50 Celebrities You Didn't Know Were Latino

50 Celebrities You Didn't Know Were Latino
Who are the celebrities that you might not know are Latin or Hispanic? Slide through to find out. Getty Images
Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz

The actress, known for her roles in The Mask, Charlie’s Angels franchise and There’s Something About Mary, is of Cuban descent on her father’s side.
REUTERS/Neil Hall

It’s always fun to find something out about celebrity we didn’t already know. Finding out this new information humanizes the celebrity, and in some cases, changes how we perceive them. Learning that a celebrity is from your hometown, or shares your birthday, is a fun piece of information that in some cosmic way connects you to them, and in another way connects you to a teensy bit of fame. For Hispanic audiences, finding out a celebrity also shares your heritage is a source of pride, and rightfully so, considering the lack of representation Hispanic people have in media, films, and TV.

There are some celebrities who are vocal about their heritage, like Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, and Ricky Martin. But others aren’t so obviously Hispanic, sometimes because that’s only one part of their ethnic background, and other times because they have attempted to hide their Hispanic heritage—this is often the case for people in the past, like singer Sammy Davis Jr. and baseball player Ted Williams, featured on this list.

But did you know Cameron Diaz is of Cuban descent? True story. So is Star Wars actor Oscar Isaac and Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte. Singer Bruno Mars and actress Aubrey Plaza are of Puerto Rican descent. Actress and The Honest Company co-founder Jessica Alba is of Mexican descent. So is Demi Lovato. These are just a few celebrities you’ll be surprised to learn are actually Hispanic.

Before we get to the list, there are a couple of things that should be noted. Firstly, let’s define some terms, because many people don’t know the difference between Latino and Hispanic (spoiler alert, they aren’t the same thing and do not refer to race or color).

  1. “Latino” is "any person of Latin-American descent residing in the United States," Associate Director of Latino Studies Mintzi Martinez-Rivera from Indiana University, Bloomington told NPR.

  2. “Latin-American” is any person living in Latin America. So, for example, people from Brazil are Latin-American, but not Hispanic.

  3. “Hispanic” is any people who share “Spanish” as a common language. For example, people from Spain are Hispanic, but people from Brazil are not (because they speak Portuguese), according to Latina.com.

Surveys show that Hispanic Americans, meaning people whose heritage stems from countries where Spanish was the predominant language spoken, prefer to be called American along with the country of their heritage (Cuban-American, Mexican-American, etc.).

For the sake of this story, the headline uses “Latino” as an umbrella term based on usage from leading publications (including this one). The celebrities’ heritage cited in this slideshow is based on quotes and published sources identifying their heritage, and includes people of both Hispanic and Latino backgrounds. In every instance, we took efforts to refer to the heritage with the appropriate terminology based on their previously published statements.

So who are these celebrities? Slide through to find out the celebrities you may not have known are Hispanic.

Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba

The actress and co-founder of The Honest Company, is of Mexican descent.
REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars

Born Peter Gene Hernandez, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is of Puerto Rican descent on his father’s side.
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Oscar Isaac
Oscar Issac

The actor, known for his roles in Inside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was born Oscar Hernandez in Guatemala to a Cuban father and a Guatemalan mother.
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Christina Aguilera - REUTERS:Youssef Boudlal
Christina Aguilera

The “Genie in a Bottle” singer, born in Staten Island, New York, is of Ecuadorian descent on her father’s side.
REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal
Ryan Lochte
Ryan Lochte

The 12-time Olympic medalist is of Cuban descent on his mother’s side.
REUTERS/Mike Segar
Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen

The actor, known for films like Platoon, Wall Street and the TV comedy series Two and a Half Men, was born Carlos Estevez and is part-Spanish on his father’s side. His father is the actor Martin Sheen.
REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Aubrey Plaza
Aubrey Plaza

The actress known for her role on the TV comedy series Parks and Recreation is of Puerto Rican descent.
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato

The actress and singer was born Demetria Devonne Lovato. She’s of Mexican descent on her father’s side.
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi - REUTERS:Danny Moloshok
Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi

The Jersey Shore star was born in Chile and was later adopted by Italian-American parents.
REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Lea Michele
Lea Michele

The actress and singer, known for her role on Glee, is of Spanish (Sephardic Jewish) descent.
REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Rita Hayworth
Rita Hayworth

The film icon was half-Spanish on her father’s side.
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Alexis Bledel
Alexis Bledel

The Emmy-winning actress known for Gilmore Girls and The Handmaid’s Tale is of Mexican and Argentinian descent.
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni