Celebrity Spotlight: Yalitza Aparicio

With the release of the Oscar nominations for 2019, the buzz around Roma is more pronounced than ever. Making her debut in the film, Yalitza Aparicio plays Cleo, the servant to an upper-middle class family during the political turmoil of 1970s Mexico City. The black and white Spanish film has little dialogue, making Aparicio’s moving portrayal of Cleo all the more impressive. Cleo cooks, cleans, and cares for the children of the family, devoting herself entirely to them, even as she undergoes her own personal hardships. The film is based on the director, Alfonso Cuarón’s, upbringing in Mexico, shedding light on a lifestyle that is rarely depicted in American media. Nominated for best actress, Aparicio is the first Indigenous Mexican woman and only the second Mexican woman to be nominated in the history of the awards. With critics praising Roma and Aparicio’s groundbreaking performance, we can only hope that she continues her promising career in acting. Yalitza Aparicio was raised by a single mother who worked as a maid. Aparicio holds a teaching degree in early childhood education and has no formal training in acting. In fact, it was her sister who was originally asked to audition for Roma, but being pregnant, she convinced Aparicio to try out. In an interview with the New York Times, Aparicio drew a parallel between her original goal to become a teacher with her unexpected position bringing attention to the issues of race, ethnicity, and class.