Glamour: There is such rising population of young Latinas here in the United States, but we didn’t really grow up seeing ourselves in media. As a part of Encanto, you’re giving back to those younger girls who never really saw themselves—how is that?
Carolina Gaitán: I love that we’re talking about this. We’re talking about representation. We’re talking about identification. We’re talking about finally telling a different story about our Latino community, but specifically, our Colombian community. In the movie it’s about multiracial issues and families. It’s a really good moment for Latinos to express what we really are, and Encanto does this beautifully. We’re talking about our stories, our gastronomy, our strong women leading our society. Being a part of that and exposing that side to people is so important.
What was the story behind your audition?
It was crazy. There’s so many crazy stories behind my audition, I don’t know where to start. I was in L.A. to go to the Disney studios in Burbank, and I was so nervous. I still have the parking ticket because I couldn’t believe that I was actually there, doing a casting for an audition for a Disney movie. That alone was a dream come true. After my audition went well, I had the chance to meet Lin-Manuel, who I actually asked for a selfie four years earlier when I went to New York because I wanted to see Hamilton. Four years after, in my callback, the directors told me that Lin-Manuel was going to be a part of the movie to do the music, and they were telling me that he did research and went to Colombia to visit—and we were on the same flight from Bogotá to New York.
Oh, my gosh, that’s crazy! It’s fate.
So when I had my callback, I had the chance to meet Lin-Manuel, and he was like, “I cannot believe that. Let me see the picture.” I showed him the picture and was like, “Oh, my god, this was so meant to be!” So I had the chance to talk about the movie with him over coffee in a drama book store in New York. There’s so much magic behind all of this.
Let’s talk about “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” I mean, it’s everywhere. For people who may have been born in the United States or had no idea about Latin culture, they’re singing your song at the gym or walking down the street right now.
I know, it’’ crazy. When I was in L.A., I remember saying I was Colombian and people were like, “Mexico? Is it the same?” It was like that. For me, there’s two things that have been really important and beautiful: Finally, we can talk about Colombia and that the world knows our story—our music, our names, our country, our food. I will always remember when I was living in L.A., someone told me, “Caro, it’s going to be really difficult here for you.” I didn’t understand why. It’s because I had an accent and because I didn’t look like a Latina—I’m white. I didn’t understand, because, how am I supposed to look? We’re all so different and multiracial. We’re not a stereotype. With Encanto, it’s beautiful to finally express that in the best way.