We love discovering which celebrities are Latinx. It always fills us with pride as they often serve as inspiration that we too can achieve greatness. People like Sonia Sotomayor, Eva Longoria, Shakira, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Lin-Manuel Miranda are among some of the well-known Latinx folks who are very much loved and admired.But there are so many more notable Latinxs who we might not even know are Latinx — those who don’t have Latinx last names, or haven’t spoken publicly about their heritage, but who are in fact, Latinx, and who have achieved things we should all be proud of.
Let’s take a look at 66 such celebrities who you may not have known are Latinx. There are many people here you will recognize, and some you may not.
You may know Stacey Ferguson, also known as Fergie, from singing in The Black Eyed Peas and from her successful solo career. Did you know that this blonde-haired, blue-eyed chanteuse has Mexican heritage? Fergie is English, Irish, American Indian, Scottish, and Mexican. In addition to singing, the SoCal native is a songwriter, entrepreneur, fashion designer, television host, and actress.
Tori Kelly is a singer, songwriter, producer, and actress. She is a known star now, but you may remember seeing her sing on shows, including Star Search, America’s Most Talented Kids, and American Idol. Kelly is of Puerto Rican and Jamaican descent, on her father’s side, and of Irish and German descent from her mother. She has gone on to win two Grammys (nominated for three total), one Billboard Women in Music Award, a BET Award, and has four songs which charted on Billboard’s Hot 100. Tori also served as the voice of the elephant Meena in the animated movie, Sing.
Nicole Richie is the creative director for her boho-chic brand, House of Harlow 1960, but you also know her as one-half of the hilarious OG reality show, The Simple Life, and as the daughter of music icon Lionel Richie. The actress and author is the biological daughter of musician Peter Michael Escovedo, and niece of Sheila E, which makes her Mexican and Creole-French African-American, in addition to being English. As an actress, Nicole Richie has appeared on shows such as Eve, 8 Simple Rules, Great News, Chuck, and Grace and Frankie, and in the film Kids in America.
We now move on to the realm of sports. The second-most decorated Olympic swimmer in history is Cuban — did you know that? Yes, it’s Ryan Lochte! The athlete’s mother was born in Havana and his father is English, Dutch, and German. The New York native, who moved to Florida, has won a whopping 12 Olympic medals during his career — six gold, three silver, and three bronze. He is just as known for his out-of-the-pool, sometimes controversial persona and even starred in his own reality show What Would Ryan Lochte Do? His celebrity landed him the cover of Vogue magazine, endorsement deals, acting roles, and a spot in the 23rd season of Dancing with the Stars.
This famous blonde has been on television screens across America for over 35 years. But did you know that the co-star of the iconic game show, Wheel of Fortune, is Latinx? Vanna White’s biological father, Miguel Angel Rosich, was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, making Vanna Boricua. White has been mentioned in songs, such as Weird Al Yankovic’s “Stuck in the Closet With Vanna White,” and Nelly’s “Ride with Me,” was the subject of a Sesame Street parody (where the muppet’s name was Velma Blank). She has appeared in countless television shows and films. She also has her own line of yarns, called Vanna’s Choice.
Helena Christensen is one of the biggest supermodels of the ’90s, who everyone knew on a first name basis (she made up one part of fashion’s “The Magnificent Seven”). Although her last name is Danish, and she was born in Copenhagen, did you know that the beauty is also Peruvian? The stunner’s mother is from Peru and Spanish is among the languages Helena is fluent in. Helena Christensen has modeled for designers including Chanel, Valentino, Lanvin, and Versace. She was Miss Denmark in 1986 and landed several major magazine covers including, Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, etc. She was also one of the original Victoria Secret’s angels and appeared in Chris Isaak’s iconic video for “Wicked Game.”
There are many Afro-Latinx celebs that a lot of folks have no idea are Afro-Latinx. One of these celebs is Meagan Good. The actress and director, who appeared in numerous films such as Think Like A Man, You Got Served, and Shazam!, and several television shows including Moesha, My Wife and Kids, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, is the granddaughter of a Puerto Rican and African-American grandmother (on her father’s side).
