Even though the distribution of power, wealth and fame in the world might not suggest it, those who are familiar with history would find that famous Hispanic people and Latinos have often played a significant role in Human history. From the Aztec Empire to the Spanish Inquisition, the Hispanic race might not carry the same influence as its Western counterparts but has always possessed a degree of influence and cultural power over the rest of the world. Today, the Hispanic nation is distributed across multiple continents – Central America, South America, North America, and Europe and it continues to grow itself as one of the important regions of the world.
The identity and outlook of the Hispanic and Latino community have been shaped over the years through the lives and works of several men and women. From politics to entertainment, Latinos have made significant contributions to the world, and through it, have a number of faces who are known around the world. On this list, we want to exploit some of the famous Hispanic people and Latinos in the world.
12 Famous Hispanic People And Latinos
One supposes that in a list about famous Hispanic People, there are fewer faces more popular, renowned and accomplished than Shakira. Born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, the Columbian born singer is a pop star with over 140 million records sold. Shakira, whose music catalog features iconic songs like Hips Don’t Lie, has several albums across all the major Music Award bodies. From the Grammys to Billboard to MTV and even the Golden Globe award, Shakira has simply done it all. She was once listed among the world’s most powerful women in 2015 and is currently a Goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.
If Shakira’s music didn’t do enough to make her a globally recognized face, her single for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, ‘Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) certainly ensured that she is. The song has over 2 billion views on the video sharing platform, YouTube, a feat that places it among the most viewed videos ever on the platform. Simply put, when it comes to Hispanic and Latino people, it doesn’t get much more popular than Shakira.
2. Che Guevara (1928 – 1967)
When it comes to famous Hispanic people and Latinos, without a doubt the most popular of them are entertainers and celebrities. However, some of them have made their global mark in politics and activism too and one of them is the famous Che Guevara. He was an Argentine who was famous for his guerilla warfare. The freedom fighter sought to liberate his people from what he believed was Western oppression, specifically, under the United States. He worked with other fighters like Fidel Castro and achieved several milestones, including nationwide literacy in Cuba and agrarian land reform.
Che Guevara was so popular around the world that one of his pictures, which was taken by Alberto Korda was once named the most famous photograph in the world. The picture has today been used as a symbol of rebellion against capitalism and imperialism. Of course, like most freedom fighters, he met his end at the tip of a gun, but not before he became a solidified legacy as one of the famous Hispanic People in the world.
3. Jennifer Lopez
If there is one thing the Latino and Hispanic culture is known for, it is their ability to party, and in every party, music is an important factor. That is where Jennifer Lopez has shone. She is one of the most recognizable Latino artists in the world today. Since she began her career in 1986 as a dancer and got her big break as a Fly Girl on In Living Color, Lopez has gone on to become a global force both in music and in Film.
She earned recognition as the first Latin actress to earn over $1 million for a film and she has sold over 80 million records. Her films have also totaled a box office record of $2.9 billion. As part of her global fame and influence, Jennifer Lopez was named among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2018.
4. Selena (1971 – 1995)
No, not Selena Gomez, Selena Quintanilla-Perez, who was famous from the late 80s to the early 90s for her music. Although she was born in America, Selena had Mexican American and Native American roots. While she was alive, she was an actress, a singer, a songwriter, fashion designer, and a philanthropist. It was an influence and power that made several media magazines name her in their list of most influential Latin artists of all time. She is credited as the sole factor in heralding a period of commercial popularity for Tejano music. During her life and posthumously, Selena has sold over 65 million albums.
5. Fidel Castro (1926 – 2016)
Hardly can anyone say they have not heard of the name, Fidel Castro. Certainly not those who are familiar with global happenings. Fidel Castro was a Cuban who rose to become the Cuban President, ruling his nation from 1976 to 2008. He was responsible for several feats, including sparking the Cold War by working with America’s biggest rival, the Soviet Union. He spearheaded a transformative revolution of the Cuban economy and government into a Communist and socialist state. Among the many headlines he accrued throughout his life was becoming the longest-serving head of state in the 20th and 21st centuries. Opinions might be divided on the Cuban leader, but it was never about his popularity.
6. Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez – 12 Famous Hispanic People And Latinos
Without a doubt, politics and entertainment are the two fields where the most famous faces of Latino heritage have come from, but on September 18, 1980, it changed. Arnaldo Tamayo was launched into space via the Soyuz 38 to become the first Latino and black man to enter space. He spent seven and a half days in space and upon his return, was named Hero of the Republic of Cuba and Hero of the Soviet Union.
7. Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio might not be a singer or an actor, but he is certainly one of the faces of the most famous Hispanic people and Latinos in the world. Marco, who is currently a US Senator, contested for the Republican nomination for the President of the United States. He is a Cuban-American who has been representing the people of Florida since 2010. He was also a speaker at the Florida House of Representatives.
8. Salma Hayek
Salma Hayek may no longer be starring week in, week out in blockbusters across America, but she remains one of the famous names of Hispanic heritage. The Desperado star has been a famous face representing the Latino community since she made her debut as an actress in 1988. A model and an actress, her face and voice have graced some of the biggest films in modern history such as Puss in Boots and The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Born in Mexico, she has starred in other films like Dogma and Wild Wild West. Salma Hayek’s fame comes not only from her films but her astonishing beauty.
9. Zoe Saldana
If Zoe Saldana wasn’t famous after starring in Colombiana, Takers, and The Losers, she certainly became famous after she appeared in the popular and globally celebrated franchise, The Guardians of the Galaxy. Zoe Saldana’s acting career has seen her establish herself as one of the most popular actresses in the industry, starring in box office juggernauts like Star Trek and Avatar. Born in New Jersey to a Dominican and Puerto Rican father with the full name Zoe Yadira Saldana Nazario, she is without a doubt one of Latin America’s most celebrated personalities.
10. Michael Pena
Like Zoe Saldana, one actor who has definitely benefited from starring in a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Michael Pena. Film fans would know him from several films like American Hustle, Crash, Fury, Collateral Beauty, and many more but one film that definitely cemented Michael as a globally recognized name was his appearance in the MCU film, Ant-Man in 2015. His character, Luis has been hailed as one of the best comedic characters of modern film and he reprised the role in the sequel to the film in 2018. The son of Mexican farmers, Michael Pena is both a famous Hispanic and a success story to many members of the Hispanic community who look up to him.
11. Camila Cabello
One name that has certainly risen in profile in recent months to become one of famous Hispanic people and Latinos is Camila Cabello. After a mildly successful stint as a member of the girl group, Fifth Harmony, she went solo, releasing her debut album in 2018 to a rapturous reception. Her album featured one of 2018 top songs, Havana and Never Be the Same. If she continues on this path, she is sure to follow in the footsteps of a couple of Latino women higher on this list as one of the globally recognized Latinos for years to come.
12. Sofia Vergara
Fans of Modern Family would be very familiar with Sofia Vergara. She plays the character Gloria on the sitcom. Those who are not fans of the show will also know her from other projects such as Machete Kills, Escape from Planet Earth, New Year’s Eve. The Columbian actress is one of the most recognizable faces on television and film as a result of her voluptuous body and uncanny beauty.