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Why actress Gina Torres didn’t identify as Black

Torres laments that she’s been cast in mostly Black roles her whole career
Why actress Gina Torres didn't identify as Black
Actress Gina Torres (Image source: Instagram – @iamginatorres)

Gina Torres admits that she has “felt trapped” as an Afro-Latina actress who has almost exclusively played Black roles for the balance of her career.

Torres, who made her Hollywood debut with 1992’s Unnatural Pursuits, said that she has been uncomfortable in many of the roles she played.

“I feel like I was living in three worlds. There was my world, that I grew up in, also Spanish-speaking. Home, Cuban parents, and then you go out into the world, and I’m speaking English and I’m in the Bronx. And then, going into this industry as an actress, then nobody recognizes you as either one,” Torres said during a roundtable discussion on MSNBC. 

The daughter of Cuban immigrants also intimated that Afro-Latino performers like her “hiding in plain sight” because movie producers said Torres doesn’t “look like a Latino.”

“There was no place for me as a Latina, and then as a Black woman — I didn’t identify as a Black woman, because for me it was cultural. Because, of course, I present Black, I am a Black woman. I am also Cuban. When you’re here in the United States and they ask you to be in a box, and you don’t fit into the box … culturally, it was different. It was not one that I identified with. But to work, to survive, it was something that I had to learn,” she said.

Torres, who was once married to esteemed actor Lawrence Fishburne, said that she has made a concerted effort to express the other side of her identity.

“To then learn to be whatever ‘Black’ was, and then feel like I was alienating that other part of myself, that Latina self, it just kind of became a Jedi mind trick, to keep myself from just being sad all the time about not being able to fully experience and express the entirety of myself,” she said.

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