With Mother’s Day around the corner, now is the perfect time to celebrate some of the Latina moms that we’ve watched on TV and movie screens for the last few decades, from Penelope Alvarez in One Day at a Time to Rio Morales from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
These moms, some based on real-life Latinas, instill strong values and create a nurturing environment in their family’s home. If you’ve been lucky enough to be raised by a Latina mom, you’ll know that they bring a unique parenting style that includes resourcefulness, a sense of humor, a mama-bear mentality and, of course, discipline. And they might not get everything right (who does?) but they try. And at the end of the day that counts for a lot.
Here’s a look at 10 memorable Latina moms from TV and film that share some of these parenting traits.
Justina Machado as Penelope Alvarez in ‘One Day at a Time’
Penelope Alvarez is a military veteran and single mother who loves her two children, Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Alex (Marcel Ruiz), unconditionally. She has a lot on her plate, including having to deal with her own mental health issues, but she always puts her family first. When she needs it, she gets an assist from her own mother, Lydia (Rita Moreno).
Kate del Castillo as Rosario Reyes in ‘Under the Same Moon’
Rosario wants a better life for her son, Carlitos (Adrián Alonso), so she immigrated to the U.S. to get a job and send money back to him in Mexico. She does everything in her power to reunite with him after he gets lost crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in search for her.
Sofía Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in ‘Modern Family’
Don’t mess with Gloria’s family. She is very protective of her son Manny (Rico Rodriguez) and will do everything to keep him safe. Her strong personality is balanced very well with her loving nature and humor. It helps when you have a mother who has all the answers.
Jennifer Lopez as Slim Hiller in ‘Enough’
When her abusive husband tries to track down his family, Slim does everything in her power to protect her young daughter, Gracie (Tessa Allen). Slim refuses to be the victim and fights back. All that matters to her is giving her daughter the life she deserves while also allowing herself the grace to release the guilt she felt at wanting something different for herself.
Selenis Leyva as Gabi in ‘Diary of a Future President’
Gabi is a memorable mother because no matter what, she always tries. She doesn’t become trapped within the confines of generational trauma and actively tries to inspire her children and support them when they need her, all while trying to live a fulfilling life of her own. She’s a role model, especially to her daughter Elena (Tess Romero).
Angie Cepeda as Julieta Madrigal in ‘Encanto’
Julieta is a memorable mom because she loves all her children equally, no matter if they have the power to make flowers bloom or have no gifts at all. Her gift lies in the healing powers of the arepas she cooks. She is always thinking about the feelings of her daughter Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). “I wish you could see yourself the way I do,” she tells Mirabel. “You are perfect.”
Rosanna DeSoto as Connie Valenzuela in ‘La Bamba’
Connie Valenzuela, one of the two characters on this list based on a real-life Latina, is a memorable mom because she is supportive of her talented son, Ritchie (Lou Diamond Phillips), and also of her son, Bob (Esai Morales), who hasn’t made the best choices in his life. She wants both of them to achieve their dreams. The scene where she finds out Ritchie has tragically died in an airplane crash is one of the most heartbreaking endings in movie history.
Luna Lauren Velez as Rio Morales in ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’
Rio loves her teenage son, Miles (Shameik Moore), and is always there for him any time he need support. Even a superhero like Spider-Man needs a good Latina mom who is nurturing and compassionate. That’s a superpower in its own right and there’s no doubt she’s going to have Miles back in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Part 1 and 2.
Constance Marie as Marcella Quintanilla in ‘Selena’
Selena Quintanilla’s mom, Marcella, is the second real-life Latina on the list. She is supportive of her daughter’s dream to become a Tejano star. She remembers what it’s like being a young Latina and tries to empathize with her daughter when issues come up. She even teaches her how to dance when she was a little girl and as she navigates her way to the stage.
Altagracia Guzman as Grandma in ‘Raising Victor Vargas’
Grandma’s character is the only grandma on the list, but she raises her grandchildren, including Victor (Victor Rasuk), like any mother would. Grandma might be frustrated with Victor, but she loves him and wants him to make good decisions in his life and set a positive example for his younger brother and sister.