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Nada de Prada for Latinos

A new movie venture has been manufactured and simulated for the American masses by Televisa-Lionsgate Latino project Pantilion.  This group of people decided to form this union in an attempt to get our hard-earned Hispanic/Latino dollars.  As it is we hardly see our likeness in major motion pictures and Hollywood has notoriously been labeled as Anti-Hispanic by viewers and participants in the movie industry.  Lionsgate and Televisa’s attempt to entertain Latinos in America, and in turn “educate” the rest of America, about our culture is a step in the right direction in this turmultious time.  In the light of g287, sb 1070, and the hundreds of unjust immigration issues occuring around the country, thousands of American Latinos are feeling racially profiled, targeted, and misunderstood.

I watched the trailer for a movie called “From Prada to Nada” directed by Angel Gracia and starring Camilla Belle, Alexa Vega, Wilmer Valderrama, Kuno Becker and Academy Award nominee Adriana Barraza. This movie shows Mexican Americans of Boyle Heights in lowrider cars, chomping churros, and thickly accented old ladies in peasant dresses.  The main characters lose their wealthy status  due to a cheating father and the rude awakening begins because another man/brother cheats them out of what is rightfully theirs. What does this teach our young women?  What assumptions about Mexican American men are being drawn by the public?

Alexa Vega’s character also sports bleached blonde hair and denies her heritage until she is scared to death in coming face to face with a chola who has painted her skin whiter than any thing and calling Vega “a white girl”!  I was horrified at that particular move of “white” made-up Latina’s facing off.  Just what is the director implying here?!  This glimpse into what the movie will look like, hurts my feelings. I implore the makers of this film: “WHY didn’t you call Josefina Lopez? or Michele Serros to make a movie for you?!  They are real deal Chicanas FROM Los Angeles!!”


International filmmaker Gracia is from Venenzuela, but what could he really know about being a Chicano in East LA? I was raised in the barrios of Denver Harbor, Houston and the Westlawn area of San Antonio, Texas.  I feel that I can say with accuracy that lowrider neighborhoods look nothing like the movie indicates.  Also, it is heartbreaking  that despite all of our civil rights movement efforts, our culture is reduced to these caricatures of what they think we look like. While I agree that the United States needs to recognize and pay us Latinos for our vision and culture, I think this first attempt is a miss and a great injustice for us all.    How does your Latino heritage in contemporary Hollywood play out? What is your take on this movie?

By guest contributor, Viktoria Valenzuela.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. You should watch the film… then make a better assessment of this movie. We went to a pre-screening and the Los Angeles audience really enjoyed it. I agree this is a… tumultuous time for Latino, but this isn’t a political film. This is a romantic comedy that is actually quite heart-warming.

  2. Perhaps I will, Rusty.

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