Selena Gomez, Oscar Isaac, And 19 Other Multicultural Latine Celebs Who've Opened Up About Their Identity

·17 min read

1.Aubrey Plaza

Aubrey Plaza
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

The actor is Irish and Puerto Rican. When asked how she identifies on the Highly Relevant podcast, she replied, "The first thing I usually say is I'm half Puerto Rican. The Puerto Rican part is usually the thing I lead with because, just culturally, that's how I grew up. I identify with my Puerto Rican family probably more than anything else. ... The Puerto Rican side of my family, that was just home to me."

Aubrey Plaza

She continued, "April Ludgate on Parks and Rec. I was very adamant about going like, 'Look, maybe she's half Cuban. Maybe her mom's Cuban.' And they were like, 'Great idea!' Obviously, it wasn't about that, but in my own way, I feel like I try to portray Hispanic characters that aren't the stereotypes because that's one thing I think we're really up against. Especially Latina women. There's such a stereotype there, and there are so many different kinds of Hispanic women and people that we just don't even see. They're not represented on film or on television. It's just the same archetypes over and over again."

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

2.Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson
Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

The actor is of Afro Panamanian, Mexican, and European descent. During an interview with Remezcla, she said, "I’m someone who talks a lot about representation. It’s important that we see more Black women on screen. Sometimes, there isn’t necessarily a conversation around the nuance of what kind of Black woman? I mean, we are not a monolith. I feel heartened when a young woman sees a film that I’m in and says that she can relate to me. I’m also sympathetic that there are women of color and Black women that see me in a film and don’t feel seen. That’s real and true."

Tessa Thompson

"In Hollywood, I don’t think there’s enough real representation and nuance in that space. I see a lot of incredible Afro Latinas working, but I’m not sure that there are enough stories told that speak to that particular experience. I’m really interested in telling stories like my grandmother’s."

George Pimentel / Getty Images

"My grandmother came from Panama — from Colón — to the United States for an education when she was a young woman in her 20s. She met my grandfather, who’s a Black man from Oklahoma. They had my aunt, and then, they had my father. Then, she lived essentially as a Black woman in the United States — because, well, that’s who people assumed that she was, but her first language was Spanish. She didn’t learn English until she was in her 20s and already in the US. She had a rich cultural experience that was really full but was erased in some ways, because she came to this country and needed to assimilate."

Tessa Thompson

"Those stories are fascinating! My grandmother died when I was 16, and she had Alzheimer’s. I didn’t get to speak to her about what her experience was — of being inside her skin, and then leaving her home, and then being in America, and then having to also deal with race here. Those stories are beautiful and interesting. They are the kind of stories I would love to see more of," she concluded.

Axelle / FilmMagic / Getty Images

3.Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba
Allen Berezovsky / Getty Images

The actor is Mexican, Danish, English, French, and German. "Growing up in California in my grandmother's house, surrounded by tías, tíos, and all my cousins, I always felt a deep connection to my Mexican-American roots," she wrote in an article for Pop Sugar. She recalled her family's history, from her great-grandparents' immigration to the US to the segregation they faced to their love for the performing arts.

Jessica Alba

"Most people say I look like my abuela Isabel Martinez, but the truth is that I inherited a lot from her," Jessica wrote. "She did more than what was expected of women of her generation; she got her GED, ran a business, helped support the family while her husband went to school, and raised generations of family in their home. She's my icon of resourcefulness, determination, and drive. Basically, she's the ultimate boss."

Rosdiana Ciaravolo / Getty Images

"I always thought our ancestors were Spanish, but I learned through genetic testing that they were Native American, with roots that may go back as far as the Mayan civilization. We've been here from the beginning!"

Jessica Alba
David Livingston / Getty Images

4.Cardi B

Cardi B
Rich Fury / Getty Images

The singer is Trinidadian and Dominican. "I always feel I am representing the Dominican Republic because I love Dominican people, I love being Dominican," she said during an Instagram Live. "The fire of my heart as I act is because that is how we are."

