Ana Ortiz Talks LGBTQ in 'Love, Victor' and Overcoming Latino Machismo

 Love Victor Ana Ortiz Michael Cimino

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, the LGBTQ community is also part of the conversation when it comes to equal rights. A new Hulu series, "Love, Victor" tackles the subject with a coming of age story starring Michael Cimino (ANABELLE COMES HOME) as Victor and Ana Ortiz (“Whiskey Cavalier,” “Ugly Betty”) as mom. The actress opens up about her character who may not be accepting of her son's orientation because of machismo culture.

Premiering June 19, Hulu's new original series, "Love, Victor," stars a LatinX LBGTQ lead (Michael Camino), and is a follow-up to LOVE, SIMON, a 2018 feature film adapted from the Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Victor is a new student at Creekwood High School on his own journey of self-discovery, and facing challenges at home, as he explores his sexual orientation. He often texts with Simon to help him navigate the ups and downs of finding himself.

In the new normal, CineMovie spoke with Ana via Zoom in the middle of chaos in the world specifically in the United States.

CineMovie:
How are you holding up during this mad, mad world?

 

Ana:
Well, you know, taking it day by day, right?


CineMovie:
Congratulations on the show.

 

Ana:

Thank you. Thank you so much.

 

CineMovie:
There are a bunch of shows now that have Latino leads representing LGBT and here's another one. And this show is so sweet. I got up to episode four.

 

Ana:
You've seen more than me. I haven't seen any of it. I feel amazing. I feel so proud of the work we're doing. I feel so proud that it seems very timely right now. I feel so proud because in our community we've never had a show like this and I think representation really does matter. I know we hear that a lot, but I think that this is an opportunity for the Latinx kids and the adults, because, you know, the family really has a lot to struggle with in terms of Victor's identity of him trying to find out who he is. And I know that from my own experience it's a very hard thing to talk about and to express. Our culture is for better or worse still has an extremely... it's extremely still machismo. And so I think of the show and the struggle that we're going through. They really took the time to represent it honestly but with humor and with these brilliant, brilliant young actors. So I'm over the moon and I'm so excited for it. We went to see it.

 

CineMovie:
Yes. It's a good balance because the parents are not bad people. It's just that the culture doesn't accept it. So I think the show handles it very well. Usually they portray the parents as super religious and just not likable, but it's very understandable in how they're treading the subject. It's very accurate.

 

Ana:
And that was so exciting to play because it really felt so close to me. My family... I was raised Catholic. I still consider myself Catholic, but it's something that I struggle with so much in my daily life, because I so many problems with the Catholic church on a lot of issues. Right. So for me to be able to portray someone who is blindly accepting of that, and really, truly to the core of her really believed that and yet also is fiercely passionate and protective of her family and loves them more than anything on the earth. And so to see that struggle, that so many people in my family have had to go through with any member of my family coming out or wanting to come out...to be able to sort of really try to have a way for people to crack open that conversation. And for a young kid, whoever he or she may be to see the show and say, 'well, maybe this is how I can start the conversation with my family. Maybe I can sit and watch this show with them and they can see the struggle that I'm going through in that I understand their struggle too. And still to be able to have a lot of funny light moments and still to have that humor that we as Latinos really do have that sense of joy and love. I'm so excited about it and I'm really proud of the show.

 Love Victor Ana Ortiz James Martinez

CineMovie:
And you're not just playing a mom, you've got a secret!

 

Ana:
There's no fun if there are no secrets.

 

CineMovie:
As an actress that must be nice because in all these shows targeted for younger adults, the parents are kind of in existence, but here you have a lot of layers. There's tension between the married couple, right?

