Yesterday, Armando Perez (also known as Pitbull) spoke at the 3rd annual eMerge Americas tech conference in Miami Beach, Fla. Every year, he blesses the entrepreneurship-based conference with his illustrious presence, dropping knowledge about being a Latino in the music biz, remaining true to his identity, and trying not to embarrass abuela along the way.
Here are 10 quotes to live by:
1. “I don’t ‘leverage’ the Latin community, I live it.”
“I just show the world how special we really are.”
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
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…
Like it was a serious shock apparently to many across social media.
2. Aubrey Plaza
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Kid Cudi’s real name is Scott Ramon Seguro. His father is a proud Mexican-American.
11. Frankie Muniz
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
For Latinos, there’s only one famous person that’s been part of our lives since day one. Okay, well aside from Juan Gabriel, it has to be Walter Mercado. The 87-year-old Puerto Rican has influenced our lives in so many ways, and now it’s time to return that love. If you have ever dreamed about getting a personal reading from the greatest psychic icon of all time, your dream is about to become a reality, sort of.
The HistoryMiami Museum is hosting a retrospective on the life and legacy of Walter Mercardo.
The exhibition titled “Mucho, Mucho Amor: 50 Years of Walter Mercado.” The show will feature his “costumes, mementos, and ephemera, on display for the first time ever.”
The show’s description states that the show “celebrates the life and career of the beloved Latino astrologer and pop culture icon. For over five decades, Walter Mercado has shared his astrological predictions with style, flair, and mucho, mucho amor.”
The exhibition will also feature a fair amount of history on this eccentric icon.
While we know he grew up in Puerto Rico, we don’t know much else about his life. This show will hopefully fill in the gaps.
The description states: “Raised in the sugar cane fields of Puerto Rico, Mercado grew up to become a gender non-conforming, cape-wearing, psychic astrologer whose televised horoscopes reached 120 million Latino viewers a day for more than 30 years. One of the world’s most famous astrologers, he is a part of the cultural zeitgeist for Latinos and remains a popular figure that transcends generations.”
And (drum roll, please) on Aug. 2, Walter Mercado will be at the museum for a special public program!
Details about tickets have yet to be revealed, but once they are you know, they’re going to go fast. Everyone wants to get a close look at the Latino icon and his long legacy dictating our lives.
The news is already getting Mercado stans truly hyped.
The world has been a crazy and uncomfortable place for a while. There is always scary and bad news on the tv whether it is about international crises or the migrant crisis. Fortunately, we have been able to disconnect when Mercado comes on our tv screens.
There is no lack of people willing and ready to buy all of the tickets for this event.
Honestly, if you are planning a trip to Miami around this exhibit, what are you doing? He is one of the greatest stars of the Latino community. He has been giving people astrological readings on tv since 1970. He has been telling our abuelas what their year has to offer for 50 years and it is our duty to show him some respect.
Let’s just take a moment and think about the importance of such an iconic and necessary event.
Thank you for the decades of advice and guidance, Walter. You made our lives the exciting and interesting rollercoaster it is. If it wasn’t for your advice, we would not know what to do.