From Jharrel Jerome and Christian Serratos to Diego Boneta and Camila Mendes, here's a roundup of Latinx actors taking over Hollywood.
The 21-year-old actor became the first Afro-Latino to win an Emmy for acting when he took home the award for his role in When They See Us. He was the only Hispanic winner of the night. "It's an honor. It's a blessing, and I hope this is a step forward for Dominicans, for Latinos, for Afro-Latinos," Jerome told reporters backstage about the distinction. "It's about time we are here."
When asked backstage why people of color seem to win awards only for stories that detail their struggles, Jerome replied: "Unfortunately, I think our strongest stories are the stories of pain, considering that’s what we go through on a daily basis. Our pain needs to be told, so if it has to be for the next 20 years we're just painfully telling our stories until we move on, then it has to be."
Alexa Demie is one of HBO’s Euphoria’s breakout stars. The Mexican-American actress plays Maddy Perez and the role came at a perfect time in her life, she told W Magazine, “I was so discouraged about acting because I wasn’t getting any scripts that I loved. I am very particular about the scripts I chose to do, because you are giving so much personal energy that you have to be careful. I thought I would take a break from acting and make music, and then I got the Euphoria script and I knew I had to be a part of this."
Demie is a singer as well and is working her first EP.
The 18-year-old actress starred as the iconic Dora in the live-action film Dora and the Lost City of Gold, and is proud to be fronting a major motion picture with a diverse and strong Latinx cast.
"It's definitely going to inspire the younger crowd because Dora is amazing, and the show itself was way ahead of its time," the Peruvian-American actress told ET over the phone ahead of the film's release. "But also thanks to Hollywood for giving it the opportunity, and not in a forceful way. I think it is a great opportunity for [Latinxs], and maybe this will be a step in the right direction for us. Instead of it being part of the trend, we can get more people behind the camera and making representation for Latinos a more solidified thing."
Christian Serratos’ character on AMC’s The Walking Dead TV series, Rosita Espinosa, has been going strong since it’s fourth season. Ahead of TWD's panel at PaleyFest, Serratos opened up to ET about what it meant to be able to portray such a strong Latina character on TV.
"I love holding it down for the Latinas," she said. "It's cool because, I don't know, there's a few, but there's not many Latin women in comics and I think it's probably a bucket list thing for me [to play her]." Serratos is also in negotiations to star in Netflix’s upcoming project, Selena: The Series as the Tejano Music star, Selena Quintanilla.
Since making his feature film debut in 2007's Freedom Writers, Chavarria has impressed in projects such as Hulu’s East Los High and the movie War for the Planet of the Apes. He now stars on the TV series The Purge on the USA Network, and is in talks to be on Netflix’s Selena: The Series as A.B. Quintanilla, so we have more of Chavarria yet to come!
"Representation is important, because I feel Hollywood has gotten a good sense of the Hispanic audience, the American Hispanic audience, that has kind of been underserved. But now things are changing, and it's great. There are so many different projects and shows and films that showcase the talent that's out there," he told ET. "It's definitely being explored now and we're here to stay."
The Mexican singer and actress’ first television appearance was on the Mexican musical talent show La Academia, where she competed for the top spot in 2011. She went on to act in telenovelas and recently has crossed over to American TV with Vida.
Vida showrunner Tanya Saracho explained the authenticity of the show’s characters, including Barrera’s, to ET. "We're allowing some of our characters to be ugly if they have to be, and complex," she shared. "A lot of the time, because we don't have many Latinx scenarios on the landscape, not just in television or film and other media, we haven't gotten the chance to tell our story from our point of view."
Prada stars alongside TV sister Melissa Barrera on Vida. Taking on the character of Emma is one of her first major TV roles, which also include the miniseries Fear the Walking Dead: Passage. Her character on Vida is especially compelling because Emma explores her queer identity in an open way.
Vida showrunner Tanya Saracho told ET that the show "is a love letter to brown queerness that we don't often see on television," adding, It's also a love letter to brown females with agency, who are coming to terms with their power and trying to figure that out."
Gomez is not quite done with Elena, her One Day at a Time character. Though Netflix didn’t renew the show for a fourth season, One Day at a Time was saved by Pop TV. Gomez’s character has dealt with serious issues, including coming out to her family and the heartbreak of not being completely accepted by a member of her family.
Gomez told ET that her portrayal has also inspired others to come forward about their sexuality. "Daily, I get stories about people coming out, and people not coming out, but being like, 'Hey, I'm still in the closet, but because of this, I feel a little better,'" the Colombian actress shared. "And it's so moving because this started as a job to me, and now it's turned into something that's so much more than you could ever imagine or hope for. So it's amazing."
Pardo’s character on FX’s Mayans M.C., EZ Reyes, is a new member to the motorcycle gang and the series follows him as he tries to navigate their dangerous world. For Pardo, playing a tougher character is on a different level than his early clean-cut beginnings like in A Cinderella Story. Pardo has successfully led the Sons of Anarchy spinoff as Mayans already has two seasons under its belt.
Carla Baratta, who plays Adelita on the show and shares many scenes with Pardo, told ET: “I think it’s so beautiful and I’m so grateful with the creators [Kurt Sutter and Elgin James] because they don’t want to pretend to do a Latino show, they are actually doing a Latino show. Latino directors. Latino writers. And they are given the opportunity and the respect that we all deserve.”
Mendes stars as Veronica Lodge on the CW’s wildly popular series Riverdale, which is currently in its fourth season. She’s such a natural on screen that it’s surprising that she’s relatively new to the acting scene.
