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Latinos You May Not Have Known Were Jewish

Although Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion in most Latin American countries, we all know by now that Latino culture is not a monolith. In fact, Latinidad comes in all shapes and forms, and it’s a total misconception that all Latinos are Catholics. Latinos follow a variety of religions, from Islam to Buddhism to Judaism. And while most people don’t think of Judaism when they think of Latin America, there is, in fact, a small but proud population of Jewish peoples living throughout Latinidad.

Although the Jewish population in Latin America is relatively small (only an estimated 300,000), Jewish Latinos keep their culture alive through tradition and a strong sense of community. The largest Jewish community resides in Argentina, which is considered to be the “center of the Jewish population in Latin America”. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of famous and influential Jewish Latinos who have made their unique mark on the world. Take a look below!

1. Frida Kahlo

@lrb/Twitter

Frida Kahlo was both proud and vocal of her Jewish ancestry at a time when Anti-Semitism was at its height in Mexico. According to Kahlo, her father, Guillermo Kahlo, was a Hungarian-Jew who immigrated to Mexico. In fact, many of Frida’s work have been displayed at Jewish art exhibits.

2. Monica Lewinsky

@Brittanica/Twitter

Monica Lewinsky’s father is El Salvadoran–born to Jewish-German immigrants who fled Germany during WWII to escape persecution from the Nazi regime.

3. Daniel Bucatinsky

@Deadline/Twitter

Beloved “Scandal” actor Daniel Bucatinsky was born in New York City to Argentine-Jewish parents. Bucatinsky has been candid about how his “roots” are in Argentina and how he speaks Spanish fluently. You can even catch him speaking Spanish to his fans on Twitter.

4. Sammy Davis Jr.

@MrSammyDavisJr/Twitter

One of the most talented and charismatic performers of the infamous “Rat Pack”, Sammy Davis Jr. was a Latino born to an Afro-Cuban mother. Citing a strong connection to the Jewish faith due to its people’s history of oppression, Davis Jr. converted to Judaism in 1961 and remained devout until his death.

5. William Levy

@WLevy_adicta/Twitter

Cuban actor and all-around heartthrob William Levy was born in Cojimar to a single mother, Barbara Levy of Jewish descent. At the reported urging of his friends, he converted to Catholicism in 2009

6. Diego Rivera

@vinculartemx/Instagram

Celebrated artist and husband to the venerable Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter Diego Rivera was descended from a Portuguese-Jewish family. Of his roots, Rivera said: “My Jewishness is the dominant element in my life. From this has come my sympathy with the downtrodden masses which motivates all my work”.

7. David Blaine

@THR/Twitter

Born to a Puerto Rican father and a mother of Russian-Jewish descent, famed magician and illusionist David Blaine is of both Jewish and Latino heritage.

8. Geraldo Rivera

@veeceebot/Twitter

Journalist and television personality Geraldo Rivera was born to a Puerto Rican father and a mother of Russian-Jewish descent. He was raised “mostly Jewish” and had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Rivera affectionately describes himself as “Jew-Rican”.

9. Bruno Mars

@BrunoMars/Twitter

Bruno Mars was born in Hawaii to a father of mixed Puerto Rican and Ashkenazi Jewish descent, while his mother is Filipino. Mars has referred to his ethnicity as existing in a “gray zone” of neither black nor white. Of his ethnicity, Mars has said: “I hope people of color can look at me, and they know that everything they’re going through, I went through. I promise you.”

10. Sara Paxton

@sarapaxtonorg/Twitter

Sara Paxton was born to Lucia Menchaca Zuckerman and Steve Paxton in Los Angeles. Paxton’s mother was originally from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, where she was raised in a Jewish family. Paxton’s father has since converted to Judaism.

11. Cecilia Roth

@lachechuroth/Twitter

Acclaimed Argentine actress and “muse” of Pedro Almodóvar, Cecilia Roth was born to parents Abrasha Rotenberg and Dina Gutkin in Buenos Aires. Like many European Jews in the 1930s, Roth’s father fled Europe to escape the rising tide of anti-Antisemitism.

12. Vanessa Hidary

@faceitfoto/Instagram

Vanessa Hidary is a Nuyorican slam-poet who has appeared on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and starred in her own one-woman traveling show. Her work focuses on her status as a Puerto-Rican Jew, or as she likes to call it, a “Hebrew Mamita”. She’s been candid about how she likes to embrace and perform both sides of her identity.

