Op-Ed: No Más Role Models, Latinas Need Inspirers

Posted: Apr 21 2014

Who do you consider to be a role model? Do you consider role models in terms of ethnicity?  Gender?  Age? Business Sector? Most likely the answer is all of the above if not necessarily all at the same time.  But maybe the concept of a role model is too heavy a burden?  The idea of  calling one a “role model” implies a level of responsibility that is perhaps unfair to the person to which the label is designated.  No, let’s nix the role model label. Instead, let’s go with something looser;  let’s go with Inspirer. 

An Inspirer is when a person, whether fleeting or long-lasting, stirs in your imagination a concoction of wonder, curiosity, interest or appreciation. An Inspirer compels you to action-- you have been inspired!

Surveying the pop cultural landscape, there are a plethora of Latinas doing interesting things.  Strides have been made over the last couple of decades, no doubt about it. Still, Latinas could benefit from more Latina Inspirers. Images and actions that spark the imagination and inspires the spirit and mind to accomplish whatever it is that ignites it.

One Latina Inspirer I include on my list is actress Michelle Rodriguez.  Does her name ring a bell?  Depending on your cinematic sensibility, you’ll either nod enthusiastically or be left scratching your head.  Ms. Rodriguez may not be a household name or as pervasive as, say, Sofía Vergara (who is a talented comedienne), but if you’re an avid summer blockbuster or action movie fan, chances are you’ve come across Ms. Rodriguez.  She has carved out an interesting career playing the tough chick who’s not afraid of a fight, can hold her own against any competitor but who can still display a vulnerable, softer side.  Oh, and she has a withering, kohl-eyed stare. Not a big star, her stature nonetheless grows. Her breakout role came as Ana Lucia Cortez, a Los Angeles cop with plenty of personal baggage in the beloved TV series, Lost.  She did not last long for Lost, but she’s been cultivating an audience ever since.  Roles in AvatarBattle Los AngelesMachete and the Fast & Furious franchise have solidified her as an Inspirer.  Finally, a Latina who can kick butt, fly helicopters, take down zombies, hijack 18-wheelers with daredevil acrobatics and who looks really cool while doing it all! 

But an Inspirer doesn’t only have to refer to the famous and far away.  They can come from much closer proximity. 

For instance,  my mother also makes my list of Inspirers.  She would fall into the long-lasting Inspirer camp as she never ceases to amaze me with her common sense smarts, endless curiosity about the world, on-trend fashion eye and penchant for finding humor and laughter in any circumstance.  Truly an Inspirer. 

Who are your Inspirers?

-Liza Trevino
Follow Liza Trevino @genX_texmex


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