Entertainment

25 Latino TV And Movie Characters That Stole Your Niñez

If you grew up in the 90s, you’re aware of how different TV looks today vs. back in the day. In an era packed with so many Latina stars like Gina Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Selena Gomez, and Jennifer Lopez it’s kind of weird to look back and remember how absent such faces were almost two decades ago. Why? Because straight up: flipping on the TV and finding Latino TV and movie characters was quite a rarity in the 90s. Fortunately, there were a few characters around to shape our understanding of what it meant to be Latino in our youth.

Here’s to the trendy, geeky, rebellious Latino TV and movie characters who gave us strange new feelings, nuanced understandings of sexuality, and brought a bit more color to whitewashed screens.

1. Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriguez  from “The Sandlot”

Latino TV
CREDIT: 20th Century Fox

Okay, hold up. First. Just look at those eyes^^^^^^^

There’s no denying that this brown-eyed heartthrob had a huge influence in the spark of your sexual awakening. Not only was Benny the cutest guy on the team, he also shined through as the team’s star player and went on to the Dodgers. All this despite the times and the white suburban neighborhood he lived in. 100% Benny is an inspiration and credit to Latinos who knock their dreams out of the park. Seriously, get yourself a major leaguer like this guy.

2. Sam Swoboda from “P.U.N.K.S.”

CREDIT: Disney

Jessica Alba’s character, Sam, was one mean girl in this flick about a group of bullied teens aiming to shut down a corrupted company. For those of us who had a limited view of the parameters of what Latina could be, Sam’s character was a massive wakeup call. Sure, makeup and dresses can be our thing, but Sam taught us that we could get down and dirty right next to the boys. Even better we could run the show and be leaders of the pack.

3. Rickie Vasquez  from “My So-Called Life”

CREDIT: ABC

It all seems like yesterday, but looking back at the 90s its hard not to flinch at the reminders of how rampant negative portrayals of Latino characters and homosexuals was. And yet, a positive representation of the LGBT community unexpectedly emerged on a little teen drama called “My So-Called Life.” Rickie Vasquez. He rocked a mean eyeliner, used the girls’ bathroom as a safe haven, and kept his friends in check while remaining fiercely loyal to them. Rickie was a massive launching pad for TV’s understanding of sexual fluidity that the 90s desperately needed.

4. Ruby from “Kids”

There’s no way Mima let you watch this film while you were a kid in the 90s. Bets are that you watched this with one eye on the door and a finger ready to hit “last.” Ruby (played by Cuban Puertorriqueña, Rosario Dawson) was the ringleader of a group of sexually active teenage girls doing quite a lot a little too soon. While Ruby didn’t always shine as a beacon of sexual responsibility, she did open our eyes to dark realities to come in our teen years.

5. A.C. Slater from “Saved by the Bell”

CREDIT: NBC

Muscles ― lo siento, Mario ― Mario Lopez portrayed U.S. Army Brat A.C. Slater and took things to a next level for us (sexuality wise) after Benny Rodriguez. One peck ripple from A.C. and there’s no questioning what stripped us of the remainder of our Latina youth. And still, despite A.C’s heritage never being a thing in the early days of SBTB (though, there is an entire episode dedicated to Slater discovering his Chicano identity in “The College Years”) we all knew what was up. Besides Lisa Turtle, A.C. was one of the few people of color portrayed on the show which was a big deal considering how massive the show was. It always felt good knowing that we could flip on the TV and see someone who looked like us. LBR, especially one that was so guapo.

6. Ashley Banks from “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

CREDIT: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Ashley Banks herself might not have been a Latina character, but Tatyana M. Ali whose parents are Trinidadian and Panamanian identifies herself as Afro-Latina. As a non-Latina character on the show, there’s no doubt Ashely still had some influence on us as kids. She was a smart, beautiful and witty girl of color and TV was missing quite a bit of that. While initially young Ashley did her best to model her dope older cousin Will, it wasn’t long before she began to grow into her own. She developed her own taste in music and fashion all while pushing against the tight reins of father Phil. In short, she became ultimate #rebelforindepence goals.

7. Selena Quintanilla from “Selena”

CREDIT: Warner Bros.

Of course, Selena tops this list (she will never stop topping lists and don’t you ever forget that). Selena is, was, has, and always will be the ultimate on-screen big older sister for Latinas everywhere. Ask any Latina who grew up in the 90s which female character inspired her the most as a woman and find us a gal who doesn’t name Selena. That’s because she taught all about the washing machine, the power of will, grace, and how bras could moonlight as bustiers. For that, everyone should be incredibly grateful.

