Things That Matter

17 Latino Celebrities That Hold a College Degree

So many of our favorite celebrities attract us with their talents, good looks, or killer personalities. Unfortunately, there aren’t many celebrities, Latino or otherwise, that are known for their brains. However, the tradition of higher education is still alive and well, and many of our favorite Latino celebs actually have college degrees that they often don’t mention. Let’s check out some of our favorite Latino celebs that have college degrees, and see how they’ve used their education to improve their careers.

1. America Ferrera

Instagram /  @americaferrera

Best known for her role on Ugly Betty from 2006 to 2010, America Ferrera was born in Los Angeles to two parents who had recently immigrated from Honduras. She did plays all through elementary and high school, and eventually went to the University of Southern California to study both theater and international relations. She dropped out of school to focus on acting but ended up going back more than 10 years later to finish up her degree. Now, she divides her time between acting and political activism through organizations like the Time’s Up legal defense fund and Voto Latino.

2. Nina Garcia

Instagram / @ninagarcia

Although she’s been the editor-in-chief of Elle for more than 15 years, Nina Garcia is most recognizable to the public from her work as a judge on Project Runway. Garcia was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, but moved to the United States to attend a boarding school in Massachusetts at a very young age. Her exacting eye for fashion was developed through her journalism work, but she also has a related degree in fashion merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology. That’s in addition to her Bachelor’s degree from Boston University!

3. Mark Sanchez

Twitter / @marksanchez

Mark Sanchez has played football on six teams in his nine years in the NFL. Currently, he’s the quarterback of the Washington Redskins, but he grew up in beautiful southern California. Like many other kids from his neighborhood, he went to the University of Southern California, and finished his degree the same summer that he entered the NFL Draft. He’s considered one of the greatest Mexican-American athletes within the United States. He’s third-generation Mexican-American, and even took Spanish lessons so he could communicate better with Latino news outlets.

4. Salma Hayek

Instagram /  @salmahayek

Salma Hayek, who first became known for her work on Mexican telenovelas, has been a famous member of the Hollywood A-list since her first American movie (Desperado) in 1995. She was born in Mexico, and has moved back and forth from the United States a few times- the first was when she was 12, and moved to Louisiana to attend boarding school. She went to the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, and graduated with a degree in international relations.

5. Aubrey Plaza

Twitter /  @evilhag

Although it pains us to see her as anyone other than April Ludgate, Aubrey Plaza has become even more famous since her days on Parks and Recreation. Since Parks and Rec ended, she’s starred in several Hollywood blockbusters including Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, and Ingrid Goes West. Plaza attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts from 2003 to 2006, and while she was there performed at the venerable Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, doing improv and sketch comedy.

6. Christy Turlington

Instagram /  @cturlington

American-Salvadoran supermodel Christy Turlington was first discovered by a photographer when she was riding a horse in Miami, Florida. She was under 16 at the time, and for the next two years spent most of her after school time and summer vacations modeling. She moved to NYC when she was 18 to pursue a modeling career full-time. Although she didn’t attend a traditional college, she later enrolled at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, a school that’s famous for allowing students to essentially shape their own degrees. Turlington graduated with a degree in comparative religion and Eastern philosophy.

7. Eva Longoria

Instagram /  @evalongoria

Eva Longoria has been a well-known TV actress since her time on The Young and the Restless back in 2001. After she left that show in 2003, she signed on to play Gabrielle Solis in Desperate Housewives, which ran until 2012. This Tejano beauty has been a hard worker from early on, working at Wendy’s for three years to earn enough money for her quinceañera. She attended Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and earned her degree in kinesiology before getting her masters in Chicano studies at Cal State Northridge.

8. Rosie Perez

Twitter /  @rosieperezbklyn

Former The View host Rosie Perez has been a Hollywood and Broadway stalwart for decades now. Born in Brooklyn, and strongly identifying as a Nuyorican, Perez grew up all over Brooklyn and Queens before moving to Los Angeles for college. She appeared in a ton of different music videos after being scouted at a dance club, but now says that she only danced to relieve stress while she was doing her undergrad in bio-chemistry. She has been an active supporter of Puerto Rican rights all her life.

9. Tatyana Ali

Instagram / @tatyanaali

Panamanian-Trinidadian actress Tatyana Ali was born in North Bellmore, New York, and started her acting career at an extremely young age. She was a child performer on Sesame Street, but made her acting breakthrough when she was cast as Ashley Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Although she’s been acting since she was a kid, she took time out of her career to attend Harvard, where she got a degree in African-American and Government studies. She’s currently married to an assistant professor of English who teaches at Stanford.  

