Let’s rejoice, girls! Let’s keep celebrating each other during our own month full of history and love! Let’s look at some Puerto Rican women who made it to Hollywood and have left their mark on the world, and are still doing so!
Now a mother of two, Zuleyka won Miss Puerto Rico at age 17 and at 18, the Miss Universe title in 2006. As Miss Universe 2006, she went around the world and worked in a global campaign on AIDS prevention, visiting countries such as Indonesia, Japan, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, Czech Republic, Spain, Thailand, India, Kazakhstan, among others. Afterwards, she studied at the New York Film Academy and worked in Televisa in several telenovelas. The model-actress hosted the show La Revista de Zuleyka, which covered topics addressed to the modern woman. Since then, she has created her own company, “ZRM Group Inc,” launched a clothing line for girls, and her own swimsuit line, “ZK.” Lately, we know her as the beautiful dancer who represented Puerto Rico in “Despacito”, and continues dancing to Daddy Yankee’s “Dura.”
Born into the artistic world with her portrayal of Anita in the film West Side Story (1961), Moreno was the first Latina to ever win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this role. She also won a Grammy for the soundtrack of The Electric Company, a Tony Award for best featured actress for her work in Broadway’s The Ritz, and two Emmy awards for The Muppet Show and The Rockford Files. This has made Moreno one of only 11 people to have received the four major entertainment honors—Emmy, Tony, Oscar, and Grammy awards (also known as the EGOT).
Having portrayed the character of Santana Lopez in Glee, Naya Rivera was born in California, but rejoices her Boricua blood through her mother, Yolanda Rivera. Her portrayal of a lesbian, mean, and head-strong cheerleader won her numerous positive critiques. Her portrayal of Santana Lopez earned her a name in the acting world and was mentioned to be “one of the promising stars of the future to look out for.” Related to her work in Glee, Rivera won a Screen Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance, two ALMA awards for Leading Role in a Comedy and Favorite Female Music Artist, the Giffoni Award, and a People’s Choice Award along with her co-star, Lea Michelle.
The Dominican/Puerto Rican is one of the strongest actresses we know, both mentally and physically. Rodríguez’s appearance in Girlfight won her the Deauville Film Festival award for Best Female Performance, the Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance, the National Board of Review award for Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress, and a Gotham Award. She also won the Imagen Foundation Award for S.W.A.T. and the IScreen Actors Guild Award for Lost TV series. Read more about her here.
The woman behind Mimi on the film version of the musical Rent shares a rich heritage that includes Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican, Irish, and Native American descent. During her childhood, her family simply couldn’t afford rent and became squatters in empty buildings. Her acting career began with the movie Kids, and she continued to appear in movies like Sin City, Rent, Eagle Eye, and many more. She has won several awards, including an ALMA award for Special Achievement in Film, the Rising Star Award at the American Black Film Festival in 2004, an Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her work in Seven Pounds, and among many more.
Rosario Dawson is also an activist and has raised money for the Lower East-Side Girls Club and spoke at the National Conference on the Primary Prevention of Men’s Violence Against Women in Washington, D.C. in 2009. Most recently, she spoke out and joined the #MeToo movement and served as honorary host of the fourth annual “Our Voices: Celebrating Diversity in Media” event at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2013. She also co-founded Voto Latino to encourage Latinos to register and vote. “Changes are not easy to bring about, and it takes people bravely going into it and fighting for it,” Dawson said in an interview, “Collaborating is really the key.”