UPDATED with additional details: Famed acting coach Lesly Kahn has apologized for telling a non-Hispanic student that she would have a better chance of landing an agent and “booking a series” if she pretends to be Latina. An audiotape has surfaced in which Kahn even suggested that the aspiring actress change her name to Rosa Ramirez and get headshots that further advance the ethnic deception.
Kahn is an apology posted on Twitter (see it below). Here is the audio:
The tape begins with Kahn telling a class of acting students that the young woman should come with an Hispanic name “that will absolutely convince people that you’re Latin.”
“OK,” the student laughs. “OK.”
“Any other ideas?” Kahn asks the students.
“Fernandez?” a female student suggests.
“Ah,” Kahn says approvingly to general laughter. “I can’t be the first person that suggested this.”
The young actress responded: “Yeah, you are. I get ethnically ambiguous all the time. I took a 23 and Me (the DNA ancestry company), and I’m 100% Ashkenazi Jewish. … But yeah, no one’s ever told me to change my name.”
“I 100% thought you were Latin when we came here,” another student tells the young actress.
“Yeah, I get that. I’m Armenian,” she replied.
“F*ck the Armenian, that’s not going to help you,” Kahn said. “The Latin could actually get you interviews for representation. Just the fact that your name is Rosa Ramirez is gonna get you a meeting. … So you might try it. … Go to the headshot shop and tell them you’re Latin. Wear something f*cking red. Wear some f*cking sparkly earrings. Change your goddamned name, and let’s just do an experiment. You know what I mean? Just f*cking come up with most Latin name you can come up with, and I mean I don’t know what we’re going to do if they ask is she’s really Latin. I don’t know how we’re going to handle that. Maybe no one will ask. … Aren’t we allowed to change our names to whatever we want to change our names to? And she already looks it. So stop admitting to being a huge Jew. OK? That’s not going to help you. Speaking as one, it’s not going to help. As a Jew, it doesn’t help. … So just try it … and keep us posted, like the saga of Rosa Ramirez.”
Then she added, “Make sure before you change it to Rosa Ramirez that there isn’t already a Rosa Ramirez in SAG, and if there is, we try a slightly different name.”
Here is Kahn’s tweeted apology: