Jacqueline Priego's Series 'PinkSlipped' Is The Latina Dramedy You Need To Watch
In her native Chicago, two weeks ago, Jacqueline Priego observed as a room of almost 300 watched the premier of her series, PinkSlipped. It was the culmination of four years of writing about her past and present experiences in which a story emerged--one all too real for many of us. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Priego sought out to pen, " an authentic story about what it’s like to be a Latina currently in the workplace...a love letter to all those women that are children of immigrants, seeing their mothers immigrate from other countries, and everything they sacrificed so that their daughters could fulfill their dreams. For most of us, that meant becoming a professional, and then [realizing], oh, wait, that dream’s imperfect. That dream might not be my dream (Arroyo, 2018)."
The show follows three friends, Latina leads, Jacqueline (played by Preigo herself), Elena (played by Samantha Ramirez-Herrera) and Rosie (played by Ana Ayora) who are at a crossroads in their careers and relationships. They are through with the societal realities they face in their respective workplace and realize that they have more to offer than what their stifling jobs, self-sabotage and cultural stereotypes suggest. Together they reclaim their power with the start of their own joint venture, the fictional (but exquisitely named) site La Provocadora. The three amigas now face the challenge of balancing between following their dream and reality.
PinkSlipped is a representation of every Latina entrepreneur looking to create a space for herself in a fast and ever evolving environment. The series speaks to those of us that have had to figure out how to make that space for ourselves; fears, money woes, relationship strains, and stresses included. Upon watching the trailer for the series, we were immediately transported to what it felt like for us to get The Mujerista off the ground. We had the very conversations the characters held in practically the very same kitchen counter top they did. We saw ourselves. And let us tell you, it felt good.
We chatted with PinkSlipped's star, writer, director, editor, and producer, Jacqueline Priego about her series and what it will mean for Latina representation in the media. Check out how the series came about, what show she's currently binge-watching (and so are we!), and how to support her series!
But first, click that play button to watch the full trailer of pinkslipped. te prometo that you won't get enough of it.
Our interview with Jacqueline Priego:
Cuéntanos un poco sobre ti. Did you have a background in film or screenwriting?
I’m a Chicagoan through and through who went to school at UIUC Urbana Champaign and came back to the city to pursue a career in marketing and communications. I’ve always been fascinated by film and television but it wasn’t until about four years ago that I started to write creatively and made the decision to pursue my dream of storytelling. As a professional in marketing and communications, I’ve helped brands and organizations craft their stories. So I’ve been telling someone’s story in some form or fashion my entire professional career.
How did the idea for PinkSlipped come about?
I was lucky to be born to two of the most incredible human beings on this planet: my mom, Rosalba, and my dad, Jesus. They are both activists at heart and taught me from a young age about social justice and advocacy. These values are a part of my DNA. So it was no surprise that after a traumatic experience I began to write as therapy. The one issue that propelled me to write PinkSlipped specifically was the pay gap and how Latinx are at the bottom of the pay hierarchy at $.54 to a white males $1.00. I wanted to understand why that was the case. So I began to write with a focus on tokenism, equal pay and immigration. It was a cathartic experience to breathe life into these fictional characters about real life societal issues that afflict Latinx in the workplace.
What inspired you or gave you the courage to go from having the idea to writing, producing, casting, starring, directing, editing and completely executing a five episode series?
It was less inspiration and more this profound and relentless determination to get the story made. This has been a four year journey in which there were more lows than highs. But I never gave up. My heart and intuition wouldn’t let me rest until I saw it all come together. That’s one part. The other part is that I had my family, my sister Jessica Estrella, who is Executive Producer and my brother-in-law, Michael Estrella, who is the my Co-Director, who came on board and believed in this project enough to help me see it through. It takes a village to make ones dreams come true.
Can you share with us the storyline of the show?
Without giving too much away, the show follows the lives of three best friends, Jacqueline, Elena and Rosie, who are all on the verge of losing their jobs. We see each character face a particular issue whether it’s tokenism, equal pay or immigration.
Are any of the characters based on real individuals?
The characters and the specific situations they find themselves in are all fictional but unfortunately this is the reality for so many women of color and especially Latinx in the workplace. When I completed it I thought it could be a dystopian piece but this is real life for so many of us right now.
PinkSlipped is centered around a group of Latina friends. How do their characters and/or storyline development break from the stereotypical Latina portrayals we see in the media?
So often Latinas are portrayed in television as downtrodden teenage mothers, gangbangers, maids, or just plain hyper sexualized with thick accents. We play the other to what is considered main stream. We are a punchline in someone else’s existence. These types of stereotypes and tired tropes dehumanize us. I wanted nothing more than to make the story of Jacqueline, Elena and Rosie a story about friendship. Above all else this story is about human connection and how power plays a significant role in how people relate and interact with one another. The characters aren’t punchlines. They are multidimensional with layers and layers to unpack. All in all, this is a universal story and that is powerful.
Current favorite line from the first season of PinkSlipped?
I have too many! That’s like asking a parent who their favorite child is. I leave that up to the audience to decide which is their favorite. I hope they have too many to choose from just like me.
Who would be your dream Latina to collaborate with or cast on the series?
I can’t just name one! There’s so many!!! I’d love to work with Salma Hayek because she’s a powerhouse; Tanya Saracho because her story telling skills are out of this world; America Ferrera because of her fierce heart and dedication to getting more female led content created; Roberta Colindrez because her role in I Love Dick moved me to tears; Cardi B because that woman brings joy to every project she touches; I could go on and on and on!
The era of Peak TV continues to underserve Latinx audiences, but with the success and praise of Netflix's One Day at a Time and On My Block, Starz's Vida, and The CW's Jane the Virgin, do you think that there will be a shift towards more inclusion or representation of Latinx voices?
I said it at the Chicago premiere and I’ll say it again: our time is now! We are starting to kick those doors open. In my heart of hearts I know that the change is coming and I feel very blessed to play even the tiniest of roles in this shift toward inclusive storytelling. If we as a community can throw our numbers and viewership toward Latinx created content, the sky is the limit!
What do you feel has been the biggest pressure in creating a series that serves an under represented community?
I think the biggest pressure in creating the show was trying to tell a story my community would be proud of. I think for most people of color in any industry we go into a professional position with the weight of our communities on our shoulders unlike our Caucasian counterparts. We are representing a whole group. The way we dress, the way we speak, how fast we excel or don’t excel is often times used as a reflection of an entire community. That’s a lot of pressure to deliver big.
What does being Latina mean to you?
Being Latina to me means being a creator of opportunities. Obstacles and barriers to our dreams and goals don’t get in our way. Instead we build new pathways to achieve what we want and we do this while bringing our families and communities with us. Latinas are a force to be reckoned with.
Current favorite show?
I love a good dystopian or sci-fi show like The Handmaid’s Tale but I can honestly say I really enjoyed watching/binging La Casa de la Flores!
When will the series launch?
The show will go live on www.pinkslipped.org on September 19th!
How can we support the series?
The best way to support the show is to leverage your networks. Call, text, write, tag your tias, primas, amigas, coworkers and tell them about the show and to follow us on social media. We have the same handle on all of our accounts, @pinkslippd (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Our community is one of the largest consumers of entertainment. We have power in numbers. If we can flex that muscle and show the industry that we support a story like PinkSlipped then we are doing our part in moving the needle when it comes to the type of representation we want to see on television and the big screens.
What's next? Will you be touring to showcase the series? Where?
Up next we are planning on screening the show in New York, Atlanta, San Antonio and Los Angeles! Dates and times will be confirmed on our website so stay tuned.