No, not all Latinas are envious, and here’s why. It all began with a phone call. My wonderful TV agent, Cindy Mintz of Abrams Artists Agency, wanted to let me know that actress Sara Ramirez had inquired about a meeting with me. My jaw dropped. I was a huge—I mean HUGE—fan of Sara’s, and the idea that she knew who I was and wanted to meet me was almost too good to comprehend.
I looked at my calendar, and realized I would soon be in Los Angeles, where Sara, a star on the TV show Grey’s Anatomy as you probably know, resides. As luck would have it, my dear friend Alain Romero, founder and director of Solpro, a Latino professionals networking organization, had planned a book party for me to help launch my latest novel, Lauren’s Saints of Dirty Faith.
I let Cindy know I could meet Sara during that couple of days, and then I did something I might not have dared to do early in my career. I asked Sara to please come to the book party and help me promote the novel by reading a section out loud to the guests.
In the past, in part because I was raised to be “humble,” I would have been afraid to ask. I would have heard my mother’s negative, sarcastic voice ringing in my head, something like, “Well, I guess you think you’re something special, huh?” Now, however? Now I knew—I’d learned—that in life you don’t get what you want and need unless you ask for it, something that is very hard for many of us.
To my enormous surprise, Sara said yes. I was overjoyed.
We met for dinner before the party. I was stunned that she came alone. Most celebrities I’d dealt with came to such things with an entourage—and an attitude. Anticipating such, I had brought my own cadre of agents, managers, and the like. It was embarrassing, because Sara was so down-to-earth, and there I was, acting like a diva. I later apologized for this in an email, and Sara told me not to worry; she even complimented me for having so many great people who support me and my career. Without a doubt, Sara is the most genuine and unaffected star I have ever met.
During dinner, Sara told me a moving story about how my work came to her attention. A dear friend of hers, a gay man, recommended it. Sara told me she wasn’t a big reader, and that even though he’d told her to read my stuff years ago, it wasn’t until he passed away recently that she took The Dirty Girls Social Club off her shelf and cracked the spine. Her eyes lit up as she told me of several synchronicities that happened to her while reading the book—a book whose writing had delivered to me many similar inexplicable happenings. Turns out, Sara and I shared many things—including half-Irish moms, a love of music and formal conservatory training. My work spoke to her, and she wanted to help me bring it to the screen.
At the party, Sara stood before the awed crowd in her elegant black leggings, top and boots. She was slender, gorgeous and very tall, with her hair shiny and looping in beautiful curls. And she read from the book, bringing my words to life in a way I had never heard before. Flash bulbs went off every couple of seconds. The photos and word of my book spread all over the Internet, as I’d known they would, and sales of the book jumped. Sara held the power to help me, and she did. I will never forget her generosity, her lack of pretense, her plainspoken integrity.
I wanted to share this story with the readers of Mamiverse, because we so often talk about envy and jealousy among women. Ms. Ramirez was a breath of fresh air, because she helped another woman, me. I will never forget it.
If I can, I will help Sara in return. I will also do what I can to help those who might ask me to, emulating her wonderful example. There is power in women helping one another, and we should all remember that.
Thank you, Sara, for the gift of your support.