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To residents of Nevada’s 28th district, Lucy Flores is their former state assemblywoman. To everyone else, she’s the woman who nearly sank Joe Biden’s presidential bid before it began. It was Flores, 39, who penned an essay for The Cut, “An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden,” detailing a 2014 encounter when the then-veep touched her shoulders and kissed the back of her head. Since then, Biden has pledged to respect the new “cultural norms” of personal space, launched his 2020 campaign and soared to a double-digit lead in the polls over his rivals.
Now Flores is readying her own next chapter: a talk show for LATV, a media company targeting Latinx millennials. The format of the show, Jefa Status (Boss Status), will be conventional: Flores interviewing prominent Latinas (season one guests include the singer Paulina Aguirre and activist Jessica Morales Rocketto). But she won’t shy away from the issues that inspired her essay.
“My voice is very honest and that’s what I’m known for. My career was built on talking about issues that are important to me and my community,” says Flores, who adds that her essay was — unsurprisingly — met with warm support in some quarters and vitriolic criticism in others. “It may have started with Joe Biden but that wasn’t the primary reason why I spoke out. Because it isn’t just about Joe Biden and his behavior. Powerful men need to recognize when there’s a power dynamic, because oftentimes the person on the receiving end doesn’t feel like they can say anything about their discomfort.”
Flores is hoping her new show can help address the shortage of Latinx representation onscreen. Latinx characters made up only 5.2 percent of speaking film roles in 2017 despite making up nearly 18 percent of the population, according to a February diversity report from UCLA. “The black and Asian communities are making great inroads and have representation in those decision-making roles,” says Flores. “People like Ava DuVernay are creating opportunities for other black artists across the entire industry. We don’t have that quite yet. Our leaders haven’t seen that level of access — and that’s part of the problem.”
As for the Democratic primary race, Flores is coy about which candidate she supports. She admires Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and says no one should read too much into Biden’s current lead. “If there is one thing we have learned,” she says, “polls are increasingly unrealistic and unreliable.”
A version of this story first appeared in the May 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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