Patricia Rae, who acts as Madonna Soto in “The Big Wedding”, out in theatres October 26th, co-stars with some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters – Robert DeNiro, Susan Surandon, Robin Williams, and Katherine Heigl, to name a few.
When I interviewed Patricia about her experience on set with Hollywood’s elite, Rae replied, “It was the opportunity of a lifetime. You can spend a lifetime and never get this far.” As Rae shared her favorite moment on set (when she accidentially tripped during a taping and Diane Keaton broke her fall) it was clear to me, that she had indeed made it. Although Rae is extremely humble, she is no Hollywood newcomer. She is best known for her dynamic role in “Maria Full Of Grace” and Rae once again, humanizes the Latina stereotype for all of America in “The Big Wedding.”
Rae plays a Colombian in “Maria Full of Grace” as well as in “The Big Wedding.” When asked, “How did it feel to represent your own cultural group?” Rae responded, “It was awesome. I was proud that they were going to tell such a story about immigrants and from their point of view.” Her character, Madonna Soto, was originially supposed to be Ecuadorian, but the culture and customs were so different from Rae’s Colombian background, that the director allowed her to make the character Colombian. Rae’s choice to play a character of her own cultural background further solidifies the vast diversity of the Latino community’s customs and cultures. Rae said, “It was so much easier to bring the Colombian experience to the film and it was a shout-out to my family.” Playing a Latina on the silver screen is not only a shout out to her family, but all Latinos.
After facing obstacles as a Latina actress, Rae constantly strives towards making the characters, that she plays, positive Latina figureheads. “When I started acting, Latinos in the film and television landscape did not have positive images. There wasn’t really anyone to look up to. We were still playing villains or subservient characters (maid, illegal immigrant, gang member). Today, we are representative of all fields. You still have to go through the experience and accept the bad roles, but give the stereotypes a human face with real issues.” Rae’s plethora of show business knowledge led me to ask one final question, “What would your advice be for Latinas looking to enter the acting industry?” Rae’s reply was quite simply beautiful, “It is an amazing time for a young artist to enter any industry. Now is our time. We are just beginning to see the tides change. We need to be as prepared as possible. Do the work, study, read, open your mind, live you life, pay attention. Dedicate yourself and be ready to be patient…it’s the journey, not the end result.” As if Rae’s quote was not powerful enough, look for more of her wisdom in her memoir, “How to Make it in the Middle”, due out sometime around the premiere of “The Big Wedding”.