Entertainment

This List Of 17 Celebrities That You Didn’t Know Were Latino Will Leave You Wondering How You Didn’t Know

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We’ve all done it. You meet someone new, take one good look at them and ask (almost rhetorically): “So, where are you from?” Often we expect faces to match exotic countries around the world, but frequently the response, complemented with a puzzled expression, is something like: “Oh, umm Michigan…”

But Latinos come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, We can be white and blonde gueros, we can be black, and every color in between. We are gay, Muslim, Asian, Jewish, Indigenous, and so much more.

Here are 32 Latino celebrities that you probably didn’t know are, in fact, Latino.

1. Nicole Richie

Credit: @TheAffinityMag / Twitter

You likely know Nicole Richie as Lionel Richie’s daughter and from “The Simple Life” with bestie Paris Hilton. Nicole was actually adopted by Lionel and her biological family has Mexican ancestry.

I mean people really didn’t know…

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Like it was a serious shock apparently to many across social media.

2. Aubrey Plaza

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The Parks and Recreation star is boricua pa’que lo sepas, but in several interviews, she said that people never think she’s Puerto Rican. “I’m very fair-skinned, but I feel really connected to that side of my family.”

3. Alexis Bedel

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Yep, it’s true! The actress, best known for her role as Rory Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, was born to Argentinian parents (her mom grew up in Mexico) and raised in a Spanish-speaking household. She’s told Latina that she’s often assumed to be Irish.

4. Bruno Mars

Credit: brunomars / Instagram

Born Peter Hernandez to Puerto Rican and Filipino parents, Mars changed his name to avoid being stereotyped in the music industry, he told GQ.com. “People would say, ‘Your last name’s Hernandez, maybe you should do Latin music … Enrique Iglesias is so hot right now!'”

5. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi

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Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi made a name for herself as the (very tan) of New Jersey’s Italian-Americans. But she was actually born in Chile and adopted by an Italian-American family when she was just six months old.

6. Cameron Diaz

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Cameron Diaz’s father is of Cuban descent, born and raised in Tampa, Florida’s Ybor City. The bubbly blonde actress told Vogue magazine she spent part of her summers as a child in Tampa with her over-protective grandmother, “playing cards, eating steak and rice and beans and drinking RC Cola and watching soap operas.”

7. Jessica Alba

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Actress Jessica Alba’s father is Mexican-American, and she says she takes pride in being Latina, despite rumors to the contrary.

8. Sara Paxton

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WIth roles on “Good Girls” and “Last House on the Left”, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Sara says people are often surprised to learn she’s half Mexican.

“People never believe me,”she told The Huffington Post. “I think it’s because they have this stereotype of what a Latina’s supposed to look like, and I don’t fit that typical look.”

9. Hulk Hogan

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Considered by some as the greatest professional wrestler ever, Hulk Hogan, born in Georgia. But did you know that he has Panamanian roots?

10. Kid Cudi

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Kid Cudi’s real name is Scott Ramon Seguro. His father is a proud Mexican-American.

11. Frankie Muniz

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Everyone knew of Frankie Muniz while growing up thanks to “Malcolm in the Middle” and “Agent Cody Banks.”

While Frankie is his stage name, his real name is Francisco, probably thanks to his Puerto Rican father.

12. Raquel Welch

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Raquel Welch’s apellido is Tejada. The soap opera star changed her name while trying to make it in Hollywood, but her father was born in La Paz, Bolivia.

13. Uma Thurman

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You probably know Uma Thurman from her role in “Pulp Fiction” but did you know she has Mexican roots? Her mother, a fashion model named Nena von Schlebrügge, was born in Mexico City before moving to New York to be a model.

14. Vanna White

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You know her as the legendary hostess of Wheel of Fortune, but White – whose very last name hints that she’s Caucasian— is actually part-Latina!

You see, “White” is not Vanna’s real apellido—it’s the name she took from her stepfather Herbert Stackley WhiteJr., a former real estate agent in North Myrtle Beach.  Not much is known about Vanna’s real father whose name is Miguel Angel Rosich, except that he was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and abandoned the family when she was a child.

15. Mark Ballas

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Professional ballroom dancer Mark Ballas (Dancing With the Stars) is half-Greek, and half-Mexican. Ballas’ paternal grandmother was named Maria Luisa Marulanda Ballas — and while she is not Latina herself — Ballas’ mother, Shirley Ballas is an award-winning dancer who won the 1995 International Latin American Dance Championship, earning the nickname “The Queen of Latin.” 

