Rita Moreno recently responded to criticism of her appearance throughout her career in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. One of the main topics of conversation was that how she was perceived as a “sex object” throughout her career, especially early on. “It never occurred to me not to withstand it,” Moreno says, noting the unprovoked attention from men in Hollywood. “I figured, and I was right, that that was how Hollywood was run and how it functioned. And I just went with the flow, as they say, not happily.”
She admits that it was the same unwanted attention that led her to go to therapy, which she calls “the best favor” she did for herself. “You hate it when they call you a sex object… And here’s the truth, and this is something I didn’t mention (in the film) only because I didn’t think about it. I would dress up in a very, very provocative way. I always wore tight, tight little dresses with my cute little bum. Too much makeup, usually. And the earrings and stuff, and I somehow never acknowledged that that wasn’t helping.”
Rita Moreno addresses her appearance as a “sex object” early on in her career
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‘West Side Story’ changed everything for her
“Interestingly, the character of Anita became my role model after all those years,” she says. “Anita was a young Hispanic woman with dignity, self-respect and enormous strength.” The 1961 film is getting a Hollywood reboot, with Moreno taking on a special part in the film as Valentina. She also served as executive producer on the film.