Annie González brings Latina life to the screen in the forthcoming Jenni Rivera biopic

The challenging, yet rewarding journey of Latina representation in Hollywood through the lens of Annie González's transformative roles.

Annie González is currently celebrating the success of her participation in the film “Flamin’Hot,” directed by Eva Longoria, and the great expectations for her role as Jenni Rivera in the upcoming movie about the life of the late Mexican-American artist because it presents the true Latina woman.

“The film is a celebration of complex Latinas,” the actress told EFE in Miami after her return from Colombia after filming “JENNI,” the project’s working title authorized by the children of the so-called Gran Señora.

“Rarely is it shown in depth what our women are and live, nor is the hardness shown, nor are the most difficult moments humanized,” the 30-year-old actress indicated.

“I have played many stereotypical roles, such as the Chola (a low-income urban Mexican-American woman of tough appearance and character). That’s why it’s so special to have the opportunity to tell these stories of Latina women,” she emphasized.

The Mexican-American performer got her start in show business two decades ago. At just 10 years old, she was part of the cast of the German series filmed in California, “Comedy Kids.”

Since then, she hasn’t stopped working, although it took her almost fifteen years to get the role that brought her out of anonymity. It was the lawyer Lidia Solis in the hit Netflix series “Gentefied,” whose two seasons premiered in 2020 and 2021.

Breaking Stereotypes

“Lidia marks a before and after for me because it was the opportunity to show a Mexican-American woman, like me, who grew up in the barrio, who came out without disconnecting with her roots, and who went on to become a college professor at East LA College and then gets hired from Stanford,” she recalled.

But she also did it without “changing her cultural code, with half her head shaved and the rest of her lifelong look, in all its glory. It was very powerful to show that you can be successful without changing who you are or how you express yourself,” she recalled.

Next came the role of Judy Montañez, the wife of Richard Montañez, the main character in the movie “Flamin’ Hot.”

“Judy is Richard’s backbone. She is his strength through her support and steadfastness, but she is also a woman with incredible depth. She’s the kind of Latina woman character we still desperately need,” she stressed.

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Gonzalez also says that the roles she has played over the past four years have reconnected her with her and her family’s emotional experiences. In Lidia, she encountered her mother’s dreams. In Judy, she saw an aunt who had recently passed away.

“When my cousin saw the film, he hugged me crying and told me I had brought his mom back to him,” she recounted.

However, she says that her portrayal of Jenni Rivera has impacted her.

“I didn’t know much about Jenni before I got into the role. I am a sixth-generation Mexican (in the United States), so I knew about her but not the details of her life, and I was very surprised to learn that we had faced many similar challenges,” she acknowledged.

Among others, they both grew up in very Mexican areas of what is known as Greater Los Angeles, where they had to fight “like lionesses” to get ahead in their artistic careers, and they also lived through tough personal situations.

Rivera, who died in a plane crash in December 2012, recounted her experience as a teenage mother at age 15, a rape, three failed marriages, the case against her first husband for the sexual abuse of Chiquis, their eldest daughter, and many other dark moments she experienced throughout her 42 years.

For the actress, it was a surprise that playing Jenni Rivera during the hardest episodes of her life was positive for her. “Reliving the trauma through her was healing. I am at peace now,” she said.

She pointed out that this is a sign of the importance of continuing to give herself to roles that give Latinas more visibility because “we are much more than what has been taught about us and seeing us, seeing our stories as they are, validates the experiences and gives us all strength.”

The film “JENNI,” authorized and partly produced by Jenni Rivera Enterprises, will be released in theaters in Mexico and the United States later this year and can be seen on the platform.