Latino Power List

Latino Power List: 45 Trailblazers Making Waves in Hollywood

From cover star Eva Longoria to Jenna Ortega, Guillermo del Toro and more, TheWrap celebrates individuals changing the game for Latinos in the entertainment industry

TheWrap’s first-ever Latino Power List celebrates the trailblazers who are making change across entertainment and media, spanning actors, directors, writers, executives, dealmakers, journalists and up-and-comers who are setting the blueprint for future generations of Latino talent to bring their skills to the Hollywood landscape.

“Anytime any Latino is recognized for their work it’s a great feeling,” said cover subject Eva Longoria, the director, producer and actress who is focused on expanding the universe of Latino stories through her work and her production company. “The whole point of doing what I do — whether it’s directing or producing — is to amplify the voices of the Latino community.”

Read more about the project here.

The Performers

Ariana DeBose

Photographed by Nino Muñoz

“Success doesn’t equate to the journey getting easier, it gets more challenging for new and different reasons,” said Oscar-winning actress Ariana DeBose, who has made her career path look both easy and challenging in equal measure. DeBose started making a name for herself on-stage, appearing in “Bring It On: The Musical,” “Motown: The Musical” and “Pippin.” She also originated the role of The Bullet in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s iconic musical, “Hamilton.” She would secure herself a Tony award nomination in 2018 for starring as Donna Summer in “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.” Movies soon came calling, with the actress appearing in the 2021 Netflix film “The Prom,” before immortalizing a new version of Anita in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” The performance won DeBose an Oscar, as Rita Moreno won hers playing Anita in the 1961 film adaptation. Since then she’s starred in the Apple TV+ series “Schmigadoon” and will play Asha in Disney’s 100th animated feature film, “Wish.” “I’ve been given this advice in a few different ways by a few different people, but ultimately it shakes out to ‘don’t let them limit you.’ … that and be a good person, it goes a long way.” — Kristen Lopez

America Ferrera
(actor, producer, director)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

A generation of young women, both Latina and non-Latina, grew up with America Ferrera’s relatable (and heartbreaking) debut as Ana Garcia in the 2002 coming-of-age drama “Real Women Have Curves.” Ferrera would follow that up playing teen girls with complex issues in the likes of 2005’s “How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer” and the adaptation of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” In 2006, she played Betty Suarez in ABC’s “Ugly Betty,” garnering her a Primetime Emmy Award in 2007. Since the series ended in 2010, Ferrera has continued to establish herself in fabulous roles, as well as producing and directing. She produced and starred in the NBC workplace comedy “Superstore,” and executive produced the Netflix series “Gentefied” (she also served as a director on both series). In 2023, she was one of several elements of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” that went viral, playing a tired Mattel employee named Gloria. Her speech discussing the ways women are trapped by misogyny has become a key part of why people love the film. “I feel a strong sense of community around Latinas in the industry that I didn’t have access to when I started out. I no longer feel alone and isolated. Even when I’m the only Latina in the room I know I have a community at my back and that there’s so many of us paving the path together,” Ferrera told TheWrap. — KL

Selena Gomez
(actor, producer, singer)

Photographed by Jeff Vespa

From her meteoric rise to fame as a teen Disney star, to her work as a producer amplifying stories about mental health, it’s admirable to see the heights Selena Gomez has already reached in Hollywood. Though she is the most-followed woman on Instagram with 430 million followers, Gomez keeps focused on growing her foothold as an artist with a standout role, and executive producer credit, in “Only Murders in the Building” and the upcoming release of her third studio album. She is also a business mogul; she founded the hit makeup line Rare Beauty and started her own production company, July Moon Productions, in partnership with XYZ Films. Though she was too young to realize at the time, her breakout role on the Disney Channel series “Wizards of Waverly Place” raised the bar for Latino representation in children’s programming. “When I was doing my show for Disney, which was filmed in front of a live audience, a mother came up to me and said how proud she was for her daughter to see someone who looks like herself on TV,” Gomez told TheWrap. “That is when it clicked for me that representation truly matters and I’ve never forgotten.” — Jose Alejandro Bastidas

Harvey Guillén

Photographed by Justin Wu

Best known for playing Guillermo in “What We Do in the Shadows” and stealing scenes on “Blue Beetle,” Harvey Guillén faced big obstacles when he was starting out. Everyone tried to dissuade him from pursuing an acting career. Even his high school guidance counselor asked if he had a Plan B. “I have a lot of strikes against me… I’m Latino, I was fat and I’m queer,” Guillén recalled being told as a young performer. But he pressed forward, turning his “strikes” into strengths. “My culture, my ethnicity and who I am as a person, who I love, should never be considered an obstacle,” he said. Guillén’s advice for those who wish to follow in his footsteps? “Don’t give up,” he told TheWrap. “Don’t let the haters bring you down. Don’t let anyone say you can’t do it. This business is not just about talent, because I know tons and tons of Latinos who have tons and tons of talent. This business is about talent and tenacity… don’t let a bad day discourage you. There’s going to be ups and downs, but don’t forget the other T that matters is tenacity.” — Umberto Gonzalez

Salma Hayek Pinault
(actress, producer)

Photographed by Brian Bowen Smith, Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Salma Hayek Pinault has been in this industry going on 30 years, becoming one of the defining Latina actresses of all time. Breaking onto the scene in 1995 with “Desperado,” Hayek Pinault has made over 90 features and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003 for her portrayal of painter Frida Kahlo in “Frida.” “It’s not so lonely anymore,” Hayek Pinault told TheWrap. “When I started there were very few of us. Now it feels like more and more media is opening up to discover, enjoy and appreciate everything we have to offer.” Hayek Pinault also launched her own production company, Ventanarosa, in 1999. She has championed women’s causes and, during the events now defined as the #MeToo era, Hayek Pinault bravely came out to discuss her own experience with disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein. Through it all, Hayek Pinault has fought to make things more inclusive for other Latinos in the industry. “Nobody gave me advice. People said to me, ‘Go home. There’s no place for you here,’” she said. “In a way, that was indispensable because it built the fire in me to fight and keep going. It also made me want to make a place for others to join me.” — KL

Oscar Isaac
(actor, producer)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Ask most people and they have a favorite Oscar Isaac role, whether that’s the selfish yet talented musician of the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” to the cocky space pilot Poe Dameron in the “Star Wars” franchise. No stranger to the stage, Isaac has also received critical praise for his work in “Hamlet” and, most recently, “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” opposite Rachel Brosnahan. In 2022, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy award for his performance in the HBO limited series “Scenes From a Marriage,” alongside actress Jessica Chastain. Isaac also added producer to his resume in 2019, upon the launch of his production company Mad Gene Media. — KL

