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John Leguizamo Says He “Stayed Out of the Sun” So He Could Book More Roles

The Encanto star spoke candidly about Hollywood's colorism in a recent interview

john leguizamo says he stayed out of the sun to book more roles interview colorism in hollywood
John Leguizamo (photo via YouTube)
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    John Leguizamo acknowledged he used to stay out of the sun as much as possible in a deliberate effort to make booking roles easier as a “light-skinned” Latino.

    In a recent interview with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Leguizamo, who born in Colombia, said, “I stayed out of the sun so I could work. I definitely would not go in the sun for years. It was a conscious thing because I could work. And all the Latinos that made it so far, a lot of them were all light-skinned.”

    “[Darker-skinned Latinos] don’t get a shot, you know,” the actor continued. “So, there’s a lot of things we got to deal with in Hollywood, and we got to fix, and we got to speak out and we got to speak up.”

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    According to a USC study, only 7 percent of the top-grossing films from 2019 featured a lead or co-lead Hispanic/Latino actor. In hopes of bringing that number up to at least 20 percent, Leguizamo plans on running for Governor of the Academy, where he can have a more direct hand in addressing colorism in Hollywood and reducing “negative portrayals” of people of color.

    “You have to step up and make a change and change it from within,” he added. “I feel like if you’ve achieved a certain amount of success, it’s your duty to give back.”

    But Leguizamo has hope for the near future: “Things are improving,” he said. “I think COVID made us really look at ourselves in America. Black Lives Matter was a huge awakening for America, a reboot for America to look at themselves and see what’s going on. I think everybody’s trying to do the right thing and hire many more people of color.” Check out the interview below.

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    Most recently, Leguizamo appeared in Disney’s Encantowhich is set in Colombia.

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