The Riverdale crew is a close-knit bunch, and Mendes once let ET know that having Mark Consuelos play her dad on the show felt like having another real-life father. "They’re in the process of adopting me, I already feel like," Mendes joked about Consuelos and his wife, Kelly Ripa.
The Nuyorican has been a familiar face in the independent film circuit for years, notably starring opposite Michael B. Jordan in 2013's Fruitvale Station. She can now regularly be seen on the CW’s Charmed, the reboot of the '90s series, which is currently in its second season.
Diaz told ET that she was proud of the show's "strong representation." "I think we just wanted our show to really reflect current times and the current environment," she added, revealing that she helped model her character's Puerto Rican roots after her own. "We wanted to create a world where it felt inclusive, where there was something for everyone.”
Raísa has been blessing our TV screens since 2005, and was a staple in The Secret Life of the American Teenager for the entirety of its run. She also appeared in the highly anticipated television movie, Life Size 2 with Tyra Banks.
She currently stars as Ana Torres on Grown-ish, a spinoff of the ABC series Black-ish, where Raísa has gotten the opportunity to add her blend of "Spanglish" to the script. And expect to hear more of it as the series goes on! "There's a bit in there. [It was the] writers' idea, which I really appreciate," Raísa told ET during a visit to the Grown-ish set. "I try to incorporate it every now and then.”
It’s no surprise that many of the Mexican-American heartthrob's acting roles, like the ones on 90210 and in Rock of Ages, have been intertwined with music as music has always been a part of his life. To date, the actor and singer has released two full-length albums, Diego and Indigo. He currently plays the Mexican singer Luis Miguel in the Telemundo series Luis Miguel, which chronicles the singer’s life.
“I love Latin music. I love music in general. It’s always been a huge part of my life,” he shared with ET. “It makes me nostalgic because I started [out] singing and did so in Latin America, so it brings back a lot of great memories.”
The 24-year-old actress and singer stars in her own show, the Fosters spinoff, Good Trouble, which premiered in early 2019 to a positive reaction. She was cast in the life-changing role of Mariana Foster in 2013.
“That experience was everything,” Ramirez shared. “I grew up on that show essentially, and that whole cast and crew just really became a family to me. It was a very topical show. Very groundbreaking in its own way. So to be a part of it was awesome and I learned so much. I’m just very happy to have been able to give a voice to a lot of those groups of people."
She started off her career in Mexico and gained popularity through the telenovela Lola, erase una vez. Soon Gonzalez made heads turn in the U.S. with From Dusk till Dawn: The Series, and most recently in the film, Alita: Battle Angel.
"I got to portray a character where I didn't necessarily have to be anything related to a Latina," she explained. "That's what I also want to do, is branch out and kind of show and broadcast that Latina women are everything. I can be the typical Adelita [in Marwen], just a very typical Mexican woman. But I can also be a cyborg and I can also be a worldly woman."
Aparicio’s first acting role was starring in the critically acclaimed film Roma, for which she received her first Oscar nomination, and the first nomination for a Latinx actress in 14 years.
She shared her joy with ET Live after earning the Best Actress Oscar nomination. “I’m really very happy,” the 25-year-old actress stated through an interpreter when asked for her reaction. She later added that her nomination was “really very surprising and, I think, for me it’s the fact that being a woman who doesn’t really have an acting career, who doesn’t really look like the kind of woman who usually gets these kinds of nominations and awards, it was amazing to me to think that I had been nominated.”
Rodriguez won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for Jane the Virgin in 2015. Though the series has ended, Rodriguez is not slowing down; she is now the voice of the titular character on the Netflix animated series Carmen Sandiego and explained to ET the importance of seeing diversity in animation.
"As a Latina, seeing that brown skin on animation is revolutionary. When I saw it in the trailer, I started crying," she said. "That's not common. It should be. We give ourselves allowance when we see that. And for women, we've had an incredible year of so many strong, fantastic, brilliant women standing up and saying, like, 'Hey guys, not cool anymore.' So it's wonderful to have a character like Carmen, 'cause repetition is needed."
Beatriz has popped up on many television shows like Modern Family, BoJack Horseman, and even One Day at a Time, but most people know and love her as Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2018, as a result, in part, of Beatriz’s character’s storyline as a bisexual woman. "I would say that most of that credit really goes to Dan Goor, the show's creator, and the writers who really adamantly feel like our show should reflect what the world and the United States looks like and is, which includes people that are in the LGBTQ community," Beatriz shared with ET.
America Ferrera currently leads NBC's hit comedy, Superstore, which is now in its fifth season. Before that, fans watched her play the titular role on ABC’s Ugly Betty.
Her success has certainly kept her grounded, and Ferrera told ET about how important it is to support your colleagues. "I think what's happened so beautifully in communities of color recently, and especially in this industry, is us denying that falsehood, saying, 'You're not my competition. There should be room for all of us, and let's make the pie bigger,'" she continued. "So, if someone else is succeeding, I've got nothing but love and support and excitement that they're breaking down the doors that are in front of them and making room for more and more people's experiences to be represented and seen and heard."
Ismael Cruz Cordova
Cordova starred in Miss Bala opposite Gina Rodriguez as a violent cartel boss in Tijuana who has a soft spot for Rodriguez’s character. His role in Miss Bala was a far cry from his early role as Mando on Sesame Street.
However, delving into such different characters is intentional as Cordova is very hands-on with the roles he goes after. "They're not accidental. I'm very, very vocal with my team about what I want to do and where I want to go," he explained to ET. "My identity has been shaped. It shapes my life and vice versa. I can't escape it and I know that I can't. I do feel responsible. I really take that."