Rosie Perez Reveals Hollywood Agent Told Her To Go Blonde, Get Nose Job To Land More Roles

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Mar. 30 2023, Published 4:00 p.m. ET

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Rosie Perez revealed her agent told her to she had to get a drastic makeover if she wanted to secure any roles in Hollywood.

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“I don’t want her to be canceled, but she told me that if I dyed my hair blonde and got a nose job, ‘I can get you more jobs. Because you’re not Black.’ I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness. Like, thank you, fired,’” she says. Then the reality of her circumstances set in. “I had nobody. I had no money," the Latina actress, 58, said in a new interview.

“I had nobody, I had no money,” she said of the aftermath of getting rid of her team.

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Fortunately, the Flight Attendant star met her Criminal Justice costar Jennifer Grey, who helped her find someone else.

“Jennifer and I clicked instantly,” Perez said. “I haven’t seen that woman in ages, but I just think she’s phenomenal. She’s like, ‘I cannot believe how racist this industry is.’ She picks up the phone and calls Jane Berliner at CAA and says, ‘You need to represent this actress.’”

It was all for the best as Berliner signed Perez, who later booked two roles that would change the trajectory of her life forever.

“It was just a magical summer,” she said of getting cast in White Men Can't Jump with Woody Harrleson. “And when you’re scrolling on your TV to see what you want to watch, and March Madness comes up, and then there’s White Men Can’t Jump, you can’t help but watch.”

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Perez then landed the role in Fearless, which was originally going to go to a white woman. “The funny thing about Fearless was it was basically a true story, and the character I played was Asian in real life,” she said.

But Peter Weir “didn’t have the same Americanized racism in his body. He wanted me right away. But the studio actually said, ‘We’re worried about the interracial aspect of it,'" she recalled.

It all worked out, as Perez got an Oscar nomination for playing Carla Rodrigo.

Rosie Perez
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"What makes me feel powerful as a woman is coming to grips with my own self-worth — understanding my own self-worth — and not apologizing for it, not compromising it, and letting that knowledge just shine through effortlessly," she declared.

Perez spoke with Variety.


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