You may know her as one of the Italian-American meatballs on Jersey Shore, but although Snooki was raised in the Italian culture, she is also Chilean. Adopted as a baby, Nicole Polizzi was born in Santiago, Chile. A DNA test the reality star and entrepreneur performed revealed that she is of Romani, South Asian, East Asian, Iberian American, Jewish, and Middle Eastern descent.
When Kelis’s “Bossy” came out, it gave all us female bosses an empowering theme song. It makes more sense when you find out that Kelis is Latina. The Harlem native’s father was African-American, and her mother is Chinese-Puerto Rican, making Kelis both Afro-Latinx and Asian-Latinx. The singer has had seven songs land on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
There are big moments in pop culture that would fill us with so much orgullo Latino, if we only knew the people involved were Latino! Many of the Bond girls, from the James Bond films, have been beautiful, smart, and sexy. It’s super cool to learn that the very first Bond girl Linda Christian, was Mexican. Born in Tampico, Christian was the daughter of a Mexican-born mother of Spanish, French, and German descent, and a Dutch father.
It helps us to know that there were more Latinxs on television than we previously thought. Like the actress who played mom Maggie Seaver on the ’80s and ’90s TV classic, Growing Pains. Joanna Kerns, born Joanna Crussie DeVarona is often credited as being Chicana but is actually of Cuban descent on her paternal grandfather’s side. She’s mostly German, as well as Welsh, Irish, and English.
Bruno Mars has had seven number one hits, 16 top 10 songs, 24 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. 27 Grammy nominations, and 11 wins. Born Peter Gene Hernandez, the Honolulu native is Filipino and Spanish, from his mother’s side, and Puerto Rican and Jewish (from Ukraine and Hungary) on his father’s side. There have been rumors that he changed his last name to hide the fact that he’s Puerto Rican but the music artist set the record straight back in 2017.
Little girls and boys deserve to see superheroes who look like them, and who are from the same background(s) as them. Lynda Carter was the OG Wonder Woman, the golden-hearted, do-gooder, who also knew how to kick some ass. She was the superhero, so many of us looked up to and loved. Imagine how awesome it is to find out that Lynda is Latina! Born Linda Jean Cordova Carter, the actress, singer, songwriter, and beauty queen is the daughter of a Chicana mother (of Mexican, Spanish, and French descent), and a father of Scotch-Irish and English descent.
Christy Turlington for Vogue UK, Dec. 1990, wearing Versace + shot by Patrick Demarchelier pic.twitter.com/sVGhkyw5aq
— FashHUN (@fashHUN_) December 28, 2019
Peruana Helena Christensen isn’t the only ’90s supermodel on our list of Latinxs. Christy Turlington Burns, who has appeared on top magazine covers, and modeled for several big fashion labels, including Calvin Klein, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and more, is one of the biggest models, ever. Did you know she is Central American? Christy’s mother is from Cojutepeque, El Salvador.
Sammy Davis Jr.
A member of the legendary Rat Pack, and one of the best entertainers of all time, Sammy Davis Jr. is a major source of POC orgullo. But, you can also include Afro-Latinx and Latinx orgullo on top of that, because the actor, comedian, and dancer is Latino! Sammy’s mother was Afro-Cuban (although he often said he was Puerto Rican due to anti-Cuban sentiments at the time).
Next up on our list of successful and inspiring Latinxs who you didn’t know are Latinx is super producer Swizz Beatz. Also known as Kaseem Dean, the also rapper, entrepreneur, and DJ has produced such big hits as T.I.’s “Bring ‘Em Out,” and Jay-Z’s “On to the Next One.” And he’s Afro-Latinx! His mother is Puerto Rican, Afro-Jamaican, and Irish.
