society for there to be acceptance and inclusion," Aparicio told E!. "It must be respected that people are bilingual. Just like we give value to English, French and other languages, our Indigenous languages are just as important."

Victor Chavez/Getty Images for NETFLIX

Overall, better representation in both film and television will reiterate that Indigenous communities "are part of this society and have always been here," Aparicio added.

"Even though nowadays people say we are 'new faces,' that is not true," she continued. "We are faces that have not been seen due to a lack of opportunities and those are things that need to start changing."  

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Determined to play a role in affecting this change—and join the fight that Aparicio acknowledged has been going on "for many years" thanks to the efforts of others—she made the decision to continue acting after Roma because of the platform it gives her. 

"Due to discrimination that the Indigenous communities suffer, and something I also went through in the public eye, is one of the reasons I decided to stay in this industry and become an activist," she revealed. "I realized it was a way to take advantage of the power my voice has and make use of the media and of the different platforms that exist nowadays to be able to create or develop awareness in people."

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"For if I don't change their minds," Aparicio added, "at least some part of my message will remain in their minds when they hear my words."

Hear more from Yalitza Aparicio in the above "Ones to Watch" video.

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