Chrissie Fit, who plays thickly accented Flo in the third installment of Pitch Perfect, realized her passion for theater at five-years-old, performing impromptu song-and-dance routines at family gatherings. It wouldn’t be until she got older that she would face discrimination as a young Latina trying to make it in Hollywood. Before landing any roles, an acting coach recommended she change “Fit” to her mother’s maiden name, Gutierrez, to accentuate her Latin roots. But she dropped her coach instead and hasn’t looked back.
“I thought about changing it for a second,” admitted the Cuban-American actress to PEOPLE CHICA. “But then I decided to drop the acting class instead. Just because my name isn’t a typical Latino name doesn’t make me any less Latina. That’s my father’s name and I love him so much so I’m glad I didn’t change it.”
In the end, her last name wasn’t an obstacle: She ended up nabbing a starring role as Mercedes on General Hospital and in Disney’s Teen Beach Movie franchise as CheeChee. But it’s her role in Pitch Perfect she finds most refreshing. “I love that Flo has an offbeat sense of humor,” she said. “She’s dark, sarcastic, and dry. A lot of times they want to over-sexualize Latinas on TV and in films. I’m happy I get to play a sometimes morbid character.”
Proud of her roots, the actress hopes to see a change in how the entertainment industry depicts Latinas. “My biggest battle is against the Hollywood image of a Latina. Or what they think it should be. The skin color, sex appeal, and body type they’re comfortable with. I’ve heard things like, ‘We want someone that’s just Latina enough.’ It’s such BS! We come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. That’s why I think we need more Latinas behind the camera and making decisions.” To help affect change, Fit hopes to write and develop her own projects alongside women, especially Latinas.
Pitch Perfect 3 is out in theaters on Dec. 22.