Jackie Cruz To Be CultureShock’s First Female and Latina Speaker

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Jackie Cruz from Neflix’s Orange Is the New Black will speak at College Council’s third annual “CultureShock” this year.

The event is the council’s celebration dedicated towards “showcasing the unique identities on campus as well as the overall unity within the Emory community,” according to College Council’s website.

In the #1 Netflix series, Cruz, 29  — a model, singer and actress — plays Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales, a sarcastic and outgoing female prison inmate who is known for her extroverted personality and tendency towards racial stereotyping. Although a recurring character in seasons one to three, Flaca will be a series regular in the upcoming season. She was named one of the “Top Latino Powerhouses in Hollywood Under 40” by The Hollywood Reporter.

College Council chose Cruz as this year’s keynote speaker in light of her personal experiences as well as her role in Orange Is the New Black, according to College senior and College Council Vice President Sheena Desai.

“Her breadth of personal experiences, her distinct struggle with adversity and her unique cultural background make her highly qualified to speak on the topic of diversity,” Desai said. “We think she can provide the Emory community with a unique perspective on this topic that only a small number of speakers can contribute.”

College Council President and College senior Alyssa Weinstein said Cruz is CultureShock’s first female and first Latina speaker.

“[She] can provide another unique perspective of minority experiences,” Weinstein said, “With events dominating the news of racial biases and tensions, I think it’s more important than ever for colleges to host events like these that bring people together in common appreciation for different cultures.”

Since the release of the name of the event’s keynote speaker, Emory students have also expressed excitement and curiosity about Jackie Cruz.

“She’s such a funny character on the show,” College junior Will Warren said. “But she also seems to be playing up her stereotype as a Hispanic woman.”

Warren added that he’s curious to see how Cruz feels about potentially misrepresenting her race when she over-stereotypes the Hispanic experience through her character.

College sophomore Deion Love echoed this statement, adding that he is “interested in hearing about her platform on diversity as well as her ideas on racial and cultural identities.”

The Annual CultureShock will take place on Friday, Nov. 6 at the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSCAB) Auditorium. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event begins promptly at 6:30 p.m.

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