When 23-year-old Fernanda Cortés (@fernandacortesx) initially downloaded TikTok to make videos, she thought it might just be a fun way to pass the time during the pandemic. Today, Cortés has amassed over 492,000 followers on the platform. Her videos, however, are not your average choreographed dances or lip-sync entertainment. Instead, Cortés makes videos that teach people about the Latina trailblazers who inspire her.
“I felt like [these Latinas] weren’t being recognized or acknowledged,” Cortés told Good Morning America. “I wanted to put their names out there, their stories out there and hopefully connect with someone and have another young Latina find someone that they can see themselves in.”
Some of the Latinas, who Cortés has posted about in her “Badass Latinas in History” series, include U.S. Supreme Court associate justice Sonia Sotomayor, Oscar-winning actress Rita Moreno, civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez, transgender rights activist Sylvia Rivera, and actress, producer and director America Ferrera. Cortés has made approximately 100 videos featuring some of her Latina heroes.
“I felt like their stories were so important,” she added. “I wanted to put them out there and hopefully connect with someone who had never heard about them before.”
Along with her “Badass Latinas in History” series, Cortés makes videos commenting on issues that affect Latine people like DACA and abortion rights. She also chats about other topics like Dia de Los Muertos, supporting Latine-owned businesses, and shares her opinions on Latine music, movies, and food.
“I think my culture is so beautiful, and it’s so deep and so rich,” Cortés said. “My country is so much more than the negative stereotypes and the negative ideals the media oftentimes puts [out].”