Lupe Ontiveros has been acting regularly in high profile TV shows and movies since 1976. In all of those years, Ontiveros calculates that she’s played a maid 150 times.
Yes — 150.
Granted, many of those maid characters have been incredibly memorable characters. Take Ontiveros’ turn as the loveable and easily traumatized maid Roaslita in Goonies: Ontiveros was hilarious in the film, but still to play a maid over and over again is pretty insulting to an actress’ range and ethnicity.
Ontiveros yearns to play roles that were “written for white women.” Unfortunately, for Latina actresses in her age bracket, complex parts are hard to come by. Things are looking better for the next generation of Latina actresses, like America Ferrera, but still, it’s hard to find many roles out there for Latinas that don’t involve picking up the laundry of the main characters.
In an interview with NPR, Ontiveros said that she would love to play a lesbian. I assume this would mean a lesbian who is not a maid.