If you’ve seen the shows If Loving You Is Wrong, Hellcats, Grey’s Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries, Roswell or New Mexico, then you probably know actress Heather Hemmens. The actress, who is Afro-Costa Rican, has appeared in several films and is also a film producer and director.
Afro-Puerto Rican baseball player Reggie Jackson (born Reginald Martinez Jackson and nicknamed Mr. October) played in the major leagues, for the A’s, the Yankees, the Orioles, and the Angels. He has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Athletics Hall of Fame. He has also won a World Series five times and has had his number (44) retired by both the A’s and the Yankees.
The Backstreet Boys are one of the biggest boy bands of all time. How many Latinx fans would have freaked out even more over the group, and in particular Howie Dorough, had they known he too is Latino? The singer, songwriter, and actor was born to a Puerto Rican mother, and Irish-American father.
A lot of people don’t know certain celebrities are Latinx because they don’t have Spanish last names. Such is the case with stars such as Jordanna Brewster. While her last name comes from her English, Scottish, and Irish father, Brewster was born in Panama to a Brazilian mother.
Next, on our list of notable Latinxs you didn’t know, is rapper Kid Cudi. Born Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi, the Cleveland native is also a singer, producer, songwriter, model, actor, music video director, and guitarist. He is the son of an Afro-Mexican father and African-American mother.
Actress Vanessa Marcil, born Sally Vanessa Ortiz, is rumored to have been the inspiration for Prince’s song, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” (she also appeared in the video). The Chicana (and Italian and French) actress has appeared on shows including General Hospital; Beverly Hills, 90210; and Las Vegas, and was named as one of People’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 1996.
Another legendary baseball player who you may not know is Latinx is Ted Williams. Born Theodore Samuel Williams in 1918, the baseball Hall of Famer, and 19-time All-Star, was born to a Chicana mother from El Paso, of American Indian, Russian, and Basque ancestry, and a father of Welsh and Irish descent. Williams, at first, hid his Mexican heritage, in a time when Latinxs were often discriminated against, but later spoke on it.
Victoria Justice, who looks a lot like Vanessa Marcil, is also Latinx — her mother is Nuyorican. The actress and singer got her start on Nickelodeon and has appeared in other TV shows such as American Housewife, Undateable, and Eye Candy. As a singer, Victoria has been a part of two tours and has released 11 singles.
Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes. Gwen Stefani’s “What You Waiting For?” “Superwoman” by Alicia Keys. “Get the Party Started” by Pink. These are just some of the songs that Linda Perry has written or co-written. The daughter of a Brazilian mother and Portuguese-American father, Perry is a singer, songwriter, producer, and musician.
The final Latinx supermodel of the 1990s on this list is male model and actor Tyson Beckford. His mother is Chinese-Jamaican and his father is Afro-Jamaican and Panamanian. Beckford was the face of Polo and has appeared in countless videos, such as Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart,” Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” and The Notorious B.I.G.’s “One More Chance,” in addition to his acting roles.
One thing a lot of folks don’t know about Miami’s own rap legend Trina, is that the star is Latina! The music artist, actress, and Love and Hip Hop: Miami reality star was born Katrina Laverne Taylor. She is the daughter of a Dominican father and a Barbadian mother.
Plenty of folks don’t know that Grammy-nominated singer Jhené Aiko is Latina. The artist is Dominican, Japanese, and Spanish from her mother’s side, and African-American, American Indian, Jewish, and German from her father’s side, making her both Afro-Latinx and Asian-Latinx. She has released two solo studio albums: 2014’s Souled Out, and 2017’s Trip.
Carmelo Anthony is one half of a couple who many don’t know are Afro-Latinx. The basketball star, who has three Olympic gold medals, and has been an NBA All-Star 10 times, is the son of a Nuyorican father with Venezuelan descent and an African-American mother. Next, we will be talking about his also Latinx wife, LaLa Anthony.
