In a society where, more often than not, news about young women partying, drinking and driving, and getting pregnant are plaguing the news, it’s refreshing to hear about those Latina stars who are working to make their communities a better place. Here are a few Latinas under the age of twenty-five who are doing their part to change the world.
Demi Lovato, age 19, was recently in the spotlight due to her eating disorders, self-harm and the struggle to accept her self-image. After overcoming her own struggles, she was inspired to take her experiences and the lessons she learned to help others. Lovato was quick to counter the hardships she endured due to the negativity she was receiving about her body with a positive message, “Love is louder than the pressure to be perfect.” She partnered with PACER and TeensAgainstBullying.org to start a campaign that raises awareness of the damage bullying can cause. “I was bullied in middle school.. Many people think of bullying as getting beat up in school, but it is so much more than that. For me, it was verbal harassment…Words can hurt…I know that many kids and teens do not have all the of the support and outlets I had that is why I want to do something about bullying,” Lovato shared on a message at TeensAgainstBullying.org.
Another popular celebrity making a change is Selena Gomez, age 19. At the age of seventeen, Selena became the youngest appointed UNICEF ambassador. Gomez and her band, The Scene, held a concert to raise money for UNICEF. “Together we all raised 200,000 dollars to benefit UNICEF. We’re helping save the lives of children all over the world,” Gomez said on her Facebook page. As a representative for UNICEF, she continuously raises awareness and promotes youth involvement in charity work, such as the Tap Project and the ELIMINATE Project.
A star on Nickelodeon, Victoria Justice, age 19, has teamed up with Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation program that allows American girls to raise awareness for the different programs the UN has available to help educate and empower teenage girls that live in developing countries.“I really liked the fact that it was girls helping other girls,” Justice said about Girl Up. “I feel it’s so important to help other girls who have hopes and dreams just like we all do, but don’t have the same opportunities we have here for reaching their full potential.”
After starring in the Spy Kids movies, Alexa Vega, age 23, was in the films Odd Girl Out and Walkout, both which raised awareness of issues happening today. In Odd Girl Out, a movie warning about the dangers of bullying in today’s school environment, Vega plays the protagonist who experiences bullying. Vega was also the star of the movie, Walkout, based on the life of Paula Crisostomo. Staying close to her cultural roots, Vega plays Crisostomo, a teenager that organizes a walkout to protest the injustices she and her people have been subjected to.
Maiara Walsh, age 24, has appeared in shows such as The Vampire Diaries and Desperate Housewives, as well as starring in the movie, Mean Girls 2. Most importantly, Walsh often helps several organizations. She has previously co-hosted Girl Prep events held in Hollywood, as well as teaming up with the The Young Women’s Empowerment Network, a non-profit organization that helps at-risk African American and Latina girls in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Recently, she was seen promoting t-shirts whose proceeds go to Give Kids The World.
An ABC Family star, Josie Loren, age 25, believes it is her duty to not only be thankful for the opportunities she has been given, but to pay it forward. “That’s something that I realized when I first booked Make It or Break It on ABC and I got invited to all of these things and well, that’s great for me and I’m so happy but now it’s my turn to do something else,” she says. She has taken every opportunity to help out The American Cancer Society and PADRES Contra El Cáncer.
After playing Angela Weber in Twilight, Christian Serratos, age 21, rose to stardom and took this opportunity to raise her voice against the mistreatment of animals. Serratos, a vegetarian herself, has teamed up with PETA to speak out against the use of fur in today’s fashion and against the Canadian seal slaughter, which results in the death of thousands of seals. Serratos urges kids to help out as well, calling the murder of seals “unreasonable and ridiculous and evil.”
Camilla Belle, age 25, is most known for her roles on When a Stranger Calls, 10,000 BC, and From Prada to Nada. She is also known for being an international spokesperson for Kids With a Cause, an organization that helps children undergoing poverty, abuse or lack of education. She has also worked with H.E.L.P. to assist their efforts in making Malawian children’s dreams a reality. In 2010, Belle co-hosted the 3rd annual pre-Oscar Hollywood Domino Gala, held to collect donations for Haiti.
Giving life to the character of Santana Lopez in the hit show Glee, Naya Rivera, age 25, is one of two Latina actresses portraying a gay character on primetime television. Rivera has been an avid supporter of GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. This past March, Rivera co-hosted the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York where she said, “We still need more [shows that allow audiences to understand that LGBT characters and stories are just as important in today’s culture]. More lesbians, more transgender people, more allies and more stories.”