13. Eduardo Saverin

@business/Twitter

Facebook co-founder, tech entrepreneur and multi-billionaire Eduardo Luiz Saverin was born in São Paulo, Brazil to a wealthy Jewish family. In 1993, the Saverin family immigrated to Miami. Interestingly enough, he was portrayed by the British actor Andrew Garfield in the acclaimed movie “The Social Network”.

14. Jamie-Lynn Sigler

@thesopranosquotes/Instagram

Known for her role as the spoiled daughter Meadow on “The Sopranos”, Jamie-Lynn Sigler was born to a Cuban mother and a Jewish father. Sigler’s mother converted to Judaism upon marrying Sigler’s father. Sigler has revealed that being raised Jewish, she both attended Hebrew school and had a bat mitzvah.

15. Joaquin Phoenix

@LealyBodin/Twitter

Joaquin Phoenix was born in Puerto Rico to a Jewish mother and a (lapsed) Catholic father. At the time, his parents were acting as missionaries for the cult “Children of God”. Phoenix’s father currently lives in Costa Rica. Of his Latino roots, Phoenix says, “I do like Spanish culture…I like to practice my Spanish when I am working with any actor who speaks Spanish or with members of the crew”.

16. Don Francisco

@mandyfridmann/Instagram

Cultural stalwart and host of Univision’s “Sábado Gigante”, Don Francisco was born in Chile to German-Jewish immigrants who fled their home country to escape the Nazi regime.

17. Gabe Saporta

@gabesapcrta/Twitter

Cobra Starship lead singer Gabe Saporta was born in Uruguay to a Jewish family. Like many of the entries on this list, Saporta’s grandparents fled Europe during the WWII era to escape anti-antisemitism. His Instagram bio currently reads “I was a terror since the hebrew school era” and he frequently interacts with fans on the account in Spanish.

18. Joanna Hausmann

@joannahausmann/Twitter

Joanna Hausmann is Venezuelan-American comedian, Youtuber, and TV personality. Hausmann is the daughter of Venezuelan intellectual and Harvard professor Ricardo Hausmann and CNN en Español host, Ana Julia Jatar. Hausmann has a series of videos called “Joanna Rants” on Flama where she covers a variety of issues affecting Latindad–from differences in accents to cultural stereotyping.

19. Kayla Maisonet

@kaymais/Instagram

Known for playing the sporty sister in Disney Channel’s “Stuck in the Middle”, Kayla Masionet is a biracial actress of Puerto Rican and Russian-Jewish descent. On dealing with criticism in the industry, Maisonet has revealed that she chooses to embrace what makes her different as opposed to “conform[ing] to what people say I should do”.

A Large Mural of Frida Kahlo in Traditional Mexican Dress Has Just Been Unveiled and She’s Never Looked More Beautiful

Culture

A Large Mural of Frida Kahlo in Traditional Mexican Dress Has Just Been Unveiled and She’s Never Looked More Beautiful

@findac / Intagram

Frida Kahlo is the most recognizable Mexican painter of the past century. That bold brow, traditional Mexican garb and piercing stare are undeniably Frida in a way that makes her completely unique among other artists. She’s also one of the most widely portrayed Mexican figures of all time. Her image adorns everything from tee-shirts and jewelry to murals and makeup. Her image is so recognizable that flower crowns, red lipstick, and ungroomed eyebrows will forever have an association with the artist.

To add to the Frida imagery in our world, a new mural featuring the famous artista has just been unveiled in Mexico and she has never looked better.

Painted by Irish artist Fin DAC, the mural portrays Frida Kahlo in bold primary colors and traditional Mexican dress.

Twitter / @la_linea

The artwork is named “Magdalena” and is located in Guadalajara — the capital of Jalisco. In the mural, Frida is represented with a full-body image, hands placed together in front of her as if in prayer. Vibrant flowers and butterflies adorn her like a crown in true Frida fashion.

She wears a huipil (a multicolored blouse traditionally found in southern Mexico), a pink shawl and a long blue skirt accentuated with various-sized skulls. The ten-story mural also depicts the artist with a blue mask across her eyes. This is artist Fin DAC’s signature that he adds to all of his pieces and works to enhance the dark stare that Frida gives viewers.

The artist responsible for this mural has lots of experience creating urban art in Latin America.

Twitter / @BrasilEFE

Between 2012 and 2017, Fin DAC visited Latin America several times. He created six murals total in Colombia and Brazil during that time. This is his first time creating art in Mexico. The artistic is known for his style — called “Urban Aesthetics” —  and has made art on the streets of five different continents. His images also include women dressed in the native costume of their countries and are finished with his signature mask.

