How Aimee Garcia Is Redefining Latinas On Television
It's no secret that Aimee Garcia is strikingly beautiful. But what stands out the most from speaking with her is how intelligent and determined she is. The "Alma" and "Imagen" nominated actress, born and raised out of Chicago, has been in the industry since she was a child. Trained at the acclaimed Piven Theatre and graduating from Northwestern University with triple degrees in Economics, Journalism and French, Garcia has evolved into a brilliant actress who constantly debunks stereotypes surrounding Latinas.
Garcia's current role, as Ella Lopez on FOX's hit series Lucifer, is no different. Garcia tells MBG, "I love Ella Lopez! She is a brilliant scientist who just loves life. She speaks Klingon, plays chess and has all of these amazing quirks. She grew up in a rough neighborhood in Detroit and her abuelita taught her how to pick a lock! There is no other character on television like her right now. She’s not defined by a romantic relationship. She’s a professional Latina who’s comfortable in her own skin. She’s unapologetic about her brilliance and quirky ways. I love that there’s a female Latina character on television who’s college educated, brilliant and not self-conscious."
Aimee's resume is filled with roles that give Latinas multiple dimensions. From the bratty, fashion obsessed trust-fund kid, Veronica Palermo, on George Lopez, to the graduate student, Jaime Batista, studying psychology on Showtime's Dexter, Garcia understands that her career isn't just about paying the rent, but it represents a community. "I could not be happier with the characters that I portray," she proclaims. "When I was on George Lopez, a group of teenage girls came up to me to tell me how much they loved my character Veronica. The girls were White, Black, Asian and Latina, and they were so excited about the character because they've never seen a Latina portrayed like that on television. It made me realize that what I do has a larger scope outside of myself. It's important for the universality of representation."
Indeed, when Garcia was growing up, she didn't see Latinas portrayed as anything other than maids or cholas in the media. "I do feel like people are affected by what they see. There is nothing wrong with being a maid or chola, absolutely nothing, but if that is all you see, then you start to believe that is all you can become." In fact, Garcia was raised with professional parents who came from humble beginnings. Her mother was the first Latina to graduate from Northwestern University's dental program, a success that once made Garcia feel embarrassed. "When I first moved to Los Angeles, there were no professional Latinas on television, no lawyers, no doctors, so I started thinking to myself maybe I shouldn’t be like who I am, maybe I should look and sound different and that thought lasted for a hot-second! I decided to embrace who I am. Why should I be embarrassed that my parents are professionals? No one else is."
Through her work with non-profits such as the National Hispanic Heritage Foundation and MOSTe (Motivating Our Students Through Experience) Garcia hopes to be a role model through her personal and professional experiences. "Many young Latinas don't have professional role models in their nuclear families, so they look to the Gina Rodriguez's on Jane The Virgin, the Veronica's on George Lopez, the Ellen Ochoa's getting inducted into the Hall of Fame and the Jessica Alba's forging multi-million dollar companies." Garcia also has her sites set on writing, producing and creating content that fosters opportunities for the future generations. With her determination, brilliance and Chicago-style grit, it's only a matter of time before she is making her mark beyond television. We can't wait to see where Aimee's journey takes her!
Quick Fire Questions
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Tons of Water, No Smoking & Plenty of Sleep