Actress Aurora Perrineau, 25, recently shared that she often gets mistaken for being Latina but she refuses to portray one so as to not misrepresent herself. During an interview with SiriusXM host Clay Cane the Prodigal Son and When They See Us actress explained that “Everyone thinks I’m Latina,” when discussing how casting directors view her.
She’s the daughter of African-American actor Harold Perrineau, known for his roles in Lost, The Matrix, Romeo + Juliet, and The Best Man, and her mother is white. She has previously shared how she identifies with both races but has always been seen as black and has always thought of herself as a black woman.
Her race has been at the center of controversy in the past when in 2014 it was announced that she was cast as Shana in the film adaptation of the 1980s animated series Jem and the Holograms. Critics of her portraying Shana said that Perrineau’s light skin tone and hair were in stark contrast to the original character’s dark complexion and afro-textured hair.
“I’ve never not been able to walk around as a black woman,” the actress said in a Yahoo interview in response to the backlash. “I’ve always been black, and people have always thought of me as black. So for me it was kind of this weird thing. I identify with both races. I don’t see color. My parents have always taught me it doesn’t matter what color you are. They’ve never really talked about color. So to have the backlash, that really shocked me more than anything else.”
Though she was also called out for saying she doesn’t see color when it comes to race, her stance on not taking roles meant for Latinas allows an opportunity for a Latina to take on the role.
“So I get Latina a lot, which, obviously I’m not going to take on a role of a Latina woman, because I’m not Latina and that’s not the right thing to do,” she said. “So I make it very clear that I’m not, and I normally don’t get the job, but I think it’s important for everyone to have representation and you shouldn’t be taking representation from someone else.”
Latinx representation in Hollywood is notoriously limited with a study released earlier this year that only 3 percent of the 100 top-selling films featured Latinx actors in lead roles from 2007 through 2018. Of the leads/co leads, only 49 percent were Latina which equates to only 17 women, the study found.
Latinx are the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. making up 18.1 percent of the nation’s population and the struggle for representation in Hollywood persists so for a fellow actress of color to take such a supportive stance is a step in the right direction.