Cardi B

During an interview for CR Fashion Book, she said, "One thing that always bothers me is that people know so little about my culture. We are Caribbean people. And a lot of people be attacking me because they feel like I don’t be saying that I’m Black. Some people want to decide if you’re Black or not, depending on your skin complexion, because they don’t understand Caribbean people or our culture. I don’t got to tell you that I’m Black. I expect you to know it."

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

5.Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera
Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images for Billboard

The singer is Ecuadorian and Irish. During an interview with Latina Magazine, she addressed the criticism that she is not "Latina enough." "I've dealt with that my whole life. I don't speak the language fluently. And I'm split right down the middle, half Irish and half Ecuadorean. I should not have to prove my ethnicity to anyone. I know who I am."

Christina Aguilera

"I wouldn't be questioned [about my heritage] if I looked more stereotypically Latina," she continued. "Whatever that is. All I know is no one can tell me I'm not a proud Latina woman."

Randy Shropshire / Getty Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation

6.Francia Raisa

Francia Raisa
Leon Bennett / Getty Images

The actor is Mexican and Honduran. During an interview with Latina Style Magazine, she said, "I am half Mexican, half Hondureña, first-generation American. Being Latin is my life. I didn’t realize I was American until maybe I was in high school, but I also didn’t know anything else until I was 3 or 4 years old. I spoke one language at home. I ate one type of food. I listened to one kind of music, and then I went to school, and all of a sudden, it was a whole other language, and they were giving me food without tortillas. So, navigating both worlds has been my life, and I still do it until this day."

Francia Raisa

She told Complex, "Honestly, I can't even believe that I've worked as much as I have in this business, considering that I am Latina. I'm happy to have been a part of the movement to break down that door for us. I didn't even realize that I was a part of it until Diane Guerrero (from Orange Is The New Black) actually brought it to my attention. Because it is tough auditioning and not seeing roles that are specifically for you. I remember a time when I would go to an audition and just see everyone blonde, and then it was me. So, I was like, 'Oh, I didn't get the part.'

"But it's definitely changing. It's getting better, but it's not there yet. I can't wait until we get the opportunity to be leads in any type of project, and not just specifically Latinx films or television. There are still roles that are far and few between, but I am so honored that I have had such a great career and aspire to just keep going, and I have my hopes and dreams, too. So, I hope I'm able to accomplish and break down even more barriers."

Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic / Getty Images

7.Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

The singer is Puerto Rican, Ashkenazi Jewish, Filipino, and Spanish. He told Latina Magazine, "There are a lot of people who have this mixed background that are in this gray zone. A lot of people think, 'This is awesome. You’re in this gray zone, so you can pass for whatever the hell you want.' But it’s not like that at all. It’s actually the exact opposite. What we’re trying to do is educate people to know what that feels like so they'll never make someone feel like that ever again. Which is a hard thing to do. Because no one can see what we see, and no one can grow up with what we grew up with."

Bruno Mars

After he was accused of changing his stage name to hide his Puerto Rican heritage, Bruno said, "I never once said I changed my last name to hide the fact that I’m Puerto Rican. Why would I fucking say that? Who are you fooling? And why would anyone say that? That’s so insulting to me, to my family. That’s ridiculous. My last name is Hernandez."

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

8.Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez
Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Critics Choice Association

The singer is Mexican and Italian. During an interview with Dazed, she said, "I’m always very vocal about my background, as far as me talking about immigration, and my grandparents having to come across the border illegally. I wouldn’t have been born (otherwise). I have such an appreciation for my last name."

Selena Gomez

"I’ve rereleased a lot of music in Spanish as well, and that’s something that’s gonna happen a bit more. So, there’s a lot more I would love to do because I don’t take it lightly. I’m very honored."

Presley Ann / Getty Images

9.Michaela Jaé Rodriguez

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

The actor is Black and Puerto Rican. In an essay penned for the Emmys website, she wrote, "I grew up under a roof of driven individuals. My mother is an African-American woman, my father is a half Puerto Rican, half African-American man, and my stepfather an African-American man. At a very young age, I knew that being a young Afro Latina, there were going to be some uphill climbs for me."

