There are a lot of reasons why Stephanie Beatriz deserves our attention. Recognizable to most as the incomparable Detective Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, she has spent five seasons bringing to life a tough, capable, and fascinating female character in an ensemble filled with exceptional characters (and actors). And if that were all there was to it, there wouldn’t be much more to say, really. But in an unusual move for a network sitcom in its fifth season, the show shook things up with its deft handling of Rosa’s bisexual coming-out storyline — using Beatriz’s own experience as an out bisexual woman as reference.
As she discussed in an interview with Vulture:
Did you have a role in developing the story?
Dan [Goor, B99 co-creator] had me come in, meet with all the writers, and talk about my own coming-out story a little bit. Talk about things I wanted to see in an episode. All along the way I was asked, “What are the things that are really important to you to have happen in these episodes?”
There were a lot of lines we put in when Rosa came out to her parents that were things I really wanted to stress. Like the phrase, “Bisexuality’s not really a thing.” “You’ll grow out of it.” “It’s just a phase.” “Well, you can still marry men, so there’s still a chance.” Which is really fucking exhausting. Get ready for that conversation for the rest of your life, right? My partner is a man, I’m engaged to be married to him, and I’m not polyamorous, so there’s a weird thing, where people will look at me and say, “But now you’re straight, right? Because you’re engaged to be married to man.” No, that’s not it. The realness is that for the rest of my life my sexual desires will include my gender and other genders. Just like when you marry someone, your sexual desire for other people just doesn’t drop away and disappear. You still see people, and you’re like, “Damn!” even though you’re committed to one person.
There were multiple rewrites, but the main thing for me was that the character said “bisexual” and that she said it so many times. She names her sexuality, versus many bisexual characters that you see in television in the past that have just happened to date men and women, and they’re just fluid and sexy, and sometimes they’re a fucking villain.
And here she is telling Seth Meyers (in her own VERY NOT ROSA real speaking voice!) more about filming her character’s coming-out scene, when she hasn’t actually officially come out to her own parents:
But I’m not here to nominate Detective Diaz to the Pajiba 10 — not even if it’s a joint nomination with Captain Holt, based entirely on this single scene that STILL BRINGS TEARS TO MY EYES:
I’m here for Stephanie Beatriz, the cutest ukulele player ever:
I’m here for Beatriz’s desire to play Marvel’s queer Latina superhero, America Chavez — which, like, be still my fucking heart, right?
I’m here for her openness about her disordered eating struggles:
been doing a lot of reading on this trip about #ed and #selflove 💕🌴 @detoxfromsocialmedia recommended an amazing book, "Eating in the Light of the Moon" by Anita Johnston, PH.D. I'm so grateful to be hearing this book's amazing messages of letting go of judgements about myself. I'm learning more about listening to my intuition. As someone who is actively seeking recovery from disordered eating, I'm starting to understand how I kept myself from enjoying life by limiting what I believed was possible for me. I thought I didn't deserve to feel really happy, that I wasn't "worth it" and that I only REALLY deserved it if I was super duper skinny. Somehow if I could achieve THAT, I deserved all the good things around me, and without that I just didn't. So I stopped listening to my instincts, and I used lots of techniques to dull my feelings. but I'm not interested in anything but authenticity rn, and though I'm terrified, I'm super ready to learn more and more about who I am and to celebrate EVERYTHING about myself. mad thanks to my other gurus @jennacokerjones and @mizshawnafit for your guidance along the way, and to @frankiesbikinis for their bomb 👙 💕🌴
But more than anything — and this is where I’m going to get real personal for a sec — I’m here for her eyebrow scar. Like, REALLY here for it:
My celeb crush is Stephanie Beatriz’s eyebrow scar— Tori Preston (@Torionic) March 15, 2018
Eyebrow scars are the sexiest facial scar possible, adding an air of mystery and danger to a person, and I, for whatever reason, have ALWAYS wanted one. Probably because I have zero mystery OR danger in me. I’ve even contemplated getting into a bar fight just to earn one (because eyebrow scars can’t be made, they have to be earned). So out of curiosity, I researched to see if she’d ever explained how she got hers and, just…
SHE TRIPPED ON A DAMN LEGO. Dude, not only is Stephanie Beatriz my jam, BUT SO ARE LEGOS. And clumsiness! And the fact that Beatriz is voicing a character in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is even more appropriate now!
So anyway, I know this year there are a lot of smart & sexy options to add to your Pajiba 10 ballots, but do me a favor and consider the fucking hell out of Stephanie Beatriz.
And now, if you’ll excuse me: DIAZ .GIF PARTY!