9 Latinos Under 35 Taking America by Storm
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Hollywood often portrays young Latinos as undereducated troublemakers and maids dutifully scrubbing floors. But a new generation of Latino-American millennial icons are shattering the glass ceiling that’s long limited Latino growth in this country. It’s clear that young Latinos have been revolutionizing our country for years. In this election year, we can’t help but wonder why the U.S. still won’t legally allow a President under the age of 35! Here are some of society’s leading young Latinos.
1. Diane Guerrero – Actress, Activist
One of the top Latina actresses working today, you can catch Diane Guerrero in Jane the Virgin, Are we there yet? and Emoticon 😉. But she’ll always be Maritza to us. Her performance in Orange is the New Black helped the show win the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, twice over.
Guerrero gained additional fame as a voice for immigration reform, after her parents and brother were sent back to their native Colombia. Guerrero, just 14 at the time and a U.S. citizen (she was born and raised here), remained. She discusses their deportation in a heart-wrenching interview that went viral in 2014. She’s even written a book on the issue that impacts so many families so deeply: In the Country We Love: My Family Divided. Oh, and she only just turned 30.
2. Jordi Muñoz – CEO, 3D Robotics
At just 20-years-old, Tijuana native Jordi Muñoz moved to Riverside, Calif., with his wife, a baby on the way, and no green card. In the several months he waited for his green card, he couldn’t work for pay–but that didn’t keep him from working for fun. Muñoz had always loved electronics and planes and decided to use the time he had to toy around with an idea. On a budget of $500, he built a drone out of items he bought at Target. Shortly thereafter, his own 3D Robotics, Inc., became a million-dollar company.
“It’s amazing what you can do with $500,” Muñoz told NBC Latino. Three years later, 3D Robotics, Inc. has approximately 70 employees. In 2015, Forbes Magazine reported that the company raised $50 Million in a single day from investors. Needless to say, Muñoz now has more than $500 to invest in whatever dream he cooks up next. “There is no way you cannot be successful in the U.S. You only need to work hard.”
3. Natalia Oberti Noguera – CEO Pipeline Angels
Natalia Oberti Noguera isn’t just kicking butt in business—she’s paving the way for other women to do so. Dubbed “The Coach” by Marie Claire, Natalia is Founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels, “a network of women investors that’s changing the face of Angel Investors and creating capital for women social entrepreneurs.” Which is to say, her business invests in other women’s businesses. Helping other women succeed is her jam. In a corporate world where women so often try to undercut one another for the limited opportunities for growth, that’s a breath of fresh air. She studied literature and economics at Yale and is one of the leading Latinas in Tech. The business world can’t stop buzzing about her—Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times, Mashable and Newsweek included. Forbes named her one of the “Top 20 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter.” In a business world full of great white male sharks, Natalia is “in the business of creating more women sharks.”
4. Prince Royce – Singer/Songwriter
While he’s not technically a prince, he’s certainly earned the title of music royalty. Born and bred in the Bronx, Prince Royce began singing and writing songs at an early age.
His first singles “Stand by Me” and “Corazón Sin Cara” each shot to #1 on the Billboard. The self-titled album hit number-one on the U.S. Billboard Latin Albums and Tropical Albums charts, too. Royce’s second album, Phase II, again achieved the same dual distinction. The album was nominated for the Latin Grammy Award for Best Tropical Fusion Album.
Soy el Mismo — his third studio release — garnered a second Latin Grammy nod, this time in the “Best Contemporary Tropical Album” category. His first primarily English-language release, last year’s Double Vision, featured collabs with Snoop Dogg, J.Lo and Pitbull.
He’s been nominated for eight Grammy awards, 10 Billboard Music Awards and 42 (seriously? 42?!) Latino Billboard Music Awards, 18 of which he won. There’s no telling what the 27-year-old will do next.
5. Gina Rodriguez – Actress
One of the “top 35 Latinos under 35” by The Hollywood Reporter, Gina Rodriguez was born in Chicago, Ill., to Puerto Rican parents. Her dad, Genaro, is a boxing referee, so it’s no wonder she’s a knockout. ? ?