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez

"My mother noticed the areas in which I excelled as an actress and as a singer," she continued. "She nurtured and facilitated those dreams as best as she could and put me into art programs from the age of 7 all the way up until I was 18 years old. She also prepared me for the obstacles ahead, knowing that as a person who is part of three different minority communities, how much harder I would have to work compared to my white peers. The fight for identity, existence, and liberation for myself and others like me would be long and challenging."

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for MTV

"There's just not enough being done within the Black and Latino communities as far as representation is concerned, behind and in front of the cameras. Diversity has always been pushed in my household so not seeing it fully exhibited and embraced breaks my heart. I do feel like there's a lot of exposure around our identities as people of color, but there's still much that needs to be done."

Michaela Jaé Rodriguez
Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images

10.Tyler Posey

Tyler Posey
Mike Coppola / Getty Images

The actor is Mexican and Irish. "I'm proud to be Latino," he said in a Ones to Watch video. He recalled a moment where a fan told him how much it meant to see a Latino lead on a show like Teen Wolf. "It really stuck with me and struck me. I have moments of it bursting out of me in ways I wouldn't really expect. And I love it."

Tyler Posey
Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

11.Rosario Dawson

Rosario Dawson
Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The actor is Puerto Rican, Afro Cuban, Irish, and Native American. She told Latina Magazine, "I think being Latina is about having pride in your heritage. Although I am not a fluent Spanish speaker, and I can’t make every dish without a recipe, I am 100% Boricua, and I am proud of that."

Rosario Dawson
Allen Berezovsky / Getty Images

12.Victoria Justice

Victoria Justice
Dave Kotinsky / Getty Images for La Maison De Ma

The actor is of Puerto Rican, English, German, and Irish descent. "I am half Puerto Rican. The entire side of my mom's family is full Puerto Rican," she said in a Teen Nick video. "Being Hispanic-American, to me, means being able to be a role model for kids, someone on TV that can represent who they are."

Victoria Justice

"I feel like if you're Latin, you love to eat. I know everyone in my family loves eating. It's just a great way to talk, bond, have fun, laugh, and enjoy each other's company."

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

13.Alexa PenaVega

Alexa PenaVega
Gregg Deguire / WireImage / Getty Images

The actor is Colombian, French, and Cherokee. When discussing the difficulty of growing up mixed, she told Glamour, "My issue [was that] I looked white, but I come from a Colombian family. I think my struggle was trying to convince people that I was Hispanic. In my own culture, I had trouble fitting in because I wanted to be that Colombian girl, but instead, they’re like, 'You’re so white-washed.' It’s like, 'Well, I live in the states!' But that is my culture, that’s who I am. We’re all about the food and the family and the love."

Alexa PenaVega

"It was so interesting growing up and trying to find that balance of [feeling] like I was never really one or the other. I wanted to live both, and I think I did that well. However, people want you to pick one. You’re either white or Hispanic. You can’t be both. Even when you fill out paperwork, they don’t let you fill out white and Hispanic. It’s either you’re Hispanic or you're white, pick one. But I was like, 'That’s not who I am, that’s not fair.'"

Paul Archuleta / Getty Images

14.Zoe Saldaña

Zoe Saldaña
Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

The actor is Afro Latina (Dominican and Puerto Rican). "There’s something really beautiful about being first-generation," she told Glam Belleza Latina. "You’re in the middle, and you have to bring your parents and your grandparents to the other side. Yet, once you’re on the other side, you want to maintain the beauty of tradition. I feel like I was raised in a very balanced way. My mom wanted us to always be who we are, but she told us fables and stories of where we come from."

Zoe Saldaña

When asked how being a Black Latina informs her identity, Zoe replied, "I am proud to be Latina. I will not accept [anyone] telling me that I'm less or whatever, because to me, that is just hysterical."

