10 Best Hispanic Actresses

By rights, the list of the 10 best Hispanic actresses should be written in Spanish. But you don’t have to habla español to appreciate the talents or incredible beauty of these award-winning actresses. That’s the great thing about these women; you can appreciate their cinematic works of art on a cerebral level, or turn off your brain and simply ogle. Smart, savvy and tough, they also add new meaning to the phrase “muy caliente.”

  1. Salma Hayek. Hayek, who starred in Mexican soap operas before her U.S. debut in “Desperado,” quickly won over audiences worldwide. She’s done it all: directed films, produced the “Ugly Betty” TV series, and won acclaim for her roles in films such as “Frida.” Like several women on this list, she uses her wealth and fame to aid and advocate for impoverished Hispanic communities. 

  2. Penélope Cruz. After playing a pregnant nun with AIDS for director Pedro Almodovar in her native Spain, Cruz awed American audiences in “Vanilla Sky.” She received Oscar nominations for “Nine” and Almodovar’s acclaimed “Volver.” In 2009, she became the first Spanish woman to win an Oscar, for Woody Allen’s “Vicky Christina Barcelona.”

  3. Jessica Alba. To the delight of fanboys everywhere, half-Hispanic Alba followed up her “Dark Angel” TV role with comics-based films like “Sin City” and “Fantastic Four.” She bolstered her “serious actor” credentials with a role in 2010’s controversial thriller “The Killer Inside Me.”

  4. Michelle Rodriguez. Rodriguez wowed audiences as a female boxer in the acclaimed indie Girlfight. Her tough-girl persona transferred well into a role as a bitter ex-cop on TV’s Lost. Breaking new cinematic ground in the cast of the smash hit “Avatar,” she looked really good in 3-D.

  5. America Ferrera. Honduran-American America Ferrera has challenged conventional views on beauty in TV’s “Ugly Betty” and the indie hit “Real Women Have Curves.” Her first Emmy for “Ugly Betty” set new standards for Latina actresses. She was the first Hispanic woman to win Best Actress, and the youngest woman to win that award at the age of 23.

  6. Zoe Saldana. The daughter of Dominican and Puerto Rican parents, Saldana rocketed to stardom in “Pirates of the Caribbean” after a critically praised role in “Center Stage.” She executed a sci-fi sweep in 2009, nabbing the role of Uhura in “Star Trek” and the female lead in “Avatar.”

  7. Rosie Perez. Perez is also Puerto Rican, and proud of it. In 2005 the actress directed a film about her island roots, “Yo Soy Boricua! Pa' Que Tú Lo Sepas!” Her critically lauded films include “Night on Earth” and Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.” She received an Oscar nomination for “Fearless.”

  8. Eva Longoria Parker. Former soap star Longoria Parker was added to numerous “Sexiest” and “Most Beautiful” lists after landing her breakthrough role in TV’s “Desperate Housewives.” Her work since then advocating for Latino communities led her to seek a Master’s degree in Chicano Studies and Political Science.

  9. Jennifer Lopez. Lopez’ status on a “Best” list could reasonably be refuted by her presence in the critical bomb “Gigli.” But it’s impossible to overlook the crossover fame she’s achieved in music and movies since her debut role as “Selena.” Her music has won more awards than her movies, including two Grammys, and she uses her considerable wealth and influence to advocate for children’s health issues. For many young Hispanic women, “J.Lo” has achieved a Latin American dream, “Gigli” aside.

  10. Dolores del Rio. When it comes to “Best Hispanic Actresses,” Mexican beauty del Rio was one of the first. She broke into Hollywood during the silent era, and made films in the U.S. and Mexico until the 1970s. During that time, she worked with talents as diverse as Orson Welles, Elvis Presley, and Anthony Quinn. Many Latina actresses have cited her trailblazing career as an inspiration, including several of the women on this list.

     

     

     

     

 

 

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