Justina Machado on Latino Representation in Hollywood: 'We Have to Stop Thinking that Diversity is Just Black and White'

One Day at a Time's Justina Machado talks about what the Netflix show brings to the table and where Latino representation stands in Hollywood.

Justina Machado, star of Netflix’s One Day at a Time, is proud to be a part of a series that not only tackles topics like immigration, PTSD, and the LGBTQ community, but also brings these stories to live through a Cuban-American family. The actress recently sat down with PEOPLE CHICA to talk about her hit show and Latino representation in Hollywood.

“We have to stop thinking that diversity is just black and white,” she said. “There is a whole lot in between. We have to start telling these stories the way these stories are really told. First off, we have to get the opportunities. You’d be amazed at how there are still no opportunities. It’s shameful and just like Gina [Rodriguez] said, ‘When you don’t see yourself up there, it’s devastating.'”

Machado waffled over whether to star in the reboot of One Day at a Time,which originally ran nine seasons from 1975 to 1984, but once she saw that the storyline didn’t play into Latino stereotypes, the actress made up her mind. “I had a little reservation because I was hoping it wouldn’t turn into what we see sometimes, where we’re just the butt of the joke, where if we’re having a party [and] we have chiles hanging from the table. When I got the script, it was just so beautiful… so layered.”

Premiere Of Netflix's "One Day At A Time" Season 2 - Red Carpet
Araya Diaz/Getty Images

As a star in two Latino-centered shows, Jane the Virgin and One Day at a Time, the Puerto Rican actress is helping to fire up a cultural conversation about the importance of diversity in Hollywood and accepts it as her personal duty: “I do feel the responsibility but I welcome the responsibility,” she said. “I’m so grateful that I get to do something important with my art and open up doors and change Latino narratives — let people see themselves up there [on screen], let them identify with themselves up there and know that they can make it and do it also.”

Watch the entire interview with Justina Machado here.

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