Let’s continue the FEMME celebration and acknowledge fellow Puerto Ricans who have gotten to the very top!
Lynda is to Jennifer as Solange is to Beyoncé; she’s J-Lo’s little sister! Although Lynda isn’t a pop star or an actress, as a journalist she has done a great deal of things. While doing her college studies, Lynda began her radio broadcasting career at WBAB and WLIR in Long Island. On the side, she worked as a late-night DJ for WKTU. After being exclusively a radio journalist, Lynda transitioned into television, first as video journalist and then as a host, until she climbed the ladder and turned into co-anchor in several news shows.
For her work as a news anchor, Lynda Lopez has been awarded with an Emmy Award. She was also mentioned in the “Who’s Who Among American Hispanics” list in 1993. More recently, Lynda co-produced the documentaries Los Jets and Neighborhood Sessions: Jennifer López.
We met her as “Jane the Virgin” in the televised rom-com with the same title, but, the NYU alumni also appeared in Law & Order, Army Wives, Ten Things I Hate About You, and Go For It. She has won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Jane, but before all that, she was just a junior salsa dancer in the group Fantasia Juvenil. Later on, Rodríguez was accepted into the Theater program at Columbia University, later moving on to studying at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
The star has also published a book titled after part of her Golden Globes acceptance speech, “I Can And I Will: Tools My Daddy Gave Me.” Through all her acting career, Rodríguez has strived to portray roles that defied Latinx stereotypes, “That’s something I didn’t want to contribute to, the incorrect perception of a culture.” More recently, with the hit-show Jane the Virgin, now in its fourth running season, Rodríguez was able to direct an episode of the show! She has directed more episodes since, including one with the first sex scene her character had with “Rafael,” which enabled her to get rid of the male gaze and use the female gaze instead to make everybody comfortable.
Born in Hatillo, Joan Smalls grew up on a farm, and by the age of 13 she began entering competitions and pageants, on which she always lost because of her stature, skin color, or body build. She tracked down modeling agencies in New York and traveled there for a week of castings. There, she was advised to get her front teeth fixed, and so she went back to Puerto Rico where she straightened her teeth and completed her Psychology degree in 2 years instead of 4.
Soon after, Smalls started making history. First, it was as the first Puerto Rican to work with Estée Lauder for a global advertising campaign. In 2013, she was ranked at #8 on Forbes magazine’s “World’s Highest-Paid Models” list and was also ranked as the number one model in the world. Smalls expressed how amazing it felt and how “not having a life, travelling on your birthday, not having holidays — all that actually pays off.” When Smalls started earning serious money as a fashion model, one of the first things she did was to buy her father a new pick-up truck and her mother a new fitted kitchen for her house in Puerto Rico. #GOALS
This Puerto Rican triple-threat was born in Fajardo. Her debut as Redheaded Yolanda in The Godfather II ignited her passion for acting, and afterwards, she became one of the first Latinas to consistently work in Hollywood. Coll also represented Puerto Rico in the Miss Universe Pageant in 1967. She has worked in Broadway as well as in regional theatres, in many films, and television shows including Teen Wolf, Switched at Birth, Glee, One Day at a Time, along with Rita Moreno, and Jane the Virgin as Jane’s abuela, Alba Villanueva.
Her new short film From Now On marks her debut as a director, writer, and producer. Meaning Coll is no longer a triple threat, but an octuple threat! Coll has received many, MANY awards, which some include the People’s Choice Award for her work in Jane The Virgin, the Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming (Switched at Birth), the Lifetime Achievement Award, Eternity Award Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival, Puerto Rico International Short Film Festival Best Actress (De Pura Cepa), among others.