Iconic Latina Actresses

film-reel-2Latinitas continue to be underrepresented in film and television, but these outstanding actresses have made a name for themselves.

Karla Souza is a 28-year old Mexican actress, mostly known for her role as Barbara “Barbie” Noble in the Mexican film “Nosotros Los Nobles”.  Her career started in the movie “Aspen Extreme” when she was 7 years old, and at the age of 14, her parents sent her to France, England and Russia to study acting. She later returned to Mexico to attend the Centro de Educacion Artistica de Televisa.  After her studies, she perfumed in “Terminales” and “Los Heroes del Norte and “Niño Santo”.  She pursued more movie roles and starred in Mexican movies like “Suave Patria”, “Me Late Chocolate”, “From Prada to nada”, “Nosotros los Nobles” and “No se Aceptan Devoluciones”.

Now, she is starring as Laurel Castillo as a series regular in the new Shonda Rhimes tv series,“How to get away with murder”.

Bella Thorne is best known as CeCe Jones from the Disney Channel  series Shake It Up. She is an American actress, dancer, singer and model with Cuban ancestry. She is the youngest of 4 children — who are also in the entertainment industry. She started her career as young as six weeks old! As a toddler, she shot her first pictorial for “Parents Magazine”. As she got older, she started doing commercials and movies. After moving to California when she was 9 years old, her father passed away. From 2006- 2009 she had appearances in various shows and films, but her stardom arrived in 2010 when she was selected to co-star Disney TV series “Shake it up”. In 2011 she released her first single “Watch me” followed by “TTYLXOX,” and in 2014 she released “Call it Whatever”. A woman of many talents, she recently co-starred in the comedy Blended, with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Thorne is also a sponsor for impoverished children in Africa and supports organizations such as Friends of El Faro and the TJ Martell Foundation.

Alexa Vega is an American actress of Colombian descent, born in Miami, Florida, on August 27, 1988. One of her iconic roles is from the Spy Kids Trilogy, but her career began at the tender age of 8 with her role as Jo Harding in Twister. She has made several guest appearances in  ER and Ghost Whisperer, and has performed in several films, including “Walkout,” “Remember the Daze,” and “Repo!”. She was cast as Penny on Broadway’s “Hairspray” in 2009, and in 2011  she returned to her Latina roots while filming “From Prada to Nada”.

Rita Moreno (Rosa Dolores Alverio) was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico on December 11, 1931. She was brought by her mother to New York City in 1936. She received her dance training from Paco Cansino, and would later earn her first role on Broadway, as Angelina in “Skydrift,” at the age of 13. She started in several films as her career grew in film, television, and theatre. She is one of twelve individuals to have accomplished the “EGOT” (received an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), and is the only Latina to have achieved such an accomplishment. She won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in “West Side Story,” Grammy for “Electrical Company” (a kids TV show),  two Emmy’s for jest appearances on “The Muppet Show” (1977) and “The Rockford Files” (1978), and a Tony for Best Featured Actress in “The Ritz”.

One of the most influential Latinas in the entertainment industry, Rita Moreno has left her mark on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  George W. Bush and Barack Obama have recognized Moreno’s work with a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a National Medal of Arts. Today, after 51 films, dozens of guest appearances on television, and numerous performances in theatrical productions, she keeps on working in the entertainment industry and as a key spokesperson in raising the awareness of osteoporosis.

Starting High School

Photo Credit: http://education-portal.com

Photo Credit: http://education-portal.com

Written by Imani Calaban

Hearing or thinking about the words “growing up” can be pretty nerve wrecking. When you hear “growing up” you think about: work, bills, work, independence, and, oh yeah, did I mention work? There are different phases of growing up: elementary school, intermediate school, middle school, high school, college, your life-long career, and retirement. Each one has its ways of making you feel scared or anxious. The first “growing phase” that probably freaks us out the most is high school. You feel like you’re finally growing up. You feel like it’s going to be the time of your life. You know that this is the beginning to the rest of your life, and you know that the decisions you make in high school will impact your future–  high school sounds pretty scary.

