Entertainment

Here’s A Quick Look Into Sofia Vergara’s Rise From Latin American Star To Hollywood It Girl

If we think of a Latina that has really crossed over to the Anglo market while keeping her sass intact, then we gotta consider Sofia Vergara, the Colombian bombshell who celebrates her 47th birthday this July 10. Vergara is mostly known to global audiences for her role of Gloria in the now classic sitcom Modern Family, which started airing ten years ago in 2009 (really, has it been that long?!). However, her career is much older than that, and spans modeling for the Latin American market and acting in Spanish-speaking telenovelas and TV shows. Here’s what you need to know about the highest paid Latina actress of all time (it is really profitable to be the star of a sensation like Modern Family).

Her full name is Sofía Margarita Vergara Vergara.

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Uf, that is a mouthful. She was born in Barranquilla, Colombia on July 10, 1972, and was destined for greatness a long time ago.

She grew up as the rancher’s daughter.

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Her mom Margarita was a housewife, while her father, Julio Emilio, was a cattle rancher who primarily did business with the meat industry.

Her childhood nickname will make you smile.

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“Toti”, that is how her five siblings and many primos called her. We wonder if her husband, Australian actor Joe Manganiello (pictured here) also calls her that! That would be simply adorable

She originally wanted to become a dentist.

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Say “Ahhhhhh”! Yes, that is right, our queen studied three years of dentistry in her native Colombia and was very close to getting her degree when she decided to pack her things and move to Miami (the epicenter of Latino media in the 1990s) to pursue a career in modeling and acting. It was a wise choice although we are sure she would have been successful in anything she set her mind to do. 

Her family fell victim to the violence in 1990s Colombia.

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One of the reasons why Sofia decided to migrate to the United States was the high levels of violence and social unrest in Colombia. Her older brother Rafael was murdered during a kidnapping attempt in 1998. 

Her onscreen debut was a Pepsi commercial.

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Being a good Catholic girl, Vergara was a bit apprehensive about acting and modeling. By the time she was 17, she lit up TV sets across the whole continent by appearing in a Pepsi commercial.

She attended a prestigious acting school.

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Yes, the Creative Workshops School of Acting, which is the alma mater of iconic Latino personalities such as Gloria Estefan. De la realeza de la farandula! She co-hosted Univision’s Spanish travel show Fuera De Serie from 1995-1998, which made her a celebrity in the region. In the show, she would travel to exotic locations with her co-host Fernando Fiore.

Her big breakthrough: Modern Family, of course!

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As Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, Vergara has received every accolade imaginable and has become the highest paid Latina in entertainment. She has been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Not bad for someone who was typecast as the hot Latino trophy wife but ended up stealing the show!

She is a natural blonde.

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Yes, as this picture from the 1990s attests, she is a natural rubia. However, she asks to get her hair dyed in black or brown to appear more Latina! 

She has her own line of jeans, which she launched with Walmart.

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Talk about breaking into the mainstream! Sofia Jeans was launched in association with Walmart and it offers body-positive products to women who want to look as fab as queen Sofia!

She is a cancer survivor.

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In 2000, when she was already appearing in some Univision shows, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She had her thyroid removed, underwent a tough treatment and fully recovered. Talk about a turn of events for one of the most successful women in the world, regardless of ethnicity.

As of 2016, her annual income was almost $43 million a year. 

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She is a power player in Hollywood and no one, absolutely no one can stop her. Forbes calculates her current annual income to be nearly $50 million USD. Not bad, not bad at all! 

Not bad for a girl who was discovered on a beach.

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Yes, just a few years after this photo was taken, when she was 17, a photographer discovered her at a Colombian beach. We can only imagine how doubtful and potentially worried her family was, particularly given the political and social climate in Colombia at the time. She has said that is she hadn’t gone to the beach that day, she would have become a dentist.

She was an established name in the Spanish-speaking world well before Modern Family.

