Sofía Vergara Blames One Thing For Not Landing More Hollywood Roles

Though she was speaking of only her own experiences, Sofía Vergara’s comments are indicative of the way many Spanish-speaking actors have encountered accent-themed difficulties in Hollywood — and the stereotypes the industry has historically associated with their accents. The issue is an old one, as the industry has a long tradition of typecasting Hispanic actors. 

As “Barbie” and “Superstore” star America Ferrera told The New York Times, she encountered the issue the second she started in the industry. “My very first audition ever, I was about 16, and the casting director [for a commercial] said, ‘Can you do it again but sound more Latino?'” Ferrera said. “I had no idea what she was talking about. ‘You mean you want me to speak in Spanish?’ She’s like: ‘No. Do it in English but just sound more Latino.’ I genuinely didn’t realize until later that she was asking me to speak English with a broken accent.”

Neither Jimmy Smits (“NYPD Blue,” “Sons of Anarchy”) nor Eva Longoria (“Desperate Housewives,” “The Sentinel”) entered the industry with noticeable accents, but both have been told that they needed one to fit a certain stereotype. “I remember moving to L.A. and auditioning and not being Latin enough for certain roles,” Longoria said to The New York Times. “Some white male casting director was dictating what it meant to be Latin. He decided I needed an accent.”

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