RODRIGO ARANGUA / AFP / Getty Images
Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio expresses herself during an interview with AFP in Mexico City on January 29, 2019.
About a month after graduating from Aparicio, the famous Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón traveled through Mexico to star in an autobiographical film about his childhood in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City in the 1970s. The film is centered on a character named Cleo, based on the governess and nanny of Cuarón, Liboria "Libo" Rodrígue.
Aparicio had no intention of auditioning the film when Cuarón came to Oaxaca to find the ideal actress to play Cleo. Her older sister, Edith, had planned to audition this role but, because of her pregnancy, she urged Aparicio to consider passing an audition instead.
At the time of his hearing, Aparicio, who had not yet seen any film of Cuarón, was inspired by his mother, domestic. When she learned the role, her mother was the first person she thought of. "At that time, when he proposed the role, all I could think was that it was an opportunity to make my mother proud," she told New York. Times. "I guess my mother is even more proud right now."
Now, Aparicio hopes the film will encourage discussions about the working conditions of domestic workers like her mother and her character, Cleo. "I think that the role Alfonso gave me, and his interest in my character in his film, really drew attention to the plight of domestic workers and raised awareness of the need to treat them better and give them certain rights. "
In December, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled that more than 2 million housewives, gardeners, cooks and drivers were qualified for social security and that many "Roma" – and Aparicio – had expanded recent discussions about race and equality.
"In the end, it's not that different from what I wanted to do," she told the New York Times. "I realized that the film can educate people of all ages, in a big way."
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