Tanya Saracho Among Top TV & Film Creators Demanding More Latinx Representation in Hollywood

Tanya Saracho is calling for more Latinx representation in Hollywood…

The Mexican playwright, screenwriter and actress is among some of the top creators in television and film who are demanding for change when it comes to Latinx representation as Hispanic Heritage Months comes to an end.

Tanya Saracho

In an open letter to Hollywood more than 270 Latinx showrunners, creators, and television and feature writers, including Saracho, Lin-Manuel MirandaGloria Calderon-Kellett, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Steven Canals, John Leguizamo, Linda Yvette-Chavez, Carolina Paiz, Marco Ramirez, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and more are calling for systemic change in the entertainment industry.

The letter begins: “As we come to the end of Hispanic Heritage Month in the midst of a global pandemic and continued racial injustice, many of us in the Latinx community have found it difficult to celebrate. Inspired by the activism of the Black and Indigenous communities, many of whom also identify as Latinx, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Black, Native and Indigenous writers, co-signing their WGAW Open Letters and echoing their demands for systemic change in our industry.”

“As Latinx Showrunners, Creators, TV and Feature Writers, we are incensed by the continued lack of Latinx representation in our industry, especially among the Black and Indigenous members of our community,” the letter continues. “Our stories are important, and our erasure onscreen contributes to the persistent prejudice that prevents real change in this country. This prejudice is not as overt as the one that keeps immigrant children in cages and separates families at the border, or as violent as the racism that is killing our Black, Brown, and Indigenous community members at the hands of police.”

“But when we are onscreen, we’re often relegated to stereotypes or villains. And as a recent​ ​New York Times OpEd​ states, ‘White elites cannot muffle a huge, vibrant community for decades and not expect consequences. For Latinos in the Trump era, these consequences are deadly, from Hurricane Maria to the Walmart shooting in El Paso and the pandemic, as well as soaring hate crimes.’”

The letter points out that the Latinx community makes up 18.3% of the U.S. population but it is not reflected in film and TV. There are only 4.7% feature writers and 8.7% TV writers that are Latinx. As Latinx writers move up to Showrunner level, the stats only get more dismal. “By refusing to tell our stories AND by refusing to put us in charge of telling them — Hollywood power brokers are complicit in our exclusion,” the letter remarks.

This is even further supported by a recent study from CAA and Parrot Analytics, which shows that even though television shows are a lot more diverse than they were three years ago, not all racial and ethnic groups were equally well represented in scripted debuts. Latinos and Hispanics remain significantly underrepresented despite being one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country.

While there are shows like One Day At A Time that having managed to get multiple season orders, there have been other Latino-fronted shows in the past years, like The Baker and the Beauty and United We Fall — that have been canceled before getting the chance to find their footing beyond one season.

The letter can be summarized with three words included heavily throughout: “We are tired.”

The open letter does not mince words with the demands and draws out exactly what needs to be done including creating stories for and about the Latinx community by Latinx creators; greenlighting Latinx-fronted projects; respecting all aspects and intersections of the Latinx cultural representation; and hiring Latinx creators for non-Latinx projects.

The letter, which was posted on social channels with the hashtag #EndLatinXclusion, closes with “Stories are powerful. Stories change the world. Let’s get on the right side of history so we can continue to create needed change and tell captivating stories together.”

This initiative was launched by the Untitled Latinx Project (ULP) founded by Saracho. It’s an all-Latina advocacy group formed to increase representation of Latinx created stories for television. The goal of this call to action was uniting the professional community of Latinx writers, creators and showrunners.

Read the letter in full here.

Joaquin Castro & Congressional Hispanic Caucus Urge Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to Update Diversity in the Media Report

Joaquin Castro is calling for a more diverse media…

In a letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) – chaired by the 45-year-old Mexican American politician and U.S. Representative for Texas’ 20th congressional district – is urging the commission to update its “Diversity in the Media: A Chart Book for Selected Industries” report, which hasn’t been updated since 2004.

Joaquin Castro

The call to action furthers Castro and the CHC’s efforts to increase diversity in media and entertainment and to have a baseline of data for transparency and ultimately greater accountability in the industry.

The letter is addressed to EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon, as well as EEOC Commissioners Victoria A. Lipnic and Charlotte A. Burrows and discusses the importance of having a baseline of data for transparency and ultimately greater accountability.

The 2004 report lays out data on the diversity in media in three major categories: broadcasting, publishing and cable.

With the advent of streaming and the surge of digital content, the CHC points out that the media industry has “drastically changed” since the report was released over 16 years ago and it’s time that revisions be made.

Castro and the CHC requested the EEOC update the report no more than 60 days from the receipt of the letter. They also are looking for updates every 30 days until the final report is released.

The CHC broke it down and requested that the new report include:

  1.  Disaggregated data on race, ethnicity and gender by individual industry rather than the grouping format used in 2004.
  2.  New industries such as digital content and streaming provider
  3.  Updated data for all positions in each industry from entry level up to and including Executive level positi
  4.  When possible, data on salaries and wages disaggregated by race, ethnicity and gender for each of the employee categories, including Executive level positions for each industry.

