Mario Lopez was thrilled when Miss Mexico, Andrea Meza, was crowned Miss Universe last week. The Saved by the Bell star — who is the child of Mexican immigrants and hosted the event — told ABC Audio that it felt “nice to call her name” when announcing the winner.
“Obviously, I have nothing to do with the selection — I’m just hosting,” he clarified with a laugh, but used Meza’s win as an example to explain why diversity in entertainment is necessary.
“I was happy that she won because I think seeing yourself represented really makes you proud and helps your self-worth,” the actor expressed. “It’s nice to have people that look like you… in the spotlight.”
The Daytime Emmy winner also points out, “It gets discouraging if you don’t see yourself represented on TV or film.”
While representing different races, ethnicities and sexualities in television and movies has “improved and… come a long way,” Lopez, 47, says the industry “still [has] a long way to go.”
The television personality explains that, in order to improve that, the industry should focus on hiring “more people to be able to tell the stories in positions of power, like producing and writing.”
“I’m trying to do my small part,” he continues, referencing his upcoming Christmas movie, Holiday in Santa Fe, which features “a predominantly Latino cast, but very universal storytelling.”
Lopez, who teamed with Amazon Launchpad for his own Father’s Day gift guide, also reflected on the Saved by the Bell revival, which features a diverse cast that is “celebrated” and “embraced.”
“That’s one of the strengths of the show,” he smiled, adding the reboot has been “well-received” by the audience.
Which is why he is so excited the show is coming back, adding, “We’re getting fired up to do our second season!”
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.