Let me just start by saying this: Crissie Fit blew me away.
Interviews are generally interesting experiences, filled with tidbits you didn’t know and, usually, though not always, a very sincere and kind person in front of you or at the other end of the line. Actors are, after all, people, just like us, and they have their passions, their likes and dislikes, and they are – despite the common stereotype that’s pervasive for Hollywood-types, usually more than capable of expressing themselves in articulate ways.
Very rarely, if ever, though, do you come out of an interview feeling like the person you just talked to can, and probably should be your best friend.
That’s, however, exactly what I felt while talking to Cuban-American actress Chrissie Fit, who portrays the one latina Bella, Florencia “Flo” Fuentes, in Pitch Perfect 3. The movie, which finds the Bellas split apart and discovering that, even after the high of winning the world championships, making music doesn’t really translate to tons of job offers, sees Florencia as a self-made entrepreneur who very much moves away from the stereotypical jokes and lines the character was criticized for in Pitch Perfect 2.
A lot of that, says Fit, has to do with “the wonderful writers who listened to my input and who allowed me to make Florencia the role model I wanted her to be,” (and hey, if you needed a reason to support Pitch Perfect 3, let it be this one – they listened) and a lot, of course, has to do with Fit herself and her insistence on making this character “less a stereotype and more a person.”
But that’s not all Fit is interested in, no. She’s a joy to talk to as she gets excited about the subject of representation and what it meant for her to “grow up in Miami and never felt like an outsider, never feel different” only to them come to Hollywood and realize “that she was only cast for certain roles” because she was seen one way that she’d never seen herself.
It’s 2018, however, and Fit underscores that the only way to change this is to do her part, and because of that she’s been “writing more and exploring other creative opportunities other than acting,” with an interest in giving minorities, and especially the latinx community, a voice not just in front of the camera, but in creating, producing and putting together projects that can appeal to a wide range of audiences.
You want a role model for young Latinas? Fit is ready to step into the spotlight and be just that, more than a singer or an actress, a multi-faceted entertainer with a strong voice and very, very strong opinions.
For that, she’s got inspiration, and in a lot of cases, we coincide on the women we look up to. There was a lot of fangirling over Gina Rodriguez in our interview, for example, a woman with “so many brilliant ideas and drive,” that Fit had the chance to work with in Filly Brown, as well as tremendous amount of love and appreciation for women like Justina Machado, who, according to Fit, “just exudes light” and whose show, One Day At a Time, we’re both huge fans of.
To Fit, especially, a show like that is important not just because of the many things we, ourselves, have discussed, but because it highlights the best part of a culture we both belong to and which, very often, has been the butt of jokes or stereotypes. In fact, and I promise I didn’t put her up to this, Fit even remarked, at one point of our conversation how “Netflix just really needs to renew One Day at A Time. What’s taking so long?”
I told you, best friends.
Maybe, I considered after the interview was over, the reason why I felt so connected to her was not because we exchanged some words in Spanish, or even because we had similar tastes, but because in speaking with her I could sense that we both come from families of strong women, and felt this desire to help other women do better, in whatever medium they chose.
“We come from a culture where this is so, and all my life I’ve been surrounded by women who are strong, who are driven and who have inspired me to, hopefully, be able to help inspire others.”
And that’s the culture I have known and lived in, not the one with big earrings and red lipstick that TV often presents. Maybe that’s why I’ve smiled my way through listening to my recording and picking the best quotes for this note. Can I just quote everything Chrissie said? No, but there were moments where I really, really wanted to.
In the end, Chrissie, who went from playing a role that had some “questionable lines” to being a latina powerhouse in the same role, but now devoid of stereotypes, is surely someone who’s going to make her voice heard, for herself, for all women, and for the latinx community. That’s one reason to pay attention to where she goes from now on.
The other, though? The other reason is way more personal, and because of that, way more important. Chrissie Fit and I are friends now, you see, even if we don’t get to talk that much. We’re part of the same community of strong women who want to make a difference, the same community that is going to change the world. And I’m proud to be on the same side as her.
Pitch Perfect 3 is available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray and DVD on March 20th, 2018.