“While discrimination and lack of equal opportunity for underrepresented groups is present in many fields, the media industry is unique in its ability to influence the broader culture and shape the perception of entire groups,” the letter stated. “When Latinos do not have the opportunity to shape the media’s depiction of our communities, it ultimately emboldens a misunderstanding of our communities that weakens the social fabric of American society. The CHC views greater transparency around employment data through publicly available information as critical to increasing representation for Latinos and other underrepresented communities.”

An updated report would hopefully help move the needle further as Hollywood tries to become more inclusive when it comes to talent in front of and behind the camera — specifically in a time when the country is seeing a social and civic reckoning.

It also comes after a blatant lack of Latinx representation when it came to Emmy award nominations, even though the television landscape was filled with Latinx-led shows like Vida, One Day At A Time and Gentefied.

Pose has been an Emmy favorite and although star Billy Porter was nominated, there was no love for show co-creator Steven Canals or series stars Mj Rodriguez and Indya Moore, who’ve delivered stellar work on the FX drama.

The new ABC comedy United We Fall features Latinx characters but with the cancellation of The Baker and the Beauty, there’s a glaring absence of shows with a majority Latinx cast on a major network.

Last fall, Castro led a congressional delegation to Los Angeles where the CHC met with several studios and streamers, talent agencies, as well as union and guilds. Congress has worked to include this language in almost all of the major funding bills during the Appropriations process and in the National Defense Authorization Act. The CHC has regular conversations with stakeholders regarding the state of the industry. Most recently the CHC had meetings with Amazon Studios and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as they develop their new 2025 diversity initiatives to ensure that Latinos are included in these goals on diversity.

The letter was signed by Castro, Robert Menendez (Co-Chair, Diversity Taskforce), Tony Cárdenas (Co-Chair, Diversity Taskforce) as well as members of Congress José E. SerranoRuben GallegoGilbert R. Cisneros, Jr.Juan Vargas and Nydia M. Velázquez.

David Del Rio to Star in ABC’s Rom-Com Pilot “The Baker and the Beauty”

David Del Rio has landed a beautyof a role…

The 31-year-old Latino actor has been cast as a series regular opposite Victor Rasuk and Nathalie Kelley in The Baker and the Beauty, ABC’s hourlong romantic comedy from Keshet StudiosUniversal Televisionand ABC Studios.

David Del Rio

Written by Dean Georgarisand to be directed by David Frankel, the storyline follows the impossible Miami love story between a simple baker (Rasuk) and an international superstar, Noa Hollander (Kelley). 

Del Rio will play Mateo Garcia, Daniel’s younger brother. 

His recent credits include supporting roles in The Belko Experiment and Pitch Perfect, the role of Putzie in Grease Live! and a starring role in Sean McNamara’s Lionsgatefeature Spare Parts opposite George LopezJamie Lee Curtisand Marisa Tomei

Michelle Veintimilla to Star in ABC’s Rom-Com Pilot “The Baker and the Beauty”

Michelle Veintimilla has landed a beautyof a role…

The 26-year-old Ecuadorian-Americanactress has been cast as a series regular in ABC’s pilot The Baker and the Beauty, an hour-long romantic comedy based on the Israeli series, from Keshet StudiosUniversal Television and ABC Studios

Michelle Veintimilla

Written by Dean Georgarisand to be directed by David FrankelThe Baker and the Beauty follows the impossible Miami love story between a simple baker and an international superstar. 

Veintimilla will play Vanessa. 

Veintimilla has a recurring role on Gotham, which is wrapping up its fifth and final season. Her other credits include Blue BloodsSeven Seconds and The Gifted.

In film, she’ll next appear in Drunk Parents.

Nathalie Kelley to Star in ABC’s rom-com pilot “The Baker and the Beauty”

Nathalie Kelleyhas landed a beauty of a role…

The 34-year-old Peruvian-Argentine actress and former Dynasty reboot star has been cast as the female lead in ABC’s pilot The Baker and the Beauty, an hour-long romantic comedy based on the Israeli series, from Keshet StudiosUniversal Television and ABC Studios.

Nathalie Kelley

Written by Dean Georgarisand to be directed by David Frankel, The Baker and the Beauty follows the impossible Miami love story between a simple baker and an international superstar, Noa Hollander (Kelley) has it all: She’s the most famous woman in the country, the beautiful daughter of a real estate magnate, a successful model with an international career and, up until now, one half of a Hollywood power couple. The son of Cuban immigrants, Daniel Garcia is a simple guy who still lives with his parents and works at the family bakery. A chance encounter at a fancy restaurant — where Daniel may or may not propose to his eager girlfriend of eight years and where Noa is avoiding public speculation about a breakup from her Hollywood lover – leads to unexpected sparks and an even more unlikely love story.

Kelley’s Hollander is an international superstar recognized all over the world and one of the most famous and desired women on Earth. Noa was a young heiress, who turned her modeling career into a fashion empire and now is making the jump to acting. She has all the qualities you’d expect to find in an international superstar: She’s fickle, guarded, entitled — but underneath all that, there is a real warmth to her. She’s a woman with a lot of love to give but no real idea how to do that.

In the original Israeli series, which aired for two seasons, Noa Hollander was played by Rotem Sela.

Kelley played one of the leads, Cristal Flores, on the first season of the CW’s Dynasty reboot. Her exit triggered strong reaction from fans. Kelley also is known for her work on The Vampire Diaries and UnReal. 

This marks her return to ABC and ABC Studios after a recurring role on Body of Proof. 

On the big screen, Kelley played Neela in The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift