As a young Latina myself, there was a time in my life where I felt I wasn’t seeing myself represented in the movies/shows I would watch constantly. It felt like the people who were getting lots of recognition weren’t of Latin or Hispanic origin, and those who were usually found themselves reduced to side characters.
Thankfully, we've started to enter an age where Hispanic and Latina actresses are becoming the stars they were always meant to be and are given the time to shine, with big names like Sofia Vergara of the Modern Family cast, Eva Longoria, and Salma Hayek helping to pave the way for a new generation. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s take a look at ten amazing up-and-coming actresses of Latina or Hispanic origin and why you should keep an eye on them.
First, we have Ariana DeBose, an actress who has truly been making strides in Hollywood for some time now. While she started her career on Broadway, including being a part of the original Hamilton cast, she has since moved over to television and movies. She is a part of the Schmigadoon! cast on Apple TV+, which is going to have a second season, and had starring roles in movies like the Ryan Murphy-created, The Prom, and West Side Story.
What’s even better is that she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in West Side Story. She was truly amazing in that part. Coming up, she is going to be in several new films, including Kraven the Hunter, I.S.S., Argylle, and many more, so for sure keep an eye out for her.
Next up, we have Melissa Barrera, another star who has popped up in Hollywood a lot recently. Originally from Mexico, she began her career in telenovelas and later moved into American television with roles in shows such as Vida on Starz.
Her real big-break came in 2021 when she was a part of the In the Heights cast, and even more so in 2022 when she starred in the horror film, Scream. She also had her own show on Netflix recently, called Keep Breathing, so she is not slowing down. Coming up, she is going to be in the untitled Scream 6 as part of the main cast, so if you like horror, this is your girl.
While Rachel Zegler is still young, she has so much ahead of her. Her first role was portraying Maria in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story (alongside Ariana DeBose), and she’s only going to continue to grow as a star.
Coming up, she is set to appear in several films, including Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the live-action remake of Snow White as the titular character, and the prequel film, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. She is going to be everywhere in a few years. I can’t wait to see where it.
Another horror movie star here, we have Jenna Ortega. While Ortega has had plenty of roles in the past as a child actress, including playing young Jane on Jane the Virgin and Harley Diaz in the Disney Channel show, Stuck in the Middle, it was later on in her life where she really started to get noticed.
She had a supporting role on the bingeable Netflix series, You, in Season 2, as well as roles in the Netflix films, The Babysitter: Killer Queen and Yes Day. In 2022, she starred in three horror films, Studio 666, the gory A24 flick, X and Scream (she is also set to come back for the sequel). The Hollywood Reporter even dubbed her as the “next big thing.” She’s that girl.
Xochitl Gomez is a Mexican-American actress who’s first major role was in the Netflix series, The Baby-Sitters Club, but she is already popping up more and more across the world of movies, as she played America Chavez in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Coming up, she’s going to be in a film called Ursa Major, so keep an eye out for her.
Arguably, Camila Mendes is one of the only names on this list that has been on the radar of many people for several years – at the very least, since 2016. She took on the role of Veronica Lodge in the hit CW series, Riverdale, and continues to portray her to this day, leading up to its final season.
Besides that, Mendes has done a variety of films, including The Perfect Date, Dangerous Lies, Palm Springs, and most recently was part of the 2022 movie schedule, in Do Revenge alongside Maya Hawke. With Riverdale coming to an end soon, I’m eager to see where she goes from here.
Next up, we have Sasha Calle, who played Lola Rosales on the CBS soap opera, The Young and the Restless, a part that actually earned her a nomination for a Daytime Emmy Award.
However, it’s what Calle has coming up that will make you want to look out for her, because she’s going to be the DC Extended Universe's new Supergirl. That’s right, the Supergirl. She’s set to make her debut in The Flash, which is expected to come out in 2023.
Leslie Grace is originally a singer and songwriter, receiving three Latin Grammy Award nominations, but as of recently, she’s been making strides in the movie industry. While she hasn’t been in any television shows, she was in the 2021 film, In the Heights, where she played Nina Rosario.
In even bigger news, Grace was the new Batgirl in the cancelled Batgirl film, but unfortunately, that movie will never see the light of day. However, I have faith that with a woman this talented, we’re most certainly going to be seeing a heck of a lot more of her in the future.
Next up, we have Tess Romero, who is the youngest on this list, but wow does she have a future set out for her. She’s appeared in TV shows like Blindspot and Alternatino with Arturo Castro, but her main role has been playing Elena Canero-Reed in the Disney+ original series, Diary of a Future President.
She is so cute in her role, and I can most certainly see her going far in the future, despite the show unfortunately getting cancelled. Coming up, she is set to appear in Such is Life, a new miniseries.
Last but not least, we have Isabella Gomez, who was the star of the rebooted (and cancelled far too soon) One Day At A Time, which is totally worth your time to watch. Elena Alvarez was the perfect example of a modern-day feminist Latina woman and wow, I wish I could have been her as a teenager. And, it’s all in thanks to her amazing performance on the show.
In 2021, she was also a part of the TV series, Head of the Class, and is going to be in a new film called Pledge Trip, so it won’t be long before we see her on the big screen.
With so many amazing young actresses, the future looks bright for Latina and Hispanic representation in movies and television. I, for one, am so excited.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!