Ariana DeBose on How West Side Story Made Her Feel Like She Was "Enough"
DeBose took over the role, portrayed by Rita Moreno in the 1961 version of the film, and breathed a new, more relevant life into it.
But the confidence that she portrayed on screen, wasn't necessarily mirrored early on in her audition process. In a conversation for Vanity Fair, DeBose sat down with former Hamilton co-star Lin-Manuel Miranda to discuss their individual journeys in the seven years they've known each other.
At one point during the chat, the actress revealed how she had a fear that she "less of what she was" because she was not fluent in Spanish.
She recalls the moment when she and the Encanto composer met when she initially moved to New York.
DeBose tells Miranda, "You meet me when I first got to New York, and I was just trying to be an actor, right? And I remember, I was like, 'I'm Puerto Rican.' And you were like, 'Eres puertorriqueña.' And I was like, 'hmm,' because I do not speak Spanish, I'm not fluent."
She continued, "And I thought, for the longest time, that made me less of what I was. And maybe I shouldn't talk about my background because perhaps I didn't represent the community well enough."
DeBose credits the movie with helping her feel like she was "enough," regardless if she could speak Spanish or not.
"And so, when the movie came around, and even just deciding to walk in the room. I was like, 'I don't know if I'm really what you're looking for. I have the skill set, but maybe my background isn't good enough.'"
"I was pleasantly surprised that this group of people was like, 'No, you are very much enough. And we love you, we will hold your hand. You are our Anita,'" she concluded.
Check out the full interview below.