A Vanguard

” 

Lucinda Martinez, Netflix

I believe that through art, we can share our most vulnerable selves and make others feel less alone. Art can bring meaning to our struggles and help us...not only to heal but to self-actualize. 

I love to tell stories through unlikely heroes that transcend socioeconomic and racial divides and dignify marginalized voices of color...NOT DESPITE where they come from, But BECAUSE of where they come from. 

I grew up in the welfare projects of Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York. As a teen, I struggled with low self-esteem associated with my generational poverty, parental addiction, and the loss of my father to AIDS. 

 

After a life-changing school stageplay experience, I sought to pursue acting as a career. I was excited to fit into fictitious new worlds more manageable than my own. But as my artistic commitment and integrity deepened, so did my frustration at the lack of on-screen narratives depicting my Urban American Latinx experience. 

It brought me to research that revealed the connections between self-esteem and representation in the fictional world. I learned that representation in the media we consume signifies social existence and that the absence of representation equates to SYMBOLIC ANNIHILATION.

"SYMBOLIC ANNIHILATION" is the idea that you must somehow be unimportant if you do not see people like you in the media you consume. 

I learned about the technology (developed USC-Google-Geena Davis Institute) proving gender inequity in media. Male actors are seen and heard twice as much as their female counterparts. I also learned of the profound disparity of my Latinx community in media. The US Latinx population is 18.7%, but account for only 7.1% of leading roles, 7.7% of overall cast, 5.6% of writers, and 7.1% of directors.

I am passionate about bringing fierce females and Latinx perspectives to film and television. I aim to inspire through unlikely heroes and champion the promise in marginalized communities.

-Elaine Del Valle