8. Taina Morales from “Taina”

CREDIT: Nickelodeon

“I know I can’t wait to see my name in lights. No one’s gonna stop me, you’ll see,” went the theme song to the Nickelodeon hit series Taina. The two-season show was about a young Latina, played by Puerto Rican actress Christina Vidal, growing up in Queens, New York who had dreams of becoming a star. With her determination and dedication, we watched her try to make it to the top and conquer her superstardom in high school. The Nuyorican teen showed us what growing up Latina was all about. In Taina, we saw a girl like us, someone hoping for the perfect quinceañera, gushing over crushes, struggling to write in Spanish, trying to understand the African, indigenous and Spaniard influence on Latinx culture and relatives who always worked to instill Boricua pride. She stayed true to her heritage while never giving up on her dreams, and we needed to see that.

9. Channel Simmons from “The Cheetah Girls”

CREDIT: Disney

Over on the Disney Channel, Channel “Chuchie” Simmons brought all the Latina flavor to the hit TV film “The Cheetah Girls.” The movie is about four New York teenagers who are trying to get their music group to go big time. Chuchie, played by Puerto Rican-Ecuadorian singer-actress-host Adrienne Bailon, particularly embraced her Latina culture in the second film, when the girls visited Spain, but she was relatable to all young viewers. While juggling friendship problems, her mom’s dating life and trying to make it to the top, she was never afraid to speak her mind, just like the Latinas we know and love in our real lives. Even through the Cheetahlicious breakups (because there were many), she remained strong and held the group together.

10. Miranda Sanchez from “Lizzie McGuire”

CREDIT: Disney

Lizzie McGuire’s right-hand girl was BFF goals: loyal, funny and always stylish — oh, and she’s mexicana. In the hit series, Miranda Sanchez, portrayed by Filipino-American actress Lalaine Vergara-Paras, celebrated Day of the Dead, a Mexican tradition showing her character getting in touch with her roots, and spoke Spanish. Miranda always had a unique fashion sense and bold hair styles in every episode, which is part of what made her character so interesting. She embraced sisterhood and friendship, making her the best friend many young girls wished to have in real life.

11. Alex Russo from “Wizards of Waverly Place”

CREDIT: Disney

Mexican-Italian Alex Russo, played by Selena Gomez, was the protagonist of Wizards of Waverly Place, a Disney Channel series about siblings whose parents were teaching them how to master their wizardry. Alex, a New York-based high schooler, had a very strong personality and bold attitude. The series was one of the first to portray a biracial Latina lead, showing the teen struggling to speak Spanish and embracing her mother’s traditions by having a quinceañera. As more Latinas intermarry, this representation is ever more imperative.

12. LaCienega Boulevardez from “The Proud Family”

CREDIT: Disney

Also on the Disney Channel was Lacienega Boulevardez, an Afro-Latina character on the cartoon The Proud Family. Voiced by dominicana Alisa Reyes, Boulevardez wasn’t always the nicest. She was the frenemy and neighbor of Penny Proud, the protagonist of the show. But with her name and bold personality, there is no forgetting her. She was vital because she was one of the first representations of a Black Latina, allowing many young viewers to be able to say, “she looks just like me.”

13. Carmen Cortez from “Spy Kids”

CREDIT: Dimension Films

Carmen Cortez was the definition of a badass Latina! The lead in ”Spy Kids,” a film about young siblings who become spies in attempt to save their parents, her strength and courage were important to display on-screen, not just for young Latinas but rather for girls everywhere. Played by colombiana Alexa PenaVega, Carmen was a strong, fearless and outspoken girl who cared immensely about her family and always fought for what she believed in. In 2001, when “Spy Kids” released, we didn’t see many females, let alone young girls, portrayed in media as brave leaders. It hasn’t been until recently, with shows and films like Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, ”Black Panther,” ”Hidden Figures” and, for the youngsters, Elena of Avalor, that we are beginning to see strong and intelligent women of color being represented in the media, so “Spy Kids” offering this representation was major.

14. Betty Suarez from “Ugly Betty”

CREDIT: “Ugly Betty” /ABC

Betty Suarez was not portrayed as the stereotypical Latina. Her character, played by Honduran-American actress America Ferrera, wasn’t seen as the ideal beauty standard. Typically, Latinas are depicted as sexy, curvy, spicy and sassy women. But Ugly Betty, an ABC series about a smart and hardworking Latina from Queens, New York who lands a job as an assistant for a major fashion magazine, showed young Latinas a different kind of beauty. Betty wasn’t just focused on her looks but was goal-driven and determined to break into media, which she did — even though she dealt with tons of ups and downs along the way. She was unapologetically herself, a trait that every young Latina needed to see.