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We are sure you have seen this magazine, Vanidades, at your abuelita’s house! Vergara got her big break on the  1995 Mexican telenovela Acapulco, Cuerpo y Alma

She has even done Broadway.

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Yes, in 2009 she gave her first Broadway performance as Mama Morton in Chicago. A star was born and hasn’t stopped since.

She first married when she was 18.

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She married her high-school sweetheart, Joe Gonzalez, and they had a kid in 1991, Manolo. They ended things in 1993, but Manolo is Sofias life! She was engaged to Nicholas Loeb in 2012 but the relationship ended in 2014 (she later had a legal dispute with Loeb concerning the fate of three embryos they produced for future development when they were together). 

She wanted to have a breast reduction surgery when she was a young woman.

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She felt embarrassed by her breasts when she was a child, but she is now proud of her womanly figure, as she should be. Body positivity above all! She now says: “Beauty is really all about confidence…” Yes ma’am. 

She has a personalidad liviana.

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Part of her success has to do with her good nature and free personality. She has said: “I can turn around and scream and get angry, but I turn around and I forget about it.”

She became a US citizen in 2014.

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She announced that she had scored perfect in the citizenship test when she visited the Jimmy Kimmel show! Take that, anti-immigration bullies!

She married Joe Mangianello in 2015.

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Look at these two love birds! They got engaged on Christmas Day 2014 after dating for only six months. But when things are meant to be, well, there is nothing you can do against it. The happy and gorgeous couple married in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 21, 2015. Judging by their Instas, they lead a free and loving existence, and they seriously give us all the FOMO with the amazing holidays, brunches, laughter and everyday domestic moments they share. Here is for tons of happiness for our Sofia, and for her to continue to inspire strong, independent Latinas for many years to come. Te queremos, La Toti, te queremos!

READ: 21 Old Sofia Vergara Photos Which Prove Latinas Don’t Age

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

Entertainment

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

We all know by now that is no “one way” to be Latinx. Latinos come in a variety of forms, from Black to white, tall to short, descended from Indigenous, African, and European populations. And while Roman Catholicism may be the dominant religion in most of Latinidad, it goes without saying that Latino culture is not a monolith. Latinos practice a variety of religions, from Islam to Buddhism to, yes, Judaism. 

And while most people don’t necessarily think of Judaism when they think of Latin America, there is, in fact, a small but proud population of Jewish Latinos who keep their culture alive through tradition and a strong sense of community. But being a part of such a small community within an already-marginalized community can feel isolating at times. Especially when there are no public role models to see yourself reflected in.

That’s why Tuesday’s news that Disney is debuting a Jewish-Latinx princess sent shock-waves through the internet. 

Walt Disney Television Animation News announced via Twitter that an upcoming Elena of Avalon episode in December would be featuring a “visiting princess” from a “Latino Jewish kingdom”.The as-yet-unnamed princess will be voiced by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, the actress famous for her portrayal of Meadow Soprano on HBO’s seminal masterpiece, “The Sopranos”. 

The Tweet also revealed that the princess would also make an appearance in Elana’s “royal coronation special” next year. Although we do not know any further details of Sigler’s character or her storyline, “Elena of Avalor” writer Rachel Ruderman gave a small preview of what’s to come. “A little over a year ago, I had the honor of writing an Elena of Avalor episode featuring Disney’s first Jewish princess,” Ruderman said via Twitter. She continued: “Jamie Lynn Sigler knocks the role out of the park (wait ’till you hear her song!) Can’t wait to share this one”.

In a move of conscious-casting on Disney’s part, Jamie Lynn Sigler herself happens to be both Latina and Jewish–a giant step for a media giant that can sometimes miss the mark with casting.

Raised by a Jewish father and a Cuban mother, Sigler grew up in New York City as part of a multicultural family.In the past, Sigler has talked about being raised Jewish–attending Hebrew school, having a Bat Mitzvah, and even going on a Birth Right trip to Israel in 2008. 