I started high school in the Fall of 2014, and I go to a school with over 90% of the people are Caucasian. Overall, everybody was very kind and welcoming, which is usually how your peers treat incoming freshmen. High school is definitely overwhelming at some points, but, at the same time, you have a lot more freedom at home and during school.It took me a few days to find all of my classes perfectly, but I had it down by the second week. There is a lot of homework, but it’s also pretty easy. The teachers aren’t as hard on you as they used to be. Now, it’s up to you to get your work done which makes you feel very mature.  During school the teachers let you work at your own pace. There are pep rallies, the sports are more competitive, and the school itself is bigger and better! You might not get along with everybody, but you are certainly not alone. There are plenty of other people in your school that are just like you– keep in mind high schools have hundreds and sometimes thousands of students that are attending!

If you enter high school with a good attitude and maintain that good attitude the whole time, you’ll do great! There’s a lot of people in high school that are just like you, you just have to find them. You can find people  with like-minded interests through after-school clubs or sports.  Yes, it’s okay to feel stressed or overwhelmed, but just remember that it’s a big part of growing up! You have to push yourself to get everything done and done on time. Anything you do in high school can/will affect your future. The way it affects your future is all up to you.

Immigration Executive Order

This past November, President Obama announced changes to the immigration system which could affect five million people out of the 11.2 millions immigrants living in this country undocumented. Immigration is a controversial issue that many Latinitas feel passionate about and that personally impacts the families of many young Latinas.


What is the Immigration Executive Order?
These new immigration orders will protect the parents of residents with legal status or citizens from being deported for three years. This immigration executive order is not a path for legal status nor citizenship; this is deferred action. In addition, the administration will also be issuing work permits for immigrants. This is a simple action because it is what the president can do when Congress fails to pass policy changes.

What is the debate about?
Many critics believe the problem with deferred action is that it is only temporary since it can be taken away by an executive order really easy. In 2016 when President Obama ends his term, the new president would be able to start deporting the immigrants covered by the Obama administration. There are many people who are opposed to this action because they misunderstand how it will work and have the wrong idea about immigrants.

Who Qualifies?
Not all undocumented immigrants will automatically get accepted; there are certain qualifications to fill. According to WhiteHouse.gov, eligible immigrants will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation if they come forward and pass criminal and national security background checks and pay a fee. They will also be eligible for work authorization and must start paying taxes. To qualify, individuals must show that they are: a parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident as of the date of the announcement (regardless of the age of the child), have been in the United States for at least five years (starting on January 1, 2010), are not an enforcement priority, and present no other factors that would make a grant of deferred action inappropriate. This temporary relief is also open to an individual who arrived in the U.S. before turning 16 years old and has been continuously present for at least five years (starting on January 1, 2010), regardless of how old they are today, and present no other factors that would make a grant of deferred action inappropriate.

How does this affect Latinitas?
Sophia’s Story – Finding Some Relief
For many Latinitas, this executive order brings some relief for their loved ones. Sophia Alarcon, 16, welcomes  the new immigration action. “I think it is a relief for everyone in here living with fear,” said Sophia. Although Sophia is a U.S. citizen and has lived here all her life, she has feared for her parents because they are both undocumented. She is thankful that the new order gives her parents some temporary relief. “It is awful thinking that at any time my parents could be deported and I would be here all alone,” she added.

Jacqueline’s Story – Hoping for her Friends
Even though not all Latinos are impacted directly by immigration policy, many can relate to the experience because they have friends or extended  family members who immigrated to this country for a better way of life. Jaqueline Magallanes, 15, has seen the struggles her parents have gone through to achieve their residency in a long and complicated immigration system. They immigrated here and went through a lengthy process to become legal residents. She is a Mexican-American with U.S. citizenship and has friends who are being impacted by immigration policies. She wants to see the government further extend its policies. “I think the government could do more, because three years is not enough,” said Jaqueline.

Liliana’s Story – Fearing for Her Parents
Liliana Rodriguez, 17, has benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. She immigrated from Mexico in 2009, and first came to the U.S. without her parents when they sent her here to live with her aunt. Her family moved because they faced economical challenges and wanted to provide more opportunities for their children. Thanks to DACA, Liliana is able to pursue her education here.  Although she likes seeing some steps taken to help immigrants, she feels that more policy changes need to happen. “I would love if the date when families got here was extended. I got here in 2009 to live with my aunt, but my parents didn’t get here until August 2010, so they can’t apply,” shared Liliana. She continues to fear for her undocumented parents and hopes more changes will happen soon to help them.

