You never know where someone will end up. NEVER! If you need proof, take a look at the early roles these Latino actors, and tell us if you could have predicted where they’d end up.
Rosario Dawson – Ruby in “Kids”
Credit: Miramax and Netflix
Most recently, Dawson has absolutely killed it in Netflix’s “Daredevil” (and “Jessica Jones”), where she plays Claire, a nurse who regularly helps mend Daredevil’s wounds. Have you seen Dawson’s first role, though? Dawson played a promiscuous teenager named Ruby in the controversial film “Kids,” which was all about teenagers, sex and drugs. Dawson got the part when she was only 15 years old after director Larry Clark spotted her hanging out with friends outside the building where she lived. Dawson told the New York Times she was nothing like her character: “I was a tutor. I was a virgin. I was boyfriend-less. I didn’t have sex until I was 20.”
Selena Gomez – Gianna on “Barney And Friends”
Credit: Disney / @selenagomez / Instagram
Sure, we all know Gomez for being a pop star — and her unfortunate romantic run-ins and rerun-ins with the Biebs — but the 23-year-old has been around FOREVER. Most people probably remember her early days in Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place,” but can we meditate for a minute on Gomez as Gianna in “Barney in Friends”? So freakin’ adorbs, we can’t EVEN!
Diego Luna – Quique Dominguez in “El Premio Mayor”
Credit: Televisa and Disney / Lucasfilm
Right now, we’re pretty excited because Luna is going to go all sci-fi biggie on us, as he was cast in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” But we haven’t forgotten those squishy-cheeks he had as Quique Dominguez in the novela “El Premio Mayor.”
Jennifer Lopez – FlyGirl in “In Living Color”
Credit: Fox and Jennifer Lopez / Instagram
Before “Selena,” before “Jenny from the Block,” before anyone really knew who she was, Lopez was a Fly Girl, a.k.a. a dance troupe member in the ’90s comedy series “In Living Color.” Truth be told, she’s been fly ever since.
Oscar Isaac – Frank in “All About The Benjamins”
Credit: New Line Cinema and Disney / Lucasfilm
Poe Dameron from the “Star Wars” franchise may go down in history as one of Isaac’s most renowned roles. Let’s NOT forget that once upon a time — 2002 to be exact — Isaac appeared in the movie “All About The Benjamins,” where he played a character named Fran-fucken-cesco. OK, his name was actually Frankie.
George Lopez – Eddie Martinez in “Ski Patrol”
Credit: Triumph Films and TV Land
Lopez does such a good job of playing himself on TV or doing stand-up comedy that it would be incredibly easy to forget that in 1990 he played the part of wacky ski patrolman Eddie Martinez in “Ski Patrol.” His over-the-top impersonation of Rodney Dangerfield makes us kind of wish we could forget the whole thing.
Zoe Saldana – Eva Rodriguez in “Center Stage”
Credit: Columbia Pictures and “Colombiana” / TriStar Pictures
Back in 2000, Saldana played Eva Rodriguez in “Center Stagem,” and it was EVERYTHING. She got to show off her dancing skills — she trained to be a ballerina before becoming an actress — and wasn’t all unrecognizably alien-y blue with freaky ears like she was in “Avatar.” When Elle magazine once told Saldana they still love “Center Stage,” Saldana replied: “Everyone’s afraid to tell me that because they’re afraid they’ll seem weird, but oh my gosh, I love hearing that! It’s still one of my favorite movies, too.”
Sofia Vergara – Diet Pepsi Commercial
Credit: Pepsi / ABC
Check this out! Vergara was only 17 years old when she was in a Pepsi commercial back in her native Colombia. Now in her 40s, and after starring in “Modern Family” as Gloria, she is a spokesperson for Diet Pepsi. How much you wanna bet she’s getting paid WAY more now?
Danny Trejo – Frank a.k.a Casual Dreamer in “Mi Vida Loca”
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics and Troublemaker Films
Everybody recognizes Trejo as el mero mero from “Machete.” Before he became an icon, he was an ex-con-turned-counselor trying to help people overcome drug and alcohol addictions. One day in the mid ’80s, he went to the set of “Runaway Train” to help someone he was counseling and ended up getting cast in the movie. Soon, he was appearing in movies like “Mi Vida Loca” and “Heat.” He’s been killing it in Hollywood ever since.
Lin-Manuel Miranda – Mario in “The Electric Company”
Credit: PBS Kids and Neilson Barnard / Getty
The guy who created and stars in “Hamilton” on Broadway — also one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2016 — used to rap about the alphabet on the PBS show “The Electric Company.” Wrap your brain around that!
Salma Hayek – Teresa Chavero Martinez in “Teresa”
Credit: Televisa and Ugly Betty / ABC
Frida and Salma go together like Teresa and Salma. American audiences may think of Hayek as the monobrowed heroine in the biopic “Frida,” pero those of use who grew up watching telenovelas KNOW that Hayek made her debut in 1989 as the star of the Televisa novela “Teresa” rockin’ her curls!