Writer Angely Mercado talked about her struggles with body image, race, and stereotypes.
“Growing up, a lot of it was just you had to have a thigh gap, you had to be very thin, and had to be blonde, you had to be very tall, like there was just — very few people look like that naturally,” she said. “Visibility and representation in the media matters because right now, the industry is half as diverse as the general American public.”
Mercado has been an advocate for representation in the media through her writing, which has been featured in NPR, Lenny Letter, and Vivala.
“If you want more access to a lot of diverse stories, you will need to hire more diverse people who understand these nuances. There won’t be certain aspects of those stories that feel maybe awkward or, like, stereotypical. And so you need a lot of different types of people — not just racial backgrounds but gender and class, as well,” she explained.
Mercado says growing up with Dominican/Puerto Rican parents inspired her to write about colorism, but now she advocates for women of all colors, shapes, and sizes.
“When I see other people saying, ‘I’ve wanted to read a piece like this for a long time,’ that motivates me to say or to keep writing because I’m writing stuff that I would have liked to read for a long time,” she said.