Melissa’s Story – Living in the Shadows
For some Latinitas, the executive order is not comprehensive enough to help them and they continue to live in the shadows. Melissa Ochoa, 16, is an undocumented high school student. She is concerned that people have stereotypes about immigrants that prevents real immigration reform from happening. “It is horrible that many people are opposed to this. They think immigrants are bad people when in reality most of us are here to study and work,” said Melissa. She moved to the U.S. from Mexico in late 2010 during elementary school with her family. Her family came to escape the drug violence and because they were victims of extortion in Mexico. She came on a tourist visa and then remained in the country without documentation. Because of the timing of her arrival, she barely missed the qualifications to benefit from recent executive orders. She is still undocumented and fears being deported, but is hoping for more extensive immigration reform.

Latina Activists: !Sí Se Puede!

Photo Credit: Cnn.com

Photo Credit: Cnn.com

Written by Karen Lazcano

From “!Sí Se Puede!” to getting out the vote, Latinas are using activism to bring attention to deserving causes across the nation (and world!). They believe in what is right and continue to fight for it. Check out these Latinas and the causes they are advocating for!

Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson is an internationally known actress and activist. She has a successful filmography under her name that also extends to her charitable work. Rosario is the co-founder of Voto Latino, an organization that works to get out the Latino vote and promote a stronger America. Her work has helped to get other celebrities on board with Voto Latino. She also supports the Lower East Side Girls Club, V-Day, and Amnesty International.

Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria is a successful actress, scholar, and activist. In 2013, she graduated with a Masters in Chicano Studies from Cal State Northridge. The 39 year old is a force of talent to be reckoned with. Longoria has long been a supporter of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and even serves on the board! In 2006, she founded Eva’s Heroes, a charity that helps developmentally disabled children. Eva is also a political activist, lending her name to causes like the Latino Victory Project, a movement dedicated to harnessing the power of the Latino community in elections.

Rosie Perez
Rosie Perez is a Puerto Rican-American actress. You can catch her weekday mornings as a co-host on ABC’s “The View.” Rosie is an activist for AIDS, Puerto Rican rights, and education access for youth. She was appointed to The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) in 2010 by President Barack Obama. Rosie also serves as the chair for the artistic board of Urban Arts partnership, an education nonprofit in New York City dedicated to breaching the achievement gap.

Dolores Huerta
Dolores Huerta has dedicated her life to advocating for migrant workers as a labor leader and activist. She co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez and then went on to form the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Her constant commitment to the Latino community and lobbying efforts have helped to pass legislation such as the 1975 California Agricultural Labor Relations Plan. Dolores continues to advocate for causes important to the Latino community, such as immigration reform. She proves that even at the age of 84, si se puede!

Sonia Nazario

Sonia Nazario is an author and reporter, most famously known for writing Enrique’s Journey–for which she won a Pulitzer Prize. In Enrique’s Journey, she tells the story of  Honduran boy and his struggle to get to the United States to find his mother. She is  strong advocate for the rights of unaccompanied migrant minors, serving on the board of Kids In Need of Defense. She also shares her testament to the difficulties faced by Central American migrants throughout the country.


You know her from her wildly infectious hits like “Hips Don’t Lie” and “She Wolf,” but there’s more to Shakira than meets the eye. Shakira has long used her star power to shine a light on causes like education and child advocacy. In 1997, she founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation to ensure that impoverished children in Colombia have access to education. Shakira has also served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has been appointed as a member of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics by President Obama.

To learn more on how you can be involved, check out the volunteer opportunities available at your school and within your community. Volunteering and being involved are the first steps towards making a difference and making an impact in someone’s life.

Making the Best Out of a Quince

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 3.24.32 AMWritten by Yoriko Thomas

The celebration of your 15th birthday is one of the most important occasions in your life. While planning the event is bound to cause you and your family a bit of stress, there’s no reason you can’t feel completely present and over the moon during the ceremony and reception. While getting the dress, venue, cake, and more just right is essential to the event’s success in your eyes, how you prepare yourself is a vital part, too, and shouldn’t be ignored. Here is a look at the four key ingredients to ensuring you have the time of your life at your quinceañera.

