15 Latinas Who Broke Barriers!

It’s no secret that Latinas are a force to be reckoned with. We’re strong, independent, fierce, and proud of our culture and heritage. So, it comes as no surprise to us that they're are many famous Latinas who have spent their career overcoming obstacles and outshining their male counterparts. Here's a list of Latinas who have broken barriers in their careers: 

1. Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno

Puerto Rican performer Rita Moreno is the only Latino (and only one of 12 people total!) with an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. The iconic actress, who played Anita in West Side Story, has also won a Golden Globe, The Sarah Siddons Award, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award for her incredible career. Moreno has broken countless barriers in her incredible career, and she continues to be an inspiration to all Latinas! 

2. Gisele Bündchen

Gisele Bündchen

Since 2004, supermodel Gisele Bündchen has held the title of highest-paid model in the world. The wildly successful model and businesswomen has graced the cover of Vogue over 120 times, and is the face of countless fashion and beauty lines, including Pantene, Chanel, and Marc Jacobs. Oh, and did we mention how much she gets paid? The Brazilian beauty can sell a product like no one else...and she earns a lot of money doing it! Bündchen makes an estimated $42 million a year. That’s one impressive Latina!

3. Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara

Although she’s never won a Golden Globe for her role on Modern Family, Sofia Vergara is undoubtedly one of the most powerful women in television. The Colombiana is the top-earning actress on US television, and she's been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, four Primetime Emmy Awards, and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards. She's also the face of wildly successful products like COVERGIRL and Diet Pepsi, and is the brains behind a successful clothing line with KMart. Love her or hate her, Sofia Vergara is one of the most powerful and successful Latinas in Hollywood.

4. Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O’Brien

Soledad O’Brien is the voice to the voiceless, making the world a better place through her role as a producer, journalist, and philanthropist. O’Brien currently serves as the chairman of Starfish Media Group, and has lent her face to NBC, CNN, HBO, and Al Jazeera America. The Emmy-award winning television host is fearless, reporting bravely and scrupulously on some of the world's most fearsome crises. Best of all, the incredible journalist has always represented her Latina roots, and she continues to be an inspiration to all aspiring journalists and philanthropists.

5. Carolina Herrera

Carolina Herrera

Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera brought Latina fashion into the spotlight. Since the early 70s, Herrera has been creating the timeless, classy looks she's become renowned for. Now, the brand Carolina Herrera is synonymous with taste, elegance, and feminine charm. Her illustrious career has stretched beyond the runway -- Herrera has graced the cover of Vogue seven times, and in 2008, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The fabulous Venezuelan is a style icon, a designing legend, and an inspiration to all Latinas in fashion. 

6. Selena Quintanilla

Selena Quintanilla: 

Texas born tejano singer, Selena Quintanilla, will forever be remembered as the ultimate Latina icon, legend, and role model. The talented Mexican-American singer broke countless barriers in her too-short career. She was the first woman to achieve mainstream success in the world of tejano music, and it didn’t take her long to surpass her male counterparts. Selena was the first tejano artist to boast a Gold Record and the first to win a Grammy Award! 

7. Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan:

Cuban-born Gloria Estefan is more than just a Latina icon – she’s a true revolutionary who changed the face of Latin American music in America! Estefan has won a staggering seven Grammy Awards, and sold over 31 million records in the United States alone. She broke barriers when she surpassed her male peers to become the most successful Latin crossover artist in American music history!

8. Jenni Rivera

Jenni Rivera:

Jenni Rivera was introduced to the genres of norteña, banda, and ranchera at a young age by her Mexican immigrant parents. Despite her experiences as a teenager mother and her working-class background, Rivera became one of the most beloved and successful Mexican-American singers of all time. Although the norteña scene was dominated by male artists when Rivera began her career, she fought to the top and became the most wildly successful artist within the genre, selling over 15 million albums worldwide!

9. Shakira


This colombiana has used her singing talent, her energetic spirit, and of course, her sultry dance moves to become one of the most successful crossover artists of all time. In addition to holding the title for highest-selling Colombian artist, Shakira has won countless awards, including two Grammy Awards, eight Latin Grammy Awards, and seven Billboard Music Awards. Most notably, her official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, is the highest-selling World Cup anthem of all time. That’s quite an achievement! 

10. Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez:

Love her or hate her, the Puerto Rican singer, actress, and businesswoman boasts a successful and illustrious career on and off the screen! JLo was the first celebrity to truly achieve success both on the silver screen and over the airwaves. She can proudly declare that she was the first person to have a number one album and a number one movie in the same week! 

11. Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz:

This colorful cubana used her talent and flamboyant personality to soar above the boundaries set for her and become one of the most successful salsa artists of all time. When Celia Cruz was first introduced as the singer for “Sonora Matancera”, a popular Cuban salsa band, the public did not respond favorably. Cruz ignored the criticism, and used her powerful vocals and energetic stage presence to win over the hearts of Cubans and become the uncontested “Queen of Salsa.” Azucar! 

12. Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera:

This Puerto Rican Broadway star revolutionized the stage, and inaugurated some of the most famous roles to ever hit the stage. Chita Rivera played Anita in the original stage production of West Side Story and appeared as Velma Kelly in the original cast of Chicago. In 2002, the acclaimed actress broke an important barrier for all Latinos when she became the first Latino American to receive a Kennedy Center Honor.

13. Thalia


Thalia is one Latina who truly does it all! The Mexican singer, actress, songwriter, author, and businesswoman has achieved success in all facets of her career. Her musical success has earned her countless awards, helped her sell over $40 million records, and earned her the title of “Queen of Latin Pop!” 

14. Daisy Fuentes

Daisy Fuentes:

Cuban Daisy Fuentes is one of the first major Latina television personalities and models to achieve mainstream success in the United States. In 1993, she joined MTV as the first Latina VJ, and a few years later she became the first Latina spokesperson to be signed to a worldwide contract for Revlon. The 46-year-old overcome countless obstacles to become one of the most recognizable Latinas on television. Fuentes hasn’t stopped since! She now has a successful clothing collection, video game, and hair line! 

15. Paulina Rubio

Paulina Rubio: 

The Mexican singer, actress, and TV personality has sold over 20 million albums worldwide and become one of the most influential Latina celebrities in the world. Recently, the Mexican-American achieved the ultimate crossover success when she was invited to judge two singing competitions: La Voz Kids in Mexico and The X Factor in the United States!