We intended to highlight the 20/20 Visionaries-to-Watch featuring Julissa Calderon, Netflix’s GENTEFIED much earlier in 2020, but we found it wise to hold his story until it felt right to release.
When you think of the word vision, you almost immediately associate that word with sight, your sensory ability. It is something required to turn a thought into innovation. To have vision doesn’t specifically mean the ability to see something physically, but rather an intention or inclination to create change.
At the beginning of 2020, OBVIOUS had intentions of using our vision to create new stories, highlight new outlooks, and continue offering the cutting edge content that our viewers have grown to love over the years.
What started out as a promising new decade quickly turned into a dark age of disorder as COVID-19 became a global threat that altered all of our realities.
Amid the pandemic, the masks of American “justice” started to show themselves more clearly than ever before as an uprising from the Black Lives Matter movements called out the wrongful murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others at the hands of police brutality.
One thing was sure: It clouded our vision.
There needed to be some refocusing of what matters and what messaging #TeamOBVIOUS could provide to its audience that would resonate with something optimistic and hopeful.
The world has now spent more than half of the year enduring the stress of these trying times, yet we can still look towards the people making a difference as a means of inspiration.
There’s no doubt that the individuals selected in this article showcase a tenacity and touch of creativity that has shown the potential for greatness in their lives and for others.
They’ve used their heart and motivation to strive for change and create space for new generations to learn from them.
It is with great honor that OBVIOUS Magazine presents: The 2020 Visionaries To Watch.
20/20 Visionaries: Julissa Calderon, Actress on Netflix’s GENTEFIED
How’s the media currently changing as it pertains to representation for diverse audiences, and is your character on “Gentefied” an example of that?
Julissa Calderon: Although still behind, I think the media is moving in the right direction, and “Gentefied” is a perfect example of that.
Here you have a Latinx storyline with an all brown cast and an array of different brown folk. A few years ago, that was not seen. I feel that my character, Yessika, on Gentefied, is a perfect representation of pushing our narrative to be represented in the right way.
She’s a Dominican, Afro Latina with natural hair. It’s beautiful to see because it is our reality! I hope that Yessika keeps the door open to all of the Latina roles to come to Hollywood.
What can young creatives do to help amplify platforms for marginalized communities?
Julissa Calderon: Create their own things! Keep creating, keep sharing your truths, our truths! It’s so imperative to keep pushing the needle. The only way to see these storylines on greater platforms is to create them ourselves.
We know OUR stories, so we are going to be the ones to get it right.
I hope that young creatives see that nothing is impossible and that their story is valid too.
Also, to share the stories of their creative peers! When we uplift our creative peers, we win and it opens the door for the next creative to have a shot.
What words of encouragement would you give to the next generation that will follow in your footsteps?
Julissa Calderon: Remember always to be yourself… unapologetically yourself. Your truth is waiting to be seen by the masses in whatever it is you want to do in life, and only if we walk in our authenticity do we resonate with others.
Only if we are true to ourselves do we motivate others, so be you! No one is going to do you how you do it. Be driven, be bold in your decisions, and move with kindness it goes a long way.
View the entire 20/20 Visionaries List here.
Photo Credit: BUILD series NYC, Jammi York