1. Practice Gratitude

Being outwardly appreciative during your big day isn’t only for making those around you feel special, although that is a benefit. According to researchers, it can also help you manage stress better, while improving your mood, building stronger relationships, and boosting your health. During the planning stage of your quince and ahead of the big day, make sure you practice being appreciative towards those in attendance. Consider the lengths to which your parents and other family members have gone in order to celebrate your entry into womanhood. Whether you work with a caterer or you hunker down with the women in your family to make enough food the week before, be thankful for what you have and the effort others have put in for you.

2. Consider the Meaning

Another important aspect of enjoying your quinceañera is to try and keep in mind the meaning of the ritual and celebration. From the religious ceremony to the party that follows, a quince emphasizes you, your family, your faith tradition, and your social responsibilities. It’s much more than just a reason to get dressed up and be the center of attention for a day, because your transition from childhood into womanhood affects your family and community. As you ceremonially become a woman, remember that your quinceañera is designed to help prepare you for adulthood in the midst of your loving and supportive community.

3. Steer Clear of Drama

Whether you have friends who don’t get along or family members who can’t seem to ever quit bickering, it can sometimes be tough to steer clear of drama during the planning and execution of a quinceañera. That being said, it’s still worth the effort to try. Seat sworn enemies far from one another and ask your best friend or sister to run interference for you whenever anyone wants you to choose a side in an argument. Try to also anticipate potential trouble so you can solve it before it gets out of hand. Make sure your court is made up of people who are friendly and pleasant, so your heart and mind can stay free of worries on your big day. And remember: Any drama that pops up on your big day should be handled by someone else.


4. Get Plenty of Sleep the Night Before

As you count down the days before your quince, your excitement will continue to build. Between pouring over last-minute details to trying on your gown on one last time, getting a good night’s rest the night before your quince can feel like an afterthought. The truth of the matter is that your quinceañera is going to be a whirlwind of people and experiences, and the more rested you are for it, the better you’ll feel during it and after. In order to get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, curl up in bed at your regular time, and if you can, skip the alarm and sleep in until you naturally wake up. A good night’s rest will help you feel and look your best, which is exactly what you want at your quince.

A quinceañera is something a young woman experiences only once in her life, which is why the preparation and actual event are so important.

Invest in Knowledge

College Chica, 2013

College Chica, 2013

Ben Franklin once said “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” In today’s competitive work environment, that is definitely true. It is a good idea to consider going to college, not only to help you stay on top of your game, but also to learn more about your passions and your chosen fields. If you are already thinking about college, awesome! But where do you start exactly? Here are some things to think about to help you take the next steps toward college and your dreams.
1. What do you want to be when you grow up?
If you’re thinking about college already, then you might be more grown up that you think. But this is still a good question to ask yourself. If you want to be a lawyer, for example, you would need to look for law schools, like Harvard or even Baylor in Texas. A scientist might shoot for MIT in Boston while an aspiring writer, like myself, would aim for a liberal arts college like Columbia in New York. Once you decide what your career path is, you can search for schools with programs that meet your needs. A meeting with your guidance counselor at school or even a Google search on your own will help you figure out what programs will suit you and which schools offer it. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a handy place to start. Make a list of 6-10 schools that look promising.

2. How far do you want to go?
Of course, you’re shooting for the stars as far as your goals and aspirations. This question is actually about where you’d like to go to school. Checking out programs and which schools offer them is a good start, but narrow down your options even more by considering how far from home you are willing and able to travel. I think it is good for all students to try to at least leave their hometowns to study, since it gives them a wider view of the world, but sometimes that is not affordable or even desirable. Which schools make it to the next round have to be in cities where you will be able to afford to live, as well as cities you really want to go to or you won’t be very happy with your decision. Many school websites have a student life section where you can learn more about the city in which the school is, so make sure to read up on that and see if the city is as good a fit for you as the school. Further narrow your list of schools by thinking about these things and even visiting these campuses, if you can. Take a tour and ask whatever questions you have.

