As Alexander Hamilton once said – in the musical at least – “Immigrants, we get the job done.” And that’s a saying best exemplified by the Hollywood of today. Sure, studios continuously get called out for whitewashing, rightfully so, but the amount of talented actors and actresses of color working today is astounding. And though movies have their fare share of Latino stars, there’s an uptick in performers from the Central American region taking the film world by storm. To keep you in the know, here are ten Central American stars working today to light a fire on the silver screen.
Affectionately referred to as “the internet’s boyfriend,” Oscar Isaac was born in Guatemala and is half Cuban. Raised in the United States, the actor rose to prominence in 2013 in the Coen brothers musical drama Inside Llewyn Davis. Since then he’s won a Golden Globe and continues to be cited as one of the best actors working today. This year alone he performed on the stage as Hamlet, reteamed with the Coens on their 1950s-set murder mystery Suburbicon, and returns to fly through space as Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Raised in Anaheim to a father who had acted in his native Guatemala, Tony Revolori seemed tailor-made for film. At just 18 years old the Guatemalan-American Revolori captured audiences’ attention as young Zero Moustafa in Wes Anderson’s whimsical tale, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Since working with Anderson, Revolori has dabbled in different projects, most recently starring in the films Lowriders, Table 19 and playing the baddie in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Arturo Castro‘s career started in his home of Guatemala where he hosted his own television show called Conexion. After moving to New York City he met comedians Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson who brought him onto their show Broad City. This year he had small roles in the Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn comedy Snatched and Deirdra & Laney Rob a Train. He’s also starring in season three of the popular Netflix series Narcos and his own Comedy Central web series Alternatino.
Born and raised in England to a Salvadoran mother, Ed Weeks cut his teeth on British series like The IT Crowd and the Comedy Central hidden camera show Dirty, Sexy, Funny. He’s best known stateside as Jeremy Reed in the Mindy Kaling comedy The Mindy Project. He’ll next be seen in the Fox series L.A. to Vegas playing a recovering alcoholic/gambler and is credited as a screenwriter on the TV movie Randall and Hilda Are Not a Couple.
If you were a young girl growing up in the early 2000s you saw several movies starring Honduran-American actress America Ferrera. From her breakout role at just 18 in Real Women Have Curves to her ensemble performance in the 2005 adaptation of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and star of the ABC comedy Ugly Betty, Ferrera has made her mark portraying real women. All her effort has translated into her being listed as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People as well as trying her hand at directing, producing and starting a production company aimed at telling Latino stories. Audiences can see her in the third season of the comedy show Superstore, which she produces. She’s also the executive producer of the new Latino dramedy Gente-fied, a digital web series due out sometime this year.
Honduran-American television star Chloe Bridges, nee Suazo, has worked her way from starring opposite Freddie Prinze, Jr. in the little known sitcom Freddie back in 2005. A star on the rise Bridges has dabbled with Disney stardom as the lead in Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam and was in the Sex and the City prequel series, The Carrie Diaries. She just finished a stint on the long-running Freeform series Pretty Little Liars and can be seen on the VH1 comedy Daytime Divas opposite Vanessa Williams.
In 2004, Efren Ramirez became the face of the bizarre high school comedy Napoleon Dynamite. The Mexican-Salvadoran-American actor’s face combined with the phrase “Vote for Pedro” was on everything from T-shirts to mugs. Overexposure never stopped Ramirez, though, as he up nearly 70 credits to his name, both before and after playing the Pedro character. He has seven films set for release this year alone, from the Charlie Sheen comedy Mad Families to the Ashley Judd drama Trafficked. He also DJs throughout the world in his free time.
The name Gabriel Chavarria might not be familiar to you now, but just wait. The Honduran-American actor has been blazing a trail since his breakout role as Jacob Aguilar on the Hulu series East Lost Angeles. Since then he’s starred as the character of Preacher in this summer’s blockbuster final chapter in the Planet of the Apes series, War for the Planet of the Apes. In a recent Remezcla interview he said he hopes to follow in the footsteps of another Central American rising star, Oscar Isaac, and have a turn with a Star Wars film. He can next be seen in the TV movie Behind Enemy Lines and the movie Hunter Killer.
Honduran-Mexican-American actress and Los Angeles native Francia Raisa started her career on the ABCFamily family drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager and the Bring It On sequel, All or Nothing. Audiences can see her now on the Netflix adaptation of Justin Simien’s Dear White People.
Panamanian-Trinidadian-American actress Tatyana Ali is a Hollywood veteran with a career stretching back to the age of six! She’s best remembered for playing the precocious Ashley Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. She’s also dabbled with music, releasing two albums over the years. With over 70 credits to her name it’s impossible not to recognize her face. Earlier this year she starred in the TV movie The Good Nanny and the television series American Koko. Next year she’ll star in the TV series Fly, a show inspired by the first all African-American females to crew a commercial jetliner.