These interviews aim to highlight our Indigenous people from Mexico, Central, and South America who have been displaced from their native homelands. We want to showcase the amazing work they are partaking in, leading, or implementing as artists, poets, academics, community organizers, etc. If you will like to recommend a person for us to interview please fill out our form (located at the bottom of this page).
Interview with Indigenous Actress Díana Bermudez
Díana Bermudez (Colombian of indigenous descent), She/her, Social Media: @dianabermudez 1. What inspired you to become an actress? My love of performing started at around 10 years old when I got cast in a lead role for a school play. I’d previously been a really shy and academic child and I was terrified at the thought of singing and acting in front of my school, but when I took my final bow I felt electrified and so I continued with drama all throughout my childhood and teens. Even so, I never actually believed being an actress could be my reality. When you grow up not seeing yourself represented in film, tv or theatre, you don’t believe that could be a viable career for you to pursue. I tried going after other career options, but I always kept being drawn back to acting. Then one day I found myself in Italy training to teach English abroad and the company I was training with had their English theatre company perform for us - when I watched those actors perform, I felt in my heart that was what I wanted to do. Within a few months I had gotten myself into the theatre company, and I knew this was the career for me.
2. How would you describe Indigenous representation in the acting world? There is a real lack of indigenous representation overall, and even when we are represented it’s through a very specific lens. We are depicted as “savages” or “uncivilised”, we are always shown in a stereotypical way, we are made out to be mystical beings, we are misrepresented completely at times, and oftentimes we are made out to not exist in modern times or urban settings. I do occasionally see roles specifically for native characters and that’s great - but what I feel needs to also happen more is an acceptance that we do not only need to perform roles specifically written for indigenous characters. We can play doctors, judges, architects, lawyers, pilots, detectives etc - this kind of representation is equally important. 3. What has been your favorite acting role so far? Why? One of my favourite roles was performing at the Edinburgh fringe festival in a play called “Valiant”. The play revolved around 13 monologues of real women who had survived wars from around the globe over the past century. There was a beautiful and saddening commonality between all the women’s stories regardless of country, race or religion. I played 3 women, a Northern Irish protestant whose husband was killed in front of her and her children, an American military stewardess who witnessed the death and trauma of the men she flew to and from the Vietnam War, and a Filipino guerrilla fighter who survived a brutal concentration camp. The production was cast “colour-blind”, meaning I got the chance to perform characters I’d normally not play. Not only was it challenging to perfect and shift between all 3 characters and accents, but performing the power and strength of their words felt like a big responsibility. It was really an honour to be able to re-tell these women’s stories through the art of theatre.
4. What are your future goals or aspirations as an Indigenous actress? I really love being able to immerse myself in different worlds and work with other creatives who inspire me, so my goal is simply to continue acting in order to be able to tell great stories. It is my hope that me pursuing my passion, and representing our communities will help encourage other indigenous young people to also go after their own dreams and ambitions.