“Real Women Have Curves” stage manager Michelle Guerrero discusses the play with cast members Hannah Marfin and Xitlali Chavez-Aponte during rehearsal.

“Real Women Have Curves” stage manager Michelle Guerrero, right, discusses the play with cast members Hannah Marfin and Xitlali Chavez-Aponte during rehearsal. The School of Theatre and Dance will present the play by Josefina López April 18 through 21 and April 25 through 28 in the Black Box Theatre on the SFA campus.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The importance of recognizing one’s beauty, self-worth and value is reflected in the play “Real Women Have Curves” to be presented by the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre and Dance.

“Real Women Have Curves” by Josefina López sends “a profound message about self-image and body positivity, emphasizing the importance of embracing your true self and rejecting society's narrow standards of beauty,” according to Michelle Guerrero, sophomore theatre major from Magnolia and the play’s stage manager.

The story follows a group of Latinas working in the garment district in Los Angeles in the 2010s. The point-of-view character Ana is the youngest and is rebelling against her mother and sister who have more traditional plans for her life. The play will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 18 through 20 and April 25 through 27 and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21 and April 27 and 28, in the Black Box Theatre in Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

With an all Latina cast, “Real Women Have Curves ” depicts “hardworking women who strive to overcome obstacles in pursuit of their dreams while grappling with their identities,” Guerrero said.

“For me, this show feels like looking into a mirror, seeing a story that's been part of my life all along,” she added, further describing it as “a story that invites audiences to see themselves reflected in the lives of these women, embrace their bodies as they are, and to recognize the inherent beauty in authenticity.” 

For Houston freshman Xitlali Chavez-Aponte, who portrays Rosali in the play, "Real Women Have Curves" speaks to her in the way it so honestly represents Hispanic women.

“So often, even as the daughter of an immigrant mother, I have overlooked my mother’s strength and spirit,” she said. “My mother has endured such struggles in her lifetime that she made sure I never had to face. Carmen's (the mother in the play) relationship with Estela and Ana, while flawed and dysfunctional, feels like a lens/look into conversations and experiences I've shared with my own family, and has added a layer to thoughts I have of my family. I know so many people in my life, like my mom, who have put their pride or personal issues aside for their family’s benefit without a second thought.”

San Antonio senior Hannah Marfin, who plays Estela, finds her character “very inspiring.” 

“Despite her countless obstacles, such as her struggle to become a legal citizen of the U.S., she never gives up,” Marfin said. “She is a symbol of resilience, and it has been such a fun journey getting to play her.

“For myself and the other cast members, we have encountered women like these in our own lives,” she added. “They feel real and are easy to connect to. Their struggles and passions are real. While they are each flawed, they all have their own special beauty and personality. They are a community.”

Chavez-Aponte said she’s never had an opportunity where “my culture is the focal point – where I can speak Spanish and hear it celebrated in this way. This show, to me, means taking pride in my identity and my native tongue,” she said.

Despite the “impossible beauty standards women have learned to hold themselves to,” Guerrero said, the audience will watch the characters learn to “appreciate and embrace the differences in their bodies and understand that self-worth is rooted in their talents, intellect and inner strength.”

“I hope we can all learn from the drive and dedication these women have,” she said. “Despite the obstacles they face, their dreams become reality. They embody resilience and determination, and they refuse to let anyone, or anything, deter them from pursuing their goals.

“Working on ‘Real Women Have Curves’ has been a beautiful experience for me,” she added. “Seeing the characters in the play embark on their journeys of self-discovery and self-love resonates deeply. Witnessing their struggles and eventual triumphs mirrors my own journey and serves as a source of inspiration. I hope that the audience can feel the love and passion that we all have experienced while working this show.

“I aspire for us to cultivate a culture of celebration and support, where we uplift those around us and help them recognize their beauty, self-worth and value,” Guerrero said. “This story has many messages, and I hope we can each carry at least one with us everywhere we go.”

General admission ticket prices are: adult, $15; senior (62+), $10; youth (high school and younger), $8; SFA faculty/staff, $8; non-SFA student, $8; and SFA student, $5. For ticketing information or to purchase tickets, visit the Fine Arts Box Office website or call (936) 468-6407. For information about the play, call (936) 468-4003 or visit the School of Theatre and Dance website.