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Gabrielle Hagenlocker

Immigrant Archive Project
Gabrielle Hagenlocker, a Cuban-American college student, discusses the challenges of authenticating her Hispanic experience.
Show transcript
00:00
Sometimes I find it difficult to like, truly authenticate
00:02
my experience as Hispanic.
00:04
II, I know I'm very white passing.
00:05
So I know I am Hispanic.
00:07
Uh And I know I'm Cuban, but it feels less true.
00:17
My name is Gabrielle Hagenlocker.
00:19
I am 21 years old and my occupation is a college student.
00:23
Fantastic.
00:25
Um I understand you grew up in a mixed family, one parent, Latino
00:33
one parent, not Latino.
00:36
Um What was particularly interesting about that upbringing
00:43
Um I noticed it was most noticeable, I think in like holidays
00:48
and stuff like that.
00:49
Um My Cuban family or my mother's side of the family was always
00:54
very close.
00:54
I think they're only 15 minutes away.
00:56
And I mean, it was a big party like my aunt would host and it was
01:01
everybody's a cousin.
01:02
I have no idea my relationship with any of them.
01:05
They're all my cousins, they're all my uncles, they're all
01:06
my aunts.
01:07
Um And that's just always how it's been uh with my dad's side
01:12
I think I noticed in holidays it was very um a limited family
01:17
or not like it was very um like I knew my relationship with everybody
01:24
and like I knew, I don't know, I would see them less and, um,
01:30
I don't know, like, it, it, I don't know quite how to describe
01:34
it.
01:34
I think in, like, with my Hispanic family it was just like,
01:37
I mean, everybody knew my name.
01:38
I, I didn't really know everybody's name.
01:40
Everyone was just, like, so immediately warm and intimate
01:43
Um, but I think my dad's side feels like a little bit more like
01:46
diplomatic and everyone is like, it's like very formal.
01:48
Um And it's really just like my cousin, my, my dad's two siblings
01:56
they're my cousins and then my grandma and grandpa and then
01:59
that's it.
01:59
Um That's all I've really seen of them.
02:01
Everyone else.
02:02
I don't really know.
02:03
Ok.
02:04
And, and as you were coming up, how did you, how did you identify
02:08
did you identify as more as one or the other 50 50?
02:12
Like, where did that come from?
02:14
Uh, growing up?
02:15
Uh especially in Miami the way I identified definitely leaned
02:18
more towards Hispanic, Cuban, other Cuban American.
02:21
Um As I've kind of left Miami, I study in Tallahassee now.
02:25
There aren't that many Hispanic people in Tallahassee.
02:27
I feel like I've kind of lost my Spanish a little bit.
02:30
Uh At least it's not where I wanted to be.
02:33
And so I don't take as much pride in it anymore and it's a little
02:36
there's a little shame in there.
02:38
Um But I would probably lean more towards just like, II, I know
02:44
I'm very white passing so I know I am Hispanic.
02:47
Uh, and I know I'm Cuban but it feels less true.
02:52
I don't know.
02:52
Does that make sense?
02:53
Yeah.
02:54
Yeah.
02:55
Yeah, it does, it does.
02:56
And I can see what you mean.
02:57
I mean with that last name, right.
03:00
You, you, you could pass for being that girl from Michigan
03:03
or Ohio or?
03:04
Right.
03:05
Um, and with that last name, no, one sort of sees it sees it coming
03:09
Um Has that been an advantage you think?
03:13
Um I think it has allowed me to, I wouldn't necessarily describe
03:20
it as an advantage.
03:21
I think it's allowed me to not necessarily think about it.
03:24
Um especially because I do theater and I mean, I just created
03:28
this like actor access profile and it's like, what is your
03:31
ethnicity?
03:31
And I'm like Hispanic.
03:33
And so in that way, I like take some pride in it and I'm like,
03:35
yes I am.
03:36
Um But there's definitely a moment of like, if I were genuinely
03:39
to be cast in something like this or like take on a role or um
03:44
I know my experience and I know it's not fully, sometimes I
03:50
find it difficult to like, truly authenticate my experience
03:53
as Hispanic even though I know it is because it's so interesting
03:57
having such a Hispanic mother and uh growing up with such Hispanic
04:01
traditions and I mean, even still like in the food in uh the
04:04
style and the raising and the way my siblings and I talk to each
04:07
other and I still talk to my mother in Spanish and I'm still
04:11
learning.
04:11
Um And I think, I don't know if you find this in your family because
04:14
I know you're also Cuban, but a part of my Cuban identity is
04:17
like hating Cuba, which is really weird.
