To celebrate International Women’s Day, Salute has put together a list of Latinas that have changed the world. These women have had the courage to dominate the world one story, one artwork, and one song at a time. It is important to showcase the Latinas that have helped mold past, present, and future generations of leading women.
Maria Elena Salinas
Maria Elena Salinas, who is of Mexican descent was the longest-running news anchor in U.S television and the first Latina to receive a Lifetime Achievement Emmy. Salinas used her platforms and her voice to bring awareness to issues that were occurring in the Latin communities. She made it her business to ensure Latinos were being heard worldwide. Today Salinas continues to share her story with others by with her new series on Investigation Discovery.
Known for her undeniable accent Rosie Perez, who is of Puerto Rican descent has not only made a name for herself in acting, she has also worked hard in shedding light on HIV/AIDS in the Latin community. In 2010 President Barak Obama appointed Perez as part of The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
The New York City native and of Puerto Rican descent has created quite a name for herself for being the third female justice and the first Latino to sit on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States. Other than using her legal work to make justice Sotomayor also published a memoir where she recounts her struggles growing up in housing projects and how that shaped her to be who she is today.
The iconic Venezuelan designer has constructed an empire that has dressed everyone who is anyone, including Michelle Obama, Jackie O, and countless celebrities that have graced the red carpets with her legendary designs. In 2018 Herrera earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Victoria Soto is known as a true heroine after the Puerto Rican teacher died protecting her young students during the shooting that occurred on December 14th, 2012 at a school in Newton, CT. The courageous Latina received the Presidential Citizens Medal, awarded by President Barak Obama.
These courageous sisters of Dominican descent became involved in the political movement against dictator Trujillo. They formed a group called Movement of the Fourteenth of June to help fight against Trujillo’s reign, sadly they were imprisoned and tortured resulting in their deaths. These women continue to be an inspiration to many due to their resilience and persistence to change the world for the better. Thanks to them November 25th, is now known as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Gina Rodriguez is best-known for her part in Jane the Virgin, but she has become an instrumental figure in the Latin community as she continues to work hard to bring the Latin culture to national TV. The Puerto Rican actress is currently dabbling in the roles of Director and Producer for The CW and CBS.
Maria Felix is considered one of if not the most iconic leading lady during The Golden Age of Mexican cinema. During her years she played tough characters and won three Ariel Awards for Enamorada, Rio Escondido, and Dona Diabla. There is no doubt Felix has been instrumental in changing the film industry forever.
Jenny from the Block has opened various doors for Latinas in Hollywood not only did she show that a small-town girl from the Bronx, NY can become a big deal, but she brought Latin flavor and curves mainstream. The beautiful Boricua has helped mold Hollywood’s perception of beauty.
The legendary actress, singer, and dancer has won multiple different accolades due to her role as Anita in the film adaptation of West Side Story. She also had a successful Broadway career and performed at the 1993 presidential inauguration. Additionally, she is the second Puerto Rican to win an Academy Award.
Known for being one of the highest paid actresses in television this sultry Latina made a cool $13 million for her role as Gaby Solis. Not only has she also worked as a director, but her work with PADRES Contra el Cancer has helped millions of families who continue to suffer due to this horrible medical condition. Additionally, she is currently an activist who wants to enforce equal pay for both men and women who work in Hollywood.
The singer who is known for impeccable hips and hits has created a foundation called Pies Descalzos, that helps bring quality education to less fortunate countries in Latin America including her native country of Colombia. She is committed to making a global impact for the less fortunate.
Even though her art was not taken into account until the 1970s, Frida Kahlo has always been an important figure in folk art. The Mexican artist is known for painting self-portraits that showcased her pain from surviving a bus accident and her rocky almost toxic relationship with artist Diego Rivera. With every brush stroke and paint hue, Khalo told a story that not only she understood, but her admirers could relate to. Till this day her work and unique appearance continue to inspire women to be unapologetically themselves.
These Latinas have not only helped shape the world, but they have helped many women live in their truths and accept that they can be whoever they want to be as long as they work hard and believe in themselves.
Keep reading in Spanish: 13 poderosas Latinas que han cambiado el mundo