Jharrel Jerome
(actor, singer)

Photographed by Uwakokunre (Kokie) Imasogie

From Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” to Boots Riley’s “I’m a Virgo,” Jharrel Jerome describes his selection process for projects as “meticulous” and “purposeful,” while he works to curate a portfolio that pushes forward representation across his identities: Dominican, New Yorker, artist. “I’m still trying to find my place within the industry, and that goes hand-in-hand with trying to find my place as a human, as a Latino [and] as a Dominican,” Jerome told TheWrap. Since “When They See Us,” from which the Bronx native made history as the first Afro-Latino actor to win an Emmy award for acting, Jerome’s subsequent roles have centered on Black characters who don’t identify as Afro-Latino. This speaks to the lack of representation within the industry that often leans on stereotypes, he said. Outside of acting, Jerome recently released his music projects “Rap Pack” and “Trip Pack,” the first two installments of a four-part debut album titled “Someone I’m Not.” With the hope that roles for Afro-Latino characters will someday be limitless, Jerome encourages young people with diverse identities to consider all kinds of career paths within Hollywood. “There are so many incredibly talented and smart Latino writers who are writing stories about family or writing stories about tradition. It’s really about believing in those stories and trying to push those stories into rooms that didn’t used to get stories like that,” Jerome said. “Get into producing, get into writing, get into directing and see if we can tell our own stories ourselves.” — Loree Seitz

John Leguizamo
(actor, comedian, television host)

Photographed by Guido Venitucci

John Leguizamo can be seen across the entertainment industry as an actor in “Encanto,” a host for NBC News Studios and MSNBC Films’ “Leguizamo Does America” and a recent guest host for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” Many of those roles would have been reserved for his white colleagues at the start of his career, leaving him pigeonholed and auditioning mostly for drug dealer roles. “My white friends who were in NYU with me (I was getting better grades than them) were going to five auditions a day, and I was going to one every five months for a demeaning part,” Leguizamo told TheWrap. “I was an idealistic young man who believed in meritocracy, but I was broken by that realization — that no matter how hard I worked or transformed myself I would never be able to reach the heights that my white counterparts could easily reach.” Leguizamo took control of what he could, taking acting classes and finding a performance art space he could use at 1 a.m. as he built sets of “odd and many chartered monologues” that became his one-man show “Mambo Mouth.” Just as he did, the actor encourages young Latinos to fight rejection by finding other avenues for success, and to “be like water, constantly eroding these narrow-minded gatekeepers [and] keep going after your goal.” “It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t my writing or my ideas that Hollywood didn’t value, it was my Latinness,” Leguizamo said. “But I was winning awards — best play of the year in all of America, drama critics’ awards, Obies, Emmys, getting Tony nominations. So I finally realized it was the executives who were in the wrong.” — LS

Jennifer Lopez
(actor, producer, singer)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

J.Lo. has carved out a distinct space across music and entertainment as a Latin pop culture icon. First starting as a performer in 1989 as a touring chorus member in “Golden Musicals of Broadway,” the Bronx native worked as an ensemble member and backup dancer across several productions before gearing up for a professional acting career. Lopez skyrocketed into celebrity during her role in 1997 film “Selena,” when she became the first Latina actress to earn $1 million on a film. As Lopez continued to establish herself as both an actress in romantic comedies in the ‘90s and early 2000s, she also released eight studio albums, and demonstrated her music dominance by joining the panel of judges on “American Idol” and co-headlining the 2020 Super Bowl LIV halftime show alongside Shakira. With a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, among other notable accolades, Lopez serves as an executive producer on many of her own projects, including “Shotgun Wedding” and “The Mother,” as well as other series, including Freeform’s “Good Trouble.” — LS

Mario Lopez
(actor, television host)

Photo courtesy of NBC-Universal

Mario Lopez has been in the entertainment industry for four decades. His acting career began in 1984, when he appeared as younger brother Tomás in the short-lived ABC comedy “a.k.a Pablo.” But he’s best known for the role of A.C. Slater on the 1980s NBC sitcom “Saved by the Bell.” He’s also established himself as a host, leading shows like “Extra,” “Access Hollywood and “Access Daily,” and the iHeart Radio program “On With Mario Lopez.” “The entertainment industry has been good to me, in the sense that I think a lot of the roles I have been cast in were cast blindly and weren’t necessarily supposed to be Latino, but they took a chance on me anyway,” Lopez told TheWrap. He credits his friendship with the late legendary producer Dick Clark for pushing him to make the transition from actor to host. “He changed my whole perspective and said, ‘Mario, you’ve got such a great personality for hosting… you shouldn’t just limit yourself.’ He was so complimentary and at that moment, I just thought, ‘I want to be the Latino Dick Clark.’ That’s probably the best advice I ever got.” Lopez argues that more Latino writers, directors and producers are needed behind the camera to improve representation in Hollywood. “Our stories are everyday people’s stories. They don’t have to be so stereotypical and could just be universal storytelling, compelling stories, funny stories, whatever kind of stories you want to tell, they just happen to have those faces,” he added. “When you see shows that take place in New York, Houston and all these big cities, Miami, there’s a majority of Latinos in those cities. So we should be represented.” — Lucas Manfredi

Rita Moreno

Photographed by Austin Hargrave

Rita Moreno is one of the last living Latina legends of the Old Hollywood era. Her film work opened the door for every Latina performer that has followed. Initially starting in bit parts that emphasized her as a Latin spitfire, of sorts, Moreno broke out with her role as Anita in the 1961 feature “West Side Story.” An Oscar nomination for the role soon followed and, in 1962, she won, becoming the first Latina to ever win an Academy Award. Moreno told TheWrap one of the things she knows now that she wished she knew when she was coming up in the industry was that “I had value as a performer.” The actress has continued to work and garner awards consideration in both film and television, with memorable roles in “Oz” and the Netflix reboot of “One Day at a Time,” as well as “80 for Brady” and, most recently, “Fast X.” “There’s a lesson in learning to believe in yourself, which is so easy to say and so difficult to achieve,” Moreno told TheWrap. “It’s vitally important to learn to be assertive, without being aggressive. And, you have to understand and accept that just having a full bosom ultimately is not a plan for a lasting future in show business.” — KL

