Hollywood is a melting pot for screen talents we could think of from all over the world. From Jacky Chan, Jet Li and Zhang Ziyi to Pat Morita, Sho Kosugi and Mako we had been so familiar with Asian film stars as popularized by Chinese and Japanese Martial Arts. On the other side however, there’s the influence of the Hispanic countries comprising South Americas and Spain herself which had been the origins of Latina beauties and talents in the movie industry. Here were 5 most sought after Latina stars for your added familiarity.
1. Salma Hayek - Salma Valgarma Hayek Jiménez-Pinault was born 2 September 1966 in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Mexico and a daughter of an opera singer and an oil company executive. Her beauty is a mixture of Spanish and Lebanese descent as brought by her mother and father’s origins. A Mexican actress, television director and television and film producer, she moved to Los Angeles, California in 1991 to pursue acting studies under Stella Adler. Despite being diagnosed with dyslexia, a form of learning disability she had her break alongside Antonio Banderas in the 1995 film Desperado which introduced her to more promising roles in films like Spy Kids trilogy (2001-2003), Fools Rush In (1997), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Wild Wild West (1999), Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) and Bandidas (2006). She became a naturalized US citizen and married to PPR CEO Francois-Henri Pinault with whom she had a daughter.
2. Penelope Cruz - A Spanish actress, Penelope Cruz was born 28 April 1974 at Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain. She was a daughter of a hairdresser and a retailer-auto mechanic. Raised as a Roman Catholic, she started acting at 16 and had her debut role in a Spanish film before subsequent roles that catapulted her to fame in the US. Her early US films include Hi-Lo Country (1999) and Vanilla Sky (2001) which earned her further recognition. She received an Academy award for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) making her the first Spanish actress to receive such award. Penelope has done modelling for L’Oréal, Ralph Lauren, Mango and Lancôme and married co-star Javier Bardem in early July 2010 at a friend’s residence in the Bahamas.
3. Jennifer Lopez - Jennifer Lopez is an American actress, singer, record producer, dancer and all those similar titles you could think of. She was born on 24 July, 1969 at Castle Hill, a neighbourhood at the Bronx, New York. She began her career as a dancer on the TV comedy program In Living Color which was aired from 1990-1994. Also raised as a Roman Catholic, J.Lo as she is popularly nicknamed ventured into acting which was actually her wise decision that ultimately fused up her career earning her title as the richest person of Latin American descent in Hollywood according to Forbes. Earning recognition in her early film appearances in Money Train (1995), J.Lo had a string of film offers which made everything about her now fall into place. Her best role ever was her leading role in Selena (1997) which won her an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress, Anaconda (1997), Out of Sight (1998) which won her another ALMA Award and a string of romantic-comedy films which seemed to have led her at the direction Julia Roberts have taken. Her music career which started in 1997 was another success apart from her acting career. She married Marc Anthony Muniz in 2004 an American musician, singer-songwriter and actor-producer.
4. Eva Mendes - Eva Mendes was born in Miami, Florida on 5 March 1974 to Cuban parents. Following her parents’ divorce she was raised in Los Angeles where she recounted how her mother suffered so much to make her life well. Also raised as a Roman Catholic, Eva aspired to be a nun. She actually pursued other interests and never thought she will end well in acting. She attended Hoover High School in Glendale and later took up marketing at California State University until her change of heart obliged her to drop out. She suddenly developed the interest to pursue acting. She attended Ivana Chubbuck Studio which has shaped the career of such known stars as Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron and Halle Berry among others. She had later took appearances in commercials and music videos before earning her first film role in Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998). The rest was followed by a series of film appearances in Training Day (2001), Stuck On You (2003), Once Upon A Time in Mexico (2003), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Hitch (2005), Ghost Rider (2007) and nearly a dozen more films the last which was still on filming (Southbound).
5. Jessica Alba - Jessica Alba is the youngest in this list at 29 years old. Born 28 April 1981 at Pomona, California to Danish-French Canadian mother and a Mexican-American father, Jessica started screen appearances at age 13 in “Camp Nowhere” and “The Secret World of Alex Mack”. Her main role in the TV series “Dark Angel” propelled her career to more film offers that made possible her roles in Honey (2003), Sin City (2005), Fantastic Four (2005), Into the Blue (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Good Luck Chuck (both in 2007). Jessica married Cash Warren in May 2008 with whom she started dating at the filming of Fantastic Four. She gave birth to a baby girl on 7 June 2008.