This episode can serve as an educational experience for many people (including those of Latinx descent) who are unaware that Jewish Latinos even exist. In fact, what some people might not even know, is that the term “Sephardic” (a term used to describe Jewish people of European descent) literally means “of Spain or Portuguese descent” in old Hebrew. In other words, it’s not a stretch to imagine a character of both Latin and Jewish roots on our TV screens. In fact, it’s completely historically plausible!

Naturally, both the Latinx and Jewish Twitter population is super excited at this groundbreaking news.

As we mentioned before, the acknowledgment of Jewish Latinos in popular culture is such a rarity. When the media shines a spotlight on such a marginalized group of people, the advent is worth celebrating. And even though changes are slow in the making, any progress on the representation front is a step in the right direction.

Jamie Lynn Sigler herself expressed her excitement at the news, calling to attention the novelty of her position:

Yes, it’s exciting that the Jewish Latinx population has finally gotten some princess representation, but it’s still a little bit frustrating that we had to wait until 2019 for a Jewish princess. We have a long way to go.

This Latina Jew was incredibly excited at the prospect of having the chance to see her own unique lifestyle reflected onscreen:

The self-styled “Jewyorican” is one of many New York-based Puerto-Rican Jews who identify fully with both cultures. It’s not as rare as people think.

Some Latinx Jews took to Twitter to give some suggestions on how Disney could go about bringing the new character to life:

This Hispanic Linguistics Professor suggested incorporating the ancient Judeo-Spanish language of Ladino into the show. 

This multi-cultural woman celebrated the inclusion of multiple cultures in one character:

Families like hers are the way of the future–at least according to statistics. Although many media outlets still see American families in black and white, the rest of us living our lives know that our identities are increasingly a hodgepodge of cultures. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

These Are The Latinas Who Made OITNB Great And Why We Love Them So Much

Entertainment

These Are The Latinas Who Made OITNB Great And Why We Love Them So Much

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Alerta! This article contains SPOILERS on the final season of the Netflix show Orange is the New Black!

Throughout seven seasons, Orange is the New Black has shown a microcosm of the United States in all its diversity (sexual, political and ethnic). The show led by Jenji Kohan (the mastermind behind Weeds) began airing in 2013 and through seven seasons it told the stories of women from all segments of society. 

The inmates of Litchfield Prison represent some of the most vulnerable members of society.

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Among them, there are Latinas who have no papers or who come from impoverished backgrounds. Throughout the years we got to understand the Kafkaesque mechanisms through which the industrial incarceration system works and how it profits from disgrace. The show also cast a shadow of doubt over the fairness of the court system and how it is potentially discriminatory towards minorities.

This season is all about ICE detention centers. Remember the beautiful bond between Flaca and Maritza? Well, be ready to [cry in Spanish].

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The Vancouver Province, for example, rated the season highly, even though for some viewers season six lost a lot of steam, and it claims that the strength of the season lies in the ICE storyline: “The trickiest storyline, however, belongs to a frightening and undeniably timely one that takes place in an immigrant detention center where women from Central America to the Middle East and beyond are stuck with cocky ICE agents, and without any answers or real hope of getting the better life they were initially seeking.”

Veteran actress Kate Mulgrew, who plays Soviet queen Red, told The Hollywood Reporter: “Using the kitchen as the aperture into ICE and the detention center was such a powerful device. When I walked onto that set I had to stand still and say, ‘Oh, my God. This is what we are doing.’ It’s being reflected for the first time on this show. The creative accountability is great and the creative risk is even greater. She’s got some balls, Jenji Kohan”. Alysia Reiner, who plays former warden Natalie “Fig” Figueroa, expanded in the same roundtable: “I lost it when we were shooting inside the immigration courtroom. We did three takes and I couldn’t stop crying. Our writers told us, “We went to these courtrooms. We didn’t candy-coat this, but this is not as bad as it actually is right now.”

