2010 was huge for Latinos in the news—we were definitely not short of personalities dominating the headlines over the last 12 months. In fact, you could argue that we Latinos had the story of 2010 with the miraculous rescue of the thirty-three Chilean miners who were trapped for 69 days underground.
But those fortunate and fascinating men weren't the only Latinos grabbing headlines. From the first ever elected Latina governor of a U.S. state to Jennifer Lopez's amazing comeback—here are the people we found the most fascinating in 2010.
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Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin made headlines around the world when he came out in May 2010 as a “fortunate homosexual man.” Not many people were surprised, but since then, he has released an intimately detailed memoir of his life (called Yo or Me) and given a number of revealing interviews to everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Larry King. We feel as though we know Ricky Martin better then we ever did before and for a man releasing his first studio album in six years, that is a very good thing. We can’t wait to see what Martin has in store for us in 2011.
These men were not only interesting because of their heroism in the face of nearly insurmountable odds and the brotherhood and bravery they demonstrated. Once they were rescued, we were able to see their amazing personalities in all their glory! From Edison Peña, who ran the NY marathon just a mere month after being rescued to Mario Sepulveda (aka Super Mario) who showed the world that faith can help you survive—this story, and these men, were the media gift that kept on giving!
Susana Martinez made history this year when she became the first ever Latina elected to governor in the United States. She defeated New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s handpicked successor to win the title. Her conservative politics have caused a divide among some Latinos who feel she is a “sell out” but only time will tell how she governs. Of her historic win, Martinez told us, “It has come with a lot of hard work and education, and I know that I have to prove myself beyond the fact that I’m a female and Latina.”
Eva Longoria may be going through a public divorce with her soon-to-be-ex hubby Tony Parker, but that isn’t what made it hard to keep our eyes off of her this year. Longoria seemed to discover a deeper sense of her heritage this year and jumped full force into a variety of projects. From partnering with MALDEF in an effort to challenge the constitutionality of Arizona’s SB 1070 law to joining the board for the creation of the first museum of the American Latino in Washington D.C. to producing three new TV shows—married or single, Eva is a woman on the move.
Sofia Vergara took America by storm this past year as the firecracker Gloria Pritchett-Delgado on the Emmy winning comedy Modern Family. Sure, she might stick her foot in her mouth every now and then, but really, who doesn’t? Vergara has been winning over hearts with her hilarious interviews and her amazing performance on the ABC comedy. For her efforts was nominated for an Emmy earlier this year (she lost to Glee’s Jane Lynch), and now, a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a TV comedy (which she richly deserves, not like we’re biased or anything).
Helayel has been making gorgeous clothes for many years, but it wasn’t until soon-to-be-Princess of England Kate Middleton named her as a favorite designer that everyone stateside came to know this Brazilian fashion designer. Now, stores can’t keep her designs in stock and it’s for good reason. It all started because she couldn’t find the perfect dress so she decided to design her own, “I wanted a dress that made me feel comfortable and glamorous at the same time, one that could take me anywhere from work to play, bedroom to boardroom.” Mission accomplished!
As the executive director of Voto Latino, Maria Teresa Kumar has pioneered immigrant’s rights and worked tirelessly to educate the Latino community on the importance of voting and passage of the DREAM Act. She is currently an MSNBC political contributor, and serves as a frequent guest speaker on Latino issues. She orchestrated the 2010 civic engagement campaign for Voto Latino and helped to turn our community out to vote, influencing key campaigns in Nevada and California.
Selena Gomez is a mini-mogul in the making, teaming up with Kmart to launch a line of affordable (and adorable) clothes for legions of adoring tween fans, releasing her sophomore album, A Year without Rain, bringing her hit Disney TV show Wizards of Waverly Place to an end and starring in her first film Ramona & Beezus. But what we love most about Selena (and what keeps her scandal free) is her family-first mentality, “I feel like the holidays are crucial times for me to make up for all of the time that I’ve missed during the year," Gomez told us. “I really just love to spend time with my family."
Touted as the Republican’s answer to President Barack Obama, Rubio won a hotly contested senatorial race in Florida against incumbent Charlie Crist (who he shockingly beat in the primary race) and democrat Kendrick Meeks. To win the primary, he appealed to the right-wing Tea Party, who flexed their new political muscle. Once he joined the regular election, he veered a bit more the centrist positions held by his predecessor. His charm, eloquence and intelligence have many pegging him as a frontrunner for the Republican Vice Presidency in 2012.
Mondo Guerra was the hands down favorite to win season 8 of Project Runway and the show’s fans were shocked when he walked away in second place. But Guerra took full advantage of his television exposure and used the opportunity to reveal that he was HIV positive, in turn, inspiring many living with the disease to come out of the shadows. Since the show ended, he has continued to design gorgeous clothes, but more importantly, has become an outspoken advocate for those living with HIV & AIDS.
Jennifer Lopez took some time off to raise her twins Max and Emme, but she has been so ubiquitous this year we almost forgot she was ever out of the spotlight. A clothing line launching with Kohl’s, a contract to be the face of new line of L’Oreal hair products…she even modeled alongside her babies for the new Gucci Children’s line (for charity, of course). Oh, and did we mention she landed one of the hottest gigs in TV as a new American Idol judge? Homegirl is back with a vengeance and 2011 promises more J.Lo as she releases her latest album, Love?
This 29-year-old Venezuelan phenomenon became the youngest conductor ever to head a prestigious philharmonic orchestra when he won the top job as music director in Los Angeles a year ago. He is also currently the principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, and the artistic director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar in Caracas, Venezuela (a position he has held since he was 19). Extraordinarily gifted, Dudamel has helped shine a light on Venezuela’s wildly successful El Sistema, a subsidized music program that trains underprivileged children in music.