KEY POINTS

  • Justina Machado opened up about the lack of diversity in the entertainment industry
  • She said an unnamed executive who refused her '90s show once told her America wasn't ready for a Latino family on TV
  • Machado revealed she joined "Dancing with the Stars" because the show needed more Latinas

“Dancing with the Stars” contestant Justina Machado has opened up about her ‘90s show that never saw the light of day, “One Day at a Time” and her stint on the ABC dance competition series.

In an interview with Los Angeles Times, Machado, who has been championing Latino representation in Hollywood, spoke about her ‘90s comedy “I Love Lupe,” which was never picked up. The actress, who was in her 20s when she filmed the pilot, recalled being told by an unnamed TV exec that they didn't believe the show would do well because it centered on a Latino family.

“He literally called my house, nice man... and said, ‘My God, your pilot is so great. Everybody loves you, everybody. But we don’t think America is ready for a Latino family,’” Machado revealed.

“That was acceptable for him to say — ‘America’s not ready for [a] Latino family.’ Like, what? And that was the ’90s! And look at today. How many Latino families do you see on television? So America better get ready because we’re here. We’re here,” she continued.

Aside from her “Dancing with the Stars” stint, Machado stars as Penelope Alvarez in “One Day at a Time,” which is fronted by Latino actors. After the third season, the sitcom was canceled last year, but Sony Pictures Television offered it to other networks.

Thankfully, Pop TV, which is gaining popularity due to “Schitt’s Creek,” picked up “One Day at a Time.” Machado said she preferred that the show would be on broadcast TV since it “reaches more households.”

“I always believed that this show belongs on a network. I love streaming. People love to stream. We only have three weeks, but that’s OK. I just want people to watch it, because if they watch it, we’ll get that fifth season,” she explained.

As for her current stint on “Dancing with the Stars,” Machado said there needed to be a lot more Latinas on the show, explaining that this is the reason she decided to join the competition. The actress realized that she was going to be “that Puerto Rican woman that’s on that show.”

“The thing about ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is it reaches so many more homes than my incredible show [‘One Day at a Time’], that  should  reach everybody’s home,” Machado said. “I know they’ve had Latinas on the show, but they need a whole lot more.”

Justina Machado DWTS29 Justina Machado is competing on Season 29 of “Dancing with the Stars.” Photo: ABC/Frank Ockenfels