10. Soledad O’Brien

Twitter / @soledadobrien

Soledad O’Brien, who currently helms the nationally-syndicated Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, attended Harvard-Radcliffe College. She actually dropped out right before she graduated to take her first TV job, but went back to finish her degree 12 years later, in 2000. She has five siblings, all of whom graduated from Harvard as well.

11. Oscar Isaac

Twitter / @realoscarisaac

Oscar Isaac was actually born Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada. He came to the United States from his home country of Guatemala when he was only 5 years old. He was a class clown growing up, and was eventually expelled from grade school. He joined a band in high school, but eventually gave up music to attend the acting program at the Juilliard School in NYC. Since then, he’s been in tons of movies including Inside Llewyn Davis and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

12. Sara Ramirez

Instagram / @therealsararamirez

Mexican-American activist and actress Sara Ramirez is definitely a triple-threat. She played the original Lady of the Lake in the Broadway musical Spamalot, is still remembered fondly from her days on Grey’s Anatomy, and released her first solo EP in 2011. She’s also a passionate LGBTQ activist and works with several organizations to advocate for equal rights around the world. She graduated from the elite Juilliard School with a BFA in Dramatics.

13. Jordana Brewster

Instagram / @jordanabrewster

As an actress, Jordana Brewster has really done it all. She’s appeared in soap operas, horror films, indie dramas, and finally the action franchise The Fast and the Furious. After more than 14 years with the franchise, she was written out after Furious 7. She’s appeared on multiple lists of the sexiest women in the world, but she’s got brains as well. She graduated from Yale in 2003 with a degree in English.

14. Laz Alonso

Instagram / @lazofficial

Another popular actor that’s also appeared in the Fast and the Furious franchise is Laz Alonso. He first got his start hosting shows on the BET network, and eventually moved on to roles in movies like Stomp the Yard and Jarhead. He comes from a Washington, DC-area Afro-Cuban family, and was an investment banker before he became an actor. He graduated from Howard University with a BBA in Marketing.

15. Victor Cruz

Instagram / @teamvic

After a near-record-breaking 131 catches during his college football career at UMass, Victor Cruz was first drafted by the New York Giants. After finishing his degree, he went on to play as a wide receiver for both the Giants and the Chicago Bears before retiring in 2018. He’s currently an analyst for ESPN.

16. Benjamin Bratt

Instagram / @benjaminbratt

All millennials will remember Benjamin Bratt, the hottie who played Sandra Bullock’s partner in Miss Congeniality. This American-Peruvian silver fox also spent four years as Det. Rey Curtis on Law & Order. He grew up in San Francisco, and attended UC Santa Barbara, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He planned on doing a Master’s degree in theater, but left the program before he graduated to appear in the TV movie  Juarez.

17. Dania Ramirez

Instagram / @daniajramirez

Actress Dania Ramirez was born in the Dominican Republic, but moved to the United States as a teenager to study acting. She ended up graduating from Montclair State University in New Jersey, having played varsity volleyball for most of her college years. She’s appeared in TV, movies, and music videos, and has also modeled for CoverGirl.

Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed

Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed

gentefied / Instagram

Any and all news is welcomed right now and Netflix came through this week. “Gentefied” is coming back for a second season and this is absolutely not a drill. Soon we will be back in Boyle Heights with Ana, Chris, Erik, and the rest of the cast we have come to love so much.

Netflix has confirmed “Gentefied” for a second season.

The show is a fan favorite for Netflix with praise and love pouring in for the groundbreaking show. “Gentefied” is set in Boyle Heights and it is all about the fight against gentrification. The show premiered this year to big fanfare and excitement from Latino Netflix users. The show, created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, was picked up for an eight-episode run of the 30-minute show.

The show is one of the most relevant portrayals of the Latino experience in the 21st century.

The show highlights the plight of gentrification on communities across the U.S. Boyle Heights in Los Angeles has been the center of growing tension as the neighborhood slowly gentrifies. Rising rents have forced some residents and businesses to close and leave because of the changing demographic in the neighborhood.

Hearts are full as everyone celebrates the news of a whole new season.