16. James Roday

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The last name trips people up, James says, but the Psych star, who’s half Mexican, changed it from Rodriguez to Roday when he launched his career for two reasons: There was already another James Rodriguez registered in the Screen Actors Guild, and an agent at the network where he landed his first job worried that they would look like they were skirting around issues of diversity by casting a white Latino.

17. Fergie

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Fergie was everywhere in the early 2000s as part of the musical group The Black Eyed Peas. But, now you know that she has Mexican ancestry in her family line.

READ: We Ranked Instagram’s 17 Most Followed Latino Celebrities And Their Claims to Fame

Some Of Hollywood’s Biggest Celebrities Weren’t Even Born In The U.S.

Entertainment

Some Of Hollywood’s Biggest Celebrities Weren’t Even Born In The U.S.

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There’s no denying the fact that the entertainment industry has vastly become an amalgamation of artists from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. After all, it was largely built, in great part, by migrants who either fled war-torn countries or arrived in the U.S. with nothing to build a better future. Since the early days of Hollywood, when European migrants fled the two world wars and then the Cold War, showbiz has been accommodating to creative minds searching for a conduit to tell their stories through song, words or film. In these days in which many question the value of cultural diversity, it is important to remember how much migrants have contributed to the social, cultural and political foundations of the United States and other Western countries.

Here are 17 individuals who wouldn’t take no for an answer, and we thank them for it!

1. Gloria Estefan

Credit: Instagram. @gloriaestefan

Country origin: Cuba
Now lives in: the United States

One of the most influential personalities among the Cuban community in Miami was born in 1957, right in the middle of the Cold War, in Havana. Her father was a soldier and motor escort for Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, so the the family moved to Miami when the Revolution struck. Estefan’s dad later fought in Vietnam. Gloria Estefan is a famous opposer to the revolutionary regime in Cuba. Her dad suffered from the effects of Agent Orange after Vietnam, so Gloria’s mom was her source of support. She has said: “My mom was a source of strength. She showed me by example that women, regardless of how difficult life may get, can do it all”.

2. Kumail Nanjiani

Credit: Instagram. @kumailn

Country origin: Pakistan
Now lives in: the United States

The star of The Big Sick was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and grew up in a religious Muslim family. He moved to the United States when he was just 18-years-old and he completed a major in computer science and philosophy, a combination that later led him to his iconic role in the HBO hit comedy “Silicon Valley.” Being a Muslim in America in this day and age is not easy, and Kumail has found a way to sublimate these struggles through his art.

3. Salma Hayek

Credit: Instagram. @salmahayek

Country origin: Mexico
Now lives in: France, previously in the United States

Salma Hayek has generated hundreds of jobs in the United States through her movies and her production house, as well as millions of dollars in revenue. She arrived to the United States and initially overstayed her visa before getting a green card. She is open about this, and she has become a citizen of the United States. She lives in France for most of the year with her husband, billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault.

4. Jim Carrey

Credit: Instagram. @jimcarrey_

Country origin: Canada
Now lives in: the United States

If we think of politically engaged actors in Hollywood, we have to think about Jim Carrey. He was born in Ontario, Canada, but has lived in the United States for decades. He is often outspoken when it comes to politics and he became a citizen in 2004 to be able to vote in the presidential elections. He is as funny as he is intelligent: his political stances are humanitarian in nature and fierce in practice. His philosophy is encapsulated by this awesome phrase: “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer”. Just wow.

5. Natalie Portman

Credit: Instagram. @natalieportman

Country origin: Israel
Now lives in: the United States

The Oscar-winning actress holds both an Israeli and an American passport. Besides being an actress, Portman is a consummate scientist and has authored academic papers. She graduated from Harvard, by the way. Todo un cerebrito la Natalia! She also serves some harsh truths: “Smart women love smart men more than smart men love smart women”.

6. Sofia Vergara

Credit: Instagram. @sofiavergara

Country origin: Colombia
Now lives in: the United States

The highest-paid actress in television was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and moved to Miami to find fame and fortune. She also found a home in the United States. She is outspoken about Latino rights and bragged happily when she passed her citizenship test with a perfect score. Te queremos, Sofia, te queremos.

7. Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan

Credit: Instagram. @kevins_personalities

Country origin: India
Now lives in: the United States

Once touted as the next Steven Spielberg, M. Night Shyamalan was born in Puducherry, India, in 1970. His parents migrated to the United States when he was barely six years old and he was raised in Hindu, which made his cultural adaptation harder. He is an honorable member of the American-Indian community and he always shows his ethnicity proudly on his sleeve.

8. Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer

Credit: Instagram. @cesarsway

Country origin: Mexico lindo y querido
Now lives in: the United States

One of the greatest stars of reality television arrived illegally and with a mere $100 USD in his pocket. He chased his American Dream and he found it thanks to his amazing ability to get into the minds of dogs and into the hearts of celebrities and lay people alike. A true standout among Latino entertainers.

9. Singer Regina Spektor

Credit: Instagram. @reginaspektor

Country origin: Russia (then the Soviet Union)
Now lives in: the United States

She was born in Moscow in 1980, in the then Soviet Union. Her parents fled the communist regime when she was nine, seeking a refugee status in the United States with the help of HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). Spektor is a classically trained musician that has experimented with all sorts of genres. Know that amazing opening song in “Orange is the New Black”? Well, that’s her!

10. Music legend Carlos Santana

Credit: Instagram. @carlossantana

Country origin: Mexico
Now lives in: the United States

One of the godfathers of Chicano rock was actually born in Jalisco, Mexico. The family moved to the border town of Tijuana when Carlos was a kid, and then the young musician tested his luck in San Francisco. The rest, as they say, is musical history. Santana is a true hijo de la frontera.

11. Novelist Isabel Allende

Credit: Instagram. @allendeisabel

Country origin: Chile
Now lives in: the United States

The legendary author of The House of Spirits was born in Chile, and denounced the many atrocities of the Pinochet military regime. She did so in her books, and also in her outspoken political persona. She is a Chilean-American dual citizen and in 2014 then-president Barack Obama awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She often lectures on literature in US colleges. She settled in California in 1989 and was awarded her citizenship in 1992.

12. Hollywood legend Anthony Quinn

Credit: Instagram. @cinema.classic

Country origin: Mexico
Lived in: the United States

Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca was born in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. This legendary actor, the epitome of the rugged Hollywood type, was born during the Mexican Revolution to a Mexican mother and an Irish immigrant father. The family later relocated to Los Angeles.

13. Actor Andy Garcia

Credit: Instagram. @lovelikefilm

Country origin: Cuba
Now lives in: the United States

One of the most vociferous opponents to the Castro regime and a prominent member of the Cuban-American community. He was born in Havana, but his family relocated to the United States after the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion.

Both The Left And Right Are Coming For Rep Omar After Her Latest Tweet About Immigration

Things That Matter

Both The Left And Right Are Coming For Rep Omar After Her Latest Tweet About Immigration

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Rep. Ilan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, is receiving criticism from both sides of the aisle after she tweeted that Latinos wouldn’t benefit from a merit-based immigration plan.

Many on the left are upset with her for seemingly have implied that the Latino community wouldn’t qualify based on merit. While many on the right are just hungry for more misinformation and drama surrounding the freshman Congresswoman.

In a now-deleted tweet, the Congresswoman was appearing to question the real reasoning behind a merit-based immigration policy.

Credit: @IlhanMN / Twitter

Often times, the Trump administration has used this coded term to refer to a system of stopping immigration from brown and black countries, or shithole countries as he once referred to many of them.

She clearly stated that immigration policies should be humane, legal, and fair. And welcome people of all sorts of backgrounds.

The Trump administration’s recently released immigration plan doubles down on a merit-based policy, one that research shows is inherently racist.

Credit: @IlhanMN / Twitter

Currently, only 12% of immigrants to the US qualify based on skills and very few Latinos are ever awarded visas of this type.

However, many on the left, including Latinos, are very upset with the Congresswoman’s choice of words.

Some on Twitter did come to the Congresswoman’s defense and noted that a merit-based system would likely work against Latinos. The problem is, she didn’t exactly get the wording right.

Credit: @IlhanMN / Twitter

With the rhetoric from the Trump administration, it’s safe to say this policy wouldn’t be applied equally.

But overwhelmingly, Latinos on Twitter were just sick and tired of being underestimated.

All too often, Latinos of all backgrounds are thought of as impoverished, undereducated, or underskilled immigrants. We are often described as migrant workers or refugees, all of us lumped into the same category.

Yes, there are communities in urgent need of relief from persecution in their home countries, including refugees. But it’s simply not true that they couldn’t qualify under a merit-based system.

Many immigrants from all over Latin America are doctors, engineers, lawyers, with so much to offer the US. This is the point that was lost on many across social media.

And, of course, Sen. Ted Cruz had to chime in and offer his two cents.

Though many were quick to point out that Cruz’s family emigrated to Canada before arriving in the US. And that he himself was born in Canada, making it a lot easier to gain legal status in the US.

All of this just shows how important it is to choose your words very carefully unless you want to invite a firestorm from both sides.

READ: The Latino Community Overlaps With Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Identity And We Need To Support That Community

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