Mariana Atencio, an award-winning news correspondent for MSNBC/NBC, says that a former manager at NBC warned her away from looking “too Latina” ahead of a White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
The Venezuela-born correspondent made the claims in her new memoir, ”
Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real.”
What are the details?
In her new book, Atencio says that a former manager told her not to dress “too Latina” when attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2017, according to Newsweek.
Atencio told Daniela Pierre-Bravo for the NBC News series “Know Your Value” that she previously had planned to wear colors honoring her South American heritage, but was, instead, encouraged to appear more like Ivanka Trump.
According to Atencio, she received a phone call from a female boss prior to the event. The boss reportedly said, “Mariana, I just wanted to make sure you’re prepared for such a prestigious gathering,” and went on to ask the correspondent about her choice in clothing.
“Please don’t look too Latina,” the unnamed manager requested.
Atencio, who says she was taken aback by the manager’s remarks, responded with a request for the manager to clarify her remarks.
“Why don’t you go to Saks Fifth Avenue and have someone help you out … have them pick out something demure,” the manager reportedly explained. “Not too colorful or tight. Think Ivanka Trump, OK?”
Atencio writes, “This person was making me feel smaller and smaller with each word.”
“Can you imagine someone in your field asking you to please not look so African American? Or Asian? Or white? ‘Don’t look so Muslim or Christian? How do you change who you are?” she asks in her book.
Atencio told Pierre-Bravo that she wasn’t making public claims about the incident to “harp on the negative,” but to “remind readers that these things still happen and that we have to call them out and have conversations as adults about how we can get past them.”
“The message of my book is that you, too, can make it,” she added. “By sharing my journey, I hope to inspire [other people] on their journey.”