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American TV Shows with an Accurate Representation of Latin Culture

Coming from someone who was born and raised in Latin America, sometimes the way Hollywood fits Latinos into an offensive stereotype blows my mind. 

 

Why is it that all Latino characters have to be the help or the gardener, or, in the best case scenario, the trophy wife with a thick accent? Now, I’m not saying that this is always the case as I think that some TV shows have started to diversify their content! Here are five shows that I think do a great job at representing latinos in an accurate way:

 

1) Dynasty

This adaptation of an 80s soap opera did a great job at adapting to the times, with an extremely diverse cast and great, current storyline. Crystal, one of the main characters, is a young, Venezuelan woman who often shares anecdotes about her life back home and even gives insight on the economic crisis in Venezuela -- a subject that needs to be highlighted more on television and on the news. Her nephew, who is also a big part of the show, also does a great job at representing the Venezuelan culture, often talking about his life back home and about his country’s traditions. 

 

2) Euphoria

This is a show that has been receiving a lot of buzz lately, mainly on TikTok, due to its psychedelic and colorful aesthetic. However, the reason why it's on this list is because of its diverse cast and unique representation of Latinos. Maddy Perez, one of the most iconic characters on the show, is of Latin heritage. The best part? Her ethnic background is not her whole personality trait. Breaking away from the need to portray Latin characters as a walking Taco Bell ad, Euphoria does a great job at representing the Latin community.

 

3) Jane the Virgin

Based on a Venezuelan telenovela of the same name, Jane the Virgin is probably one of the most iconic shows with a strong Latin representation. It follows the story of Jane, a young, second-generation Venezuelan from Miami, who was accidentally artificially inseminated. Ironic, right? This is exactly what makes this show so special and funny. Plus, the fact that it is set in Miami, the city with the largest Venezuelan community in the U.S., makes this show very authentic and true to the culture -- and this is coming from someone who was born and raised in Venezuela.

 

4) Love, Victor

I watched this show over quarantine and I loved it. Not only does it represent Latin culture, but it also shows just how much young LGBTQ people struggle to express themselves in a culture that is very conservative and male-driven. It follows the journey of Victor, a young latin boy, who struggles to come to terms with his sexuality, due to his religious and conservative upbringing. It is when he moves from Texas to Atlanta, that he realizes he has been living a lie. However, showing his true self to his strict family is much harder than many realize.

 

5) Julie and the Phantoms

A show directed by Kenny Ortega? Sign me up! Honestly, I thought I wouldn’t really enjoy this show, as I’m not exactly the demographic -- I thought it was a kid’s show. Let me tell you how wrong I was -- Kenny Ortega can seriously do no wrong. Based on a Brazilian show, Julie and the Phantoms explores the life of Julie, a young Latin girl who lives in Los Angeles. She recently lost her mom and is having a hard time coping with her death. However, when a band of ghosts unexpectedly shows up in her garage, she’ll have a way to cope, using music to heal her pain.

I’m a current junior majoring in Journalism and French at Penn State. My dream is to work in publishing after college and go to law school to study corporate law. 
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