3. What’s in your wallet? Or rather, how much? As I mentioned in question two, you need to consider places that you will be able to afford. This is where you go back to your guidance counselor and also talk to your parents to see what you all can afford. Your counselor can point you in the right direction for scholarships, grants and financial aid as well as loans, should you really need them. (Make sure you really do need them before reaching for loans, though. They are too easy to get and add up fast!) You also need to see if your parents will be able to help you or not so that you can make a good decision on schools and better navigate your application process. Also look into each school’s work study program, which will allow you to work part time while attending school. Even if a school you are looking at seems crazy expensive however, you might be surprised at the funding you can find, if you look hard enough and do the leg work. Check out websites such as Fastweb or CollegeProwler for scholarships of all sizes and even more tips on college.

4. What else is important?
While there seems like millions of things to consider when going to school, we’ve actually already covered the basics: what do you want to study, where do you want to go and how will you pay to get there? By now you should have about 6 schools that you have hopefully fallen in love with (two safety schools, two maybe schools and two top schools) and that you know you will apply to. If you don’t, take another look at that student life section of the schools’ websites. What else do they have to offer? Do they have extracurricular activities like sports, music, or other clubs you’d like to join? Just like in high school, college isn’t just about studying. You have to have to some down time too. Not only will some of these extras be something fun for you to do, it will look even better on your resume when you graduate. It’s a win-win. See if the school has a program that puts you in touch with someone who already goes to the school so you can talk with a real person going through what you will go through. You’ll get insight and maybe make a new friend.

While searching for schools, applying and waiting for acceptance letters to come in, it is so exciting to get one and start planning what you’ve been dreaming about for years. The work you put in will certainly pay off later. Keep that in mind both during your application process and when you’re actually in school. With a little hard work and a little faith in yourself, you can do it all!

Celebrating the New Year

It is a fact that Latinos know how to celebrate and we have all kinds of beautiful traditions to do it. When it comes to the start of a new year, we go big. Many Latino families gather together to eat turkey, ham or lentils and just minutes before 12 we start doing our good luck rituals. So, how many Latino traditions do you know?


Burning of the Dummy
In Ecuador and Panama, New Year’s eve is a huge deal in which entire families reunite to make large straw dolls of the people they dislike, or famous people during the year. They put signs of the sins committed by that person who inspired the straw man doll. Once midnight hits, they burn the straw man to symbolize forgetting the bad things of the past year.

Eating 12 Grapes
In Cuba as soon as the clock marks midnight, people start eating twelve grapes along with the sound of bells ringing. There are twelve grapes because each of them symbolizes one month of the year. This way they have good luck during the entire next year.

Walking with a Suitcase

In many Latin-American countries, especially in Chile on New Year’s Eve at midnight, it is common to see people walking around the block or walking in circle around their house with an empty suitcase. This means they’re hoping for travel opportunities the next year.

Colored Underwear
The use of colored underwear is not from only one country. In fact, this tradition is used in almost every Latin-American country. On New Year’s Eve, people who want love for the next year wear red underwear, people who want prosperity wear yellow, people wear green for health and others wear white for peace. Just remember not to wear black because many people think that it is bad luck.


What it Means to be a Latina


Written By Jasmin Flores

An American Latina is defined as a woman who grew up with American advantages and identifies with her Hispanic roots. However, this is not the only case. With the changing of times come the altering of “labels” and terms. A Latina can be anyone or anything nowadays. Fifty-years ago when my grandmothers were youths, a Latina’s dreams were expected to be to get married and have children. That’s it. Not of getting a college education or traveling and experiencing different things. This mindset didn’t end fifty-years ago, and this continued on and on until my generation came along and people realized that this design was flawed.

Many Latinas are now realizing that there is more to life than being homemakers and mothers. Sociologists attribute this newfound interest to schools pushing kids that belong to minority groups to go to college. However, I disagree. I think the words of our grandmothers and mothers are what push us to realize our potential. Learning from their hardships, heartache, and life lessons, we become aware that we carry the weight of their dreams on our shoulders. Therefore, we must do what we can to make them proud of us.

We are at the fork in the road that these women were once not given the opportunity to face. They were scuttled along the path of homemaker and mother. Now, we have choices. Do we want the take the road paved with the bricks of education, of success, of a future? Or do we want to take the dusty old road that many women were forced to travel?

