The life of Yalitza Aparicio, a 26-year-old Mixtec teacher from Oaxaca, has taken the most dramatic of turns. She used to spend her days in a classroom, but now she finds herself surrounded by fans asking for her autograph or gracefully posing for the cameras of fashion magazines.
Aparicio is the star of Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film, Roma, an intimate and touching look at the life of a well-off middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s. Aparicio’s first-ever role on camera is that of Cleo, an indigenous domestic worker whose character was inspired by Cuarón’s own childhood nanny.
The accolades the film has received have taken its cast around the world and now that the film has been officially released by distributor Netflix, Aparicio’s face has become widely known.
The novice actress visited Toronto and New York this week where she was sought for autographs and selfies by crowds of fans, cold temperatures and rainy weather notwithstanding.
Aparicio is also on the cover of the January issue of Vogue México, sitting in a vintage chair, dressed in a monochrome lace dress from Dior’s latest collection and gazing at the camera.
“In tiu’n ntav’i,” the cover reads in Mixtec, “A Star Is Born.”
The cover has been praised by readers on social media where one described Aparicio’s presence as “A cover for the history books.”
Another commented: “This breakthrough gives me the chills.”
And a third wrote: “This is the best cover in the history of Vogue México! Congratulations, Vogue!”
The magazine also released a short video in which the actor discusses everything from her dreams to her fear of being in front of the camera to diversity.
“Certain stereotypes are being broken: that only people with a certain profile can be actresses or be on the cover of magazines,” Aparicio says in the video.
“Other faces are now being recognized. It is something that makes me so happy and proud of my roots.”