#SeeHER aims to portray women and girls accurately in the media. Today, we are shining the #SeeHER Spotlight on Lifetime's Family Pictures stars Elisabeth Röhm and Justina Machado.
StephenWalker chats with Justina Machado and Elisabeth Röhm about diversity, women in film and television, and if they notice any shift in the dynamic. Justina mentions the set of One Day at a Time is half-full of female and LGBTQ+ individuals, led by writer and showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett. On friends Eva Longoria and Gina Rodriguez directing and producing, Justina comments:
"The projects just kind of have a different feeling, y'know? I feel like it's more of a collaboration."
Elisabeth thinks so, too, and she sees a change in the way female characters are developed. She sees more growth in these women portrayed, and attributes that to women having more say behind the scenes. The Law and Order star adds,
"I see female characters in films and television being thought of more deeply than they were before."
Bouncing off that, Justina focuses on the layers to each character, and aims to open the box that many actresses find themselves stuck in. She emphasizes the connection between a woman's impact behind the scenes and the change towards more compelling female characters.
On the set of Family Pictures, Justina and Elisabeth mention that there were not many women behind the scenes. However, one female camera operator worked the set. Justina and Elisabeth celebrated this victory, despite believing that a single victory is not enough.
"[. . . ] we want more camera operators, we want more female directors, more female producers. That the landscape of film and television just becomes colored out to the edges and it just says 'female' much more brightly," Elisabeth responds.
In terms of advice, Justina shares some wisdom with us! She brings back her earlier comment about actresses being put in a box, and highlights the importance of pushing back against restricting and hiding parts of yourself. She shines a light on the difference between playing a character and playing a stereotype, the latter of which she refused to do throughout her career.
"Just stay true to yourself," Justina encourages.