15 Actors You Didn’t Know Had Latin American Heritage

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
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From George Lopez to Eva Longoria and Sofia Vergara, some actors instantly pop into mind when thinking about Latine actors in Hollywood. Others, however, fly a little bit under the radar — and not necessarily because they want to. Some actors are very proud of their heritage; they might just not adhere to Hollywood’s cookie-cutter idea of what Latinidad is.

But that’s the thing: Latinidad has never been a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. We’re not a monolith, and there are many ways to be Latine, whether you were born in Latin America or grew up eating our food and following our traditions in a different country. From Alexis Bledel to Y’lan Noel and Harry Shum Jr., the familiar actors on this list might be someone you’ve watched on TV or in film for years and never realized that they are part of our communities.


Alexis Bledel

Alexis Bledel, best known for her role as Rory Gilmore on Gilmore Girls and 1/4 of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, is of Mexican and Argentinian heritage.


Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi is mainly known for his music career. But in recent years, he’s diversified his portfolio by starring in We Are Who We Are, Don’t Look Up, and Intergalactic. He is of African American and Mexican descent. 


Tatyana Ali

Tatyana Ali, better known for her role as Ashley Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, also had a six-year run in The Young and the Restless. She is of mixed African, Indian, and Panamanian descent. 


Lynda Carter

Most people are familiar with Lynda Carter due to her iconic performance of Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, in the television series of the same name. She is of English, Irish, French, Spanish and Mexican descent. 


Jharrel Jerome

Jharrel Jerome made his debut in the Oscar-winning film Moonlight and then went on to star in Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries When They See Us, which earned him the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. He is of Dominican and Haitian descent. 


Raquel Welch

One of the most famous movie stars of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, Raquel Welch starred in movies like 100 Rifles, The Three Musketeers, and Right to Die. She was of Bolivian and English descent. 


J. August Richards

J. August Richards is best remembered for his roles as Charles Gunn on Angel and Mike Peterson/Deathlok on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He is of Afro-Panamanian descent. 


Frankie Muniz

Better known for his role in the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, Frankie Muniz has put his acting career on hold since his early 2000s roles to focus on racing. He is of Irish, Italian, and Puerto Rican descent. 


Stacey Dash

Stacey Dash is famous for the role of Dionne Marie Davenport in the 1995 film Clueless and the television series of the same name. She is of African-American and Mexican descent. 


Cameron Diaz

Despite her last name, most don’t connect Cameron Diaz’s last name to Latin American heritage. The actress, who is famous for movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding, There’s Something About Mary, and Charlie’s Angels is of English, German, Spanish and Cuban descent. 


Morena Baccarin

Morena Baccarin has an impressive resume, though perhaps her best-known roles are in the sci-fi series Firefly and the follow-up film Serenity, as well as the Deadpool franchise. She was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Y’lan Noel

Y’lan Noel is better known for portraying Daniel King in the HBO series Insecure and for his role in the 2018 film The First Purge. He is of Afro-Panamanian descent. 


Fred Armisen

Fred Armisen is best known for being a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 2002 to 2013, though he recently appeared in the memorable role of Uncle Fester on Wednesday.  He is of Venezuelan, German, and South Korean descent. 


Heather Hemmens

Better known for her role in the Hellcats, Heather Hemmens also starred in Roswell, New Mexico. She is of Jamaican, English, and Afro-Costa Rican descent.


Harry Shum Jr.

Harry Shum Jr. is best known for his roles as Magnus Bane on Shadowhunters and his most recent role as Benson Kwan on Grey’s Anatomy. He was born in Limón, Costa Rica, the son of Chinese immigrants.