Things That Matter

11 Latino Celebrities Who Got Rich Before Turning 21

We are living in a time where Latinos are making a bigger impact on American society than ever before.  Earlier this year, National Geographic released an article about how Latinos are rising to power and shaping the future of the country.  This next generation of young Latino-Americans are changing the way the culture is viewed, and it is not taking them long.  In fact, we have composed a list of 11 Latinos that have found fame and fortune before reaching their 21st birthday.

Jake T. Austin

Instagram @JakeAustin

Who He Is-

This young actor was born in New York City, New York.  His mother is from Puerto Rican and Spanish descent.  At 23 years old he has accumulated quite the impressive filmography.

How He Found Fame-

Jake T. Austin got his big break at a very early age when he was cast as the voice of Diego on Dora the Explorer.  He was so popular that he earned his own spin-off show, Go, Diego, Go, and has since found acting jobs on Wizards of Waverly, The Fosters, and Law and Order: SVU.

Selena Gomez

Instagram @SelenaGomez

Who She Is-

Selena Gomez is more than just a celebrity, she is a dynamo.  She can literally do it all from singing, dancing, and even producing.  Gomez has been in the limelight since she was just ten-years-old.

How She Found Fame-

At just ten-years-old, Gomez got her first acting gig on Barney and Friends and hasn’t looked back since.  She has credits in over 30 films and was the star of her own TV show, Wizards of Waverly Place.  By 21-years-old, Gomez was one of the most popular Latino actresses of all-time and has gained further popularity with her singing career.

Rico Rodriguez

Instagram @StarringRico

Who He Is-

This Texas-born actor of Mexican descent has been one of the biggest break-out actors of the last decade.  At only 20-years-old, Rodriguez has earned over 10 awards and his career is still growing.

How He Found Fame-

Rico Rodriguez has said that he never intended to be an actor, but thought that he would grow up to be a “NASCAR chef going to the moon”.  One role changed all of that as he has become one of the most popular parts of the successful TV sitcom, Modern Family.  More than that, he even published a book at just 14-years-old titled, Reel Life Lessons… So Far.

Lele Pons

Instagram @LelePons

Who She Is-

At 22-years-old, Venezuelan-born Lele Pons has carved out her own fame as an internet personality.  A pretty impressive achievement for a girl that said she wasn’t very popular in High School.

How She Found Fame-

Pons gained notoriety for her clever online videos.  Before the popular website Vine shut down in 2016 she was the most followed channel.  Her humour has landed her gigs on multiple films and TV shows, many of which she produces, and has even started her own singing career.

Rebecca Black

Instagram @MrsRebeccaBlack

Who She Is-

Born in Irvine, California Rebecca Black is a singer of Mexican descent.  Black believed that she was always meant to be famous, and before she was 15-years-old, she had managed to reach worldwide celebrity status.

How She Found Fame-

Uploading a video that she had produced for only $4000, the song “Friday” became a viral sensation putting her on the Billboard Hot 100 list.  Becoming the top YouTube video of 2011, Black has followed her fame with more YouTube videos and continues her singing career.

Blake Jenner

Instagram @BlakeDaFlake

Who He Is-

Cuban descendent, Blake Jenner, earned an acting career the hard way.  He famously moved to California after graduating high school a year early to “make it big” in Hollywood.  Slowly, Jenner was able to accomplish his dreams and won a Teen Choice Award for Breakout Star at 21-years-old.

How He Found Fame-

After taking small gigs and part-time roles in TV and short films, Jenner got his big break while auditioning on The Glee Project.  Winning the reality program, Jenner managed to stretch his promised 17-episode arc into an impressive 32 episodes.

Demi Lovato

Instagram @DDLovato

Who She Is-

Demi Lovato is a singer, actress, and songwriter from New Mexico.  She began playing guitar and piano before she was ten-years-old, the year she landed her first acting gig alongside another famous Latino, Selena Gomez.

How She Found Fame-

After becoming a child actor on Barney and Friends, Lovato got her big break when she landed a role on Disney’s Camp Rock.  Her career skyrocketed from there as she has made appearances on TV and film.  Lovato has become a sensation in the music industry as well, topping charts and releasing six full-length albums to date.

Victoria Justice

Instagram @VictoriaJustice

Who She Is-

Victoria Dawn Justice is more than just a great name, she is also a famous singer and actress of Puerto Rican descent.  Justice managed to get her first acting role at just 10-years-old, which prompted her family to move to California so she could pursue her career.

How She Found Fame-

After taking a small role on Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Justice was given a starring place on Zoey 101.  She managed to make such an impression that Disney gave Justice her own show Victorious in 2010.  By the time she was 21-years-old, Justice had managed a filmography that rivals that of veteran actresses.

Bella Thorne

Instagram @BellaThorne

Who She Is-

21-year-old Bella Thorne started her career as a child model.  Her Cuban father died when she was just ten-years-old, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming one of the brightest young stars in America today.

How She Found Fame-

Thorne had her first acting gig when she was only six-years-old.  She continued to take roles in anything from Entourage to The O.C., and today she has amassed credits in 33 films and 21 TV shows.  She has only just begun as her career and fame keeps getting bigger every year.

Michael Sayman

Instagram @MichaelSayman

Who He Is-

Michael Sayman can only be described as a child prodigy.  By the time he was seventeen-years-old he had been hired to work at Facebook and saved his family from a life of poverty.

How He Found Fame-

Well, he may not technically be famous, but he sure is rich.  Following a career at Facebook, Sayman was later hired to work at Google.  21-years-old today, Sayman is already a millionaire and has worked for two of the biggest online companies in the world.

Dafne Keen

Instagram @DafneKeen

Who She Is-

Spanish-born Dafne Keen is only 13-years-old and her career is just getting started.  With only a couple of acting credits under her belt, Keen may be the biggest name on this list in the near future.

How She Found Fame-

Dafne Keen got her first role acting beside her father, Will Keen, on the TV show The Refugees.  But, it was her starring role in 2017’s Logan that made Keen a household name.  She was able to impress fans and critics alike and her career is just starting.

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America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

Entertainment

America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

It has been 20 years since America Ferrera’s dream of becoming an actor back true. She took to Instagram to reflect on the moment that her dream started to come true and it is a sweet reminder that anyone can chase their dreams.

America Ferrera shared a sweet post reflecting on the 20th anniversary of working on “Gotta Kick It Up!”

“Gotta Kick It Up!” was one of the earliest examples of Latino representation so many of us remember. The movie follows a school dance team trying to be the very best they could possibly be. The team was down on their luck but a new teacher introduces them to a different kind of music to get them going again.

After being introduced to Latin beats, the dance team is renewed. It taps into a cultural moment for the Latinas on the team and the authenticity of the music makes their performances some of the best.

While the movie meant so much to Latino children seeing their culture represented for the first time, the work was a major moment for Ferrera. In the Instagram post, she gushes over the celebrities she saw on the lot she was working on. Of course, anyone would be excited to see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out. Yet, what stands out the most is Ferrera’s own excitement to realize that she can make money doing what she loves most.

“I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be. We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us,” Ferrera reflects.

Watch the trailer for “Gotta Kick It Up!” here.

READ: America Ferrera’s “Superstore” Is Going To Get A Spanish-Language Adaptation In A Win For Inclusion

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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