Do Brazilians Get Enough Media Representation? Camila Mendes Doesn’t Think So
Brazilians are Latine. This isn’t a controversial statement, it’s a fact, and yet one that is often overlooked or outright rejected by mainstream media that focuses too much on the stereotypical depiction of our communities. For actress Camila Mendes, who portrays Veronica Lodge on the CW’s Riverdale, Brazilians like her don’t get enough representation.
In a clip posted on the Dear Media Podcast network TikTok account, Mendes is seen talking about her experience being Brazilian in the industry and how it leads to exclusion of her community because of Hollywood’s narrow understanding of what it means to be Latine.
“I wasn’t like this idea of a Latina that a lot of people expected me to be,” she says in the clip, where she’s seen talking to Going Mental’s host Eileen Kelly. “Being Brazilian is so nuanced, and it’s like, we’re not even Spanish speakers. A lot of the time they want Latinos that can speak Spanish.”
The actress even mentions how there are “no Brazilian characters, no Brazilian roles,” despite the fact that there are many recognizable Brazilian performers in Hollywood, from Rodrigo Santoro, who stars in the new series Wolf Pack, to Alice Braga, Morena Baccarin, Alfred Enoch, and even Mia Goth.
This reality is tied to the very idea Mendes refers to in her conversation, and the expectations that come with it contribute to this reality. Latin America is seen as one singular entity, when it is comprised of many different countries, which share some commonalities, yes, but they are not all the same.
Brazil is part of Latin America, and Brazilians also deserve representation. That means the idea of what being Latine means needs to evolve to include them and to reflect the diversity of a region that might have some commonalities, but that is made richer by its differences.
Catch Camila Mendes when Riverdale returns for its seventh and final season on March 29, 2023 on The CW. And you can listen to the Going Mental podcast here.