15. Lorena Garcia from “The Brothers García”

CREDIT: Nickelodeon

The Brothers García, a Nickelodeon series about a Mexican-American family growing up in San Antonio, Texas, was centered on boys, but Lorena, the sole sister and a twin, stood out. Being the only girl in her family, she had a lot to prove. Played by Puerto Rican-German-Russian actress Vaneza Pitynski, she did just about everything to get her parents’ attention in a home filled with boys — something anyone of us who grew up with brothers knows all about.

16. Tori Vega from “Victorious”

CREDIT: Nickelodeon

“You don’t have to be afraid to put your dream in action. You’re never gonna fade. You’ll be the main attraction. Not a fantasy, just remember me, when it turns out right,” goes the score for Nickelodeon’s Victorious, a series about a Latina teen who attends a performing arts school. Tori Vega, played by the part-Puerto Rican Victoria Justice, was a character that many young girls could relate to — or aspire to be. She was determined, strong-minded and confident in chasing her dream of becoming a singer while helping her friends achieve their own goals along the way.

17. The entire cast from “East Los High”

Starring Danielle Vega, Gabriel Chavarria, Alicia Sixtos, and Vannessa Vasquez the storylines and characters from the show completely blow our minds every time we tune in.

18. Santana Lopez from “Glee”

CREDIT: Fox

Santa was always prepped with withering stank faces / gripe but the proud lesbian was undoubteldy one of the most exciting characters on the show. She was unapologetic about who she was and her love Brittany.

19.  Gina Torres from “Firefly”

CREDIT: Fox

The Afro-Latina dream had a huge play in the plot’s storyline and was undoubtedly the leader of the pack when it came to this cult show.

20. Dani from “Glee”

Demi Lovato’s character might have only been Introduced in series’ fifth season, but she was KEY to our love for the show. The waitress from NYC captures our love and attention from the get-go.

21. Marco from “Animorphs”

CREDIT: Nickelodeon

Anyone tuning into Nickelodeon back in the hey-day knows that Marco was the coolest guy on the show. He had a great sense of humor and chose to look at the world with a sense of ease.

22. Cassie from “Animorphs

CREDIT: Nickelodeon

The most compassionate of the Animorphs, CassieShe was kind and empathetic and often met conflict with a level head.

23. Boonie from “The Luck of the Irish”

CREDIT: Disney Channel

Sure Kyle was at the center of the show but Bonnie Lopez was the the true star of this hit. Bonnie had no issues calling Kyle out on his privilege and ability to coast through life with ease.

24. Gloria from “Cadet Kelly”

CREDIT: Cadet Kelly (2002)

Gloria Ramos, played by Aimee Garcia, might not have been the star of this Disney classic but she sure was the bones of it. Without her help, Kelly never would have been able to ensure that Kelly finishes her course.


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Jennifer Lopez Just Announced That She’s Pumped The Brakes On Her Wedding To Alex Rodriguez

Entertainment

Jennifer Lopez Just Announced That She’s Pumped The Brakes On Her Wedding To Alex Rodriguez

Insider / Instagram

Just when we thought Coronavirus couldn’t make things worse.

On a recent at-home edition of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jennifer Lopez announced that she has had to put a pause on her wedding thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to Ellen, Lopez explained how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her during this time.

“It did affect it a little bit,” Lopez told Ellen in an interview in which the TV host asked about her wedding plans. “So, we’ll see what happens now … I really don’t know what’s gonna happen now as far as dates or anything like that. We are just kind of in a holding pattern like the rest of the world. So, again, it’s just something we have to wait and see in a few months how this all pans out.”

Of course, leave it to DeGeneres to push for romance. The talk show host recommended that Lopez and Rodriguez try to do a “TikTok wedding” consider how popular their recent videos on the platform have been so far.

“It’s something to think about,” Lopez laughed. “I can’t make any commitments right now.” 

The Latina queen and retired baseball superstar became engaged in March 2019.

For the two years that they’ve been dating, J-Lo and A-Rod have shared their lives with the public through their social media accounts, giving us a glimpse into the loving relationship that Lopez has called her “first ever good relationship”. Their Instagram profiles are sprinkled with pictures of them jet-setting, attending premieres and galas, and taking mixed-family vacations in exotic locales together. In other words, they’re very publicly living their best lives together.

