Former The Young and the Restless star Noemi Gonzalez (ex-Mia Rosales) is currently preparing for the premiere of her new Netflix drama, Selena: The Series, in which she plays the late singer's sister, Suzette Quintanilla. While there has been a flurry of excitement about the drama set to debut in December, Gonzalez has used the time leading up to the series' premiere to open up about a disappointing side to Hollywood: the unrealistic beauty standards.
In a heartfelt open letter shared with Entertainment Tonight, the actress says that it's important to stay true to your identity, which can be very difficult in the acting world. However, she knew that she wanted to be recognized for her talents -- not her body -- so she took a stance very early on in her career.
"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," she writes. "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."
Gonzalez says she is grateful that she took that stance, but it has often been difficult. In fact, she says that starring on Y&R from late 2018 to mid-2019 was one of the most challenging work experiences she's had yet.
"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," she shares. "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."
She continues, "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."
As Y&R fans may recall, Mia was a controversial character who shook up the canvas when she cheated on Rey (Jordi Vilasuso) with his brother Arturo (Jason Canela) -- not for the first time -- which didn't exactly make her the most likable character on the show. She didn't stay in Genoa City long, arriving in November of 2018 and leaving in May of 2019.
The same week that Gonzalez finished her work at Y&R, she auditioned for Selena: The Series and landed the role of Suzette, for which she had to cut her hair and transform other aspects of her physical look.
"Stepping into this role was different. And, without my long hair as a security blanket, I was really relearning what I loved about myself," she says. "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."
The result, she says, is, "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."
For Gonzalez's full letter, visit ET.'
As Soap Central previously reported, Selena: The Series is a biographical drama that will tell the story of Selena, the Mexican-American singer and songwriter of hits like "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" and "Dreaming of You," who was murdered by her manager/fan club president around the time she shot to international fame. It is being produced by Campanario Entertainment with Selena's father and sister, who have authorized this version of the late singer's story. The Walking Dead alum Christian Serratos is set to play Serena, while Desperate Housewives alum Ricardo Chavira will be playing the family patriarch Abraham.
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