A disturbing pattern led Gloria Calderón Kellett to reimagine her role in Hollywood and become one of the leading voices calling for improved Latino representation.
Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Calderón Kellett would come home from school and watch “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” while her grandmother would sew draperies or cook dinner for their close-knit, Cuban American family. Fascinated by the shows, Calderón Kellett said she began dreaming about working in television.
Years before becoming producer and showrunner for the much-loved reboot of “One Day at a Time,” Calderón Kellett became an actress. But she found herself reading for stereotypical Latina roles as a gangbanger’s girlfriend or a gangbanger’s sister.
“It just became so frustrating to me that there wasn’t a school teacher, a social worker… nothing, nada,” Calderón Kellett said. “Hollywood had such a myopic view of who we are and what we are.”
It was then when Calderón Kellett realized that to make an impact in the industry, she would have to learn how to write for TV and eventually craft the authentic stories that she wanted to see on screen.
She began by writing and directing plays and later worked on several shows, including “How I Met Your Mother,” “Rules of Engagement,” “Devious Maids” and “iZombie.”
“I want there to be a better understanding of who we (Latinos) are by people who don’t know any of us and I want us to rise,” she said.