In honor of Latina’s sparkling November issue, which celebrates the culture, people and beauty of Mexico, Vivo Por Tivo is proud to honor the biggest Mexican stars of the small screen. Four of them are women, and three of them happen to be Texas natives (maybe they’ve got something in the water out in Texas that helps breed great TV talent). Read on to find out if you’re favorites made the cut!
1. Eva Longoria Parker, 34: Arguably, her role as the manipulative (but loveable) Gabrielle Solis on ABC’s Desperate Housewives has made Longoria Parker the most famous Latina TV star on the planet—bar none. And at a generous $400,000 per episode, she also happens to be the highest paid TV Latina. But success didn’t exactly happen overnight for this gorgeous Mexicana who was raised on a ranch in Corpus Christi, TX. Believe it or not, Longoria Parker played the unglamorous role of “flight attendant #3” on Beverly Hills, 90210 in 2000, and guest starred on just 4 thankless episodes of the soap The Young and the Restless from 2001-2003 before hitting the big-time with DH in 2004. What we love most about this quintessential comedienne is her perseverance, determination, confidence and can-do philosophy on life. We’ll let her DH co-star, Brazilian actress Maiara Walsh, explain: “Eva says she was always asked, 'Why are you in this business when only one in a million people succeed? And she says, 'Well, why can’t I be that one?'" Well, Eva, you can—and you are!
2. George Lopez, 48: Funnyman Lopez, who partnered with actress Sandra Bullock to create a TV situation comedy about a Hispanic family in 2002, wrote, produced and starred in the ABC sitcom, The George Lopez Show for 119 episodes from 2002-2007. Although the powers that be at ABC cancelled the series in 2007 after its sixth season, the show found new life in syndication—becoming the first comedy about a Latino family to be picked up (and thrive) in syndication. Aside from TGLS, Lopez is also known on TV for his hilarious comedy specials (including his recent HBO smash standup comedy show Tall, Dark and Chicano. As if all that weren’t enough to call Lopez one of the biggest Mexican stars on television, he’s about to make history by becoming the first late-night Latino talk show host with Lopez Tonight, premiering on TBS in November.
3. Selena Gomez, 17: If there’s a Mexican star out there who has the power to cast a spell on TV audiences of all ages, it’s Texas-born ingénue Gomez. Best known for playing Alex Russo on the mega-successful Disney show Wizards of Waverly Place, this year Selena also became the queen of TV movies when all of her original TV films, Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie (11.4 million viewers), Princess Protection Program (8.5 million viewers), scored big for the Disney channel. And her non-Disney original movie, Another Cinderella Story, also brought in a record-breaking 5.3 million viewers for ABC Family. She may have gotten her start playing Gianna on Barney & Friends, but it’s safe to say that this Mexican TV A-lister has left that giant purple dinosaur in the dust. Maybe he should ask her if he could guest star on one of her many hit shows or movies?
4. Sara Ramirez, 34: After seeing Ramirez as The Lady of the Lake in Monty Python’s Spamalot on Broadway (a role that won her a 2005 Tony Award for Featured Actress), ABC executives were so impressed by her scene-stealing performance, they told Ramirez she could have a starring role on the ABC show of her choice! For the actress—who would rush home after late shows on Broadway to watch one of her favorite shows, Grey’s Anatomy—and her TV-boyfriend George O’Malley (T.R. Knight), the decision was a no-brainer: Grey’s Anatomy. “It was like a dream,” Sara told me last year. “It was like someone yanking me into the television. All of a sudden, I’m this pedestrian from New York standing there with Izzie [Katherine Heigl] and George [Knight], and I had to remember: ‘These are actors and this is TV.’” Ramirez joined Grey’s in 2002 as Dr. Calliope ‘Callie’ Torres, and in season 3, was promoted to series regular status. 80 episodes later, she’s still thriving on the show. In fact, she’s become a fan favorite—not to mention one of television’s most popular lesbian characters. Viva Sara!
5. Alexis Bledel, 28: Rounding out the top 5 is gorgeous, blue-eyed ingénue Bledel, a native Houstonian who I watched for 7 splendid seasons (154 episodes!) on the WB hit series Gilmore Girls. Portraying loveable bookworm/heartbreaker Rory Gilmore, the daughter of single mom Lorelai (Lauren Graham), the show chronicled Bledel’s characters’s adventures in the storybook town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut and later, her days at prestigious Yale University. Rory—who was studious, moral, and kind-hearted—instantly became one of TV’s greatest female role models. nd the role, Bledel’s first TV role ever, turned her into one of TV’s most promising young TV stars. All grown up now, Bledel is taking on more adult roles. In the two-hour series finale of the classic TV drama ER last year, she starred as intern/Dr. Julia Wise.
Who are your favorite Mexican TV stars? Dish in the comments section!