Diane Guerrero

Diane Guerrero is channeling her personal family struggle into her most important project to date

Diane Guerrero has both beauty and brains. The 32-year-old has undoubtedly been recognized for playing fun-flirty Maritza Ramos in Orange is the New Black and Jane’s best friend in Jane the Virgin. Lately though, it’s her own inspiring words about her parents’ deportation back to Colombia when she was 14 that has people approaching her when she is out and about. “Before it made me a little worried because I didn’t want to be known as that,” the author of My Family Divided and In the Country We Love tells HOLA! USA. “I’m so glad I went through it. I plan to share a lot more of how I feel and my experiences with the world.”

Diane is an author of two books about her life experiences Photo: Instagram/@dianexguerrero via @captaincami

The New Jersey-born actress, who is currently filming Doom Patrol in Atlanta, has found her voice and has teamed up with Mi Familia Vota to make sure that Latinos everywhere use theirs by getting out to vote in November. “When you participate along with others who want the same as you, you can absolutely achieve change,” she says. “We are trying to remind people that this isn’t an I, it’s a We.”

Keep reading below for more from the petite brunette impacting the world with her mighty message.

Diane participated in WE Day Seattle

HOLA! USA: How did you get involved with Mi Familia Vota?
Diane Guerrero: “It was something that I was connected to when I first decided to release my story. They helped me place it. This project came about because I found it very important to again remind our community – not just the Latino community – but all communities of the importance of voting. Everybody can make a difference in their own way; I truly believe that and stand by that.”

What do you say to somebody who thinks, ‘Oh I’m one person, my vote doesn’t matter?’
“I would say that is absolute nonsense. I like to say to people: ‘Don’t think of yourself as the minority.’ I used to think that too. That word is kind of diminishing, belittling. If you think about our communities and how diverse this country actually is, we are actually the majority. It’s important to understand that if we work together, we can change things.”

 

And you are doing that with putting this message out there…
“What I’ve been doing so far has been showing my personal story of a child of undocumented parents and what happened to me and the struggles I’ve lived through. All I can do is share that.”

You really speak about your life experience so eloquently. Was it easy to write?
“Oh my gosh, so many times I didn’t want to look at it or turn it in! You think you’ve told this once, you’ve told it twice that it doesn’t affect you, but the truth of the matter is it is always going to affect me. It is always going to bring up different things, but I’m glad I had that opportunity.”

What do you hope someone reading your book will get out of it?
“There are so many people going through this and have come out on the other side – [I’ve been through it] not unscathed or with her share of mental issues and problems and hurt and pain, but she is a real person and she is living and thriving and making it. She is working;every day she falls down but picks herself back up. That’s the message I want to send: our lives matter, we are real and our stories are no less than anyone else’s. We are no less American than anyone else. It is so important to look for those resources, those organizations of people that care. You are not alone in this.”

The OITNB star has met so many people who have experienced simlar situations

How did you stay optimistic and keep fighting?
“I think there were moments where I felt like I couldn’t do anything. Then you get some clarity and the moments you do participate, you do ban together, and you are surrounded by love and energy; it picks you right back up. I think what has gotten me so far is that I’ve always practiced self-care. I have always been able to just quiet the noise and give myself what I need – whether that’s make mac ‘n cheese, watch a movie or give myself a facial or a massage. I never stop myself from doing that throughout the day, every day no matter how busy I am.”

Even with your family miles away in another country, you remember those values they instilled in you...
“Of course, coming from an immigrant family, especially the way I grew up – I saw my parents working two, three jobs and having to sacrifice a lot. They were grateful. All they wanted was to keep their family together and make a decent living so they could put food on the table and their kids could have a better life than they. That really prepared me for life. I saw those challenges. I also saw the beauty in them: the resilience, their strength. I carry that with me every day. I have one life to live and this is how I’m choosing to live it.”

The brunette beauty says: 'You want me at your party!'

You are currently in Atlanta filming Doom Patrol, a series about a bunch of superhero misfits. Growing up who was your favorite superhero in real life and fiction?
“I was a big Sailor Moon fan. I love the band of women always coming through and leading with love. In real life, I would say my parents. I really did see them as superheroes. They didn’t have a lot to give me, but love was certainly on the table every day.”

What super power do you wish you had in real life?
“I love being able to transform into anything. I am able to adapt to any environment and be empathetic with people who don’t have my lifestyle or are different. I would take it a step up and say I want to change into anything I want to be –sort of what home girl, Crazy Jane, does in Doom Patrol.”

I was reading, she has 64 personalities. How many does Diane have?
“Oh my gosh, maybe more than 64, maybe 94. I am trying to cut that down though! I would say I’m serious, silly, empathetic. I’m fun as hell. You want me at your party!”

If you aren’t registered to vote, registration ends October 12 for the November 6th elections.

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