Hispanic Lifestyle is pleased to recognize mentor, champion, volunteer, teacher, blogger, coach, illustrated, mother, activist, and humanitarian Patricia Rae as a 2017 Latina of Influence. Ms. Rae along with our entire list of 2017 Latinas of Influence are invited to participate in Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2017 Latina Conference taking place April 5 – 6, 2017 in Ontario, California.
From the beginning as a young girl from Queens, Patricia, was a nonconformist, refusing to accept labels. A first generation American of Colombian parents, she imagined herself gracing the stage, just like Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett, never seeing in terms of race or color. In her imagination she could be any color… It never dawned on her that she would only play Latinas on T.V. But the little, brown skinned girl from Queens had a long road ahead of her.
And so the battle began.
In high school she didn’t understand, why she wasn’t cast as Hellen Keller. It seemed only reasonable that if she gave the best audition she should be granted the role, despite her ethnicity. After all— didn’t Latina girls go blind as well? Wasn’t it a human story they were telling… So when she bravely, confronted her theater director, he went on to informed her, it was because Helen Keller was white.
She continued her struggle into her professional career as an actress, facing discrimination once again, when a casting director once told her that she would never be cast in commercials because she was Latina. So, instead she went into the hispanic market and broke into commercials that way.
In this 2012 interview with the actress Patricia Rae, she talks about career and her passion for yoga.
After years of fighting racism in the industry, she blazed a trail, fellow actors could follow, leaving bread crumbs, for all who wish to pursue this auspicious path. Vowing to play ever role with, compassion, grace, and most of all dignity. “If I am only allowed to tell the immigrant story, then I am going to give these character the respect they deserve.”
Patricia has mentored, coached, and assisted, many young Latino talent in their pursuit of acting careers. After working on the notable film “Maria Full of Grace”, she was moved to invite her co-star Guiled Lopez, to come live with her for 6 months, one of many actors that have transitioned to careers in Los Angeles, with her assistance.
From honing her craft in New York, at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, where her idol, Marilyn Monroe studied, to LA as part the notable Elephant Theater Company, she stresses the value of preparation. “The most important thing, is to have your tools ready as an actor. Always go in prepared, be professional, and keep yourself busy. Don’t wait around for something to happen. Make it happen!” Patricia has volunteered her talents helping young playwrights realize their works on stage, as a part of a young writers program, because she feels it is important to support a new generation of voices. “We have to be a able to see, and hear our stories on stage.”
Patricia has gone on to star in the Oscar Nominated film “Maria Full of Grace” of which she was nominated for a prestigious Imagen Award, for Best Actress. She has worked with some of the biggest actors in the industry including Robert DeNiro, and Diane Keaton in the Film “The Big wedding”, as well James Caan, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Maria Bello, just to name a few.
Never resting on her laurels, her philosophy in life is to explore all avenues, as an artist. Patricia recently illustrated the children book series “Big Dog on Campus”, with renowned playwright Oliver Mayer, which they often read out loud to kids, as part of a USC literacy program. She also volunteers to read in under-privileged schools, through the SAG literacy program. As an activist, encouraging woman to raise their voices and be heard, she recently attended the Woman’s March LA, with her daughter. She has a certification as a yoga instructor, and encourages people of all ages, to practice yoga, as a part of their wellness programs.
Mentor, champion, volunteer, teacher, blogger, coach, illustrated, mother, activist, and humanitarian, are a few words used to describe this brave, and inspiring Latina that has broken her way out of Queens onto the biggest screen of all— Life.
Submitted by Mona Elyafi