LaLa Anthony has been in the public eye since the ’90s, appearing on radio, as an MTV VJ, actress, author, and an entrepreneur. Needless to say, she has accomplished a lot during her career. But did you know that LaLa is Afro-Latinx? Born Alani Nicole Vasquez, LaLa is the Brooklyn-born daughter of Afro-Puerto Rican parents. That means she is the epitome of orgullo Latino!
Sarunas J. Jackson
Afro-Panamanian actor Sarunas Jackson made it a point to ask the writers of the show Insecure to make his character, Dro, Panamanian. This was a win for Afro-Latinxs and Latinxs everywhere, as it brings more visibility to Afro-Latinxs on screen, and in Hollywood.
Rapper ScHoolboy Q is another artist who you may not know is Latinx. We recently learned that the rapper, who has laid down rhymes on such songs as “Studio,” “White Walls,” and “THat Part” is in fact Afro-Latinx, part Honduran.
Born Gerald Maxwell Rivera, Maxwell has been captivating us with his soothing voice and neo soul/R&B sounds since he dropped his first album, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, in 1996. Turns out this artist is Afro-Latinx, born to a Puerto Rican father, and Haitian mother!
You may have been yelling out “ballin’!” in the 2000s as well. That’s all thanks to rapper and music director Jim Jones and his 2006 platinum hit song “We Fly High.” Born Joseph Guillermo Jones II, Jim is Afro-Puerto Rican, and also a member of the group The Diplomats (a.k.a. Dipset) with fellow Afro-Latinx Juelz Santana.
Born John David Jackson, this Afro-Dominican rapper is better known as Fabolous. Dropping a new album entitled Summertime Shoutout 3 this year (his 7th studio album), Fab has had several hit songs, including “Into You,” “Can’t Let You Go,” and “Make Me Better.”
Kevin Jerome Gilyard, known professionally as Kevin Gates, is another rapper who you may not have known is Afro-Latinx. The Louisiana native is Afro-Puerto Rican. After releasing a number of mixtapes, he dropped his debut album, Islah, in 2016, which peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart. Gates also has seven songs on the Billboard Hot 100.
If you were yelling out “G G G G Unit!” in the 2000s, then you probably know who rapper Lloyd Banks is. Born Christopher Charles Lloyd, he was a member of G-Unit, alongside 50 Cent, Tony Yayo, and Young Buck (other members later joined the group). The Afro-Puerto Rican also achieved success with his solo debut album, The Hunger for More; it debuted at #1 and spawned the #1 hit, “On Fire.” Banks has a total of five songs that appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
David Lawrence Brewster, Jr., better known as Dave East, is an Afro-Dominican rapper from New York. The songwriter and actor got into the rap game in 2010, and has released one album, and four mixtapes that have charted on the Billboard 200 chart (in addition to other releases): Paranoia: A True Story (2017), Kairi Chanel (2016), Karma 2 (2018), P2/Paranoia 2 (2018), and Beloved (2018).
Vogue Mexico | Bad Bunny x Joan Smalls 🇵🇷🔥 pic.twitter.com/jwNYzPmJVj
— Trend57 (@Thetrend57) March 26, 2020
Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls-Rodriguez is an Afro-Latina who was one of the highest paid models of 2016, and the first Latina face of Estee Lauder. Joan has been on several covers of Vogue around the world; this is her sole US Vogue cover (August 2014).
Nitzia Scott, known in the rap world as Nitty Scott, is an Afro-Puerto Rican, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and raised in Orlando, Florida. She now calls Brooklyn home, where she focuses on her rap career. Some of her work, which shouts out her Afro-Latinidad, includes her EP, The Boombox Diaries, Vol. 1, released in 2012, and solo albums, The Art of Chill (2014), and CREATURE! (2017).
Afro-Cuban Lola Falana became a big entertainer, beginning in the 1960s. She acted on TV and Broadway (and earned a Tony nomination), had her own variety show on television (Lola!), and a starred in a Las Vegas act which paid her $100,000 a week during the 1970s. She became known as the First Lady or Queen of Las Vegas.
