< Back to In the News

How 'Roma' Reveals the Complex Reality of Domestic Work

Ai-jen Poo, an activist who has collaborated with the Times' Up movement, writes that Alfonso Cuaron's film premiering on Netflix today explores the intimacy and vulnerability that every domestic worker experiences.

The Hollywood Reporter

by Ai-jen Poo

December 14, 2018


When I emerged from the theater after seeing Roma, the new film by Alfonso Cuaron, I couldn't speak. For the past 20 years, I have worked alongside domestic workers — the nannies we entrust with our children, the housecleaners who bring sanity to our homes, and the caregivers who care for our disabled and elderly loved ones. From the beginning and to this day, one of the greatest challenges has been helping people see and understand the unique and complex nature of their work.

With Roma, Cuaron captures the reality and brings our families and relationships into focus in an unprecedented way. Roma centers on the story of Cleo, an indigenous woman who works as a live-in domestic worker for a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City (Cleo is played by Yalitza Aparicio, who herself comes from Mexico's indigenous community). Cleo's life is full of the complexity every domestic worker experiences: She is both part of the family and not, her relationship with her employer is both intimate and distant, and she is both vulnerable and powerful. We see her as she works — sweeping the driveway of dog droppings and gently singing children to sleep, and also in ways that we don't commonly see domestic workers, as she makes a date with her first love, exercises by candlelight at night, gossips with her friend, and experiences the most profound forms of loss imaginable. Read more

Press Contact

All interview and appearance requests, or other press inquires, should be directed to our Communications team.

Find a Press Contact

Sign up to get exclusive updates and extras.

Participant MediaAbout Participant Media

Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant Media’s (www.participantmedia.com) content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 30 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake—all aimed at entertainment that inspires social awareness and engaging audiences to participate in positive social change. Participant’s content and social impact mandate speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing over 2 billion consumers who are compelled to make impactful content a priority focus. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant is positioned uniquely within the industry to engage a rapidly growing audience while bringing global awareness and action to today’s most vital issues.

Participant’s more than 100 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 73 Academy Award® nominations and 18 wins, including Best Picture for Green Book and Spotlight and Best Foreign Language Film for Roma and A Fantastic Woman. Participant’s digital entertainment division, SoulPancake (www.soulpancake.com), is an award-winning provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting digital content including such widely popular series as Kid President and The Science of Happiness and reaches an audience of nearly 9 million fans. Follow Participant Media on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SoulPancake on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram.


Participant Media became a Certified B Corporation in 2018. B Corps are a new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corp certification is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.