The show originally premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as a digital series. Lemus and Chávez debuted the show and it was an instant hit with festival-goers. After three years of waiting, the show was released by Netflix and became a national hit. The show has shone a light on the cost of gentrification for more Americans than knew about it before the show aired.

Low key, it has made for perfect binge-watching during this quarantine.

There isn’t a whole lot any of us can do at the moment. Most of us are at home because of self-isolation and social distancing guidelines designed to save lives during the pandemic. Might as well us some of your time to watch and support and very important moment in our community. This kind of representation is something that Latinos have been asking for.

While excited, some fans want more, like a cross-over with Starz’s “Vida.”

Now, just to be clear, we are not concerned with what it takes to make this happen. Netflix and Starz can come up with the actual plan. We are just going to be here waiting to be heard so we can all have the kind of cross-over the world deserves. Just imagine a chance for those two shows to collide in Latino excellence.

Now we wait for an air date.

We are patient. We will be here when you are ready. All you have to do is let us know when to tune in and you know we are coming through.

READ: I Watched ‘Gentefied’ On Netflix And These Are My Brutally Honest Thoughts

Latino Bookstore In North Carolina Faces Very Uncertain Future Just 6 Months After Opening

Things That Matter

Latino Bookstore In North Carolina Faces Very Uncertain Future Just 6 Months After Opening

epiloguebooksch / Instagram

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a relatively new bookstore in Chapel Hill, North Carolina that is facing a very uncertain future. The Latino-owned bookstore opened its doors to the Chapel Hill community six months ago and now COVID-19 is putting their future at risk.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a Latino-owned bookstore in North Carolina that is fighting to survive COVID-19.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews came from a need that the owners saw in downtown Chapel Hill. A bookshop had recently closed in the area so Jamie and Miranda Sanchez knew that it was time for them to help fill that sudden loss.

“We felt like there was a big hole in downtown,” Jaime told The Daily Tar Heel. “A bookshop creates this whole sense of community for the town so we decided to go forward and try to open our own bookstore.”

The bookstore was serving a community that needed a place to gather and discuss ideas after a former bookstore closed its doors.

“The core of our idea began years ago as the union of Jaime’s heritage and Miranda’s passion for writing and the transportive nature of reading. Wanderers and wonderers, our idea continued to grow in the plazuelas of Mexico and the chocolaterías of Spain, in the plazas of every country where such spaces form quasi-families for both the briefest of moments and the longest stretches of time,” reads the bookstore’s website. “In these spaces, people share everything from decadent chocolate to fried street food, to myth-like tales, to the memories of our own childhood selves chasing pigeons and sucking the sticky droplets from paletas off our hands.”

While the bookstore was well received by the community, the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans.

COVID-19 has swept through the U.S. and the number of cases continues to climb. While New York might be seeing fewer cases, the rest of the U.S. is in an uptick. The virus has forced businesses across the country to close or retool to be online only. That is what Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews did to make sure they can weather the storm.

The owners of the bookstore realized they needed to retool their business strategy when students stopped coming back from Spring Break.

“We started adjusting our plans in early March to accommodate for the new lack of traffic,” Jaime told NBC News. “Students weren’t coming back from spring break, so we had originally thought the locals would come out like they did during winter break to take advantage of the lack of downtown traffic, but that obviously didn’t happen because of coronavirus, so we started getting ready to adjust and pivot online for when we’d no longer be able to sustain brick and mortar operations.”

The Sanchezes are keeping their literary dream alive through the pandemic.

“Jaime’s always wanted to open a business and bring a piece of home to it,” Miranda, who is originally from Tijuana, told NBC News. “We felt that continuing that tradition of having a bookstore in the area would be a good mesh, not just of who we are as people but how we want to engage with our community. A community that works to sustain an independent bookshop has certain values.”

Independent bookstores are one of the hardest-hit businesses since readings and events in the spaces have been canceled.

Bookshop started to help struggling independent bookstores weather the storm. COVID-19 has left millions of people without jobs and businesses are having to close permanently because of the virus. Bookshop is giving independent bookstores a chance to survive the closures and social distancing.

Bookstores serve a vital role in communities. They give people a place to gather and share ideas. The easy access to literature can change the lives of children in underprivileged communities but allowing them to see themselves reflected in new lights. They also serve as a place to explore the world around you by flipping open a book cover.

If you have time on your hands and enjoy reading, check out Bookshop and build up that 2020 reading list.

READ: Celebrities Are Reading Children’s Books To Help Parents And Children Cope With COVID-19