Indya Moore
(actor, model)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Indya Moore, known for her modeling work, a breakout performance on “Pose” and an upcoming role in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” is full of good advice when it comes to navigating the industry: build friendships and communities without being opportunistic. Stay curious. Be patient and focused. Listen to your elders. Remember you do not need to compete with anyone other than yourself. Be accountable in your relationships. Be kind. Know your worth and do not settle. Moore admitted that when she first entered the industry she lacked the education and experience of her peers, was suffering from poor mental and emotional health, and was learning to embrace her trans identity. Moore credits her agent Josh Otten, former manager Lisa Cali, her mother and friends for pulling her out of that time. “I believe the support I have now has helped me navigate some of the inevitable challenges I still face but with more grace and compassion, as opposed to anger and resentment,” Moore told TheWrap. Moore noted that her journey has been “very nonlinear and complex and still is.” However, she credits her success to the “people in power around who did see me, advocate for me and believe me.” She also noted that she benefited from the privileges of “being light [skinned], English being my first language and being seen as conventionally beautiful in ways that have helped me to stay afloat despite my trials.” “I’m not always aware of how any of my identities impact my experiences, but I do know that they do,” Moore said. “Either way, I’ve learned that advocating for myself and others is a very careful balance that has at times worsened my position. Although I had the courage to fight, I did not have the wisdom to know how.” — Kayla Cobb

Jenna Ortega

Photographed by Ben Cope

Jenna Ortega, who began acting at age nine and went on to play the younger version of Gina Rodriguez on “Jane the Virgin,” is one of the most in-demand actresses in Hollywood at age 21. In taking on the lead in Netflix’s “Wednesday,” she ably matched the high bar set by Christina Ricci in the ’90s “Addams Family” movies, earning Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations for her portrayal of the beloved character. “Wednesday is technically a Latina character and that’s never been represented,” Ortega said when the series debuted. “Any time that I have an opportunity to represent my community, I want that to be seen.” As she told Cosmopolitan, she chooses her roles with care: “I feel like the Latinx community, first of all, they’re not often shown on camera in general. But they’re also oftentimes not shown in a positive light. I never want to play a maid and I never want to play a cartel leader’s daughter. I would much rather play a person of power, a powerful character in a positive way.” In 2021, she published her first book, “It’s All Love: Reflections for Your Heart & Soul,” a self-help book for teens. In 2018, she visited a facility for undocumented children who had been separated from their parents, with “I Do Care, And U Should Too” emblazoned on her jacket, a rebuke to then-First Lady Melania Trump’s “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” coat that she wore to visit immigrant kids at a border detention center. The actress is adding producing to her wheelhouse with the upcoming romantic drama “Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall” and will star in Trey Edward Shults’ next film, alongside Oscar nominee Barry Keoghan. — Sharon Knolle

Pedro Pascal

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Pedro Pascal is the first Latino to land a lead actor Emmy nomination in the drama category since 1999. But he wasn’t always a household name. His acting career on television began in 1999, when he appeared in an episode of “Good vs. Evil” as Gregor New. He went on to make several guest appearances on shows including “Touched by an Angel,” “NYPD Blue,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Homeland” and the “Law & Order” franchise and had recurring roles on “The Good Wife” and “The Mentalist.” His breakthrough came in 2014, when he was cast as Oberyn Martell on “Game of Thrones” Season 4. Following his stint on the HBO drama, he went on to play Javier Peña in Netflix’s “Narcos,” Din Djarin in Disney+’s “The Mandalorian” and Joel Miller in HBO’s “The Last of Us.” Elsewhere, his film credits have included “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” “The Equalizer 2” and “Wonder Woman 1984.” — LM

Edgar Ramírez
(actor, producer)

Photographed by John Russo

Since breaking out as a Carlos the Jackal-inspired assassin in 2007’s “The Bourne Ultimatum,” and playing the real-life Carlos the Jackal in the 2010 miniseries “Carlos,” Edgar Ramírez has charted a path as a compelling screen presence and an engrossing character actor. Along with high-profile roles in “Point Break” (offering his own spin on the remake’s version of Patrick Swayze’s thrill-seeking robber), the Netflix comedy “Yes Day,” the Walt Disney adventure fantasy “Jungle Cruise” and Ridley Scott’s “The Counselor,” the Venezuelan actor played Gianni Versace in the FX miniseries “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” He is currently starring in Season 2 of the Peacock series “Wolf Like Me,” and will next star in Season 2 of “Dr. Death” for the streamer alongside Mandy Moore, and in the film “Borderlands” with Cate Blanchett. Ramírez has spent the last 20 years offering a steady supply of sharply defined performances in films and television series, playing character roles that do not always require a Latino actor. “I choose my roles based on passion and innate curiosity. So I hope my work could just inspire my community to be passionate about what we do and try to give it our best,” the actor told TheWrap. — Scott Mendelson

Danny Trejo

Photographed by Hernan Rodriguez

Before becoming a Hollywood icon, Danny Trejo spent over a decade in and out of prison. While serving time for armed robbery and drug offenses, he completed a 12-step rehabilitation program that would change his life forever. While speaking at a Cocaine Anonymous meeting in 1985, Trejo met a young man he would go on to counsel. The young man expressed concern that he might relapse, so Trejo went to visit him on the set of the film “Runaway Train.” Trejo was initially hired as a background actor, playing a convict, and was later given a featured role as Eric Roberts’ opponent. Since then, he’s played iconic roles such as Razor Charlie in “From Dusk Til Dawn,” Cuchillo in 2010’s “Predators” and Machete in the 2010 film of the same name and its 2013 sequel “Machete Kills.” “The challenges I faced were not so much from production. They were from other actors. Guys that have gone to Julliard, that have gone through all this tough training,” Trejo told TheWrap. “My training was the streets, it was different and I went with what I got. I didn’t try to act like I came out of Juilliard. I just did what they told me to do.” He encourages younger actors looking to break into the industry to work as extras and try to learn as much as they can about how productions work. He also called on Hollywood’s financial backers to support projects about the Latino community. “Even in our own community, the finance people don’t support us,” he said. “We need our own people to help support us.” — LM