However, a wrench was thrown into their happily-ever-after Sunday night when former MLB player Jose Canseco publicly accused A-Rod of cheating on Jennifer Lopez with his ex-wife, Jessica Canseco. In light of all this drama, we’ve compiled the definitive timeline of Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez’s relationship, all the way from friends to fíances. Take a look!

May 2005

@n12jamiestuart/Twitter

Before the Puerto-Rican triple threat and the Dominican All-Star were Hollywood’s reigning It Couple, they were mere acquaintances. The pair first met in 2005 at a Yankees vs. Mets Baseball game. At the time, Rodriguez was married to his first wife, Cynthia Scurtis, while Lopez was still married to Marc Anthony.

February 2017

@1FREEGRL/Twitter

Lopez and Rodriguez reconnected twelve years later when they ran into each other at a restaurant. According to Lopez, they briefly said hello, but it was her who couldn’t resist continuing the conversations. “After [lunch] I went outside,” she said. “And for some reason I felt like tapping him on the shoulder”. He then asked her out to dinner via text.

March 2017

@jlo / Instagram

By March 2017, neither J-Lo nor A-Rod were trying to hide the fact that they were dating. During the month, they were spotted vacationing together in The Bahamas. ARod’s sister also posted a selfie of herself with JLo, captioning it #miscuñis, which means things were moving along pretty nicely.

March 31st, 2017

@jlo / Instagram

When co-hosting “The View” at the end of March, Rodriguez had only great things to say about his new lady love: “She’s an amazing girl. We’re having a great time”. He also went on to say that J-Lo was “one of the smartest human beings I’ve ever met”. And he didn’t stop there! He showered on the compliments by calling her “an incredible mother” who “loves family”.

April 2017

@nicole_hurley/Instagram

By April, it was J-Lo’s turn to gush about her boo-thing on the talk-show circuit. While being grilled about her new boyfriend by Ellen (naturally), Lopez called Rodriguez “a great guy,” this 100% confirming their relationship.

May 2017

@2015smetgala/Twitter

Never one to do things half-heartedly, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez made their public debut as a couple at arguably the most prestigious event in the world: the Met Gala, of course. This occasion also marked J-Lo’s debut on A-Rod’s Instagram–and the first of many.

June 2017

@arod / Instagram

By June 2017, it was obvious to the world that this couple was the real deal. Not only was Rodriguez gushing to the press that Jennifer was the ideal role model for his daughters, the pair was also taking glamorous European trips together and posting their adventures to their millions of followers on Instagram.

September 2017

@nicole_hurley/Instagram

We all know that one of the most crucial steps of a relationship is when your signficant other accompanies you to a work event. Lopez and Rodriguez crossed this milestone when A-Rod accompanied her to the premiere of “World of Dance”–a show she stars in and produces. It’s for reasons like this that A-Rod calls her “one of the most brilliant business minds that [he’s] ever met”!

November 2017

@nicole_hurley/Instagram

J-Lo and A-Rod took their relationship a step further when they spent Thanksgiving together in Rodriguez’s home. On Instagram, they shared with their followers that this was one of the many times they combined families for the holiday–further proof that they were very confident with where their relationship was.

December 2017

@arod/Instagram

Along with the power couple’s magazine cover debut on the December issue of “Vanity Fair”, the duo also debuted their new (and catchy) portmanteau: J-Rod (we’re pretty sure they had it trademarked before they went public).

January 2018

@arod/Instagram

Lopez and Rodriguez showed their Latinx pride by visiting Puerto Rico in January after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

February 2018

@harpersbazaarus/Instagram

In the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar, JLo got candid about her relationship with A-Rod and addressed the possibility of a wedding on the horizon. “I do believe in marriage,” she said. “And I would love to grow old with somebody in a committed relationship. But I’m not forcing anything right now. It’s good, it’s healthy; we communicate well…We have a similar makeup.” All signs point to yes!

May 7, 2018

@Balmain/Twitter

JLo and A-Rod attended their second Met Gala as a couple in matching couture Balmain outfits, cementing their status as style icons.

July 2018

@arod/Instagram

Lopez and Rodriguez spent her 49th birthday in one of their go-to vacation spots: The Bahamas. A-Rod took to Instagram to share a cute pic of their blended family on vacation along with a heartfelt tribute to his lady love. ” For someone who has been about giving everything she has 365 days a year—to our children, our families, the world,” he said. “I hope today, we can give you all the happiness you deserve. I love you mucho”.

