Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Franmarie Metzler; U.S. House Office of Photography
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12 Latina Heroes Who Kicked Ass in 2018

While we are reflecting on the kind of year 2018 was, we can be happy that a strong group of Latinas were in the mix and kicking ass. In the arenas of politics, music, literature, and more, Latinxs were there, making their mark, setting records, shattering them, and in the process, shattering the glass ceiling, so that we can hope to achieve our own dreams. Here are 13 of those inspiring heroines.

Alexandria Ocasio-Ortiz

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Sometimes people ask me how this feels. To be honest, at least in part, I feel scared. Anxious. Overwhelmed. And that’s okay. It is a surreal experience to go from being virtually anonymous to having an enormous amount of attention overnight. Things went from feeling like folks going out of their way NOT to cover our campaign to feeling like there’s a microscope on my every word, joke, meal, outfit, or makeup decision. Every time a media event like this happens I get NERVOUS. But I also think about how I never got to see anyone like me on any magazines growing up. I never saw a version myself in leadership, or on TV, or anywhere really and think, “That could be me.” . I think of that saying, ‘be who you needed when you were younger.’ When I was younger, I needed to see myself in others. I needed mentorship. I needed an example. I needed to believe that I could. Knowing that gives me the courage to overcome the doubt, the fear, and anxiety: the idea that if I do this, then maybe it will help someone else. . The whole time I campaigned for Congress up to the primary, I didn’t even have health insurance. I was uninsured until not long ago. I STILL feel squeezed w/ healthcare. So to suddenly be on the cover of a magazine despite all that is enough to make my head spin. I try hard to keep my life as normal as possible, with just a few changes to accommodate the whirlwind. I still live in my 1br BX apartment, but I may move 2 blocks to get a little more space for all the boxes. I go to my same bodega, have the same mailman, play in the same parks with my nieces and nephews. . The hardest part has been feeling like my full, human, 3-dimensional self gets flattened into a 2 dimensional character for mass consumption or critique. It’s weird. I stumble like everyone else. It’s hard feeling like I have a whole movement on my shoulders. But I also know that’s not true – movement means we’re ALL in this together. I happen to have one mic to amplify the work and causes of others, but it’s not the only mic. . The goal is to keep pushing so that LOTS 👏🏽MORE👏🏽 champions get the shine they so deeply deserve. That means to everyone out there – your cover is next. 📸: @cassblackbird

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In 2018, Nuyorican Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made history when she became the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress. The 29-year-old kicked down the door to Congress, promising to be a true voice, and advocate, of the people.

Julissa Arce

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Two years ago I became a published author. “My (Underground) American Dream” has changed my life in all the most beautiful ways. I have met incredible people. I have received enormous support from our community. In 2016 when the book came out, we were nearing an important election- when I thought my vote would help make history 😭. Here we are today, my second book, “Someone Like Me” is out, and we are again facing historical elections. If you haven’t registered, please do so, and register some friends. On November 6th we can make history by voting in record numbers and electing people that represent us. ✊🏾. So here is to voting, creating change, and book three in 2020?!? 💕. #FBF #votesaveamerica

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Another Latina who made her mark this year is author Julissa Arce. She released her second book, Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream. My (Underground) American Dream, her first book chronicling her journey from undocumented Mexican immigrant to Wall Street executive, became a best-seller (that’s going to be turned into a TV show!)

Cardi B

This year, Dominicana Cardi B continued the massive success she had in 2018. In addition to becoming a mom, Cardi was nominated for five Grammys, was one of  Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainers of the Year, and broke two of Beyoncé’s  Guinness World Records.

Noelle Santos

Afro-Latina Noelle Santos is a perfect example of someone who sees a void that needs to be filled and proceeds to fill it. When the Barnes & Noble bookstore closed in the Bronx, Noelle decided to open The Lit.Bar.

Veronica Escobar

Two women made history during this year’s midterm elections when they became the first Latinas from Texas to be elected to Congress — Veronica Escobar is one of them (Sylvia Garcia is the other). This year, the Chicana from El Paso also led protests, with Beto O’Rourke, against Trump’s separation of families immigrating to the U.S.

Elizabeth Acevedo

Afro-Dominicana Elizabeth Acevedo had a major literary hit on her hands with The Poet X. The book, about a Harlem girl named Xiomara who uses poetry to understand her mother and life, was a New York Times bestseller, and won the National Book Award.

Elana Meyers Taylor

Panamanian-American Elana Meyers Taylor won a silver medal for the United States at this year’s Olympic Games. The bobsledder also won silver at the 2014 Sochi Games, and bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Sylvia Garcia

Sylvia Garcia was one of the two women elected to be the first Latinas from Texas in Congress (the other is Veronica Escobar). In 1998, Garcia was also the first woman, and the first Latino, to be elected City Controller of Houston.

America Ferrera


America Ferrera was part of the Latina celeb super group (Zoe Saldana, Gina Rodriguez, Eva Longoria, and Rosario Dawson) who encouraged other Latinas to vote during the midterm elections. She also penned the book American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures, which also includes stories from several other first-generation-American celebs.

Michele Docharty

Michele Docharty is a Partner and Managing Director at Goldman Sachs. The Association of Latino Professionals for America named Docharty one of the 50 most powerful Latinas in business. In her role as a Latinx boss, Michele has been involved in diversity efforts at the company.

Camila Cabello

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@billboard ❤️

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Camila Cabello was one of the major winners in music in 2018. In addition to two Grammy nods, she became the most streamed solo female artist on YouTube. Her hit, “Havana,” was also the most streamed jam by a female artist on Spotify.

Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria is consistently winning for herself, and for all of us Latinos. She was producing shows that put the focus on Latinos in Hollywood (such as the upcoming show, Grand Hotel), and urging us to vote with other Latina powerhouse celebs. She was starring in films such as Overboard, working on the Dora the Explorer movie, and getting honored at the ALMA Awards. And she did this all while also becoming a first-time mom.