The artist explained the reasoning for his attention to national traditions to Mexanist. He said:

“No matter the culture and nationality for me, I am more interested in the type of clothing typical of each place, each country and each place has something to offer and show in this sense.”

For Fin DAC, the choice to depict Frida on this wall was an easy one. The artist explained that her own artwork always sought to exalt the women it depicted — much like his own. Frida’s own famous way of dressing always incorporated traditional Mexican costuming too so the decision to paint the famous Mexican for this piece was “almost obvious” to the painter.

The artist was invited to create this mural as part of celebrations for the Despertares Impulsa dance festival.

Instagram / @findac

Created by famous Mexican dancer, Isaac Hernández, the Despertares Impulsa dance festival began as a way to gather and stimulate the creative industry in Mexico. With the backing of the Mexican National Institute of Fine Arts, the event offers performances, workshops, lectures, master classes and meet and greets. The festival also offers opportunities for free auditions to different international dance companies.

Fin DAC was invited to create this piece by the director of Despertares Impulsa. The image was painted on a wall facing Chapultepec Avenue — a busy street that receives lots of traffic in the urban area. Fin DAC choose this location purposefully for this reason.

“When you see a spectacular advertising pole,” he said, “You see an image trying to sell you something you don’t need, but it makes you feel like you want it. (On the other hand) when you see a piece of art on the street it brings you a moment of happiness and peace, nothing from the advertising you see will make you happy, but art can definitely do it.

The mural was officially unveiled on July 15th, 2019 as part of the festival’s celebrations.

Twitter / @findac

The unveiling comes at a time of year significant to Frida fans. July 6th was the 112th anniversary of the artist’s birth. The 65th anniversary of her passing also happened this past month on the 13th of July. As such, this beautiful mural is an appropriate gift to honor the late Mexican artist.

These Latina Tattoo Artists Know How To Give The Best Ink In The Business

Entertainment

These Latina Tattoo Artists Know How To Give The Best Ink In The Business

The decision to receive a tattoo can be deeply personal, particularly because the art of ink is a decision with lifelong effects. Tattoos on our skin are so woven into the skin that they ultimately end up making up such a major part of a person’s identity. That’s why when picking out a tattoo, people usually go to great lengths to find the perfect artist. Not just someone who has talent, but someone who can be precise and understanding of the depiction they are attempting to create. For so many Latinas who decide to get a tattoo, this is especially true. Often times, our tattoos tell stories of our Latinidad, our family and our written in our native languages. As such, seeking out a fellow Latina who can do the work on us can be just as equally as important as finding the perfect design.

As the tattoo industry grows, the once-male dominated world of tattooing is seeing more women tattoo artists than ever. So, of course, we have to shout out our Latina hermanas who are repping the Latinidad in the world of ink. Here are some of the most talented Latina tattoo artists in the game.

1. Jéssica Coqueiro

Instagram / @jercoquerio.tattoo

From São Paulo, Brazil, Jessica Coqueiro produces beautiful works of art in shades of black. Specializing in gorgeous and elegant floral designs, Coquerio also expertly inks animal imagery. She also has a few surreal pieces that will blow your mind. Her soft line work and attention to detail are impressive qualities that all of her pieces share.

2. Julia Bicudo

Instagram / @juliabicudo

Tattooing from Brazil’s Arte Misia Ink, Julia Bicudo tattoos both in color and shades of black. Her portfolio is very eclectic too. You’ll find America traditional pieces alongside geometrical designs as well as traditional floral and animal motifs. From these designs, it’s easy to see how versatile and talented Bicudo is.

3. Amanda Rodriguez

Instagram / @amandatattoos

Floral work like this has to be done in bright vivid color and Latina tattooist Amanda Rodriguez knows how to deliver. Working out of Brooklyn as well as across the pond in London, Rodriguez comes from a fine arts background. She brings that level of detail into her traditional and realism tattoos but isn’t afraid to spice it up with thick line work and abstract elements.

4. Noemi Barajas

Instagram / @noemitattoos

Orange County tattoo artist and painter, Noemi Barajas uses striking pops of color to bring her pieces to life. She also works as a traditional artist and her painting techniques are obvious in her compositions. Her black and white pieces are also stunning works of art in their own respect.

5. Esther Garcia

Instagram / @butterstinker

The use of solid black in a tattoo makes the whole piece pop and artist Esther Garcia isn’t afraid to prove it. Her use of elegant, full-color florals against black backgrounds is simply breathtaking. The Chicago artist is in her element when she is drawing and inking nature but her pieces are far from traditional. Sometimes Garcia likes to get surreal and she creates amazing tats like this one.

