Harvey Guillén Says Hollywood Needs to Support More Latino Creatives: ‘It’s Like Pulling Teeth to Be Able to Tell a Story That Represents Us’

“What We Do in the Shadows” star Harvey Guillén says he wasn’t expecting to be honored with an award at the National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Awards Gala, but the work he does is never for the accolades.

“You just do it because you wish someone will see you and get inspired to continue to be themselves and go into a field that’s traditionally not presented to us,” Guillén told Variety.

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The gala, hosted by Mayan Lopez and Annie Gonzalez at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel June 16, honored Latino creatives in the entertainment industry paving the way for others.

During his acceptance speech for the outstanding performance in a series impact award, Guillén teared up, saying how emotional it felt to think of his younger self who was told that he was “too big, too poor, too loud and that his dream was simply unattainable.”

He explained that the award was not just for his younger self, but also for the next generations of queer people of color that will hopefully come into a more inclusive entertainment industry.

“The studios and the big wigs on top need to take that risk of producing these stories,” Guillén tells Variety. “It’s like pulling teeth to just be able to tell a story that represents us and it shouldn’t be that way. Take a risk.”

Additional honorees of the night included the upcoming “Alien: Romulus” and 2013’s “Evil Dead” director Fede Álvarez, who was honored with the outstanding film director impact award and actor Tatyana Ali, who was honored with the advocacy impact award and more.

Director, producer and writer of “True Detective: Night Country” Issa López was honored with the trailblazer impact award for her work on the HBO series. “True Detective” star Jodie Foster presented López with the award.

López says it’s tough to crack open the door in a top-tier TV series as an immigrant and a Mexican woman: “I’m able to come together with my people, and just shout say, ‘Here we are, and we’re not going anywhere. Ever.'”

“The Umbrella Academy” stars David Castañeda and Emmy Raver-Lampman accepted the ensemble impact award for the show.

Castañeda, who plays Diego Hargreeves on the series, says to increase representation on- and off-screen, studios need to keep renewing shows and there needs to be more programs to develop young filmmakers and creatives.

“That’s the start, you got to hatch those eggs,” Castañeda said. “There is a lot of inclusion in a lot of shows, but a lot of shows aren’t seeing past the first and second season.”

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