Noemi Gonzalez Explains How She's Redefining Beauty Standards in Hollywood (Exclusive)
Noemi Gonzalez charmed audiences with her performance as Soli Gomez on Hulu’s East Los High and shortly after on The Young and the Restless. She shares with ET her take on beauty standards in Hollywood and how it’s important to stay true to your identity. Gonzalez will appear next on Netflix’sSelena: The Series.
In her own words:
When I think of beauty standards and the way society perceives the concept, my authenticity and social programming are at odds with one another. Can I be authentically me and beautiful at the same time?
Growing up, I loved music and movies, but I didn’t expect to become an actress. When I moved to Los Angeles, California, everyone was using words like “brand,” “image,” and “social media presence.” It made me take a step back. I looked around and I looked at myself. I also knew words like “authenticity,” “spirit,” and “consciousness.” I realized I had a long road ahead of me if I wanted others to see me as me.
My next thought was my body. How would my curves be susceptible to inevitable stereotypes? I want to be recognized for my talents and not just the banging body. I decided to take a stance. I decided to love myself first and always. I decided I was going to rebel against the norm simply by existing wholly as I am. I wasn’t going to lose my curves, drop weight in order to fit a certain mold. Was it more challenging? Yes. Did I lose jobs because of it? Probably. But I wanted to find fulfillment in my work and in my public presence on my terms, nobody else’s.
In my opinion, authenticity and social programming are two key factors that influence how you perceive yourself, personally and publicly. The important thing is your identity and knowing how to protect it in the current chaos we live in. Nobody can speak on what or how you should identify. It is your agency and autonomy. It’s a construct for you and you alone to build. I’m grateful that I took a stance.
A year ago, I was fortunate to book the role of Mia Rosales on the iconic daytime drama The Young and the Restless. I loved Mia. I would play her again, but only if I time traveled to the ‘80s when there was no social media. Because what I do not miss about portraying Mia is being bashed and ridiculed publicly for not being skinny, manufactured, or white enough for the soap opera demographic.
I began to second-guess my self-love, body shape, and what I found to be beautiful about myself. I was shaken. I stayed quiet. I kept my head down, stayed in the work. It was a very challenging time. But I am thankful for the growth, experience, and the fans I have gained who knew I did it all for them.
The same week I finished my work as Mia Rosales, I auditioned for Selena: The Series and secured the role of Suzette Quintanilla, the sister of the late Selena. Our icon.
For this role, I cut my signature long hair, changed my overall appearance, and learned how to play the drums -- it was a full transformation if you ask me. But I was ready to step up to represent Suzette and our beloved Selena.
Stepping into this role was different. And, without my long hair as a security blanket, I was really relearning what I loved about myself. I have a theory that because I was already aware of society’s unrealistic beauty expectations, my transformation was a journey of more self-love. Not having long hair and putting on extra body weight allowed me to feel liberated. Not having long hair will allow people to see all of me. I got more thick, more plump, and I felt good taking up more space just by existing. I began receiving more compliments than I expected and overt praise with how I was handling such a drastic transformation with grace.
I’ve never felt more fulfilled and beautiful. Looking back, it was the trifecta of my conscious learning, my decision to feel beautiful, but more than anything, it was my stance for personal fulfillment that has me feeling authentic, real, and satisfied. You can too. They say, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
I hope you decide to fall in love with yourself.
-- Noemi Gonzalez
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