Rachel Zegler

Photo courtesy of Rachel Zegler

“It’s an honor to be recognized in a way that both celebrates our heritage and lifts up the contributions we all make to this industry, where it can be particularly hard for us to be seen and heard in a meaningful way,” actress Rachel Zegler told TheWrap. Zegler herself has made remarkable accomplishments in the industry in a short time. She burst onto the scene in the 2021 film remake of “West Side Story.” Making her film debut playing a character once inhabited by Natalie Wood is no small feat, but Zegler did it with grace and warmth. “I still don’t think I’m quite ready for the life I already have, despite being extremely grateful for it and for every opportunity it has brought me,” she said. That life is now seeing her take on the role of Lucy Baird Gray in the latest “Hunger Games” film, and playing the first Disney princess: Snow White. The latter role has drawn its fair share of controversy, in a similar way to Halle Bailey’s casting in “The Little Mermaid.” But to see a new generation of young girls see a Latina actress in the role will be revolutionary. “To young Latino performers coming up in the industry, I would tell them to know their worth, and to make sure they’re loud about having seats at the tables they deserve to be at,” said Zegler. “I have learned the hard way that we have to be fearless and loud in order to be heard, and to prepare for the backlash that occasionally comes with that outspokenness.” — KL

Zoe Saldaña

Photographed by Omar Cruz

Zoe Saldaña has most recently appeared in Taylor Sheridan’s newest show “Special Ops: Lioness” on Paramount+. She has reached the rare status of acting in four of the highest-grossing films of all time — “Avatar,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” “I believe the attention from the first film I did with James Cameron gave me the exposure and ability I needed to choose projects I was passionate about and to work with people I was passionate about,” Saldaña told TheWrap in an email. Besides the blue-skinned Neytiri in James Cameron’s world-building films and the green-skinned Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Saldaña has also taken on roles like a fictionalized version of author Tembi Locke, whose memoir “From Scratch” was adapted into a television series on Netflix. “We all know that change takes time,” Saldaña wrote. “Building a legacy is about the continued work that needs to be done by you, so those, who you will never meet, can benefit from the progress you so hardly fought for during your time.” — Dessi Gomez

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The Directors

Gloria Calderón Kellett
(director, showrunner, actor)

Photographed by Abby Guerra

There are many ways for a person to climb up the ladder in Hollywood. For writer, actress and producer Gloria Calderón Kellett, her rise came about more traditionally. She produced and released original works in little box theaters, but found success learning the craft by “infiltrating an already set up system” working on shows like CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother.” The multi-hyphenate creative now has two showrunner credits under her belt, including Netflix’s “One Day at a Time” reboot and the Amazon original series “With Love.” Though she warns anyone striving for a career in Hollywood to prepare for a “tough industry,” Calderón Kellett said the way to continue building opportunities for Latino storytelling comes from having representation beyond actors and directors. “We desperately need executives and agents, and people representing the work. If I don’t have to explain a story to a buyer, that makes it easier for them to say yes when I’m selling. That requires people that look like us, so we don’t have to be constantly explaining why certain things are the way they are. Same is true with agents. The passion and the fire [that comes] when it’s something more personal to them is meaningful.” — JAB

Guillermo del Toro
(director, executive producer)

Photographed by Dave Benett

In a career spanning three decades, Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is the only director to win a Best Picture Oscar, for “The Shape of Water,” and a Best Animated Feature Oscar, for last year’s stop-motion animated “Pinocchio.” Growing up, del Toro told TheWrap, “anybody who showed that it was possible to do things in a genre or in a medium that was not easily accessible, it filled me with hope. It filled me with strength…it is important to see not only a diversity in terms of origins, but a diversity in terms of approach.” As a producer and mentor, del Toro has overseen the work of many first-time directors, like Mexican animator Jorge R. Gutierrez and Argentinian filmmaker Andy Muschietti. He even established an animation studio in Mexico for part of the “Pinocchio” production. “The whole idea was, let’s try to use each movie to create a scholarship or a mentorship or a school or something that stays past the movie,” del Toro said. One scholarship del Toro keeps going every year is called Animexico, in partnership with Cinépolis. The scholarship sponsors an animator from Mexico and pays for food, lodging and admission to an animation school in Paris. These efforts have elevated del Toro, a visionary who isn’t satisfied unless he’s overseeing the next group of cinematic groundbreakers. — Drew Taylor

Eva Longoria
(director, actor, producer)

Photographed by Jeff Vespa

After finding success as an actress, Eva Longoria shifted focus to expand her reach as a storyteller and producer with the singular mission of amplifying Latino creatives in Hollywood. The “Desperate Housewives” star started her production company, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, in 2005 and has worked to create projects centered on the Latino experience ever since, from the comedy series “Telenovela” to her feature directorial debut “Flamin’ Hot.” Longoria’s reach continues to level up, as she joined forces with Banijay Group’s Cris Abrego to launch Hyphenate Media Group, a new media holding company and premium content studio set to highlight creative-led projects. “My life’s purpose is uplifting other Latino creators, whether it’s filmmakers, directors, producers, writers, artists, podcasters, whatever it is,” said TheWrap’s Latino Power List cover star. “I want to be the go-to place where people can flesh out their ideas, have access to opportunities, access to capital. I really want to grow other Latino businesses… [to use] my influence and my spotlight, and shine it on everyone who deserves to be heard and seen.” — JAB

Phil Lord
(director, producer, writer)

Courtesy of Phil Lord

“Orgulloso y… sorprendido… that said, I’ve wanted to have power since I first saw He-Man lift his proverbial sword to the heavens,” joked Phil Lord, the producer/writer/director behind projects like “21 Jump Street,” “The Lego Movie” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” about his place on the Latino Power List. Lord grew up in Miami, with a Cuban-born psychologist mother. As to how his upbringing informed his later work, Lord said: “It simply underscored that our strength as Americans is our pluralism. Our culture is rich because it doesn’t all come from one place. And as individuals, our specificity actually makes our stories more universal, not less.” As for his advice for young filmmakers, particularly in the Latino community, Lord said, “Your power is your point of view.” His own experiences help him write for Miles Morales, the Spider-Man of their animated trilogy. “My experience becomes a detail that makes the scene more specific, more alive. It feels true because it’s somebody’s truth. Those idiosyncrasies in our experience actually serve to make our work more valuable,” Lord said. “You have to insist on that specificity. Not buff it out. Otherwise, what’s the point of making anything?” — DT

Francesca Sloane
(writer, producer)

