Since 2013, actress and activist Diane Guerrero, 35, has graced screens as Maritza Ramos on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, Lina in Jane the Virgin, and most recently as Isabela Madrigal, the eldest, flower-producing daughter in Disney’s Encanto. The role Guerrero is most comfortable playing, however, is who she is IRL, a self-proclaimed intersectional mujerista.
What does that mean? Well, intersectionality is a term coined by pioneering scholar of critical race theory Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to describe the layered effect of discrimination that Black women experience. The term has now evolved to include the different identities that one person may hold simultaneously.
“Intersectionality is so important because we’re intersecting at all times,” says Guerrero. “We have to really consider where we all meet, where we all differ, where we are in our status and our privilege, and how we grew up if we’re really talking about justice and equality.”
And as far as mujerista goes? That’s a word ideated by late theologian Ada María Isasi-Díaz, PhD, who was the chief theorist behind mujerista theology. Spanish for “womanist,” the term aims to delineate the special identity shared by poor, Hispanic, Catholic women. Some people, like Guerrero, have come to see it as a way of advancing the rights of all Latinx women. An intersectional mujerista, then, combines both of those ideologies to mean a multi-dimensional Latinx women (a demographic so often portrayed as one-dimensional), which Guerrero clearly embodies, as evidenced by the wide-ranging interview we had with her.