Back in February of this year, “Roma” actress Yalitza Aparicio dominated fashion headlines after her appearance on the red carpet of the Oscars. The actress made her first appearance at the 91st Academy Awards as a Best Actress nominee for her breakout role as Cleo a maid of Mixteco heritage working for a family in Mexico City during the early 1970s. Aparicio had already had a big night, not only had she nailed a coveted nominee slot, she’d done so for her first role ever in a movie. And while awe over her talent was much talked about, it was the mint-green and silver metallic tulle gown she wore by Rodarte that caught so much attention.
The fashion brand has long been an established designer on red carpets but there’s no denying the actress has helped raise interest in its designers. The red carpet match of the designers and the actress proved not only to be a success at the Oscars, but it also proved worthy of a lasting partnership.
For the fashion brand’s latest lookbook, Aparicio was selected as a model.
The rising star wowed in the brand’s dreamy fashion shoot.
Aparicio appeared in the Spring lookbook in a polka-dot belted black and white dress and a pair of sheer gloves studded with pearls which also speckle her hair. She modeled the dress in a magazine that featured Hollywood veterans such as Gabrielle Union and Kirsten Dunst.
Aparicio appeared in simple colors and extravagant gowns.
For her other appearance, the actress could be seen wearing a black and white plaid dress that featured a ruffle color and puff sleeves.
Of course, it didn’t take long for reactions to Aparcio’s appearance to set fire online.
Fans of the actress were quick to call her a “reina” and other celebrities including “Mad Men” actor January Jones, who also appeared in the shoot, commented “Love. ❤️”
Aparicio’s feature is another reminder, that the indigenous actress has her heels dug into Hollywood and the fashion industry and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Back in January of this year, Vogue México honored the actress with a feature and photoshoot that served as an ode to her culture and home state of Oaxaca. Not only was she featured on the magazine’s cover, but she was also thrown a party at the Patio del Huaje en el Jardín Etnobotanico in Oaxaca.
While the finicky nature of Hollywood and its attention to actresses of color has a strong pattern, Yalitza’s star does not seem to be dwindling. In fact, her appearance in the lookbook nearly seven months after her appearance at the Oscars, and without any announcements of new roles, proves she must have a lot coming up for herself.
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There are reasons to celebrate Mexican cinema today! Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma was nominated for the main categories in the 2019 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Foreign Language film. Among the film’s many nominations perhaps the most important is the Best Actress nod given to Yalitzia Aparicio, a first-time actress who gave us a performance for the ages as Cleo, a caring and amazing domestic worker who is the cornerstone of a middle-class white Mexico City family. Her gaze is tender but powerful, and her body language is that of an experienced actor. Who would have guessed this is her debut on the big screen?
Yalitza Aparicio is the first indigenous woman nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress.
Aparicio will compete against Glenn Close for “The Wife,” Lady Gaga for “A Star Is Born,” Olivia Colman for “The Favourite,” and Melissa McCarthy for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” There really is no clear favorite, so Oscar is up for grabs!
She has savaged racist stereotypes of beauty.
Since the Netflix film debuted at the Venice Film Festival in early 2018, Aparicio has been gracing magazine covers worldwide. This cover for The Hollywood Reporter, where she looks amazing, smashed all the glass ceilings for Latinas in Hollywood, particularly considering the political climate in the US.
She has become an icon for indigenous women.
We are sad to admit that Mexico City’s society can be, well, pretty racist. Indigenous women who migrate from the countryside often face discrimination and try to “blend in” by hiding their heritage. Not our Yalitza, who owns an amazing self-confidence that we should all learn from.
She is a proud oaxaqueña.
Aparicio hails from the state of Oaxaca, a region that has historically struggled against colonial forces that steal land, as Aparicio’s character in Roma tells us. This region has a long history of struggle and political involvement.
She is bilingual.
As shown in Roma, Aparicio is bilingual. She speaks Spanish and Mixtec, an ancient language that you can hear in Mexico City if you pay close attention. She was coached by her best friend during production, though.
She was studying to be a school teacher.
Alfonso Cuaron was growing frustrated with his search for the perfect Cleo. Hundreds of candidates paraded before his eyes until a student by the name of Yalitza showed the depth and fortitude he was looking for. If she hadn’t been chosen, those kids would have been lucky to have a teacher as awesome as her.
Her Vogue Mexico cover received some racist backlash.
Yes, when this cover was unveiled some pretty nasty racist white Mexicans mocked Aparicio on social media, which shows that there is a long way to come concerning race relations in contemporary Mexico. Her answer: a dignified silence.
She is only 25.
She recently celebrated her 25th birthday with the Roma family while the cast and crew were doing the festival and awards circuit. The sky is the limit for this awesome actress!
She didn’t want to attend the casting call.
She was just coming along with her sister, and she auditioned just out of curiosity. She was suspicious of whether the casting call was real, as sometimes women get lured into fame and fortune to be abducted and possibly sold.
She has become a Mexico City icon.
Roma has become the epitome of the Mexico City movie and has hit hard on the chilango nostalgia. Here we see Aparicio on the cover of Chilango magazine, which chronicles the cultural and social life of the city.
Timemagazine says: the best performance of the year.
Aparicio has wowed audiences and critics. Time magazine chose her as the best actor of 2018, over established names like Ethan Hawke. What they say: “Her performance is the kind of jewel a filmmaker could seek forever and never find.” Cuaron is one lucky dude.
The New York Timeshas named her the discovery of the year.
It is not often that a woman of color convinces American media that she is the real deal, let alone someone of indigenous origin. The New York Timeshas highlighted the command that Yalitzia has of the screen, and the ways in which she uses silence to convey deep emotional struggles.
Her life has made a 180-degree turn in the past few months. She is still humble and proud, and not blinded by the glitz and glamour. She told The Guardian: “I don’t think I am an actor because I haven’t studied to be an actress.”
She had no idea of who Cuaron was.
When she attended the casting call, she faced a guy who was just any other guy to her. She has told The Guardian: “It was only when I went to my final casting that I got to meet Alfonso, although it didn’t make any difference to me because I didn’t have a clue who he was or his role in the film industry.” Perhaps her innocence is what made her shine during the audition.
She has inspired activists North and South of the border.
Her role as Cleo has inspired those who fight for the rights of domestic workers in the United States and in Mexico. By highlighting how workers can have a fundamental emotional role in the family dynamics, Roma speaks the truth to thousands of employers and employees.
She was extremely shy before filming.
Aparicio did not like to be under the spotlight. In fact, she had to ignore the cameras while filming which is perhaps one of the factors that made her performance so natural and free.
Her mother was a domestic worker.
For Aparicio, Roma was a tribute to her own mother, who was a domestic worker. She understood how bonds are created between employees and particularly the children they care for.
She wants to study acting.
This is not the end of Aparicio in the film industry. She is aware that she needs to learn her craft and wants to perfect it. We just hope she doesn’t end up being typecast like so many Latino actors in Hollywood and other cultural industries.
The Oscar nomination is not her only one.
This role has brought an avalanche of accolades. In addition to the Oscar, she has been nominated to awards such as the Chicago Film Critics Association, the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, the Hollywood Film Awards, the Gotham Awards, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, the Satellite Awards, and the Women Film Critics Circle.
Hollywood is in love with her.
Just look at Tom Hanks’ face when he met the nascent star.
Her parents fought for her name.
Mexican officials said that Yalitza was not a common name and refused initially to write it down in her birth certificate. She told Flood magazine: “My mom really loved it and my dad stuck to his guns”. Good on them.