You may be shocked to learn that model, TV personality, and wife to Justin Beiber is, in fact, a Latina. Hailey Beiber’s mother, Kennya Deodato Baldwin is Brazilian, of Portuguese and Italian descent, and Hailey’s maternal grandfather is Brazilian musician, composer, producer, and arranger Eumir Deodato.
Jessica Alba is another celeb who you may not know is Latinx. The actress and business mogul behind The Honest Company is a Chicana; her paternal grandparents were born in California, and are of Mexican ethnicity.
In the ’90s and ’00s, Christina Aguilera was a huge pop star, and she is still the pride of Latinas everywhere. If you didn’t already know, Aguilera is Ecuadorian, on her father’s side. She has a powerhouse voice that is undeniable and topped the charts with hit after hit. Some of her number one songs include “Genie in a Bottle,” “Lady Marmalade,” and “Dirrty.”
Chicana Linda Ronstadt was born in Tucson, Arizona. Her father, Gilbert, was Mexican (from Sonora), German, and English. Linda is a musical legend, receiving both the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
There are sex symbols who personify femininity and sex appeal and Raquel Welch is one such woman. Making her splash in the 1960s, the actress, singer, and former model is also a Golden Globe winner. The Bolivian’s look helped to shift the push of the blonde as the sexy ideal, allowing other WOC to finally also get that shine.
Melissa De Sousa
When Afro-Latina Melissa de Sousa was thanked for repping for Afro-Latinas at large, she realized what her work meant to others. The Afro-Panamanian was inspired to let her acting continue to represent Latinas outside of the white mold that Hollywood has perpetuated.
— queen bruv. (@EustaciaLondon) December 28, 2017
Author, Love and Hip Hop: New York star, model, realtor, and entrepreneur JuJu is Cuban AND black. She’s Afro-Cubana and is going to keep reminding everyone of it by speaking perfect Spanish.
Lakshmi Singh is the national midday newscaster for NPR. She is European Puerto Rican on her mother’s side, and Indo-Trinidadian on her father’s side.
Tatyana Ali played Ashley Banks on the wildly popular show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and had a hit song with “Daydreamin’.” The actress and singer is the daughter of an Afro-Panamanian mother and a father from Trinidad and Tobago, of Indo-Trinidadian descent.
Fred Armisen has made the masses laugh on shows including Saturday Night Live, Documentary Now!, and Portlandia. His ethnically ambiguous looks have allowed Armisen to play all kinds of characters, from President Barack Obama to Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Alan Osmond to Fericito. But Fereydun Armisen is actually the son of a Venezuelan mother, and German/Korean father.
If you know skateboarding, you know the name Steve Caballero. In 1988, the legend, of Mexican and Japanese descent, set a high-air world record of 11 feet (on a half pipe), which wasn’t beaten until 11 years later. Fun fact: Vans named their Caballero and Half Cab shoes after the skateboarder.
American Pie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, About a Boy. These are just some of the films that director, producer, and screenwriter Chris Weitz has helped to create. Did you know that he and brother Paul Weitz are Latinx? Their maternal grandmother is the iconic Mexican actress Lupita Tovar, who starred in the Spanish-language version of Dracula and in Santa, which was Mexico’s first talkie film.
Puerto Rican and Cuban New York native Rosario Dawson is an actress who appeared on the show Sesame Street as a child. She went on to star in a slew of films, including He Got Game, Men in Black II, and Sin City. Dawson received the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her work in Rent. On top of her work in movies, television, and more, Rosario Dawson remains a face in Hollywood, and the mainstream, representing a woman of several different backgrounds. She continues to give a lot of girls someone to identify with and look up to.
Afro-Cubana singer, songwriter, and actress Christina Milian isn’t playing the “choose a side” game Afro-Latinxs are often asked to play. She is what she is — a proud Afro-Latina— and that’s how she will remain.
Cassie (aka Casandra Ventura), who is Afro-Latina (African-American, Mexicana, West Indian, and Filipina) had a hit with 2006’s “Me & U.” She continues to make music, as well as act.