She started performing with a legit salsa group at age 7. Gina then worked with other companies, including Los Soneros Del Swing, performing in Chicago, California, New York and Puerto Rico. After finishing college in 2006, she booked the lead role in the short film Tiny Dancer, and played Frida Kahlo in the play Casa Blue: The Last Moments in the Life of Frida Kahlo at the American Stage Theater.
Fast forward to 2016 where she’s been nominated for a Golden Globe for her irresistible role on Jane the Virgin. Rodriquez works with the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts and the Boyle Heights Learning Collaborative and won an Imagen award for “Best Actress in a Feature Film: Filly Brown.” Gina is also credited as co-founder of Naja, a lingerie line that helps women by implementing social and eco-consciousness into it’s practice.
Anyone can tell that Gina has more great successes ahead of her–because like here character, Jane, she totally deserves it.
6. Mike Krieger – Instagram Co-Founder
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Mike Krieger migrated to California in 2004 for college. As an symbolic systems major at Stanford University, he met Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom. Launching the startup in 2010, it was Krieger who handled the platform updates until 2013. We all know how this story ends: Facebook bought the company for $1 Billion in 2014 and now people spend more time swiping filters than they spend with their own mothers.
But the whole thing almost didn’t happen due to immigration issues. In 2010, Mike couldn’t get the H1-B visa needed to work in the U.S. as a foreigner. “It was approaching the point of hard conversations,” Mike told Bloomberg, “I had moments where I was like, ‘Maybe I should just tell Kevin to forget about it and find somebody who is easier to hire.’” Luckily for Mike, (and the American economy!), it worked out just peachy.
7. Alejandro Bedoya – U.S. Pro-Soccer Player
Alejandro Bedoya has soccer running through his veins. Both his father, Adriano, and grandfather, Fabio, played for pro soccer clubs in Colombia (the Millonarios and Deportes Quindío, respectively). Alejandro grew up kicking balls around the parks of New Jersey. After attending Boston College, Bedoya’s wanderlust — and eventually a contract with Swedish Club Örebro SK — drew him abroad in 2009. In a single season, Alejandro became a central figure in the club’s midfield attack.
After playing for several other teams abroad, the Jersey boy returned to his home country where he trained for the 2008 Summer Olympics, though he wasn’t selected in the end. He rebounded by 2013, making the U.S. roster for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, helping win the first Gold Cup championship in six years. Firmly entrenched with the USMNT, Bedoya was on the pitch for the entire 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Certainly, Bedoya is one of the stars in a country where the sport is enjoying more and more popularity.
8. Stephanie Beatriz – Actress
Born in Argentina to a Bolivian father and Colombiana mother, Stephanie Beatriz is a true immigration success story. She came to the U.S. when she was 3 and eventually studied Shakespearean acting, performing with the Yale Repertory Theatre and Old Globe Theatre, among others. Stephanie played Sonia, Gloria’s awkward little sister on Modern Family and is best known for the ass she kicks on Fox’s Brooklyn 99.
Stephanie often speaks out about her strong feelings on Latinas in the media. She told Latina magazine, “If you look at the landscape of television right now, we are in a really exciting time, with shows like ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’ ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ ‘Jane the Virgin,’ and ‘How to Get Away with Murder.’ There are so many different types of people right now on television. The light is coming through the cracks. You can’t block it out anymore. It’s changing.” Stephanie feels comfortable with herself exactly as she is: She recently she came out as bisexual in an adorably emoji-filled tweet.
9. Miguel – Singer/Songwriter
Miguel Jontel Pimentel a.k.a. Miguel a.k.a. our latest crush, grew up in Los Angeles. His African-American mother and Mexican-American mother exposed him to diverse genres of music, ranging from hip-hop to classic rock. He began creating music at the tender age of 13 and signed with the prestigious Jive Records a few years later. Miguel released his debut studio album, All I Want Is You, in 2010. The album had a slow burn, but helped launch Miguel to stardom and became a cult classic later on. His second album, Kaleidoscope Dream (RCA Records), had all the critics swooning. It was his third album, though, Wildheart, which won the world. He’s been nominated for nine Grammy awards and won one.
If these young Latinos have accomplished this much already, there’s no telling what they could conquer next! President Prince Royce, anyone? OK, maybe not. But Commander-In-Chief Gina Rodriguez has a nice ring to it!
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