So what happened to our favorite Latinas? Last warning, some SERIOUS SPOILERS AHEAD! 

Maritza Ramos played by Diane Guerrero

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Right from season 1 we fell in love with Maritza, the sassy Colombian queen who ended up in prison for her elaborate scams. She is a cornerstone of the last season: her storyline meets reality, as she faces the immigration authorities. In real life, Diane Guerrero’s parents were deported when she was just a girl. Guerrero told The Hollywood Reporter: “The treatment of Maritza’s ending was a portrayal of how people treat deportations — that sentiment that you vanish is true. It’s as if you’ve never existed. Martiza is on that plane to an uncertain life”. Life is stranger than fiction, however, and Maritza’s case is not uncommon in the era of Trump (at whom the scriptwriters take a good amount of jabs). 

Gloria Mendoza played by Selenis Leyva

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This boricua lady is fierce as it comes (she is played by a Cuban, though, but totally gets that Caribbean sass). She always puts family first, both in and outside prison. She is one of the few characters with a somewhat redemptive ending. Her story strikes true to many Puerto Ricans who are treated as foreigners in their own country. In the last season, we see how Gloria left the island initially to work in New York and provide for her children.

The mother-daughter duo: Aleida and Dyanara Diaz, played by Elizabeth Rodriguez and Dasha Polanco

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We learnt so much more about Aleida in the last season. She is a strong Latina who has had to protect herself from handsy men her whole life. She is combative and that leads her back into trouble after her release. The relationship she has with her daughter Dayanara is the stuff that nightmares are made of.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Credit: Orange is the New Black / Netflix

Dayanara ended up all Scarface: running the prison with an iron fist. Or did she? (yes, we are giving you some spoilers, but no details here, no se espanten). Daya is the perfect example of how a twisted family can lead to an endless spiral of violence. 

Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales played by Jackie Cruz

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A cute and sometimes naive chola who is put in prison for drug fraud. She has a sisterly bond with Maritza. She is the typical inmate who ends up behind bars for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We leave her truly seeking redemption. The actress that plays her, Jackie Cruz, is a proud Dominican who is unafraid to speak about the biases in Hollywood. She told Elle about the roles that are available for actresses like her: “Lately, it’s been better. Well, the roles are still a little white-washed, but they’re better. It’s what a white person would think of a Latina. A white person writing for a Latina. For example, they don’t know that Dominicans don’t eat Chimichangas”. 

Blanca played by Laura Gomez

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Her scenes in the immigration court are heartbreaking. In this microcosm, we get to see what hundreds of migrant women are going through, being separated from their children in some cases and facing deportation to a country they barely remember in others. Gomez told Digital Spy: “That was such a twist for everybody, myself included, and I could never have imagined that it was going to feel so emotional for people. The response on social media to this was devastating. Because we’re living this in real-time, it’s not like we’re telling a story in the past… It should be a story that isn’t happening”. Her story is very accurate, according to reports, particularly in how advocacy groups such as Freedom for Immigrants have been targeted by ICE and seen their advocacy efforts sabotaged. As a representative of the organization told In Style: “In 2013, ICE shut down three visitation programs that we were affiliated with, in response to a Huffington Post blog we wrote. Our personal cell phone numbers also have been blocked at various points in time from immigrant jails and prisons. And while we have continued to offer free phone calls to people in detention thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are still fighting to get our hotline restored”

Maria Ruiz played by Jessica Pimentel

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The Dominican freedom fighter! Her dad was an activist and she finds herself being angry at life for most of the show. She was pregnant when she was incarcerated and has a thorny relationship with her baby’s dad, who is taking care of little Pepa while Maria is in prison. Her crime: selling fake jeans. Yes, really. 

READ: Maritza’s Heartbreaking Storyline In ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Is A Reality So Many Undocumented People Face Every Day