Photographed by Luis Mendoza

After writing for “Atlanta” and “Fargo,” Francesca Sloane is now helming her own show as the creator and showrunner of Prime Video’s upcoming TV adaptation of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” alongside series star Donald Glover. For Sloane, her “existence and success in this industry is radical in and of itself” as a first generation American, Jewish Latino mother. “There’s an inherent personal freedom that comes from breaking into an oppressive industry,” Sloane told TheWrap. “Once you quietly recognize that freedom, you can feel relieved to simply be yourself rather than repressed.” Sloane’s journey in the industry has been sustained by staying true to herself, including making work that felt honest to her and “saying no or walking away from projects that didn’t,” she said. While she admits that the industry is a “slow moving train,” she encourages aspiring Latino writers to “ask questions back, be flexible but not a punk, have a sense of humor [and] embrace when you get lucky.” “There was some progress, but with recent downsizing, it’s stagnant,” Sloane said. “When you look at overall deals, for instance, so few were Latino. It’s crazy that me running a show like ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ is such a rare and unique opportunity. But we’re out here. We’re doing our thing.” Sloane also showed appreciation for fellow Latino writers and creators Tanya Saracho, Gloria Calderón Kellett, Ilana Peña, Evangeline Ordaz, Steven Canals and “the countless other people in the community making it a mission” to grow Latino visibility in media. — LS

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The Brass

Joey Chavez and Roberto Alcantara
(EVP and SVP drama programming for Max)

Photo courtesy of Max

Joey Chavez and Roberto Alcantara emphasized the same two qualities when asked about making it in this notoriously difficult industry: patience and humility. Chavez especially credits those traits when it comes to “understanding this unique time in our industry.” There’s another lesson hidden in the duo’s working relationship: hiring and supporting members of your community whenever possible. The two ran into each other ahead of the launch of HBO Max. It wasn’t long before Chavez’s questions for Alcantara shifted from the state of Hollywood to “Why don’t you work for us?” It didn’t matter that Alcantara, with his history in development and production, didn’t have the typical background for an executive. He was “the best fit for the job,” and he understood Chavez’s vision. “There’s value in every job…Even if you aren’t sure if something is the right step, any job close to the creative process is going to inform your eventual executive career in some way,” Alcantara told TheWrap. After film school, he has now worked everywhere from the desk of CAA to one of the top jobs in streaming. In their current positions, Chavez and Alcantara are dedicated to sharing their knowledge and experience in any way they can. For Chavez, that means seeking out top Latino talent to partner with, including “The Penguin” creator Lauren LeFranc and “The Staircase” filmmaker Antonio Campos. “What I strive to do is build a reputation with the artists and filmmakers that we work with. I want to show that I am a champion, supporter and a partner to them,” Chavez said. “Ultimately, I think that has helped differentiate me regardless of identity.” For Alcantara, that means implementing a flexible open-door policy and trying to offer the most honest feedback possible. “That mentorship and advice is what helped me learn, and I’m happy to offer that back to others,” Alcantara said. — KC

Cesar Conde
(chairman of NBCUniversal News Group)

Photo courtesy of NBCU News Group

Cesar Conde, who has served as chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group since 2020, leads oversight of NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC, NBC News NOW, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises Group and NBCUniversal Local. He joined NBCU in 2013 as executive vice president of NBCU International and NBCU Digital Enterprises. He rose through the ranks, serving as chairman of NBCUniversal International Group and NBCU Telemundo Enterprises. In 2020, Conde launched an initiative aimed at increasing diversity among the company’s team by gender, race, geography, socio-economic background and perspective. It includes the NBCU Academy, a multi-platform journalism training program for four-year university and community college students, which partners with 45 academic institutions serving traditionally underrepresented communities. Prior to NBC, he served as president of Univision, was a White House fellow for Secretary of State Colin Powell and had stints working for StarMedia Network — the first internet company focused on Spanish and Portuguese-speaking audiences globally. He also once worked in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group at Salomon Smith Barney. “I am deeply humbled to follow in the footsteps of so many Latino and Latina giants who have contributed so much to the culture and the life of our nation,” Conde said after accepting the Media Award from the 36th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards in September. “It is so essential for news organizations, such as ours, to do all that we can to build trust with our audiences. The path to building that trust is not only accuracy and fairness. It is also making sure that we as a team and in our content reflect the rich and beautiful diversity of the communities that we serve.” — LM

Beau Ferrari
(chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises)

Photo courtesy of NBC Universal Telemundo Enterprises

As the chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, Beau Ferrari leads the media giant’s multi-platform portfolio as it delivers Spanish-language content to U.S. Hispanics and audiences around the globe. A graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia University’s MBA program, Ferrari oversees programs across Telemundo’s slate of entertainment, sports, news, cable and global studios, as well as 30 local stations across Telemundo’s flagship broadcast, digital and streaming platforms. The company’s programming includes the FIFA World Cup, for which Telemundo serves as the exclusive Spanish-language home. During his time at the company, Ferrari has spearheaded the expansion and distribution of Telemundo’s Spanish-language scripted content, which has now expanded to over 150 countries as well as across direct-to-consumer platforms. — LS

Dany Garcia
(co-founder and co-owner of Seven Bucks Productions)

Photographed by Obidi Nzeribe

“Behind every successful man, there is a woman.” The Mark Twain quote was intended to reflect the extent to which culture was reluctant to give proper credit to the women who did their part to shape history. For Dany Garcia, it is both truthful and a boast. The former bodybuilder turned Merrill Lynch associate vice president turned manager is one of the engineers behind the extraordinary success of her ex-husband and current business partner, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. She co-founded Seven Bucks Productions alongside Johnson and is currently the actor’s global strategic advisor. While Garcia has other clients outside of the entertainment industry – she currently owns the American minor football league XFL – her biggest mark on Hollywood has been helping to turn The Rock into a Tinseltown mountain. “Financial success should include, by definition, a positive impact on the lives of the people you touch, fostering meaningful connections and leaving a legacy of excellence,” Garcia told TheWrap. “I want to be recognized for my dedication to investing in brands that not only achieve remarkable results but prioritize the well-being and fulfillment of those involved — from employees to consumers — and leave a lasting impact on the next generation.” — SM

Ignacio Meyer
(president of U.S. Networks for TelevisaUnivision)

