“Really? You’re Spanish? You don’t look Spanish.”
I bit my lip and counted to three — half wanting to laugh, half wanting to “get all up in your grill” to the person commenting on my appearance upon first meeting me.
Umm..because you mean I’m not writhing against a wall, steam pouring out of a dress stretched over my skin, while I lick my lips and wink at anything having a pulse?
You mean like that?
What surprises me, in this day and age, is how Latina women as a group are dumped into the same hot sexy soup as Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Modern Family star Sofia Vergara.
Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be part of a group of women who are thought of as some of the most beautiful on the planet.
But we are not all alike.
We are not all brown sugar skin, coal black eyes, with hair that shines like a lake in moonlight.
My father, who was from South America, had blonde hair and green eyes. My South American mother has skin so white she can’t step out into the sun for longer than three minutes or she is sunburned. My own hair has natural reddish highlights and two of my children have green eyes. My third has eyes so blue I actually gasped the first time I saw them.
While on Twitter a few weeks ago, I kidded someone about sneaking her into a Latino event I was invited to.
“Yeah, except I have blonde hair and white skin,” she answered, “they’d know I didn’t belong there.”
“That’s no problem,” I tweeted back. “My niece has blonde hair and white skin. We’re not all dark. Some of us are light. Some of us are medium. Some of us are dark.”
I waited a few minutes, I didn’t get a response back.
I tweeted again, “Just letting you know, we’re all different. As different as all of you are. No hurt feelings, just letting you know.”
Maybe the no response back was due to being embarrassed, but I meant no embarrassment or public scolding. I saw the opportunity to bring something out in the open, and I decided to act on it.
Latinas, we are all as different as you can imagine. We have eyes in every color possible, hair in every texture there is, skin in as many tones as one can think of.
We are as individual in our behavior and personalities, too. We are not just simmering sexpots with only one thing on our minds.
I love that we are seen as passionate, soulful, larger than life women. It’s the fear that that’s the only way we’ll come to be seen that saddens me: we are so much more.
So very, very much more.
And FYI: Sofia Vergara and I both are Colombian. But, why does it surprise people that we don’t look more alike?