Because of women like Dolores Huerta and Sonia Sotomayor, that golden brick road has become easy and accessible for the younger generations to travel on. We embrace “white America,” in a way that was not seen before. In fact, many and most Latinas, including myself, identify with white America more than our Hispanic roots. For example, I do not speak Spanish. I never learned how to speak it fluently. I can understand when my grandma yells at me “cierra la puerta” or “dame la bolsa,” because I’ve lived with her the majority of my life and I know her quirks. However, when I am with my mom or anyone else for that matter, we only speak English. There is a barrier between me and my Hispanic roots.

There are so many misconceptions people have of Mexican and Hispanic culture. Just like the changing of fads, people and ethnic groups change as well. We don’t ride stage coaches anymore, we drive cars. We don’t speak Spanish, but we’re still Mexican. One of my favorite quotes that describes what it’s like to be a modern Latina comes from the movie Selena:“You have to be more Mexican that the Mexicans and you have to be more American than the Americans, both at the same time! It’s exhausting!” I don’t think you can get more accurate than that.

We are in a purgatory stage where we don’t belong on one side more than the other. We are directly in the middle. I’ve been too white-washed to be a Mexican and I am too dark to be an American. I like Starbucks but I also like watching 12 Corazones. We tread a fine line, and, if we lean too far to one side, the other will call us a traitor. It really is hard to be a Latina, but it is unlike anything else in the world.

We as women are naturally strong, but to be a Latina woman is to be as strong as Atlas. We are lovers, we love our family, we love the people we meet, and we love ourselves. We are givers, we give our compassion, we give advice, and we give ourselves. We are role models, we inspire the younger generations, we inspire our peers, and we inspire ourselves. We are Latinas, we are Hispanic, we are American, we are women. I’d like to conclude with a mini poem that I wrote.


I am a puzzle 

Hecho en Mexico

I am a riddle

Made in America

Loving Your Body

561541_167302600081618_1634527473_nWatch out thin and slender body types, the curvy look is in this year. The popular hits from Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ and Meghan Trainor’s ‘All About the Bass’ have made it known that having a big booty is beautiful and that curves are to be celebrated. The media has joined the cause with its input with whose body is rocking’ and what workouts these women do to keep their figure. But, why does it matter? A woman’s body has become a public forum for opinion. Their shape and size have become an important factor in determining their beauty in society’s standards. Such views can be seen in the new popular dance fad – twerking.

This dance focuses on the sensual booty shaking (the bigger the better) and has been prevalent in many performers’ dance routines. In the 2014 VMAS, Chelsea Handler came onto the stage to present and made a joke about being surrounded by all these shapely women and being thankful that her entrance followed a Taylor Swift performance. “They asked me if I wanted to perform at the VMAs and I said there are going to be a lot of big fat [butts] at that awards show,” Chelsea said. “So I will present, but you have to put me up after someone who’s white. So thank you, Taylor Swift, for being so white!” Taylor Swift has also received media attention for her body – rather unfavorable attention because of her lanky stature. With memes popping up all over the Internet, mocking her for her minimal curves, it has become clear that this mindset has seeped into those watching at home.

17-year-old high school senior, Vanessa Andrada, says she notices the female-physique emphasis in the media and feels it is worrisome for her generation that consumes it. “I think the media focus primarily on how skinny a girl is or even now how curvy a girl is. Even curvy girls must have a ‘coca-cola’ type body to look attractive,” she says. “They focus on this way too much and it makes girls seem as if they have to live up to this standard to be considered beautiful.”

This body-centered attention, unfortunately, is fairly prevalent in Latina celebrities. A study shows that Latina actresses are unrepresented on screen, but are most likely to be sexualized in their roles, according to a TIME article. Out of all women on screen, 37.5% of Hispanic actresses were most likely to be partially or fully naked on screen in 2013. The curvaceous bodies of Eva Mendes, Sofía Vergara, Penelope Cruz, and Jennifer Lopez have all been the main attraction to their media coverage.

The hype of the “curvy Latina” is accentuated and preserves a stereotype that isn’t really apparent in most Spanish women. “Not all Latinas are curvy and it makes the less curvy women feel like they are not as beautiful as a curvy Latina,” Andrada says. “In some sense, if you don’t have the ‘curviness’ of a Latina you may consider yourself less beautiful than what you really are.”

Although statistics of eating disorders in minority women are unavailable – because of a historical bias that they only affect white women – one study found that of the leanest 25% of 6th and 7th grade girls, the Hispanic and Asian girls found the most dissatisfaction with their bodies, according to the National Eating Disorder Association.

