When Sacha Antonetty-Lebrón was a young child growing up in Puerto Rico, she attended modeling school, her dreams of appearing in advertisements sprouting like the palm trees in the sandy streets of her native island.
But even with her bright eyes and perfect smile, Antonetty-Lebrón was often warned there may be one factor that worked against her.
“The owner invited me to the modeling school but made sure to tell me, ‘They didn’t ask for Black girls, but I’m going to send you. Do the best you can do,’ Antonetty-Lebrón remembers.
And when she did get calls for castings, she rarely saw any other Black faces. Antonetty-Lebrón, whose skin was a deep rich brown, learned at an early age that Afro-Latinos—or afro descendientes—were noticeably absent in nearly every form of Spanish media in Puerto Rico . . .