Be Inspired by TV's Latina Role Models
"Diversity" is a lot more than the latest buzzword in Hollywood. When kids see positive portrayals of people who share their background and culture on TV, it can be truly life-changing. It plants the seed of possibility. It bolsters self-esteem. It reinforces cultural touchstones. And it's really as simple as watching great characters with depth, dimension, and authenticity. Fortunately, Latina characters have come a long way from when American actress Natalie Wood played Latina Maria in West Side Story. Today's audiences are treated to Latina characters who are actually played by Latina actresses, reinforcing the message that you can be anything you imagine. Here are some of our favorite Latina characters:
Carla is a smart, determined, and hardworking Latina. As a nurse in a field of doctors, she speaks her mind when she disagrees with a situation or person. If she thinks she can offer the doctors a new perspective, she isn't shy about sharing her opinion.
Betty is a smart, focused woman determined to prove her value isn't based on appearance. Her focus on learning and growing professionally is an inspiration to everyone.
Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (14+) Fox
Amy spends most of her days in a male-dominated world but refuses to be intimidated. She shows that you can aim for your best every day and compete with courage, intelligence, and charm.
April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), Parks & Recreation (14+) Netflix
With her sarcasm, dry delivery, and bad moods, April fights the stereotype of Latinas as sweet, obedient, and well-behaved. Despite her hard exterior, April has a heart of gold; she loves animals and is a loyal friend. She gives voice to Latina millennials who may feel like they have to be tough to be respected.
Ceci (Danielle Vega), East Los High (15+) Hulu
As the cheerleading coach for a fictional urban school, single mom Ceci meets challenges with a can-do attitude. Despite being a victim of domestic violence, she pursues her dreams while demonstrating responsibility and compassion.
Jane (Gina Rodriguez), Jane the Virgin (15+) The CW
Dedicated, resilient, and smart, Jane doesn't let her accidental pregnancy hold her back from becoming a writer. The actress Gina Rodriguez is also a vocal advocate for the importance of education.