"I Should Not Have To Prove My Ethnicity To Anyone": 28 Multicultural Latino Celebs Who've Spoken About Their Identity

1.Jenna Ortega

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The actor is Mexican and Puerto Rican. She told Deadline, "Being Latina has always been really, really lovely for me. It’s something that I’m very proud of. I grew up in a community [Coachella Valley, California] surrounded by all kinds of Hispanics, which was really wonderful because I never grew up with any sort of shame or any sort of fear of my culture."

Close-up of Jenna at a media event

2.Zoe Saldaña

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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."

Close-up of Zoe smiling

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."

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3.Jordana Brewster

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The actor is of Brazilian and European descent. She told HuffPost, "My mom is Brazilian, and I lived in Brazil from the age of 6 to 10. I consider it a huge part of myself, because those were formative years growing up. And as a kid, it was funny, because when I came to New York at the age of 10, I always felt very Brazilian, and then in Brazil, I always felt very American. So I always felt a little bit out of place."

Close-up of Jordana at a media event

4.Freddie Prinze Jr.

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The actor is of Puerto Rican and European descent. Despite his pride in his Puerto Rican roots, he's struggled to land Latino roles in Hollywood. "I’ve received nothing but love from Latino taxi drivers to business owners, talking about being inspired by seeing a Latino who’s not running from the cops or dealing drugs," he told Yahoo Entertainment. “But within the industry, I’ve always been met with a ton of resistance by directors wanting to check my Latino heritage and see just how much I know."

Close-up of Freddie smiling and wearing a hat

5.Francia Raisa

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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."

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6.Rosario Dawson

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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."

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7.Jessica Alba

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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.

Close-up of Jessica smiling at a media event

"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!"

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8.Aubrey Plaza

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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."

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9.Q'orianka Kilcher

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The actor told Time magazine that she "was born in Germany, raised in Hawai'i, and my father is from Peru. I’m Quechua-Huachipaeri from the jungles and highlands of South America, and Swiss, Alaskan, and French. ... I’m very proud of all of my roots." However, her mixed background made it difficult to land roles in Hollywood. "It’s been disheartening at times. I’m never Native enough, and I’m never white enough."

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10.Bruno Mars

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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 performing onstage

11.Christina Aguilera

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The singer is Ecuadorean and Irish. During an interview with Latina magazine, she addressed the criticism that she is not "Latina enough." She said, "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."

Close-up of Christina at a media event

"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."

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12.Tessa Thompson

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The actor is of Afro-Panamanian, Mexican, and European descent. During an interview with Remezcla, she said, "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. My grandmother came from Panama — from Colón — to the United States for an education when she was a young woman in her 20s."

Close-up of Tessa at a media event in a shiny strapless dress

13.Selena Gomez

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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."

Close-up of Selena smiling at a media event

"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."

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14.Michaela Jaé Rodriguez

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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."

Close-up of Michaela at the Golden Globe Awards

"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."

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15.Tyler Posey

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The actor is Mexican and Irish. "I'm proud to be Latino," he said in a "Ones to Watch" video. He recalled a moment when 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."

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16.Cardi B

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The rapper 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 at the Met Gala in a bejeweled halter-top outfit

17.Alexa PenaVega

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The actor is Colombian, French, and Cherokee. When discussing the difficulty of growing up mixed, she told Glamour magazine, "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 whitewashed.' 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."

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18.Lee Rodriguez

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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."

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19.Victoria Justice

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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."

Close-up of Victoria at a media event

"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."

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Close-up of Miguel smiling at a media event
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The singer is Black and Mexican. During an interview with Remezcla, he recalled that the music industry struggled to understand his intersectionality at 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."

Close-up of Miguel onstage with a microphone

21.Tori Kelly

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The singer is Jamaican, Puerto Rican, and Irish. During an 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."

Close-up of Tori at a media event

"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."

Kayla Oaddams / FilmMagic

22.Bella Thorne

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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."

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23.Oscar Isaac

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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."

Close-up of Oscar at a media event

24.Amirah Vann

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The actor is Black and Puerto Rican. She told Refinery29 Somos, "I’m fully Puerto Rican, and I’m fully African American." Amirah visited Puerto Rico in her early 20s and saw herself reflected in other Afro-Boricuas. "I’ll never forget the peace that came over me. 'Wow, no me tengo que cambiar. I’m not the outlier.' I never felt that until I got there and found peace on the other side of it."

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25.Michelle Rodriguez

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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."

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26.Natalia Bryant

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The model and college student is Black and Mexican. "I’m biracial," she told Teen Vogue. "When I was younger, I didn’t really understand ... how I’m both. As I got older, I was able to understand."

Close-up of Natalia smiling at a media event in a strapless velvet dress
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27.Lela Loren

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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."

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28.And finally: Colman Domingo

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The actor is Black and Guatemalan. He told EW how much he appreciates people recognizing his Afro-Latino identity. "For a lot of times, it's just gone by the wayside. I was like, 'Yeah, I'm a Black guy from Philadelphia, and my dad and his whole family, they're from Central America. They're absolutely Afro-Latino people [with] culture and the way they live, community, you name it.' So it's been really refreshing actually to say that, 'Oh, I can be all of those things.'"

Close-up of Colman at a media event in a brocade suit

Join BuzzFeed in celebrating Latine Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

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