Photo courtesy of TelevisaUnivision

Ignacio Meyer, the president of U.S. Networks for media giant TelevisaUnivison, defines the key to succeeding in the entertainment industry as “persistence and authenticity,” especially when dealing with a precarious media landscape. For TelevisaUnivison, that means “paying close attention to the audience and finding innovative solutions while staying true to the company’s DNA,” which has enabled the entertainment institution to shift their strategy from “platform-centric” to “audience-centric” and expanding their reach and engagement. “As a Latino in corporate America, I have faced continual skepticism and at times a lack of engagement from companies due to cultural differences,” Meyer told TheWrap. “My response to this has been simple: turn a negative into a positive and let obstacles become motivation. I have persisted, worked hard and embodied the resourcefulness that comes from having to work your way up from the bottom, both socially and culturally, in the professional world.” As young Latinos pursue careers in the industry, Meyer encourages them to embrace their culture and never give up on their ideas and vision. “The entertainment industry needs more diverse voices, and I believe that young Latinos have a unique perspective and experience that can contribute to the industry,” Meyer added. “Stand out and be proud of who you are, because your voice matters in driving Latino representation forward. Fortune favors the bold!” — LS

Francisco Ramos
(vice president of Latin American Content for Netflix)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Two years after joining Netflix, Francisco Ramos was promoted to vice president of Latin American content, a position in which he oversees all original series, films and licensed content in the region. Though the company may be relatively new to Ramos, the world of programming is old hat. Ramos first started his career in Spain. At Spanish media conglomerate Grupo Zeta (which has since been acquired) and Antena 3 Television, Ramos was the head of acquisitions and programming. Over the years he’s worked at Aurum Producciones, the Spanish distributor for New Line, Morgan Creek, Spyglass and Miramax films. After being part of the corporate track for years, Ramos later became an independent producer, going on to produce projects for Grupo Zeta’s audiovisual arm. — KC

René Santaella
(chief digital and streaming officer for Estrella Media)

 Photo courtesy of Estrella Media-Dawlin Delgado

When it comes to navigating the notoriously difficult waters of the entertainment industry, René Santaella believes that excellent work is just as important as vulnerability and a personal connection. “People quickly learn what I bring to the table, but over time I make sure they get a chance to learn about me as a person – my passions, my interests, my family and of course my Puerto Rican heritage,” Santaella told TheWrap. “The more that people learn about each other and discover what they have in common and where they differ, the better our overall industry will become.” As a key name in some of the top Hispanic markets, Santaella has found that one of Estrella Media’s biggest challenges has to do with understanding. After working at companies like Disney and Sony for most of his career, he sometimes finds it challenging for the Spanish-language media company to get “the appropriate attention that it absolutely deserves.” Estrella Media, for example, was the first-ever Hispanic media company to present at the IAB Newfronts in 2021, even though the digital content marketplace has been around since 2008. Though getting recognized by tech companies and business partners takes “extra effort,” Santaella focuses on the bigger picture. “It’s really not about checking the box. It’s just good business,” Santaella said. — KC

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The Closers

Jairo Alvarado
(manager and co-founder of Redefine Entertainment)

Photographed by Jose Gonzalez

Veteran power manager Jairo Alvarado — who founded lit management and production company Redefine Entertainment with partners Tony Gil and Max Goldfarb after leaving Circle of Confusion — has an impressive client list that includes both “Blue Beetle” writer Gareth Dunnet Alcocer and director Angel Manuel Soto, along with “The Farewell” writer/director Lulu Wang, just to name a few. Two years into the venture, Alvarado is riding high. But his trajectory in Hollywood was not without its challenges. “A big part of what I had to overcome as I was coming up was that I was waiting and expecting for someone to raise my perception of value,” Alvarado said. “Once I stopped caring about that and just started finding value in myself, I think that is what allowed me to really find my stride and succeed.” Alvarado also sits on the board of directors for National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP). Prior to Circle of Confusion, Alvarado learned the talent management game at 3 Arts Entertainment, which he joined in 2011 after starting his career as a creative executive at Warner Bros. — UG

Alexis Garcia
(EVP film group for Fifth Season)

Photographed by Harrison McClary, Courtesy of Vanderbilt University

Miami-born Alexis Garcia, EVP at Fifth Season, is in a league all his own. After graduating UCLA law school, Garcia worked as an attorney at Sheppard Mullin for four years before joining the formerly named Endeavor Content in 2007, with a specialized role in the independent film finance, film packaging and sales group. Five years later, Garcia became the agency’s first Latino to be named partner. “I’ve been with this company for 17 years,” Garcia said. “And yet, despite having that amount of time and a lot of the body of work that I’ve contributed to, there are people who, just by meeting me and maybe hearing my name or seeing me, assume that I must specialize in Latino stuff or that I only do Latino stuff… I don’t take it personally, it just says a lot about the expectations in Hollywood if you’re Latino and operating at this level.” In 2017, following a merger with the William Morris Agency and the acquisition of IMG and UFC, Garcia’s group spun out of the agency and became Endeavor Content Group. Last year, Endeavor Content rebranded to Fifth Season following a deal with Korea’s CJ ENM that valued the company at around $1 billion. His team, he said, had “the biggest period of sales that we as a group have ever had” during the 2020 festival season. Garcia alone closed two deals in a day, selling Halle Berry’s directorial debut “Bruised” to Netflix for $20 million, and the Zendaya and John David Washington starrer “Malcolm & Marie” for $30 million. A week later, he sold the Tom Holland-led “Cherry” to Apple in the high $40 millions. That is $90+ million in sales resulting in “the biggest day in my career,” Garcia said. – UG

Monica Villarreal
(manager and producer for Anonymous Content)

Photographed by Lizzie Morgan

Fast rising talent manager Monica Villarreal feels both “seen and honored’ to make TheWrap’s Latino Power List. Villarreal joined Anonymous Content’s talent division earlier this year as a manager and producer. Hailing from Chicago, Villarreal started her career in the talent division at WME in New York. Subsequently, she transitioned to talent and literary management, steadily advancing through the ranks. With an impressive client list that includes Sasha Calle (“The Flash”), Moses Ingram (“Obi-Wan Kenobi”) and Jasmin Savoy Brown (“Yellowjackets”), Villarreal has advice for Latinos on the come up: “Remember that we are powerful, our culture is so rich, our diaspora so vast, and we have always been here, even if we haven’t always seen it reflected in mainstream media or in various higher-level positions. We are a part of American history and Latin history. We are both. Never stop fighting to be seen and understood in all our lanes of nuance, and lift others as you do it.” As a Latina in the talent rep game, her rise wasn’t without its challenges. “I feel like I’ve been beating the drum of Hollywood needing to pay attention to how dynamic marginalized communities are my entire life,” Villarreal said. “This industry loves to umbrella people and the biggest challenge has been getting them to understand that you can’t umbrella, oppress, assimilate or contain cultures that are this vast and vivacious.” — UG

