Here Are the 10 Most Inspirational L.A. Women of 2015


Diane Guerrero

She wrote a widely circulated op-ed piece exposing another side of our nation’s immigration problems

Diane Guerrero

Photograph by Maarten de Boer

Diane Guerrero was reluctant. With starring roles in two successful series (Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin), she worried that speaking out against the country’s treatment of undocumented immigrants could potentially torpedo a hard-won, promising career. She did it anyway. Last November Guerrero wrote an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times about how, at age 14, she came home from school to discover that her undocumented Colombian parents and older brother had been deported abruptly. American born, Guerrero was left behind without close relatives, financial resources, or emotional support. A school friend’s parents took her in. (Her family remains in Colombia.) She wanted her tale of a fractured home life to reach the thousands of people whose experiences echoed her own, particularly the children of L.A.’s vast immigrant population. “They’re scared their parents are going to get deported, or it’s already happened,” she says. “A lot of people would think that a girl like me grew up in a normal household. I wanted to reveal what our immigration laws in this country were doing to people like me.”

Guerrero’s article generated an overwhelming response, inspiring the 29-year-old (who divides her time between New York and L.A.) to become more involved with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, a national nonprofit organization. Today she’s proud to call herself an activist. “The op-ed was my way of easing into my new role,” she says. “Sometimes it’s hard to talk about, but this is my purpose. I’m not angry anymore about what happened to me. Now I’m doing something about it.” –Nancy Miller