Daniele Venturelli / WireImage / Getty Images

15.Bella Thorne

Bella Thorne
Gary Miller / Getty Images for Glass House Brands

The actor is Cuban, Italian, and Irish. In an Instagram post, she wrote, "Honestly, I wish I looked more Latin so I could feel more Latin so I could feel closer to my father and be prouder of my heritage...to wear my heritage on my skin. It’s just hard sometimes when no one thinks u are who u are...and everyone wants u to be something else :/ I LOVE MY CUBAN HERITAGE."

Bella Thorne
Denise Truscello / Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy

16.Miguel

Miguel
Kevin Winter / Getty Images for iHeartMedia

The singer is Black and Mexican. During an interview with Remezcla, he recalled that the music industry struggled to understand his intersectionality in the beginning of his career. "It was definitely a point of, 'Huh? We don’t really get it.' A lot of my audience didn’t know I was Mexican."

Miguel

During an interview with Viceland, he said, "Most people think of me solely as a Black artist, but there’s a reason why my name is Miguel."

Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Roc Nation

17.Lela Loren

Lela Loren
Michael Kovac / Getty Images for STARZ

The actor is of Mexican and European descent. "I learned to speak Spanish later in life. I learned after the age of 10," she told the Source. "I have family from Mexico, and I wanted to be able to communicate with them, and my father’s Caucasian, so we never spoke it in the home. And then, in some ways, it was a really great skill because actually now with television spanning the range that it spans, it’s a good skill set."

Lela Loren
Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images

18.Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez
John Lamparski / Getty Images

The actor is Dominican and Puerto Rican. Throughout her career, she has been mindful of the roles she plays because she doesn't want to contribute to the typical Latine stereotypes in film. She once said, "I steer away from sexually subversive content because it is the most exploited facet of filmmaking and television for Latina women."

Michelle Rodriguez
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

19.Tori Kelly

Tori Kelly
Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Getty Images

The singer is Jamaican, Puerto Rican, and Irish. During a 2021 interview with People Chica, she said, "My grandmother on my dad's side was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She is still there now. My dad never picked up Spanish, and he never taught it to me, and I want to learn. I haven't been in Puerto Rico since I was 16, but it's a huge part of my childhood. I remember her coming over and cooking plátanos for us."

Tori Kelly

"My dad is half Puerto Rican and half Jamaican, and I'm very proud of that Caribbean side of me. I'm inspired by gospel, pop music, R&B, rock, and I want to get into some reggae. Maybe I'll do a Caribbean album at some point," she concluded.

Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Getty Images

20.Lee Rodriguez

Lee Rodriguez
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

The actor is Black and Mexican. During an interview with Refinery 29, she shared that she grew up inspired by Afro Latina actors like Tessa Thompson and Zoe Saldaña. Now, young girls look up to her. "It's such an honor to be a part of [Never Have I Ever], let alone be that representation. It has really opened my eyes a lot and has really humbled and inspired me so much."

Lee Rodriguez

"Everyone says this a lot, but it's so true: It feels good to see someone who looks like you on screen. It genuinely gives a sense of inspiration. It gives a sense of like, 'Oh, I can do that, too,' or 'I can be in this space and be myself'...I really love that. I really love when people feel like they can see themselves through Fabiola and feel represented. It's truly an honor."

Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

21.And finally, Oscar Isaac

Closeup of Oscar Isaac
Roy Rochlin / WireImage / Getty Images

The actor is Guatemalan and Cuban. He told NBC News, "I was born in Guatemala, and I have a Cuban father, but left when I was a young baby, an infant. We moved to Baltimore, then lived a little bit in Louisiana, then settled in South Florida. I actually just got back from Guatemala, which was a lot of fun. I got to travel around to Lake Atitlán and Antigua."

Oscar Isaac

After winning a Golden Globe, he said, "[A lack of diversity in Hollywood] is still happening. There's not a lot of us. And it's difficult for people that look not like the status quo in this country to get great roles. And it's happening a little bit more, and I feel humbled and honored and blessed to have the opportunity to do that. And hopefully, that'll happen more — the people that cast films and TV shows, hopefully they'll be able to see past their limited ideas of what ethnicity is."

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic / Getty Images

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