The Puerto Rican actress Rosie Perez, born circa 1968, grew up in troubled circumstances in Brooklyn.
At twelve, she was put in a group home for cutting a woman’s neck. Moving to Los Angeles, she found a constructive way to channel her frenetic energy: as a star of such movies as Do the Right Thing (1989) and White Men Can’t Jump (1992).
Hollywood is becoming an increasingly friendly place for Latina actresses, including Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayek, and Elizabeth Pena. But Hispanic American actors and actresses regularly confront stereotyping.
Latino actors like Andy Garcia and John Leguizamo are often cast as gangsters.
As for actresses, Pena says: “I’m usually offered the roles of the prostitute, the mother with seventeen children, or the screaming wife getting beaten up.”