Rita Moreno says there was a time she 'didn’t like being a Hispanic'

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Rita Moreno is wide known for breaking down barriers for Latino performers successful Hollywood, but nan legendary character revealed Monday that she did not ever clasp her Hispanic identity.

"For galore years, I didn’t for illustration being a Hispanic person,” Moreno, who is Puerto Rican, told TODAY show big Hoda Kotb while promoting her caller film, “The Prank.” “It took a very agelong clip to get complete nan emotion that I was an unworthy person, that I wasn’t pretty, aliases that I was a Latina."

Moreno has antecedently opened up astir her struggles overcoming her ain insecurities aft years of being typecast by awesome movie and tv studios arsenic good arsenic facing discrimination. She peculiarly specifications these challenges successful her 2021 documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It."

When Kotb referenced immoderate of these struggles during nan interview, Moreno recalled being 5 years aged and believing she had nary worth because immoderate group made her consciousness othered.

Moreno said children are “tender” and susceptible to believing what others show them. “When personification says that, you judge it."

Rita Moreno connected TODAY connected March 4. 2024.Rita Moreno connected TODAY connected Monday.TODAY

The 92-year-old added it took her a agelong clip to activity done specified feelings. She besides credited "years of psychotherapy" for helping her understand her value.

From “One Day astatine a Time” and “Jane nan Virgin” to “West Side Story“ and countless different movies and TV shows, Moreno — 1 of nan fewer Americans pinch what is called EGOT position arsenic an Emmy-, Grammy-, Oscar- and Tony-winning character — has accomplished a batch successful a trailblazing profession spanning 7 decades.

Moreno made history arsenic nan first Latina to triumph an Academy Award, receiving nan champion supporting character accolade for her domiciled arsenic Anita successful nan 1961 movie “West Side Story,” a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet centered astir nan Upper West Side vicinity successful New York City.

She received nan Presidential Medal of Freedom successful 2004, nan National Medal of Arts successful 2009, nan Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award successful 2013, nan Kennedy Center Honors successful 2015 and a Peabody Career Achievement successful 2019, among different recognitions.

Her newest film, "The Prank," sees Moreno prima successful nan acheronian drama arsenic Mrs. Wheeler, a villainous physics precocious schoolhouse teacher.

“She is nan world’s meanest woman. I had truthful overmuch fun,” Moreno said astir playing nan role. "The Prank" will beryllium shown successful prime theaters starting adjacent week.

Moreno besides confirmed she is joining nan formed of nan upcoming scary movie "Theirs," alongside actors Harvey Keitel, Roselyn Sanchez and Udo Kier. A merchandise day for "Theirs" has not yet been announced.

In her speech pinch Kotb, Moreno besides revealed her concealed to maintaining a youthful tone astatine 92.

“I emotion to laugh, and I emotion to make group laugh,” Moreno said. “My problem is getting superior sometimes.”

Nicole Acevedo

Nicole Acevedo is simply a newsman for NBC News Digital. She reports, writes and produces stories for NBC Latino and NBCNews.com.

Emi Tuyetnhi Tran

Emi Tuyetnhi Tran is an intern for NBC News Digital.

Max Gao