Selene Luna Interview
Selene Luna is a Mexican-American actress, comedian and burlesque performer.
What made you want to be a performer?
I decided to become a performer because as a person with a disability I thought it would be an impactful platform to be seen and heard on my terms.
Do you find that acting jobs are limited for you?
Yes, of course! How often do we see actors who are little people portrayed in a dignified manner? Although the media does exploit little people in the name of entertainment, I put greater accountability on the audience. If viewers rejected the dehumanization of little people in film/TV, the media would not have anything to gain by producing it.
I must mention what an incredible, brilliant trailblazer we have in Peter Dinklage, one of my personal heroes. But how sickening is it that the entertainment industry has only allowed room for one man to represent little people as a dignified human being? We’re allowed ONE white guy. Let that sink in.
I’m disgusted by the way society views little people, however, the fine line for me is not whether it’s funny or insulting; the fine line is between earning a living or not. Little people who do these demeaning jobs are just trying to pay the rent, myself included. We’ve got bills and families to support just like everyone else. Trust me, I also wish I had a pot of gold!
Our employment options are fewer than your average person. Recently, the American Department of Labor reported that the unemployment rate for the general population was 4.6 percent. But for people with disabilities it’s fixed at around 10.5 percent and not declining anytime soon.
The stats are very discouraging, especially when studies have proven that people with disabilities make 70% better employees when compared to their able-bodied counterparts. Meanwhile, we’re three times more likely to live in poverty more than any other population.
For this reason, how can a little person refuse ridiculous costume jobs: Trolls, Leprechauns, Gnomes, Hobbits, Elves, Fairies…? We gotta eat too!
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
My career highlight has been voicing Tía Rosita in Disney-Pixar’s Academy Award & Golden Globe Awards' Winner COCO. Being part of Coco validated my 20-year struggle and sacrifice as a marginalized artist within the entertainment industry and society as a whole. When I got the part I had no idea the cultural impact this film would have. I was just so grateful for the opportunity to work for Disney-Pixar and their brilliant team of artists and filmmakers.
Coco has exposed the international community to the heart and beauty of Mexican culture. My hope is that it’ll inspire a demand for more films focusing around Latino-driven characters and story lines, because our visibility matters as much as any other population.
What type of work do you enjoy the most?
I most enjoy performing standup comedy. I find it liberating to have full control of my narrative.
Have you written any scripted shows?
Throughout my career I’ve written and produced a number of scripted shows and I am currently developing a new scripted show with my producing-partner, Cara Reedy.
You have previously described comedy as an "old boys club", have things changed?
We’re living in a very different time now, which is encouraging. The landscape of the comedy world is becoming more diverse than it has ever been in history.
What's next for you?
Now that the world is inching its way out of the pandemic, I’m currently writing a new stage show and scripted show for TV.