Lydia Hudgens & MUA: Carlina Zacarias.

Alexandra Castro is an up and coming actress and model in New York City that is perfectly fine with not fitting the mold. She is 5’2”, plus-size and doesn’t fit the “average type” for what casting agents, think a “Mexican” or “Latina” should look like.

Castro grew up in the Southside neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas in the 90’s. During that time, the neighborhood had a reputation for being rough and gang infested.

She grew up in a single parent household, with her mom, younger brother, and older sister. For most of Castro’s young life, her dad was not around due to incarceration and her parents divorcing later. Her extended family lived next door.

From a young age, she was intrigued by the arts. Castro’s mom was very receptive to the idea of her being an actress. Castro told her mom how she wanted to pursue acting as a career, and her mother encouraged her to think of the next step to make that a reality.

“I was obsessed with music, I was a musician and dancer from a young age,” Castro stated.

In high school, Castro found the theater and knew she wanted to continue with acting. However, she only knew of The Juilliard School and New York University. She decided to stay local and attend a private university. It did not work out for her, and she eventually dropped out.

“Unfortunately, the Texas education system does not prepare you for the SAT and ACT, which play into getting accepted to NYC schools,” Castro shared.

However, she still wanted to follow her dreams and was willing to work for it. She moved to New York City and continued to take acting workshops. She attended Stella Adler Studio of Acting intensive courses for two years. Castro has produced a full-length play, written original works, and has done “heavy” background work in shows like Orange Is The New Black and Blacklist.

“At a young age, I knew there was not a lot of media representation of Mexican-Americans. When it comes to deciding where to live, Los Angeles had a lot of beautiful people, according to westernized beauty standards, but a little bit more representation of Latinx folks. New York had more of those hungry actors that wanted to make a change. I wanted to be a part of the change, as A Mexican 5’ 2” plus size woman,” shared Castro.

When Castro moved to New York City 7 years ago, she realized that the industry could play a number on her wellness and mental health. She worked two jobs to make ends meet and would experience mild anxiety.

“To combat the anxiety and the stress of trying to have an acting career, I just have to unwind. The may mean to mediate with the Headspace app, walking around downtown Manhattan. For being a crazy city there are a lot of peaceful pockets here,” shared Castro.

However, Castro came to my attention through her Instagram modeling. She started her modeling career with so many insecurities. She would believe she looked too wide, too brown, focus on her double chin. It took a few years for Castro to get over her insecurities.

“When I was 15 years old, the Torrid store, in San Antonio, had a model search. I applied every year, but I never got chosen. So I decided to compile all these images I used for the model search and put them on my website, and Facebook,” shared Castro, “Eventually, I started to work with more photographers and later, a model management company. However, the model management company wanted to change my image. So I broke away from them.”

Castro became more aware of her brand message, – which is to support and uplift marginalized people like her. She decided to only work with people of color and LGBTQ artists.

Castro continues to grind in the world of acting and modeling- even if it is a constant uphill battle.

“The theater needs more Hispanic representation. We came somewhat close with Hamilton. But, I have to keep going and keep doing it. We {Latinx/Hispanic actors} need to remember that, we do have the right to be at the table. Even if that means we have to work twice as hard,” stated Castro.

The next time a casting agent tells you that you don’t look “Latin enough” watch another episode of Vida and message Alexandra. She’ll remind you this is only the beginning of what is to come for Latinx people.