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Ariana DeBose hopes she can pave the way for more queer Afro Latinas in Hollywood.
The 31-year-old actress became the first openly queer woman of colour to win an individual film Screen Actors Guild Award when she scooped the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role accolade on Sunday (27.02.22) and while it is an “honour” for her to be “seen”, she hopes her victory will help other women succeed in the future.
Speaking in the SAG Awards press room after her win at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar, she said: “I think it’s just indicative that the doors are opening.
“It’s an honour to be seen, it’s an honour to be an Afro-Latina – an openly queer woman of colour, a dancer, a singer, and an actor. It’s indicative to me that I will not be the last, and that’s the important part.
“Whatever firsts are attached to my name, they are immensely special to me, but I’m focused on the fact that if I’m the first of anything that means I won’t be the last.”
Ariana also paid tribute to Rita Moreno and Chita Rivera, who previously played Anita in ‘West Side Story’, for opening doors for her too.
She said: “The legacy of Anita means a great deal to me, for many different reasons.
“I’m a Broadway girl at heart. We speak so frequently about Rita Moreno, as we should, she’s legendary.
“But the OG Anita on stage is Chita Rivera, and I have looked up to Chita for such a long time. She [paved the] way for me on the stage for me to be able to do what I do in that facet of the industry.
“So, to be able to be a part of the legacy of Anita that includes both Chita and Rita—and now Ariana— it’s really special to me. And we’re all very different types of Latinas, that’s beautiful and important too.
“There’s no one way to be Latina or Hispanic. There are many beautiful ways. I think each one of us is a testament to that.”