Doom Patrol Star Diane Guerrero Is an Advocate for Immigration Reforms
Diane Guerrero came to the spotlight with her breakout role of Maritza Ramos in Orange Is the New Black in 2013. She has since worked on dozens of productions and made a name for herself with her part in Jane the Virgin and Doom Patrol.
But Guerrero isn’t known just for her acting career. Just as much as she is recognized for playing Crazy Jane in DC’s Doom Patrol, she is recognized as much for her efforts towards social justice. Born in America to two Colombian immigrants, she found herself completely alone at the age of fourteen when her parents and her brother were deported.
Guerrero Separated From Her Family At The Age Of 14
Diane Guerrero was born on July 21, 1986, in New Jersey, USA. Her parents and older half-brother had fled Colombia during the country’s violent time.
The family had overstayed their temporary visas and were deported back when Guerrero was 14 years old. The actress recounted when talking to NPR:
So I was walking home from school. I went inside. My parents’ cars were outside. And food was on the stove, but it wasn’t done. Lights were on. My mom’s sweater was on the chair, and - but they were gone. And then a neighbor came and told me that immigration services had come and taken them.
Separated from her family, Guerrero relied on the hospitality of a friend’s family to survive until high school.
Guerrero Advocates For Immigration Reforms
After her family was deported, Guerrero wasn’t checked on by the authorities a single time. And the stigma that came with the deportation of her family led to a difficult phase in her life because she couldn’t open up about it.
The Doom Patrol star has spoken on multiple occasions about the feeling of isolation she went through because of the unjust immigration policies. She shared her experience with NPR’s Michel Martin.
We didn’t talk about it [immigrant issues] like we do now. We weren’t learning about it in school. There was a huge stigma around it. Even though a lot of people were experiencing this, there was a great shame that went along with it.
Guerrero struggled with alcohol abuse, severe depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts because of her repressed emotions. She overcame them eventually and is now an advocate for immigration reforms.
She was even nominated as the White House Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization by former President Barack Obama in 2015. In June of 2018, she gave a speech in front of 30,000 protestors at the ‘Families Belong Together Rally’ in Washington, D.C.
Author Of Two Books
Having grown up, terrified of the stigma that came with immigration and deportation issues, Guerrero wanted to share her story after learning that there were thousands of others who shared similar circumstances like hers.
The Orange Is The New Black actress first opened up about her experience in a 2014 op-ed in L.A. Times, where she told her family’s story. Two years later in 2016, she published her first book, 'In The Country We Love, a memoir she wrote with the help of Michelle Burford (a well-known memoir collaborator and NYT bestselling author). The book tells the story of what followed after being separated from her family, delving deeper into her personal journey and experiences.
Guerrero explained what she wanted as a kid while talking to Vogue.
I wish that I could have seen more people not be so afraid, be more vocal about the issue. Knowledge is power. I just wish I could have been more active in finding information that could have helped me or my parents. Or even a support group. I literally thought I was the only person going through this. I thought the wrath had come down only on my family.
The book fulfilled Guerrero’s wishes of telling the story of separated families and immigrations. Community members even used her book to teach students about immigration and it inspired her to publish 'My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope' in 2018 with author Erica Moroz.
Yeah No, I’m Not OK
Guerrero has been open about her struggles with mental health issues like depression and suicidal thoughts. As a person who had repressed her feelings for a long time because of stigma and put up a happy front, the actress puts a strong emphasis on the importance of mental health.
The Doom Patrol star partnered up with LAist Studios to launch her own podcast, Yeah No, I’m Not OK, a podcast about mental health, healing, and opening up about how we feel. According to the podcast’s page on LAist Studios’ website, Guerrero started the podcast to help people affected by mental health issues.
Growing up, I was taught to say that I was “ok” when I really wasn’t. Mental health just wasn’t something that anyone in my family or community talked about or even had access to. Yet pretty much everyone was affected by it.
Today, young people of color are disproportionately affected by mental health issues and are not getting the resources they need, and I want to change that.
And this is why this podcast exists.
Guerrero converses with health care professionals, activists, artists, friends, and colleagues about mental health and healing.
Guerrero’s Acting Career / Movies And TV Shows
The Orange Is The New Black actress always had an interest in acting. But she only began pursuing it as a career when she was 24. She began with small roles in shorts and TV series in 2011.
Guerrero worked in several productions but what shot her to fame was her role as Maritza Ramos, an undocumented immigrant from Colombia who is now an inmate in Orange Is The New Black in 2013. Because of how much her character had in common with herself, she was a natural at the role and delivered an amazing performance. She even received three Screen Actors Guild awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2015, 2016, and 2017 for Orange Is The New Black. She was nominated once again in 2018 but didn’t win the award.
Guerrero also played Lina, the best friend and co-worker of Jane Villanueva in Jane the Virgin (2014-2019). She is also the first woman to portray DC Comics character Crazy Jane in a live-action adaptation. She has reprised the role in Doom Patrol (2019-2020) and Legends of Tomorrow (2020).
Most recently, the actress appeared in Blood Brothers (2021).
Guerrero As Crazy Jane
Crazy Jane is a fictional character created by Grant Morrison and Richard Case on the Vertigo Comics version of Doom Patrol. She is based on Truddi Chase, an American author who was diagnosed with a dissociative identity disorder.
Like Chase, Crazy Jane has multiple personalities, a total of 64. And each of those 64 alternate personalities has different superpowers.
In an interview, Guerrero talked about how her experience with depression and mental health issues helped portray Crazy Jane and herself.
Reading who the character was based on was very insightful. To learn about the character that Jane was based on. Learning about trauma and mental health has always been a part of my work. And so, when this character came my way, I thought, “Oh my, this is something I really want to explore.” And it really came natural to me because it’s something that I have been… I mean I have grappled with depression myself and mental health issues myself. And so, playing a character that is so tied to her emotions and tied to her brain, it helped clear up a lot of things for me too personally, which was very helpful.
Guerrero’s Personal Life
The Doom Patrol actress was previously dating Joseph Ferrara. In an interview with Refinery 29, she called him a great partner.
When asked if she would marry her then boyfriend, she joked while sharing the story of catching a bouquet at a wedding.
Well, we were just at his cousin’s wedding and he caught the garter and I caught the bouquet, so it’s kind of out of my hands.
Guerrero and Ferrara separated later. Rumors of her being romantically involved with Milo Ventimiglia surfaced in 2019, ET confirmed that the two were just friends. Currently, the star is single and does not have a husband.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Guerrero is worth $2 million.