Rosie Perez didn’t take home an award during Sunday’s 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards, but the Flight Attendant actress still considers the night a win.
“Everyone kept asking me, ‘Are you nervous?’ ‘Do you think you’re going to win?’ And I was like I know I’m not going to win but I won. I’m the third Latina to be nominated for a freaking Emmy. That is sad but also great at the same time. You know, progress. Just to have that honor to be the third it’s like—let’s get it going guys. So for me, it was just a win-win all night,” she told Vanity Fair on Monday.
Though the Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series went to Hannah Waddingham for her role in Ted Lasso, Perez insists that just being part of television’s big night was enough of an honor.
“I think that being nominated for an Emmy three times before, losing, being nominated for an Oscar, losing, being nominated for a Golden Globe, losing—I’m telling everybody, you know what? I’m walking in there strutting and having a good time…There’s no reason to stress out because all of this, win or lose, is fantastic. It’s freaking awesome and I’m old enough to understand that and appreciate that now,” she explains.
Part of the reason Perez, who wore a sparkling gold Pamella Roland gown with metallic Giuseppe Zanotti platform heels and jewelry from Pasquale Bruni, enjoyed herself so much this time around? Her glamorous look.
“I loved it. I loved the hair and the makeup—everything went so easily. Nobody was stressing out. I was late to the car because I was having so much fun getting ready. My BFF Julie was there. It was a great, great experience. And my husband [Eric Haze] looked gorgeous in his Jimmy Choos that he designed…I was really proud,” she says. “This was the first night in my career, I’ve been nominated before, that I actually had fun. No stress.”
In fact, the “no stress” evening seemed to only bring one “nervous” moment for Perez.
“There was one moment when I put on the dress—I got a little nervous because I was like, ‘I hope I don’t trip.’ I had to practice walking in the dress in the hotel room,” she says.
As for the broadcast itself, Perez’s favorite part was the Emmys’ tribute to actress and dancer Debbie Allen as she became the first Black woman to receive the governors award.
“Seeing [Allen] get recognized and how fierce she was in her acceptance speech, and I ran over to her and I was in tears because she was one of the first people in Hollywood to invite me in,” the actress recalls. “To tell everyone around town that this is an amazing dancer and choreographer and I remember she invited me to her studio and she said, ‘I’m going to teach you everything I know and you’re going to teach me everything you know.’ …And she was just fantastic. She taught me so much. So just to see that was amazing.”
After her emotional catch-up with Allen, Perez “went over to the cast of I May Destroy You and I said, ‘Your show is the best show on television.’ …I just loved it. The subject matter was so well done and when Michaela [Coel] finally won I leaped to my feet. I was so, so happy. And for Jean Smart! I was so, so happy for her too,” she says.
“I will say I wish more people of color had won for acting, that would have been really nice because there were some outstanding performances from people of color who were nominated but you know, we’re moving forward—even at a snail’s pace—but we’re still moving forward. So I’m hoping next year there will be a change in that.”
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