Best Actress of the Decade, Entry No. 28 : Yalitza Aparicio

To celebrate the last decade 2010-2019 we are counting down the best actresses and discussing some of their most notable and memorable performances of the last decade. With the help of Film Twitter, the ITOL team have selected 30 actresses. Entry No. 28 is Yalitza Aparicio, and writer Rosa Parra discusses Yalitza Aparicio’s performance in “Roma”.

By Rosa Parra

Yalitza Aparicio has the unique circumstance to have earned much critical acclaim on her performance in her debut film, “Roma” (2018). She is the first Indigenous Mexican actress to be nominated for Best Actress in the Academy Awards, and soon after, she will become one of Times 100 most influential people. Her story is an incredible one. She was cast as Cleo with zero acting experience she had just graduated and was looking to become a teacher.

According to Alfonso Cuaron, he immediately knew Yalitza would portray Cleo the moment she walked into the room. She had to learn an indigenous tongue so she could fluently speak in the film and she did it brilliantly.


“She is the first Indigenous Mexican actress to be nominated for Best Actress in the Academy Awards…Her story is an incredible one.”

“Roma” was a critically acclaimed film in 2018. Although Cuaron’s direction and gorgeous cinematography are for admiration, Yalitza’s interpretation of Cleo is the heartbeat of this film. Roma gives a microscopic lens to a group of people who are forgotten continuously, Indigenous people.

The film showcases the difference in economic classes, social and political tribulations in Mexico during the 1970s, and it gives a realistic and believable story of a family who deals with stressful situations. Cleo is one of the maids who works in the house. She is timid, quiet, nurturing, and yet she is a young woman who is full of life.

“It shouldn’t matter what you’re into, how you look – you can achieve whatever you aspire to.”

Yalitza Aparicio

There is one scene in the second half of the film where I empathized with Cleo, and I felt I was crying alongside Cleo. In the end, there is a powerful scene that once again activated my tear ducts, and it was at that moment that I realized why she had earned her academy nomination.


I admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of “Roma” on my first viewing, but my opinion has changed after this second viewing, and much has to do with Yalitza’s performance. I’m left wanting to see more of Yalitza, and I’m hoping she considers acting as a profession because she is certainly someone to look out for.

Do you consider Yalitza Aparicio’s performance in “Roma” to be one of the best of the last decade? Let us know in the comments below.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s