LatinXcellence: Why the TV industry needs more voices like Claudia Lyon

Lyon grew up in New York, navigating her childhood in a household with roots in Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago and South Asia. Her love for TV and movie grew over the years to the level that she discovered a method to get jobs as an intern and assistant even with out connections.

While her future in the industry was nonetheless unclear, Lyon took a leap of religion and traveled to Los Angeles to take a brief job as a casting assistant on a film.

“I don’t think any of us thought I was going to stay here,” Lyon stated about she and her household.

But quitting was by no means an choice for her, Lyon stated.

“Being first generation, I think a lot of times you feel a sense of responsibility to do what you’re doing, not only for yourself but for those who will come after you,” she stated. “I always felt like I had to make the most of every opportunity and persist.”

Over the previous 20 years, Lyon has change into a revered voice in the industry and overseen casting and expertise departments at the WB Network, ABC Entertainment and now CBS Entertainment.

As a community govt, Lyon works intently with casting administrators to ensure producers, studios and networks share a robust imaginative and prescient for every challenge.

While there’s nonetheless a lot more to do to enhance Latinx illustration in the industry, Lyon stated she’s seen some current progress. From an elevated consciousness that Latinos are more nuanced and never a monolith to more alternatives for Latinos to be forged in roles that are not particularly written with a Latinx particular person in thoughts.

Lyon is aware of she is able to deliver the voice of a Latina alongside her various cultural background to the choice room. It’s a accountability that she would not take frivolously.

“We come from different cultures and different parts of the world. Some of us are first generation, some of us are second generation,” Lyon stated. “I feel like I can speak to those things through my work in casting.”


Name: Claudia Lyon

Job: Executive Vice President for Talent and Casting at CBS Entertainment

Projects you have labored on: The upcoming CBS authentic film “A Christmas Proposal,” collection “Clarice,” “The Equalizer,” in addition to ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “black-ish.”

Years in leisure: More than 20.

Mentor: “I’ve had a lot of mentors along the way. One person that comes to mind is a casting director named Phyllis Huffman. I was an intern and an assistant for her. She really was the person who helped guide and support me as I transitioned from working in New York to coming out to LA and finding my career path. She was the casting director for most of Clint Eastwood’s movies during her career.”

Latino…de dónde?: “My mother is from Guatemala, my father is from Trinidad and Tobago. I’m multicultural and multi-ethnic. I’m Latina and also of South Asian descent. I’m also from Brooklyn, New York.”

Trope I’d banish from TV without end: “I would like Latinos to be viewed as more than one thing on television, more than one story to be told. There’s so many cultures within our community that I would like to see represented, and different looking Latinos and Latinas. I don’t want to see just one representation of Latinos in one story, I would really like to see a fuller, more wide ranging representation of us.”

Latinx actor/actress I believe shall be an enormous star someday: “It’s hard to pick one person. There’s so many. But if we’re talking about someone specific, we just cast Jessica Camacho in the first Christmas movie that we’re doing for CBS. She was on our show “All Rise.” She’s really special and a rising star for TV and film. She’s really fantastic.”

Latinx present I want everybody was watching/had watched: “I wish more people had watched ‘One Day at a Time.’ I felt like that show had everything. It had excellent writing, excellent cast. I’m really an admirer of Gloria Calderon Kellet’s work and what she does not only by bringing those stories to the screen but behind the scenes. I just thought the show was fantastic and hilarious.”

Overused line that execs say when passing on a Latino for a challenge: “I like to challenge when I hear ‘we couldn’t find anyone’ or ‘there was no one out there.’ I hear it less and less these days because I think when someone expresses that, they know the response is going to be ‘How far did you look? Where did you look? We’ll introduce you to some more talent.'”

What I believe all industry professionals might do to assist improve Latinx illustration on tv:

“I think there are a few things. First of all, whose story is not being told and tell those stories. Mentor, invest in talent and amplify voices. I think if you take a few of those and do those every day that could lead to a lot of opportunities and projects that we haven’t seen before.”

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