Their rivalry was the talk of the town, but there was little in it, built up by the newspapers for the benefit of the public, the rift was fabricated to sell papers.
Dolores del Rio had made it in Hollywood before Lupe, and while she was also Mexican, del Rio very much blended into the expectations that the industry had for all actresses during that time. Sure, she was a Mexican actress, but del Rio, for the most part, existed under the veil of a white persona. That was the difference between del Rio and Velez, and it was a massive difference.
Though they were often compared, the similarities ended with them being born in the same country.
Lupe embraced her heritage. She was a proud Mexican woman and she wasn’t about to change for anyone, including her men, and especially her career. As horrified as some Latino actresses have been about her stereotypical portrayal, she was an exception to the superficial, fake personalities that were “created” for the sake of the Hollywood image. She made it possible for future Latino actresses, and foreign actresses in general, to be a part of the Hollywood melting pot that we see it as today. Love her or hate her, Lupe Velez opened the door to a dream that many Latino entertainers may never have had if it wasn’t for her.
In a land of make believe, Lupe Velez was real. She showed the world that you can be yourself and still be a success. Even if it is against the odds.
Above: Lupe Velez
Above: Dolores del Rio
Above – Pictured together, and ironically wearing outfits that don’t fit their perceived personas.
Lupe Velez (left) – Dolores del Rio (right)