Matt Vioral
(partner at the Gersh Agency)

Photo courtesy of Matt Vioral

Matt Vioral was known in his family as the entertainment encyclopedia. With TV Guide and the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times as daily reading, his parents weren’t surprised when he pursued a career in Hollywood. Seventeen years after getting a mailroom job at Gersh through a literary manager he met at UCLA, Vioral has risen to partner at the talent agency, with a client list that includes “Saltburn” star Jacob Elordi, “Stranger Things” actor Joe and “SNL” alum Sasheer Zamata. Last year, he was also invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “It was that memory bank that I had as a kid that helped me in my career,” Vioral told TheWrap. “I started as a helper for clients who were searching for jobs while their shows were on hiatus, but just having that memory of where everyone was working was a big help.” Aside from talent representation, Vioral said he’s looking for ways Gersh can promote more Latinos in Hollywood. He spoke proudly of a recent fellowship program that Gersh worked on with Spike Lee, inviting five graduates of historically black colleges and universities to work at the agency over two months. His goal is to find a filmmaker who will work with the agency to do the same for Latino college students aspiring to the talent agent business. “There’s always been an effort to find new stories to be told, but it’s not always at the forefront of everyone’s mind,” Vioral said. He noted that roughly 35% of people going to the movies are Latino. “It means something to us to see movies like ‘Blue Beetle’ that feature people and families who look like ours” Vioral said. “Those are stories I want to see more of.” — Jeremy Fuster

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The Press

José Díaz Balart
(anchor for MSNBC)

Photo courtesy of NBCU News Group

As anchor of MSNBC’s “José Díaz-Balart Reports,” “NBC Nightly News Saturday” and “Noticias Telemundo,” Díaz-Balart stands as the only journalist to anchor two nightly newscasts in Spanish and English for national networks on a regular basis. Beginning his career in 1983, Díaz-Balart quickly rose up to become one of the most respected journalists in the nation, and has interviewed every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan’s administration. Over the course of his tenure, Díaz-Balart has been recognized with accolades for his work, including seven Emmy awards, the George Foster Peabody Award, an Alfred I DuPont-Columbia University Award and the Broadcasting & Cable/Multichannel News Award for Outstanding Achievement in Hispanic Television. He was recently named as the inaugural Georgetown University Politics Visiting Fellow. — LS

Lulu Garcia-Navarro
(journalist, audio podcast host for The New York Times)

Photo courtesy of Lulu Garcia-Navarro

Currently a podcast host for The New York Times, she spent 17 years with NPR. During that time, she opened the outlet’s first Brazilian bureau, while winning a Peabody Award and an Edward R. Murrow award in 2012 for her on-the-ground coverage of the Libyan uprising; what would become known as the Arab Spring. Prior to that, she spent five years with the Associated Press as a producer, first with their television department and eventually for their radio division. She reported in Kosovo in 1999, Colombia in 2000, Afghanistan in 2001 and Israel in 2002, before heading to Iraq from 2002 to 2004, covering “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” She joined NPR in 2004, where she spent nearly two decades. “I don’t want to have to fight my mother’s battles,” she told TheWrap. “I didn’t have to fight to be the first woman in the newsroom, but I did have to fight to be the first Latina to be a host of an NPR program.” — SM

Maria Hinojosa
(journalist, founder of Futuro Media Group)

Photographed by Keren Carrion

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Maria Hinojosa has had an extensive 30-year career in journalism, and she was the first Latina in many of the newsrooms in which she worked. Hinojosa has reported for CBS, CNN, PBS and NPR, among others. As a reporter for NPR, Hinojosa was one of the first to cover youth violence in urban communities on the national level. She was also the first Latina to anchor a PBS “Frontline” report. “The clarity came when I was the first Latina hired by NPR, feeling like a fish out of water and I flipped the script. What I needed to understand is the amount of privilege that I have here,” she told TheWrap. Hinojosa realized her differing viewpoint as a Latina journalist made her stand out from her colleagues, serving as an example of how diversity in the workforce led to fuller reporting on the communities they were serving. The award-winning reporter and author created the Futuro Media Group in 2010, an independent, nonprofit media organization with the mission of generating content catering to the “new American mainstream.” With Futuro, Hinojosa aims to bring awareness to underreported stories, while fostering the incoming generation of diverse journalists to present the most authentic worldview to their audience. “Never ever give up because if our forefathers and foremothers got into this and survived, so can we,” she said. — Natalie Korach

Natalie Morales
(journalist, co-host of “The Talk”)

Photographed by Michele Crowe, Courtesy of CBS News

Starting her career in 1998, Natalie Morales never imagined she would become the first Latina news anchor at the “Today” Show — or the first Latina co-host of “The Talk.” “I once had a boss who questioned if I was Latina ‘enough,’ ” Morales recalled in an interview with TheWrap. My agent at the time was told, ‘We need more Morales, less Natalie.’ Talk about the ultimate insult. Thankfully, that boss is long gone!” Morales joined CBS News as a correspondent in 2022, and her reporting has been featured across the network’s programming, including on “48 Hours,” “CBS Mornings” and other shows. Prior to her move to CBS, Morales was the West Coast anchor of NBC News’ “Today,” correspondent for “Dateline NBC” and anchor of “Behind Closed Doors with Natalie Morales.” She also served as host of “Access” and as co-host of “Access Live.” “Success (as with all things) came with lots of hard work and sacrifice,” Morales said. “There are no real shortcuts to becoming a journalist.” — NK

Ana Navarro
(co-host of “The View”)

Photographed by Jeff Lipsky, courtesy of ABC

Nicaraguan-born Ana Navarro immigrated to the U.S. at eight years old, largely growing up in Florida. “When I was growing up in my microcosm in Miami, I didn’t realize that there was a dearth of representation,” she told TheWrap. Navarro established herself as a Republican political strategist with a vast expertise on Latin American, Hispanic and Floridian issues. In 2001, Navarro served as ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Navarro has advised numerous federal and state campaigns in Florida and on the national level. She also served in former Gov. Jeb Bush’s transition team and administration and was the national Hispanic co-chair for John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008. Later, Navarro transitioned to political commentating, quickly becoming a leading Latino voice. She became a regular contributor to CNN, ABC and Telemundo, commenting on current affairs and political issues. In 2022, Navarro was named an official co-host of “The View,” after being a frequent guest since 2015. “I get on national TV and I would get all these tweets about my accent… accent and all, I’m on the number one rated daily talk show in America. So I’m OK.” — NK

