Shows like “Jane the Virgin” and “Cristela” have been widely praised for depicting Latino characters that go beyond stereotypes. Similiarly, many up-and-coming actors and producers want to show the rich, bicultural and nuanced worlds that many of them know from their own experiences.
One actress and producer, Amalia May Valle, is excited about a new comedic web series she has been developing, “Without A Hitch,” featuring Latino actors in situations many of us might find relatable - and hilarious.
May is an Israeli who grew up in Miami amid its rich Latino culture; she married a Peruvian man and they live in New York City. As an actress herself and after hearing the experiences of her friend, Peruvian-American actress Natasha Yannacañedo, May said she realized that Hollywood is not shy about trying to cast certain people for roles based on the way they look or where they come from.
“Both Natasha and I had been stereotyped as actors when it came to the casting process. In Natasha's case, she was stereotyped in roles such as maids, etc. Whereas, I as an Israeli, was usually only considered for roles playing 'the exotic foreigner,'” she said.
Her web series “Without a Hitch” follows two best friend who are in their thirties. Both women are roommates and live with one of their abuelitas. After Abuelita pressures both of them to get married, the two friends decide to bet on who can get proposed to first as a way to make light of the pressures they feel.
“We are in a difficult time for a women. We’re fighting for our feminist values but we still have a lot of pressure to have kids and be married by a certain age,” May Valle said.“The grandma character is old school but she thinks she is doing what is best for her granddaughter.”
Abuelita, played by Peruvian actress Teresa Yenque — who has appeared on NBC shows “Law and Order” and “30 Rock” — is a representation of how different generations of Latino families commonly live in the same household. Abuelita is also an embodiment of May’s own grandma’s traditions.
“We wanted to represent a Latino family living in the U.S.," May said. "One of the main characters, Sabrina, is educated, ambitious and applying to grad school and her Abuelita is helping her pay for it. This is an educated family."
Even though this small production has taken off with the help of May’s fellow colleagues, such as actors, producers and directors, putting on a series can be very costly. May created a kickstarter to raise money to fund her project and says she welcomes any and all donations.
Since the time of the interview, May surpassed her pledge goal and is planning to shoot her third episode.
"We want to challenge these stereotypes as well as to celebrate the incredible diversity that exists within the Latino community,” said May.
If you would like to see the video, click here.