Since they all live in L.A., the thought was to bring in a Chicana. Chicana is a woman of Mexican decent, and as Carmen identifies as Mexican on the show, this is the correct term for her identity, even though the media most often refers to her as Latina, which actually means a woman of Latin American decent.
Carmen de la Pica Morales is a gorgeous, fit, disc jockey who at first works on a movie set, as well as DJing private parties and working clubs. In fact, it seems she is the only DJ working in L.A., as she works any and all parties or events on the show. Her career as a disc jockey plays into binaries of race and music. But also, her name is in need of some analysis as well; de la Pica Morales could be translated to "of the scratchy (or itchy) morals," an interesting name for a lesbian character, especially since being queer is taboo in most communities of color.
The actress who plays Carmen is Sarah Shahi. Rather than finding a Chicana to play the part, or even allowing her to play her own race, the producers have cast a Persian woman. "This casting decision is particularly controversial given how few specifically Latino roles exist on television, and that Latino actors, along with other non-white actors, are so frequently overlooked for parts where ethnicity goes unspecified" (Swartz 178). Swartz also mentions that Shahi has some Spanish decent, but it is clear from watching the show that she has learned Spanish for the part and only her Iranian heritage is mentioned on sites such as The Internet Movie Database. What Swartz does not mention is how problematic Shahi's Persian identity is to her character. Could the exclusion of any South Asian characters (though we have two South Asian actresses—see Papi) be a result of racism based on recent political events, i.e. the war in Iraq, and the view of many Americans that anyone who looks as if they are from South Asia or the Middle East is the enemy?
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Carmen has been sexualized in her media pictures from the beginning, almost more so than the other characters. In fact, when looking at the media images of the entire cast, it seems Carmen is almost exoticized. And she is also a bit fiery, helping to perpetuate the already existing race-sex dichotomy of the show. Carmen does not appear in the fourth season at all, disappearing after Shane leaves her at the altar, though there is follow-up to her departure.