Soledad O’Brien
(journalist, producer and founder of the PowHERrful Foundation)

Courtesy of Soledad O’Brien

When Soledad O’Brien began her broadcast journalism career, a news director in Connecticut asked her if she would be willing to change her name. “When I got home, I told my mom, who’s Cuban, ‘You know, I just can’t fit in a box that people are always trying to put me in,’” O’Brien recalled in 2013. Her mom responded, “Go get a new job.” “And that’s exactly what I did. I wasn’t going to change my name. I thought it represented me and fit me well: Black, Latina, with freckles,” O’Brien said at the time. After reporting for the “Today” show and NBC Nightly News, she served as a morning anchor on CNN for many years on “American Morning” and “Starting Point.” O’Brien also hosts the syndicated weekly talk show “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien” for Hearst Television. “It’s hard to be the lone ethnic face in the room,” she wrote for CNN in 2010 when she won her second of three Emmys for her coverage of the BP oil spill, the same year she was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. Since 2013, she and her husband have run the PowHERful Foundation (formerly called the Starfish Media Group), which provides financial assistance and mentorship to women who might not otherwise be able to attend college. She produced the documentary “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” which was named on the Television Academy’s list of 2023 honorees and has been nominated for a Peabody. — SK

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The Up-and-Comers

Iñaki Godoy

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Among fans, live-action remakes of animated classics can be met with skepticism at best and outright rejection at worst. Both were certainly the case when Netflix said it would be doing a live-action spin on the long-running anime action series “One Piece.” But the show has won over critics and fans alike, thanks in large part to 20-year-old Mexican star Iñaki Godoy, who plays the show’s rambunctious rubberized pirate protagonist Monkey D. Luffy. Born in Mexico City, Godoy was trained in his craft by veterans like Silverio Palacios, and he points to Eugenio Derbez, who went from top comedy and telenovela star in Mexico to international acclaim, as one of his biggest inspirations. Godoy’s breakthrough in “One Piece” is an embodiment of streaming’s ability to pierce cultural barriers, with a young Mexican star playing an icon of Japanese shonen anime. Showing some of his character’s optimism, Godoy said he isn’t concerned about being typecast. He believes his generation is being immersed in a world of social media and streaming that opens them up more than ever to people and stories from other cultures. “The world is evolving, and films cannot talk about modern life without inclusion,” he said. “It just wouldn’t be truthful. Diversity is almost everywhere in today’s day and age. As long as it fits the story, representation is the most fun, interesting and relatable way to go.” — JF

Mayan Lopez

Photographed by Brad Everett Young

Actress Mayan Lopez is one of Hollywood new Latina up-and-comers. In 2022, she made her debut as a co-creator and producer on the sitcom, “Lopez vs. Lopez,” a series based partly on her life with her own father, actor and comic George Lopez. “It is an incredible honor to me to be included in this group of people,” Lopez told TheWrap. “Like my parents before me, I hope to continue advancing Latino representation as my career goes forward.” — KL

Xolo Maridueña

Photographed by Shane McCauley

From being a series regular on “Cobra Kai” and breaking through as a Hollywood leading man in this summer’s “Blue Beetle,” Maridueña is humbled to make the TheWrap’s Latino Power List. “It’s important to have specificity when it comes to highlighting our voices, whether it be in front of the camera or behind,” Maridueña said. He first broke out at the tender age of 10 playing Victor Graham in the NBC sitcom “Parenthood,” while avoiding stereotypical roles. “Growing up, the roles for Latino kids were few and far between,” Maridueña said. “When I did get the opportunity to play someone who was specifically Latino, it was like, the little gang-banger kid, or the son of this immigrant family who went through this really hard time. It was always these trauma-based stories.” Making the leap to leading man status, and playing the first live-action Latino superhero wasn’t without its challenges. “It is difficult being the first to do something no matter what and that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it,” Maridueña said. “The reward and the fulfillment has been more than enough.” — UG

Camila Morrone

Photographed by Isabella Lombardini

Before she brought core character Camila Dunne to life in the television adaptation of “Daisy Jones & the Six,” for which she earned an Emmy nomination, Camila Morrone first felt seen in “Mickey and the Bear” (2019). The independent film boosted Morrone’s career as her first lead role. “It was an opportunity for people to notice me for my work and nothing else.” Born in Los Angeles and raised by two Argentinian immigrants with Spanish as her first language, Morrone knew that her mother’s acting career was limited due to her accent. The actress, who can also be seen in upcoming films like “Gonzo Girl,” which premiered at TIFF in 2023, and “Marmalade” (2024) alongside Joe Keery, doesn’t think there’s a playbook for navigating Hollywood. “Hollywood’s perception of what a Latina looks like is still a bit singular,” she told TheWrap. “Because this culture is so important to me, I want to use my voice and platform to advocate for Latinas, not just in Hollywood but around the world. I’m proud of the progress that has been made, while at the same time, I’m looking forward to what more we can do.” — DG

Taylor Zakhar Perez

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Before Taylor Zakhar Perez took on the mantle of Alex Claremont-Diaz in the Greg Berlanti-produced film adaptation of Casey McQuiston’s “Red, White & Royal Blue,” he brought another beloved fictional character to life — Marco from the second and third “Kissing Booth” films on Netflix. As an avid baseball player, Perez first felt represented on screen watching “The Sandlot” and “Angels in the Outfield.” “Both roles were played by Mike Vitar, I thought we kind of looked alike. I wasn’t even thinking of being an actor at that point in my life, but for some reason that’s who popped into mind first,” he told TheWrap. “I loved ‘The Sandlot,’ boys being boys, kids on the verge of adulthood… the culture that brought them together was baseball and that bonded them no matter where they came from. It still gets me.” Perez’s TV credits include the first season of “Minx,” six episodes of “Embeds” and one episode of “Scandal.” In 2015, the pendulum swung towards “Latin is hot” for Hollywood and Perez, but he still found some in casting rooms who thought he didn’t look “Latin enough.” “It was almost laughable that I was now being removed from a casting pool of people with the same heritage as me,” he recalled. “But it didn’t deter me, it just made me work harder and smarter to become ‘undeniable,’ as my coach used to say.” — DG

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GuadaLAjara Film Festival 2023