Justina Machado Shares Upsetting Conversation She Had With a TV Executive
The One Day at a Time star was told that "we don't think America is ready for a Latino family."
In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Six Feet Under star Justina Machado shared an uncomfortable call she had with a TV executive earlier in her career. Machado was cast as the lead in the late '90s comedy pilot I Love Lupe, which featured a Latino family. When the pilot wasn't picked up to series, Machado, who was in her early 20s at the time, received a call from the executive to explain why. "He literally called my house, nice man ... and said, 'My God, your pilot is so great. Everybody loves you, everybody. But we don't think America is ready for a Latino family,'" she recalled.
"That was acceptable for him to say — 'America's not ready for [a] Latino family," she added. "Like, what? And that was the '90s! And look at today. How many Latino families do you see on television? So America better get ready because we're here. We're here."
Machado, who's currently competing on season 29 of the ABC show Dancing With the Stars, also shared how her experience has been on the dance competition show. "I literally have this big caldero that you make arroz con gandules in," she said. "I can't even make any arroz con gandules in there anymore because it has become the pot for my feet. Gross, right? Every day when I come home, my routine is dunking my feet in there with ice. The first week and a half of rehearsals, forget about it — I was crying. I was like, 'Oh, what did I do?' Everything hurts me, why did I do this?'"
Machado currently plays single mom and military veteran Penelope Alvarez on the sitcom One Day at a Time, which ran for three seasons on Netflix before getting picked up by the Pop network. "I always believed that this show belongs on a network," she said. "I love streaming. People love to stream. I understand that's the thing, but in reality, network just reaches more households. ... We only have three weeks, but that's OK. I just want people to watch it, because if they watch it, we'll get that fifth season."