Rita Moreno is the first and only Latina Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner.
The Carolina Union Activities Board and Carolina Latina/o Collaborative hosted Moreno, a Puerto Rican actress and singer, on Friday evening in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Moreno discussed topics ranging from to the struggles of minority women overall to her experiences with typecasting in the industry.
“These roles objectified us,” Moreno said. “They almost always portrayed us as ignorant, uneducated, totally passive, unable to read and write and morally bankrupt because usually we were some white man’s mistress.”
Moreno said her first opportunity to play a woman, particularly a Hispanic woman, who stood up for herself was her role as Anita in the 1961 film "West Side Story."
“Her suffering, her anger, were my suffering and my anger — becoming Anita turned into a personal mission for me,” Moreno said. “Just like her, I had fled down those mean streets in fear of the gangs, chased and haunted by that awful word ‘spic.’ ”
Jackie Ceron, a senior public policy major, said she could relate to Moreno’s discussion of the obstacles minority women face.
“It does not only apply to the film industry, I think it applies to other fields,” Ceron said. “As a minority woman, that resonated with me.”
Diana Regalado, the director of education and culture for Carolina Latina/o Collaborative said Moreno is influential to aspiring Hispanic entertainers and the Hispanic community as a whole.