Jharrel Jerome has been making his mark in the acting world, starring in the Academy Award Best Picture-winning film, Moonlight, and receiving both a Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie and a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries for his role in When They See Us. But did you know that the Bronx native is also a proud Afro-Dominican?
Maria de la Soledad Teresa O’Brien is a representative for those of us who come from various cultures–the journalist is Afro-Cuban, Irish, and Scottish. She has anchored/been a correspondent on CNN, Al Jazeera America, MSNBC, HBO, and TechTV, and hosted a documentary entitled Latino in America (with corresponding book!)
It’s pretty cool that a woman with one of the greatest voices of all time is an Afro-Latina. Born in Huntington, New York, Mariah Carey, who has a five-octave vocal range, has had 18 #1 hits in her career so far. Mariah also has the longest-running number one hit of all time, “One Sweet Day,” which topped the chart for 16 weeks (it is now tied with “Despacito.”). She has won five Grammys and has been nominated for 34, and is one of the best-selling female artists of all time.
Natalie Morales-Rhodes is a familiar face on television. The Brazilian and Puerto Rican journalist has worked on several shows, including The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Dateline NBC, Access Hollywood, and Access Hollywood Live.
A lot of rappers get their start by creating and releasing indie mixtapes. Such is the case for Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly, a.k.a Rico Nasty. The Afro-Latinx has released several mixtapes — Summer’s Eve (2014), The Rico Story (2016), Sugar Trap (2016), Tales of Tacobella (2017), Sugar Trap 2 (2017), Nasty (2018), and Anger Management (2019) —which have led to her becoming signed by Atlantic Records. And with a following that includes 1.4 million Instagram followers, Rico Nasty is only getting started.
At the 1968 Olympics, two men, Afro-Cubano John Carlos (far right) and African-American Tommie Smith raised their fists to demand justice (Peter Norman wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in solidarity with Carlos and Smith). The photo of the two, raising the Black Power salute (which Smith called a “human rights salute”) became iconic.
Artists see things through their own individual filter, made up of taste, technique, life experience, and perception. Their art is deeply personal and an extension of how different they really are. Afro-Puerto Rican Jean-Michel Basquiat‘s art took the world by storm due to its uniqueness — it’s style, messages, and influences. There’s a lesson here: although it is tempting for artists to copy another’s well-received art, it’s what sets you apart and how only you can express that, that makes for the best art you can possibly create. And, it pays off; Jean-Michel Basquiat did something that no other artist in America has done — sell a painting (“Untitled”) for $110.5 million.
You may have seen the late, great Miguel Ferrer in films such as RoboCop, Hot Shots! Part Deux, and Traffic, and on shows including Twin Peaks, and NCIS: Los Angeles. But did you know that the actor was Puerto Rican? Miguel’s father was the legendary Puerto Rican actor Jose Ferrer, the first Latinx and Hispanic to win an Oscar, for his lead role in the 1950 film, Cyrano de Bergerac. He was also the first actor ever to receive the Presidential Medal of the Arts, in 1985. It is the highest honor an artist or art patron can get in the United States. (Mother was the iconic singer and actress Rosemary Clooney, and Miguel was cousin to George Clooney.)
Morena Baccarin played Vanessa (Copycat in the comics) in the film Deadpool 2. It grossed a whopping $732.4 million worldwide, making it the 7th highest grossing movie (worldwide) of 2018. This is especially huge, considering Baccarin is Latinx, and there is such a shortage of representation of Latinos on the big screen. Morena is a Brazilian of Italian descent, the daughter of actress Vera Setta.
Another iconic Latinx member of the Hollywood elite is Anthony Quinn. The Mexican actor won two Best Supporting Actor Oscars, was nominated for Best Actor twice, for five Golden Globes, an Emmy, and received the Cecil B. Demille Award (Golden Globes). Some of his films include Zorba the Greek, Viva Zapata!, Lust for Life, Wild is the Wind, and Lawrence of Arabia.