“These factors do really impact the way girls see themselves! They hold themselves to what the media or even stereotypes consider as beautiful,” Andrada says.”That’s why many girls have low self-esteem now-a-days because we focus on trying to be the girl with flawless skin, a coca-cola body type, with no stretch marks and have no extra body fat.”

15-year-old Hannah Leija agrees that women shouldn’t have to face criticism for their body image. She shares that it is unfair that they are held to certain standards in the media and that it affects her peers. However, she refuses to succumb to these pressures with a positive outlook and confidence. “The way I see myself is good,” she says. “I don’t care what the media has to say or what people think. I’m happy with the way I am.”

Women. Ladies. Girls. Latinas. Or non-Latinas. They all come in different shapes or sizes. Nicki Minaj and Meghan Trainor are right. You should celebrate your curves, but you should, also, celebrate whatever body type you may be. So if you are a curvy Latina or a slender one, it doesn’t matter. Beauty is found with actions and not appearance.

Choosing the Right College


College Chica 2013

With so many different colleges out there to choose from, it can be a big task trying to determine which one is the best pick. Many times,the  popularity of a college or its placement on the annual U.S. News & Ranking can make a college seem like a great choice, but there are a lot of different factors about a college that, based on your own interests and personal preferences, can make it a great or bad choice for you. Finding out what you want in a college can help you decide on one that best suits YOU!

Academic Programs that Spark Your Interest

Taking time to think about what you want to study can help guide you in the college selection process.  Gladys, 16, shared that “the one important thing for me is that they have my major, that’s the deal breaker,” and is looking specifically for programs in political communications or broadcast journalism.  Cristina, 16, says she looks for “Programs with something having to do with medicine, because there are a lot of colleges that don’t have that.” Finding a college that has programs for what interests you is a great way to start finding stand-out colleges to apply to. It is normal to change majors or interests during college, too, so looking for colleges that fit a range of your interests is also a smart move.



We hear so many stories about how expensive college is, but this doesn’t have to discourage you. When looking at cost, Joella, 14, says she looks at “price, and if I can get scholarships there.” Many times, colleges themselves have a wide range of scholarships to offer their students. Financial aid from the school themselves, in addition to aid given by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), can also make a college more affordable. Looking into the specific financial aid programs at each school can be helpful, since some colleges even have no-loan policies in their financial aid and offer work-study and grants to cover the cost of attending.


Location and Setting

Looking at the environment of the college is important; this is the place you will be spending 4+ years of your time, so finding an environment that suits you will make being there a happier experience.  This can include location, like what part of the country it is in, and setting, like urban, rural or suburban areas. Cristina, 16, says she “would like the college to be in a small area,” and is currently looking at a school in Colorado, while Justine, 15, has her eye on a more urban setting of California for the Fashion Institute of Design & Marketing. Based on personal preference, you might find yourself comfortable at a school in a quiet or small area, or might be more attracted to one in a busier, city setting.

School Size and Student Population

Schools can range from having a few thousand to tens of thousands of students, depending on the school’s size. The size of the school can affect things like student diversity and student-teacher ratio. Cristina,16, says she “would like a big one, because usually when at a big one there’s a lot more things offered to you,” saying she is interested in the wider range of people and clubs she will find at a big school. On the other hand, a smaller school can offer smaller class sizes, more personalized professor attention, and a more inclusive campus setting.


Preparation for the Future

Many colleges offer help to get you started on your career or find a job after you graduate. Justine, 15, is interested in studying fashion design, and says the most important thing she looks for in a college is “how it will help you in the future, after you graduate”. If this is something you look for, finding colleges with strong career service programs may be something to look into. Some colleges even offer special Co-op or internship opportunities available to students with different companies or alumni.

According to the Questbridge program’s website, other things to consider when choosing a college are, “your learning style, non-academic opportunities, social life considerations, distance from home, and opportunities to engage in things you personally enjoy,” and note that beyond just academics, “there are also considerations of personality and lifestyle.” Doing your research and outlining the things you are looking for in a college will help you to decide on a good fit for you. Finding a place that will help you achieve your academic and career goals, while also providing a happy and healthy environment for you can make your college experience much more enjoyable, and help you achieve the success you’re aiming for!

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