*Rosie Perez is opening up about her battle with the potentially deadly coronavirus.
In an interview with Uproxx, Perez, 56, revealed that she contracted COVID-19 a year ago while traveling to Bangkok to film her upcoming series, “The Flight Attendant” for HBO Max.
“I had contracted COVID when we flew to Bangkok,” Perez recalled. “And at that time, they were saying ‘It’s a new respiratory tract infection. It’s a virus that’s going around. We don’t really know what it is and what it does, but it attacks the respiratory system first and then travels to other parts of your body.’ “
“It was terrifying,” she continued. “I remember my manager was with me, and I said, ‘Tarik, don’t let me die in Bangkok.’ And he goes, ‘Oh my God, you’re scaring me.’ And the head of the ICU says, ‘You should be scared, sir. This is serious. We’re going to have to put her in a separate room.’ “
Perez goes on to explain that at the time, the virus “was new. [This] was in December.”
“I remember the doctor saying to me, ‘The mask that you have on, the mask that I have on, every time you go outside, every time you meet someone wear that mask — not just for you, but to protect them too,’ ” she said. “And I haven’t forgotten it.”
Perez has since been outspoken about taking safety precautions amid the ongoing pandemic.
“In Brooklyn, there’s a saying, ‘Spread love the Brooklyn way,’ “she shared. “Spreading love the Brooklyn way means respecting your neighbors, respecting your communities and the way you can do that is by getting tested, wearing a mask.”
Elsehwhere in the interview, Perez talks about her ongoing fight to avoid being typecast. Here’s what she had to say:
After Do The Right Thing — because that was a predominantly all-black crew — you step out of that and you get into the real Hollywood and you’re like, “Holy crap.” And from day one, I was like, “There’s a lot of racism going on here.” And everyone was telling me to be quiet, specifically the Latino community. And I was like, “No, I’m not going to be quiet. Why aren’t you upset?”
I remember, they took me out for lunch, saying, “Don’t rock the boat. A lot of people worked hard for what we have now.” I said, “What we have now, are you kidding me? There are maybe three or four of us that are doing well, not having stupid roles being thrown at us. No, I’m not satisfied.” It hurt me in the beginning, to be quite honest. It turned a lot of people off because I was holding up a mirror and they didn’t like what they saw. So they just wanted to push me aside. And I just kept fighting for it. When I saw the change – the first one was Raul Julia. He came up to me, and he’s a God, right?
And he said, “F*** them.” I went, “Excuse me, sir?” He said, “F*** them. I didn’t lose my accent. Don’t lose your accent. F*** them. They need to change, not you. I love what you’re doing. I see what you’re doing, keep going.” And I remember, I just fell into tears. He was the first one, the first one.
And then a couple of years later, here’s this hot, young, rising star, Salma Hayek. She came up to me, she goes, “Hello. I always wanted to meet you. You opened the doors for us.” And I went, “Who?” And she said, “You!” It didn’t even dawn on me. I remember just looking at her and she was with Edward Norton and he goes, “Are you okay?” And I shake my head and she goes, “Why? What you do is so amazing. It gave me courage.” And I said, “Wow. I will never forget this moment. Thank you so much.”
I’ve been fighting and I’m still fighting. The fight has changed because I have changed. I do it in a much more mature way, but the fire hasn’t dampened a bit. Things are changing and that’s fantastic. But you know what, there have been ages of this. I’ve seen it before. In the nineties, they got the Latino explosion, and then it went away. You know what I mean? It comes and it goes, but I hope this time it sticks. I really do. The Flight Attendant is fantastic for it, because the level of respect that they offered to everybody on set was immense, with a diverse cast and a diverse crew. This is a good sign, but it’s not enough, to be honest. It’s still not enough. It’s still not equal. I won’t stop fighting until it is. I paid the price, yes, but the ones before me paid even a greater price, and it will continue.
Read her full interview with Uproxx here.