19 Ladies Leading the Diversity Charge on TV

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Women are already discriminated against enough as a gender, but when it comes to putting a woman of color in any role, let alone a lead role, there's still a large disparity. 

While this disparity is one that certainly takes leaps and bounds to recover, the hope is to eventually make it the norm to have a woman of color cast as a lead or win an award. No need for landmark events of these happenings. 

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We welcome comments below, and any additional women you think have aided in diversifying the status quo and the scene of the entertainment business.

1. Sandra Oh - Killing Eve

Sandra Oh alongside Jodie Comer carries Killing Eve to incredible heights. Not only does it cast two female leads in place of a traditionally male-dominated genre, but it places a woman of color, specifically Asian, in that leading position. Oh has paved the way for many Asians in Hollywood. Notably, being the first Asian woman to not only be nominated for an Emmy as a lead actress but also the first to host the Golden Globes.

2. Aisha Dee - The Bold Type

Aisha Dee plays Kat Edison on The Bold Type, a TV show that highlights progressiveness in our current worldly climate, particularly for women, as most of the leading characters are strong women making their way in a hard city and a hard industry. Aisha sheds light on biracial representation, one that's often overlooked and goes undiscussed.

3. Justina Machado - One Day At A Time

Justina Machado the lead of One Day At A Time celebrates that diversity goes beyond black and white, and there's so much more in between. Playing a Latina mother from Cuba she feels it's a duty of hers, while also an honor, to lead the charge in correct Latino representation on television.

4. Letitia Wright - Black Mirror

Letitia Wright earned an Emmy nomination for her lead portrayal in Black Museum on Black Mirror. An episode that has caused some disturbance with many people in trying to understand the truth behind the episode. Some believe it to be a commentary on the prison system. Wright's journey from Guyana to making a name for herself in Hollywood, most notably in Black Panther is a journey that she feels empowered by and only hopes inspire the creation of many other TV shows and movies reminiscent of each.

5. Gina Rodriguez - Jane the Virgin

Gina Rodrguez is a huge advocate in Latino representation. Her lead role as Jane in Jane the Virgin and a few other lead roles in movies empowers her to aid others in understanding that even within the Latino community there's a huge amount of important diversity; differing skin tones, religious beliefs, and perspectives. She wants Latinos to be able to watch entertainment and feel seen and heard.

6. Jameela Jamil - The Good Place

Jameela Jamil's role in The Good Place as Tahanhi Al Jamil gives way to South Asian representation, especially the "token diversity," which allows writers to only write Asians in stereotypical terms or as minor/supporting roles. Jamil largely uses her platform to speak not only to racial challenges in Hollywood, but additionally about body image issues and the role it plays on the public.

7. Camila Mendes - Riverdale

The charismatic and sophisticated Veronica Lodge on Riverdale is portrayed by the incredible Camila Mendes. Mendes feels proud that Riverdale is opening up the diversity in the show, and feels honored to represent the Latinx community. She thinks it's important that her Latinx family in the show strays away from the typical Latinx family stereotypes.

8. Chandra Wilson - Grey's Anatomy

Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey is one of Grey's Anatomy's OG characters, who quite arguably is the backbone of the show. After all, she created and molded Meredith and Alex into the greatness they hold today. Wilson feels proud to be a part of a show that she describes as "authentically diverse," and that portrays storylines of the sad and happy realities of diversity in the modern world.

9. Grace Park - A Million Little Things

Grace Park is among the few Asians who holds a regular role in a hit TV show. Her character, Katherine Kim, plays into many stereotypes but breaks them as well. She's a powerful woman, mother, and wife, who is the breadwinner and realizes that she can't continually choose success, as her upbringing might suggest. Family is equally as important.

10. Priyanka Chopra - Quantico

Priyanka Chopra has a strong voice in the diversity conversation, saying that "Ambition has no color." Chopra is among a strong group of women representing the South Asian community, and even holds the title of the first Bollywood star obtaining a lead role in an American TV show. Quantico's casting of an Indian female lead is major progress.

11. Sofia Vergara - Modern Family

Sofia Vergara's portrayal of Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Modern Family definitely doesn't stray from stereotypes but instead checks almost every one of them, from her exaggerated Spanish accent to her sassy attitude. Despite playing into the game, Vergara has found a way to become the highest-paid woman on television.

12. Zendaya Coleman - Euphoria

Zendaya's lead role as Rue in Euphoria is only among a few of her breakout roles on the big screen. She doesn't let her race hold her back or define what kind of roles she will audition for. She points out that she will absolutely audition for a role that's looking for a white girl, maybe she'll change their minds.

13. Constance Wu - Fresh Off the Boat

Constance Wu's portrayal of Jessica Huang, a stereotypical Asian-American tiger mom, on Fresh Off the Boat is nothing short of important. As Asian-Americans are represented slimly in entertainment, this show about an Asian-American family in a predominantly white neighborhood is a huge move for the Asian community.

14. Hannah Simone - New Girl

Hannah Simone as Cece on New Girl is another big win for South Asians in lead roles. Cece quickly became a regular as she made her way not only into Schmitt's heart but into the audience's as well. Her practices of traditional Indian celebrations allow the public to expose themselves to new cultures.

15. Melissa Fumero - Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Melissa Fumero who plays Amy Santiago on Brooklyn Nine-Nine discusses how she was surprised by the show's choice to cast two Latina women. The show does an outstanding job of not backing Santiago's character into the same old stereotypes but instead allowing for her to flourish and grow.

16. Susan Kelechi Watson - This Is Us

Susan Kelechi Watson's lead role as Beth Pearson on This Is Us is an important character and adds to black representation on television. The writer's room of the show itself is diverse and is what ultimately adds to the diversity in the show. Beth's strong and witty personality makes her a unique character who is still able to celebrate her roots.

17. Zoë Kravitz - Big Little Lies

Zoë Kravitz may not necessarily be among the leads in Big Little Lies, but her character Bonnie certainly has a leading role in the storyline of the biggest little lie on the show. Kravitz's biracial identity has handed power to her, and she feels proud to be mixed. She commented on being shut down on many roles because of her color, and rejection has only furthered her strength.

18. Aubrey Plaza - Parks and Recreation

Aubrey Plaza, popularly known as April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation, specifically asked the producers if her character could be half Hispanic, contributing to biracial representation. Plaza feels proud of her half Puerto Rican roots and continues to play a huge role in the diversity movement in Hollywood.

19. Nikohl Bosheri- The Bold Type

The Bold Type and its representation of a queer, feminist, Muslim woman as part of the leading cast is a huge win for the Muslim community. Many times Muslims are misrepresented or put into stereotypes they can never seem to break out of. But Nikohl Boosheri's character, Adena, completely defies the latter and lives unapologetically and presents a powerful role model for all women.

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