August 2018

@KissChattanooga/Twitter

A-Rod’s reaction to JLo’s epic VMA’s performance last August became a viral sensation, as his pride over his girlfriend’s triple-threat skills were all too apparent. Twitter was full of women wanting a man who looks at them like ARod looks at JLo.

October 2018

@jrod_rodriguez13/Instagram

A-Rod continued to support his girlfriend by attending events that were obviously important to her. In October, Rodriguez accompanied Lopez to Elle’s famous “Women in Hollywood” event. That night, he posted a supportive message to JLo on his Instagram: “With two young daughters and a woman I admire by my side, I know how important it is that we raise women up and teach our girls that there is no limit to what they can do.”

December 2018

@arod/Instagram

According to their Instagram accounts, J-Rod spent New Years eve in Malibu, again with their blended family. Rodriguez’s caption read: “As the sun sets on 2018, from our family to yours … #HappyNewYear everyone!”.

February 2019

@arod/Instagram

Lopez took her athlete-beau to the ultimate glamour event: The Oscars. The two shined in evening wear and Rodriguez was solidly by her side while she strutted the red carpet and presented awards.

March 2019

@arod/Instagram

On March 9th, J-Rod announced that they were engaged with mutual Instagram posts sharing the news. The Instagram posts showed off the 15-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring, which is reported to be worth up to a cool $5 million.

March 10th, 2019

@JoseCanseco / Twitter

On Sunday night, former Major League Baseball player Jose Canseco accused A-Rod of cheating on J.Lo with his ex-wife, Jennifer Canseco. Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s important to realize that Canseco has a history of making some pretty out-there statements (i.e. asking his Twitter followers to “spend the day with me and my alien Buddies”and insisting that he’s acquainted with “Bigfoot and a real alien”). In other words: there’s reason to doubt his word.

As of now, both JLo and ARod have remained silent in response to these explosive allegations, so there’s no way of knowing the veracity of the claims. Until then, all we can do is speculate and hope for the best!

Hand Sanitizer Was Invented By A Latina Nursing Student In The 1960s

Fierce

Hand Sanitizer Was Invented By A Latina Nursing Student In The 1960s

Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash | Twitter

When the novel coronavirus COVID-19 started to spread in the U.S., hand sanitizer became a hot commodity. Stores sold out of the product needed to clean your hands while on the go to prevent catching and spreading the virus. But, did you know that a Latina nursing student in the 1960s created hand sanitizer?

Lupe Hernandez, a nursing student in California in 1966, is the woman behind hand sanitizer.

Credit: @Rainmaker1973 / Twitter

Hernandez was in nursing school in Bakersfield, California when she thought about a gel form of rubbing alcohol. Hernandez realized that a gel form of alcohol would make it possible for people to clean their hands while on the go with no access to water and soap.

Hernandez knew she was on to something so she reached out to an invention hotline and submitted a patent.

While washing your hands is the best way to avoid contracting COVID-19, hand sanitizer is an important tool for those that still have to work. It is also a good option for people who are still healthy but have to go to the pharmacy, grocery store, or bank.

Hand sanitizer was just an industry product until the H1N1 viral outbreak in 2009.

Credit: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

The 2009 outbreak of H1N1 drove up the demand for hand sanitizer among the public and it was soon packaged for consumers. According to The Guardian, the value of the hand sanitizer market has grown exponentially since the time before and after the H1N1 scare.

In 2018, the global hand sanitizer market value was $2.6 billion. The Guardian reports that the U.S. market value of hand sanitizer was $28 million in 2002 and $80 million in 2006.

Viral outbreaks like H1N1 make hand sanitizer a highly-prized commodity and some people try to profit off that fear.

Matt Colvin faced severe backlash after he and his brother bought out thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer in Tennessee and Kentucky after the first COVID-19 death in the U.S. The two covered 1,300 miles driving through Tennessee and Kentucky buying all of the hand sanitizers they could find in various dollar stores.

The brothers then started selling the hand sanitizer on Amazon for as much as $70 a bottle. Amazon shut them down and the attorney general of Tennessee launched an investigation into them for price gouging. They pledged to donate the product and Tennessee officials are making sure they follow through with the promise.

READ: American Cities And States Announce Mass Closures As They Brace For The Growing COVID-19 Outbreak