Nacho Libre (2006) is a Family Comedy film directed by Jared Hess, staring Jack Black as Nacho, which is loosely based on the life of the famous Mexican Priest turned Luchedore, Fray Tormenta. This film is supposed to be a comedic satire much like Napoleon Dynamite (2004), another film produced by Hess, which takes on a corky and fun spin on the life of Fray Tormenta aka Nacho Libre. In addition to the stereotypical thick Mexican accents, exaggerated getup’s and over all white washing of a Mexican Legend we see another common theme in Nacho Libre that is often showcased in Hollywood in the form of overt sexualization of the only Latina character in the film who happens to also be a nun.
As if Latinas in film are not already under represented the film Nacho Libre also contributes to that under representation and further adds to the ongoing misrepresentation in stereotyping and sexualizing of its only Latina character. Sister Encarnacion, who is a nun in this film, is played by Mexican actress Ana de la Reguera who is not only looked at as a trophy but in the opening scene she is quickly fantasized by the her counterparts. As she first enters the class room and father Guillermo is introducing her you see a sort of light aura around her as he emphasizes her name and then both father Guilermo and Nacho look up at her in lust. Fast forward to the next scene when Nacho is playing basketball with the orphans and he sees Sister Encarnacion and runs over to her. She greats him with a “god be with you Ignacio” and he quickly changes the subject and says “anyways. I was wondering if you’d like to join me in my quarters this night” pause “for some toast”? This type of sexualization of Latinas is often seen throughout Hollywood and puts Latina actresses in a box, it is interesting to see that even in the role of a nun they were able to play on the stereotype of the “Sexy Latina”.
As merely a functioning sex object Sister Evangelina’s role, like so many other Latina roles, in the film is reduced to the classic “sexy” blank, in this case the sexy nun, with no real substance and few lines we see get another reminder as to just how Hollywood views Latin woman. The negative effects that these stereotypes have on the ideas of who and what a Latina is and represents leads to the ongoing battle for proper representation beyond the categorization of white Hollywood. In The Bronze Screen (2002), a documentary about Latinos in Hollywood, when referring to the sexualized Latina roles she was often casted for, Rita Moreno says “Hollywood is very influential in placing in the minds of people of what we Latinos are”. Movies like Nacho Libre although meant to be a comedic relief remind us that although Hollywood has “included us” we are far from appropriately represented.