“I too have a dream that one day women will be judged by the content of their character, their creative and intellectual contributions to society, rather than by the color of their hair, the size of their waist or the perkiness of their breasts.” – Josefina López
Playwright, Real Women Have Curves
Josefina López (Playwright, Screenwriter, Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater, Producer, Author, Restaurateur, Activist) is best known for authoring the play and co-authoring the film Real Women Have Curves, a coming-of-age story about Ana, a first-generation Chicana torn between pursuing her college ambitions, a personal goal and securing employment, which is a family expectation. Along the way, Ana confronts a host of cultural assumptions about beauty, marriage and a woman’s role in society. Although Real Women Have Curves is López’s most recognized work, which she wrote the first draft for at age 19, it is only one of many literary and artistic works she has created since her artistic career began at 17 when she penned her one-act play, Simply Maria, or The American Dream. Born in San Luis Potosí, Mexico to Catalina and Rosendo López, on March 19, 1969, Josefina López was five-years-old when she and her family immigrated to the United States and settled in the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. She graduated in the first class from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts in 1987. López was undocumented for 13 years before she received Amnesty in 1987 and eventually became a U.S. Citizen in 1995.
López has been an activist and has been doing public speaking for over 20 years. She has lectured on various topics including Chicano Theater, Women’s History Issues and Minority representation in Cinema at over 200 universities such as Yale, Darmouth, and University of Southern California. She has been the subject of countless television and radio interviews in which she has passionately discussed immigration issues and other controversial subjects concerning women and minorities.
López is the recipient of a number of other awards and accolades, including a formal recognition from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s 7th Annual “Women Making History” banquet in 1998; and a screenwriting fellowship from the California Arts Council in 2001. She and Real Women Have Curves film co-author George LaVoo won the Humanitas Prize for Screenwriting in 2002, The Gabriel Garcia Marquez Award from Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn in 2003, the Artist-in-Residency grant from the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group for 2007 and a grant from The California Endowment in 2013.
In October of 2013 Josefina López executive produced the film, Detained in the Desert, an adaptation of her play of the same name, through her production shingle, Real Women Have Curves Studioâ. The film received its World Premiere screenings at TCL 6 Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and Mann’s Chinese Theatre) as part of the 16th Annual Los Angeles Latino Film Festival. Since then the film has been screened in the 9th Annual Los Angeles International Women’s Film Festival in Burbank, CA (2014, where it won Best Feature Film), the 21st Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival (2014), the 30th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival (2014), the 11th Annual Reel Rasquache Art & Film Festival in Boyle Heights, CA (2014) and at Museum of Art and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (2014).
López has had more than 80 productions of her plays throughout the United States. In addition, she also paints, writes poetry, performs and designs. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights, CA (founded in 2000). At CASA 0101 her commitment is to teach screenwriting and playwriting and nurture a new generation of Latino artists. López is actively working to create an Artist District in Boyle Heights where theater, arts and music can flourish and create opportunities for the many talented artists who reside in Boyle Heights or grew up in Boyle Heights and want to return to contribute.
López’s screenplays include: Immigrant Anthology (1993 – Feature for HBO),No Place Like Home (2000 – Feature for New Line Cinema), Real Women Have Curves (1990 – Feature for Warner Bros; 2002 – co-written with George LaVoo as a Feature for HBO); ADD Me to the Party (2003 – Feature for Four Color Prods.), Lotería for Juarez (2003 – Feature for HBO), Baby Boom (2004 – Short Film for Chispas Prods.; admitted into Outfest); Lola Goes To Roma (2006 – Feature for Medusa); Ali Q. (2007 – Feature for Cinemalab); Once Upon A Quinceañera (2009 – Feature for SONY Studios); Tulip (2010 – On Spec), Foursome (2010 – On Spec with film director Gabriela Tagliavini), The Tamale Lesson (2011 – Short film for USC Film School) and the horror film, Fifty One Fifty (2012).
Her Television credits include: Culture Class Show (1993 – Variety and Sketch Comedy for Fox); In Living Color (1993 – Sit-Com for Warner Bros.); La Fiesta de Ha Ha (1994 – Variety & Sketch Comedy for UPN); The Chavez Family (1995 – Pilot for ABC); L.A. Arts High (1995 – Pilot for NBC); McArthur Park (2003 – Pilot for Showtime); El Nino (2004 – Segment for CBS); The Cleaning Lady (2004 – On Spec), Las Quatro (2007 – Pilot for ABC Family) and The Fabulous Fernandez Sisters – 2015 Pilot for ABC).
As a playwright, Josefina López’s canon of full-length plays includes: Real Women Have Curves (1990); Unconquered Spirits (1995); No Place Like Home (1999); Queen of the Rumba (2000); The Cleaning Lady (2009); Baby Boom (2005); When Nature Calls (2007); Boyle Heights (2008); Detained in the Desert (2008); Lola Goes To Roma (2011); Hungry Woman (2012); Trío Los Machos (2012); A Cat Named Mercy (2013); Piñata Dreams (2014); Clean Start, co-written with Kathy Fischer (2014); and Hipsteria for Bad For The Community, co-written with Oscar Arguello (2016). In October 2017 CASA 0101 Theater presented the World Premiere of Josefina López’s An Enemy of the Pueblo, an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play, An Enemy of the People. In November 2018, López’s latest play, Remembering Boyle Heights, will receive its World Premiere at CASA 0101 Theater.
Published works include her first novel, Hungry Woman In Paris (2009), Grand Central Publishing; Real Women Have Curves and Other Plays (2011), WPR Books: Latino Insights; and Volume 2 of The Essential Latino Play Series: Detained in the Desert and Other Plays (2011), WPR Books: Latino Insights.
Josefina López is married to Emmanuel Deleage, the Executive Director of CASA 0101 Theater. The couple lives in Silver Lake, CA with their two sons, Etienne and Sebastian. To learn more about Josefina López, please visit www.casa0101.org. On Cinco de Mayo, May 5, 2017, Josfina López added the title of Restauranteur to her Résumé by opening CASA FINA Restaurant & Cantina, www.casafinarestaurant.com, which is located at 1842 1st Street, Boyle Heights, CA 90033, just a few blocks away from CASA 0101 Theater. Her business partners include Co-Owners, Alonzo Ricardo and Emmanuel Deleage. On October 1, 2017 she co-founded the Boyle Heights Museum along with Dr. George J. Sanchez, a USC Professor of History and American Studies. The Boyle Heights Museum is housed in the Jean Deleage Gallery located in the lobby of CASA 0101 Theater. Later in 2018 she will open a Taco Shop, El Torazo in Bellflower, CA with Co-Owners Alonzo Ricardo and Emmanuel Deleage. López has several feature films are in development including a horror film called “The Cleaning Lady,” and a sexy Latina comedy called “Foursome.” For fun she teaches classes in writing and the paranormal, mentors writers, and hosts Paint Nights at CASA FINA Restaurant & Cantina.