How the Success of Actress Yalitza Aparicio Illustrates We Are All Capable of Winning

Yalitza Aparicio is everywhere. She was the second Latina and the only Mixtec woman in history to ever be nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. Yalitza was nominated for her role as Cleo in the poetic and beautiful film ROMA, Alfonso Cuaron’s masterpiece about two women that have been united by circumstances, which recently swept the Oscars.

I believe Yalitza has become so fascinating to women because she reminds us never to give up and to always show up.

Yalitza is also on the cover of Vogue Mexico which has turned her into a beauty icon. She had never acted, never modeled and never expected her life to turn out the way it has. This shy, introverted 25-year-old student, is from a poor family outside of Oaxaca Mexico, where she belonged to a social class with limited possibilities. She had already surpassed her destiny (her mother was a domestic worker) by attending college to eventually become a pre-school teacher. However, one day she reluctantly went to an audition with her sister, to an unknown movie about a domestic worker, that would later change her life.

Yalitza made a decision to follow her deepest improbable dream, take a risk and show up! When we show up and take action we have a shot at something happening, maybe even a miracle, but with no action, it is guaranteed that nothing will happen. If Yalitza can do it, so can you. Here’s how you begin!

If you don’t show up, the fact is nothing will happen!

Before attending the casting call, there were moments when Yalitza said to herself that she wouldn’t go and that she didn’t even like acting. But in the end, she decided to take the risk and she participated – a decision which would lead to her to being nominated for an Oscar.

Be afraid, but do it anyway!

Even standing in front of an audience made Yalitza feel terrified and being in front of a camera was even more terrifying. In spite of her fears, however, Yalitza pushed forward and kept going, and the results were life-changing.

Taking a Risk is Worth it!

Yalitza reminds us that all of the effort you make to achieve what you desire will pay off if you don’t give up. She took a big risk and went way outside of her comfort zone, which paid off tremendously.

Yes, you can!

For Yalitza, being nominated for an Oscar is a prize for all women –women who, perhaps like her, never thought that they belong to a  world they could never aspire to be part of, because their appearance wasn’t right, or they didn’t have the financial means to get there. But Yalitza shows us that yes, it can be done!


If you don’t believe in yourself and declare yourself, no one else will either. If you don’t at least “act as if” and show up to the table, it is almost impossible for your dreams to be handed to you on a silver platter. Choose Yourself every day and don’t give up!

Click HERE to watch my interview with Yalitza Aparicio’s about sticking to her dreams and moving past her fears ( interview in Spanish, subtitled in English)

Nely Galan is the former President of Entertainment of the Telemundo network. She is a  television producer, and the New York Times Best Selling Author of SELF MADE,  Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every way (2016) Random House. She is the founder of The Adelante Movement to empower multi-cultural women in entrepreneurship. She has Masters and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

This essay was featured in the March 24th edition of The Sunday Paper, Maria Shriver’s free weekly newsletter for people with passion and purpose. To get inspiring and informative content like this piece delivered straight to your inbox each Sunday morning, click here to subscribe.




phone mockup of the sunday paper

Get Above the Noise
Subscribe to The Sunday Paper

phone mockup of the sunday paper

An award-winning newsletter that Inspires Hearts and Minds — and Moves Humanity Forward. We publish premium content that makes you feel Informed, Inspired, Hopeful, Seen, Supported, and most importantly not alone on your journey to The Open Field.