On Our Way Into 2020, We’re Thinking About The Fierce Latinas Who Dominated The Last Decade With Grit And Talent
To us, it seems like the decade has gone by in the blink of an eye but a lot has actually happened the last 10 years. Reminiscing about that time has us remembering all the amazing events that made up the decade. However, we can’t talk about all that without highlighting some impressive mujeres and the equally remarkable decade they’ve had.
From art and music to sports and activism, Latinas have fiercely dominated their fields this past decade to show us all what excellence looks like. To celebrate these extraordinary women, lets focus on a few who have had especially monumental careers over the last 10 years and praise their accomplishments. Here are some of this past decade’s fiercest Latinas.
1. Cardi B
It’s hard to believe that we entered the 2010’s without knowing the name Cardi B but the Afro-Latina didn’t first enter the limelight until 2015 with her appearance on “Love & Hip Hop: New York.” Less than two months after leaving the reality show to pursue her music career, Cardi signed her first major record deal with Atlantic Records. From that point, there was no stopping the vibrant rapper!
Since then, she’s released numerous #1 singles and collaborations, became the first female rapper to win the “Best Rap Album” Grammy as a solo artist, had the most nominations in a single year ever by a woman at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, set a new attendance record at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and made her big-screen debut in “Hustlers.”
2. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
AOC is another fierce Latina who was unheard of at the beginning of the decade. She graduated cum laude from Boston University but had to return home to help her mother fight against home foreclosure following her father’s death. In 2016, she worked for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. After the general election, she traveled across the country to places like Flint, Michigan and Standing Rock Indian Reservation to speak with locals about the environmental crisis their communities face.
In 2017, she got a call recruiting possible progressive candidates and decided to challenge Joe Crowley, the Democratic Caucus Chair of her district. AOC defeated the 10-term incumbent and later beat the Republican nominee to become the congressperson of New York District 14. As a congresswoman, she has been a vocal supporter of Medicare for All and the New Green Deal while fighting against ICE and the atrocities of the current administration.
3. Yalitza Aparicio
Yalitza Aparicio’s success didn’t hit until the later part of the 2010s when she was cast in her first acting role for Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 drama “Roma.” Her performance was celebrated by audiences and critics alike and earned her an Academy Award nomination for “Best Actress” — the first time an Indigenous woman received the honor and only the second time it went to a Mexicana.
She was nominated for over a dozen awards for her role in “Roma” and won the Hollywood Film Awards’ “New Hollywood Award.” In 2019, Aparicio appeared on the cover of “Vogue México” and was also named one of “TIME” Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2019. Most recently, she was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples and uses that role to be an activist for Mexico’s native people.
4. America Ferrera
America Ferrera left “Ugly Betty” back in the 2000s and hit the 2010’s hard. First, she made her London stage debut playing Roxie Hart in the musical “Chicago.” In 2015, the actress made it back to television with ABC’s hit comedy “Superstore” in the starring role an as a co-producer. In 2018, she also had two big arrivals with the birth of her first son and the release of her anthology of stories, “American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures.”
Ferrera has also spent the past decade being highly political. In 2016, she was a speaker at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and joined Voto Latino in order to help get Latinx people involved in voting. She was also a speaker for the 2017 Women’s March and the 2018 “Families Belong Together” protest. The actress also participated in the 2017 #MeToo campaign and is a founding member of the Time’s Up legal defense fund.
5. Elizabeth Acevedo
At the beginning of the decade, Elizabeth Acevedo started out as a Teach for America Corps participant. There, she taught eighth-graders poetry and language arts. It was there that she got inspiration for her first published novels. In 2016, Acevedo released “Beastgirl and Other Origin Myths,” her first book and a finalist for the YesYes Chapbook prize.
Two years later, she released the “New York Times” Bestseller “The Poet X,” a book that would cement her as an essential Afro-Latina author. “The Poet X” earned numerous accolades, becoming a National Book Award and Carnegie Medal winner as well as winning the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpre Award, and the Boston-Globe Hornbook Award. In 2019, she released her third novel “With the Fire on High” and has gone on to deliver several TED talks.
6. Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno has been having amazing decades since the 1950’s so it’s no wonder that the 2010s would be another. She began the decade staring as Fran Drescher’s mother in “Happily Divorced” while continuing guest roles on series like “Welcome to the Family” and “In Plain Sight.” In 2015, she began a recurring role on “Jane the Virgin” and voiced Abuelita on the animated children’s program “Nina’s World.” She took on the role of Lydia for the beloved 2017 reboot “One Day At A Time” and has gained a new generation of fans.
Moreno also received heaps of lifetime achievement awards for her long history as an entertainer. In 2012, she was rewarded with the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and then received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2013. 2015 earned Moreno the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award. Most recently, she was named co-grand marshal of the Rose Parade.
7. Laurie Hernandez
Phenomenally, this has only been Laurie Hernandez’s second decade on this earth but it has definitely been a big one for here. At the age of 12, Hernandez’s career began at the U.S. Classic where she qualified to the National Championships. In 2013, she was added to the U.S. Junior National Team and won the silver medal at the National Championships. Two injuries sidelined the young gymnast briefly but she later recovered to earn 3 gold and 2 silver medals at the 2015 International Junior Japan Meet.
At the Olympic Trials in 2016, Hernandez placed second in the all-around and earned a place on the 2016 US Olympics Gymnastic team. There, she won gold alongside her team As an individual, she took home silver. Since then, she became the youngest winner of “Dancing With the Stars” and published her first two books, an autobiography, and a children’s book. Most recently, she was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and was named co-grand marshal of the Rose Parade.
8. Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez has been the IT Latina since her days back as a Fly Girl but the 2010s treated her pretty great as well. At the beginning of the decade, JLo signed a $20 million deal to be a judge on “American Idol.” The following year, she launched her first headlining concert series, the Dance Again World Tour, earning $1 Million per show. She also released her first greatest hits album and her eight studio album.
2014 saw the pop star perform for the FIFA World Cup alongside Pitbull and she also released her “New York Times” Bestseller “True Love.” In 2015, JLo announced her Las Vegas residency that spanned for 3 years and earned more than $100 Million in ticket sales. IN 2019, she announced her new concert series, “It’s My Party,” commemorating her 50th birthday. She and boyfriend Alex Rodriguez also made it official by getting engaged this year. Most recently, Lopez released the blockbuster “Hustlers” and was announced to co-headline the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show.