04:20
Um And it's like Det Testament for Fidel Castro, um which I
04:25
always find wildly hilarious.
04:27
Um, but it's just a party.
04:29
I don't know, it's fun.
04:31
You, you just mentioned earlier, you get to fill out this profile
04:33
right?
04:33
You check off his family.
04:34
That's one way, you know, the question was, is there any fear
04:38
that that may lead to type casting?
04:40
Right?
04:40
So whoever sees that?
04:41
Oh, she's Hispanic.
04:43
So if the role doesn't call for a Hispanic, maybe they overlook
04:46
you and go to someone else when obviously you're fully capable
04:49
of playing any role.
04:51
Right.
04:51
Right.
04:52
Um, I don't know, I guess I haven't, I haven't thought about
04:57
or experienced that fear necessarily in my, uh, collegiate
05:02
experience.
05:03
I am entering the professional world very, very soon.
05:08
And so I, I will keep that in mind, but I don't think I have like
05:13
experience or had a moment of realization where I was like
05:16
oh my God, I'm genuinely scared of doing this.
05:20
You know, I, I take that back there was one moment in which,
05:23
um I was called in for a film and the film was this um bilingual
05:29
like Hispanic and also um white, like someone like me, like
05:33
Cuban American.
05:34
Um And I was reading the sides and I just, I practiced the Spanish
05:39
over and over and over and over and over and over and over again
05:42
And I was like, this is so cool that I'm doing something in my
05:44
own, in my mother's language, like in my grandmother's language
05:47
Um And I think the fear came from like, I must do this on her.
05:51
Like I have to have like, am I putting on an accent?
05:55
Is that inappropriate?
05:56
Like my, my, the Cuban accent is like thoroughly in my, like
06:01
in my dialect.
06:02
Um So like, how do I compromise or reason with that um in my theatrical
06:10
career?
06:10
But I guess in musical theater, you don't really, at least
06:14
not in my collegiate career.
06:15
I've had a moment like that except for that one film, right
06:19
Yeah, because you wonder, right?
06:20
You hear these stories, you know, professionally, a lot of
06:24
the casting tends to fall into the hands of people that don't
06:28
necessarily look or sound like we do, right?
06:31
And what I've heard for many, many years was that, oh, you're
06:35
either not Latina enough or you're too Latina or Latino for
06:40
the role, right?
06:41
Like that plays into choosing or passing on someone for a role
06:50
in that industry.
06:52
I also um as you mentioned in the industry, I believe that there's
06:56
something called branding and there's this type cast, this
06:59
brand and a lot of people today are like the stereotype and
07:01
typecasting is not a thing anymore.
07:03
Uh But I still think there's an emotional attachment to it
07:06
where it's like this is my history.
07:08
This is like my story.
07:09
This is my root and so much of our work is part of who we are.
07:15
And um I think there is always that question of like, OK, I have
07:20
headshots.
07:20
I have a website like, is there, is this something I build into
07:24
a part into like who I am because it is, but does it, is it valid
07:28
enough?
07:28
Is it authentic enough?
07:29
Like what does it mean?
07:31
Um And I know some people who, I mean, I look German but some
07:40
people who don't look German, um They like, um I don't, I don't
07:48
know there like there's, you can't take off your skin color
07:52
you know what I mean?
07:52
And that is inherent and that is, it's a beautiful thing.
07:55
Um My friend uh she's talked to me about it a little bit.
07:59
Her name is Zakia.
08:00
She's like, I will never apologize for being black.
08:02
I will never apologize for the color of my skin.
08:05
I never want to be put in a position of it.
08:07
I'm not sorry about it.
08:08
And um so like, I, there's nothing I can do with it.
08:13
It's, it's just such an interesting dialogue and, and path
08:18
to pursue, especially in theater.
08:21
But I, I think there's a new way of, of, um, considering colorblind
08:25
casting and color conscious casting that I'm starting to
08:28
see, especially in my generation.
08:29
Um, I know we're taking stories.
08:32
At least my school is doing 9 to 5 next semester and they're
08:35
already like, there's only one character that has to be white
08:38
and then everyone else is just like, it's color blind, which
08:43
I think that like the institution of the vocabulary and the
08:47
discussions about it I think are heading in an interesting
08:50
direction that I'm excited to see.
08:52
At least as someone who's just entering the industry.
08:55
You know, I hear from a lot of, you know, a lot of people, not
08:59
only your age but sort of your experience, right?
09:01
This, this, this sort of first generation, this um um the issue
09:06
of all you're, you're, you're not Latino enough if you don't
09:10
speak Spanish or you're not really Latino if you.