Jessica Alba on Latine Representation in “Trigger Warning”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Jessica Alba helm a movie – in 2018, she shifted focus to her multi-billion dollar sustainability brand The Honest Company, which she stepped down from. served as creative director in April. But in her latest film, “Trigger Warning,” Alba doesn’t just return to the screen; she also made a rare appearance as a Latina lead in an action film.

In the film, which was released on Netflix on June 21, Alba plays Parker, a U.S. special forces operative stationed abroad who returns to her homeland after learning her father has passed away ( she later discovered it was due to a murder). The “Dark Angel” and “Sin City” actress, who is also an executive producer on the film, said she made sure every detail behind her Mexican-American character was as authentic as possible. maybe.

It’s no secret that Latinos are a large audience but are still underrepresented on screen. According to UCLA’s 2021 Hollywood Diversity Report, Latinas made up just 5.4% of film leads and 5.7% of actors in any on-screen role that year. When we drill down into specific genres that many Latinas love — like horror, romantic comedies, and action films — the level of representation is even lower. But Alba’s return proves how much we need to see more of this.

“I feel like a lot when you see women in this genre; we’re either the damsel in distress or we’re the male version of a cool woman — pretty emotionless. [with] “I feel great playing someone with wild hair who wears vintage clothes,” Alba said. [clothes] and cowboy boots, and it feels very feminine and very human. Like someone who could be your neighbor and friend.”

The half-Mexican actress said she drew from her own experiences to bring all those layers and cultural nuances to the character of Parker. Viewers can see that reflected in everything from the music—like the film’s classic folk song “La Llorana”—to the choice of clothing.

“There are some films where I feel our culture is represented, but many don’t get it right.”

“When we talk about it, I really think the music has to be appropriate. There are some movies where I feel our culture is represented and a lot of movies where it’s not done properly. I like, I just want this.” to feel and just have a little taste to feel really in tune with what’s going on right now,” Alba said. She added that she created a Pinterest board of the style she wanted with Parker’s clothes, and costume designer, Samantha Hawkins, and director, Molly Surya, helped bring that whole idea to life. “Between the three of us, we really got to shape her and giving it that wonderful thorniness and authenticity.”

But perhaps there’s a deeper reason why Alba’s performance is so convincing. The film focuses on loss, and if Parker’s grief and devastation seems genuine, it’s because Alba herself was grieving the loss of one of her own while she was filming the series. movie.

“Oddly enough, my grandfather passed away around the time I was filming the movie, so I was really grieving for him, and it was a very emotional experience to be able to reflect and grieve with Parker. ,” she said. “A lot of my family photos are actually in the movie, so I actually got a little bit of my family into the movie.”

You can especially see Alba’s touch as executive producer in a scene where Parker finds himself navigating an uncomfortable conversation with an extremely conservative and racist senator. clan played by Anthony Michael Hall. He mocks the term Latinx while giving Parker recognition as a lovable Mexican among many in town.

“I don’t know exactly how that scene came to life, but I loved it, and it had a life of its own with Anthony Michael Hall, and I was sitting in that chair… like all the piercings Parker’s ancestral ears and clothing because it’s all vintage and vibrant,” she said. “And for this ding dong to sit there and try to put us down and be disrespectful in a flippant way, it all fails. This thing fits that scene perfectly. Like this is a flavor that I have never seen.” in a movie.”

The film, positioned as the launch of a series, took Netflix’s No. 1 spot over the weekend — proving that authentic storytelling is resonating with audiences. And while Alba is no stranger to action movies and performing stunts, “Trigger Warning” really fits her longtime dream of becoming a Latina action hero.

Johanna Ferreira is content director at PS Juntos. With over 10 years of experience, Johanna focuses on how intersectional identities are a central part of Latinx culture. Previously, she spent nearly three years as deputy editor at HipLatina, and she has freelanced for multiple outlets including Refinery29, Oprah magazine, Allure, InStyle, and Well+Good. She has also moderated and spoken on numerous panels on Latine identity.


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