 

Ana:
Yes. Well, that's another thing that really drew me to the show when they sent me the script. I spoke to the creators and they said we really need for the parents to be a big part of this show specifically because this is a Latino family and we are, for the most part, this has been my experience too, very close knit. We keep our family very close to us, extended family and beyond. We're just a very sort of family oriented culture. And so it was really exciting to know that we weren't just going to be sort of the backdrop that we had this full story of our own, and that we had this full drama happening with us. And so it's a really well-rounded show. It's something that I would want to watch with my kids. It's not just for young adults, you know what I mean? Like it's one of those that I think parents would be happy to watch with their kids as well. It's great. I'm so glad to see that there are show creators out there who are writing really provocative, entertaining content out there for people of color specifically for the Latinx generation right now. Because like I said before, I think we as a community really struggle with homophobia. And I think that this is a way to sort of start cracking away at that boulder and really start chipping away at it and making us all more inclusive.

 Love Victor Michael Cimino Ana Ortiz James Martinez

CineMovie:
What perfect casting. Michael is just so sweet in the show, and you're really rooting for him.

 

Ana:
He is. I can't tell you all of these young actors, I have never been so inspired on a set working with so many young people. They are so about the work they were so about getting it right. When I tell you that half of them wouldn't even bring their phones to set.

 

CineMovie:
Oh, wow!

 

Ana:
No really! They wouldn't be on there doing selfies, and on Instagram. In between takes, we would be speaking to one another, having conversations, talking about issues, talking about politics and voting. I was literally every day on set, I was blown away. And I think that Michael is the perfect leader for our show. He came in prepared. He came in filled with emotion and ideas and the desire to really get it right, to get it truthful. And we clicked as a family instantly. It was like nothing I've experienced since "Ugly Betty" really.

 

CineMovie:
Wow. That's surprising. Younger people are so annoying with their phones especially in a work place environment.

 

Ana:
I know I was absolutely shocked. These kids were in it and I was really, really proud of them. I still am. I am proud of them.

 

CineMovie:
The show really captures the bicultural family. I was looking at the credits. You can't judge by name only, but any of the behind the scenes people, Latino or do they get inspiration from the cast?

 

Ana:
No. The show creator made a very, very good point of having a lot of Latinos, Latinx writing in the writer's room and were LGBTQ, some were straight or women. I felt so safe and so represented when I get the scripts. That being said, they would also let us add our own thing into the script, right? I'm Puerto Rican and the writers were, I think Cuban Mexican, I think Ecuadorian. I can't remember. I'm feeling terrible now that I don't remember, but that's so bad. But they let us add in our little flavor here and there and we could improv things in the scene and they were totally completely open to us expressing that. Like we would never let our kids leave the house without saying "bendicion" (blessing) or I like he has to give me a kiss goodbye. There's just no way he's leaving the house without giving me, you know, just things like that. These little, little details that I think really matter. They were super, super open and really wanted us to participate that way.

 Whiskey Cavalier Scott Foley Lauren Conrad Ana Ortiz

CineMovie:
Okay. You were on "Whiskey Cavalier." What is like as an actor having a show cancelled after the first season?

 

Ana:
"Whiskey Cavalier" broke my heart. That was a heartbreaker. I loved that show. I've never been able to play a character like that. We shot in Prague so we were traveling all over. I had my kids there. They went to a school in Prague. We traveled all over. My character in this show, got to shoot guns and get into fights, you know? And I had my favorite people who I was working with. Scott Foley is one of my dearest friends and Tyler [James Williams] and Vir [Das]. This cast was insane and we were just experiencing all of this stuff while living in the Czech Republic. So that, and I loved the show. I loved the humor. I loved everything about it. I believed in that show too. That's the other thing... I was like, 'Oh, we're getting a second season. There's no way we're not getting a second season. So that one really, really broke my heart. Some of them, you can sort of see the writing on the wall. I think my biggest, biggest heartbreaks were "Betty" being cancelled and "Whiskey Cavalier." For sure. For sure.

 

CineMovie:
Oh yeah! That's definitely a heartbreaker. Well, congratulations. Hopefully there's another season of "Love, Victor" because it's a great show. I'm really compelled by it. I'm surprised.

 

Ana:
Thanks so much.

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