'Riverdale' Star Camila Mendes Was Told She Wasn't "Latina Enough" by Casting Directors

"I am Latina, so how are you going to tell me that I don't look Latina?"

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One of the many, many problems with racial and ethnic stereotypes is that they are self-limiting. And within the entertainment world, if someone like, say, a casting director decides to keep portraying only one kind of person over and over again based on a stereotype, the stereotype only strengthens, all because of and through that singular view.

Latina Riverdale star Camila Mendes, who plays Veronica Lodge on the hit show, spoke out against this exact phenomenon in a new interview with People Chica, explaining that the Lodge family countered a more prevalent pop culture narrative of "the underprivileged, sleazy Latino drug-dealers we're used to seeing in entertainment": "It's rare that you see Latin families being portrayed as intelligent, sophisticated, and powerful entities."

Camila also explained how Riverdale's diverse and stereotype-busting casting is unlike other casting experiences she's had: "I'm pretty new to Hollywood, but I'm already starting to see the issues in how some projects are cast. I often hear things like, 'You don't look Latina enough,' and that mentality is so backwards. The fact is: I am Latina, so how are you going to tell me that I don't look Latina?"

And when it comes to her Latina family, she, like many other families across cultures, engages in robust group chats: "I stay engaged with my extended family through a lively group chat on WhatsApp. That sense of community and family is the heart of Brazilian culture, and staying engaged with my family is what keeps me connected."


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Lilian Min

I'm the night shift at Cosmopolitan.com and a writer and reporter around the web. I spend my daylight hours playing music, crafting, cooking, scheming, and rearing my pet chameleon.