6. Roxi Satni

Instagram / @roxitattoo

Hailing from L.A. by way of Mexico City, Roxi Satni excels at laying down smooth black and white ink. Using points of black to apply shading, she gives her art shape and dimension in a very tangible way. Inspired by flowers and nature, Satni has developed her own style reminiscent of old school American traditional.

7. Olga Marques

Instagram / @olgart.tattoo

Located in São Paulo, Brazil, Olga Marques uses fine lines to give her artwork a sketchy feel. Specializing in figure drawing and stylized portraits, her work is very dynamic. She also happens to have the power of anime on her side. Check out her tats of anime heroes like Goku and Naruto to see the full scope of her talent.

8. Rocio Tattoos

Instagram / @rocio.tattoos

Tattooing for 23 years, Rocio works in Oakland and has been creating in the Bay area since 1996. She practices in many styles; doing everything from portrait art to cover-ups. Nature and botanicals are mainstays in her artwork and she delivers them with precision and skill.

9. Tamara Santibañez

Instagram / @tamarasantibanez

Specializing in Chicano-style tattooing, Tamara Santibañez operates out of New York City. Traditional Chicano imagery appears in her work as does the looping, clean cursive that is associated with that style. She is also an artist with a residency at MAD — The Museum of Arts and Design . Santibañez has even show her own public installation to rave reviews.

10. Michelle Santana

Instagram / @mnsantanatattoo

Don’t let the minimalist designs fool you. It takes a lot of talent to be this precise. Working out of Bang Bang Tattoo in New York City, Michelle Santana specializes in clean lines and small designs that make a big impression. She has even been featured in Forbes Magazine for her talent as an enterprising tattoo artist.

11. Arlene Salinas

Instagram / @arlenesalinas_m

California tattoo artist Arlene Salinas likes to do America tradition art while drawing from Latinx imagery. Working in both color and black and white, she finds inspiration for her own art in the work of her friends and peers in the tattoo community. Clean lines and a soft touch is what you’ll see in her portfolio.

12. Christina Ramos

Instagram / @tiger_ramos

Is that a photograph or a tattoo? Christina Ramos’s photo-realistic tattoos are masterpieces. She also creates amazing paintings using the same hyper-realistic style. Based in California, the tattooist works predominantly is smooth gray-scale and rich blacks to create her pieces.

13. Vivian Turini

Instagram / @vivatattoo

São Paulo-based artist Vivian Turini builds masterpieces from points of ink. The pointillism she uses could put any neo-impressionist painter to shame. Her use of negative space makes as much of an impact as her ink does. Turini’s subject matter varies but her floral pieces are especially impressive.

14. Magdalena Lobo

Born in Uruguay and working in Quebec, Magdalena Lobo tattoos in the American traditional style; focusing in bold lines, pops of color, and simpler designs. She is also heavily influenced by her Latinx culture as well as yoga and spirituality. Of all her pieces, her figure drawings are exceptionally charming.

15. Nazareth Garcia

Instagram / @nazgarciaart

Located in Chicago, Nazareth Garcia is a tattoo artist with a BFA in Fine Arts at the American Academy of Art. Drawing inspiration from her roots, you’ll find Indigenous and Aztec imagery in her work. She creates in black with occasional uses of color and is an amazing painter.

16. Rebecca Rodela

Instagram / @rebeccaarte

Operating out of Oregon and Washington, Rebecca Rodela is a Chicana tattoo artist. Classically trained, she is talented with a pen or brush but her real love is tattooing. She works in both color and black and white and covers all kinds of themes in her pieces. Rodela’s use of color is delicate and her line work varies from bold to incredibly thin depending on the tattoo.

17. Makitta Boom

Instagram / @makittaboom

Freelance tattoo artist Makita Boom tattoos out of Los Angeles, California. She has applied her neo-traditional style to all sorts of designs ranging from pop culture to stylized botanicals. Her portfolio is full of boldly colored, minimalist designs that you will fall in love with.

18. Galie Casillas

Instagram / @ta2galie

Los Angeles tattoo artist Galie Casillas focuses on using smooth grays and bold blacks to create her Chicano-style tattoos. Skeletons, angles, religious icons and Aztec imagery star in many of her pieces. Casillas specializes in photo-realistic portraits that are brought to life with her precise shading, detail work, and figure drawing.

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