US Latinas rally around 'Roma' actress Yalitza Aparicio | Celebrities

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Aparicio would earn an Oscar nomination for Best Leading Actress, becoming the first indigenous nominee as well as the second Mexican woman following Salma Hayek in 2002.

Some Mexican-American women say they are glad Aparicio's role is challenging the typical images of light-skinned Latinas in Spanish-language films and TV shows despite the backlash she is experiencing in Mexico. "My students can't stop talking about her". Since the movie's release, the 25 year-old big screen newcomer has gone from completely unknown even in her own country to one of the most acclaimed actresses this year, thanks to her role as Cleo in Alfonso Cuarón's Netflix masterpiece.

After telenovela actor Sergio Goyri was last week caught on tape calling her a "fucking Indian", Aparicio responded that she was saddened that people did not know "the correct meaning of words". She has gone from a town to Hollywood in just a few months, being interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel, rubbing shoulders with Javier Bardem, and appearing on the cover of Vogue.

Aparicio, with roots in the Mixtec and Triqui indigenous communities, is part of the almost one-quarter of Mexico's population of some 120 million people who are indigenous, according to government data.

Astrid Silva, an immigrant rights activist in Las Vegas, says many Mexican-American women and Mexican immigrants see themselves in Aparicio because she's a dark-skinned woman of Mixtec descent who comes from a poor region in Mexico.

Her bronze skin, short stature and impoverished, indigenous background in southern Mexico are starting to become a symbol of pride for many - she cuts a stark contrast to actors with European features who dominate Mexican television and film, despite representing only a sliver of Mexico's overwhelmingly mestizo and native population.

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"We've been working to rediscover our indigenous roots and Aparicio's presence is showing that we matter", said Lilia Soto, an American Studies professor at the University of Wyoming, who grew up in Napa, Calif. "The racism she's facing in Mexico also is an attack against us".

When Aparicio visited New York City past year, she was treated to a hero's welcome among the Mexican immigrants she encountered. The Mexican actress is the first indigenous woman to be nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.

"It's hard to describe".

"We're proud of coming from the Aztecs", she said.

"His comments about actress Yalitza Aparicio's Oscar nomination are offensive and insensitive, and we are very disappointed because they go against the values and standards of our company".

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