From Rocsi Diaz to Soledad O’Brien, Latinas are paving the way for aspiring multimedia journalists who want to diversify the media landscape and share their unique perspectives with a broader audience. Here are 25 Latinas doing just that.
1. Latinas who Shine in Media: Alicia Menendez
Alicia Menendez: As host of HuffPost Live, the 29-year-old Cuban American Harvard grad (she was voted one of 15 ‘Most Interesting’ in her class and gave a commencement speech!) loves being able to talk about weddings and politics in the same day. She’s passionate about empowering millennials, women, and Latinos, and co-founded Define American, a non-profit dedicated to elevating the national conversation around immigration. She’s shared her expertise with NBC Latino, Rock the Vote, Fox, CNN, and MSNBC.
2. Latinas who Shine in Media: Soledad O'Brien
Soledad O’Brien: This Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist is unstoppable! The daughter of immigrants (her mom’s from Cuba, her dad’s from Australia), O’Brien woke up a nation of immigrants as correspondent of CNN’s 2009 special Latino in America, which explored how Latinos are reshaping communities and culture, and forcing us to rediscover what it means to be American. O’Brien has also hosted CNN’s Black in America series, American Morning, and Starting Point. She’s recently gone independent as a roving documentary reporter and is starting her own production company called Starfish Media Group. We can’t wait to see what she does next!
3. Latinas who Shine in Media: Natalie Morales
Natalie Morales: As a news anchor and cohost of NBC’s Today show, this Brazilian and Puerto Rican mommy of two is one busy lady who never looks tired! Her secret? Running. She’s competed in five marathons and participates in triathlons! Other fun facts: she was born in Taiwan and spent her first 18 years living in Panama, Brazil, and Spain as a self-proclaimed Air Force “brat.” She’s covered everything from presidential inaugurations to the Chilean miner rescue and is a correspondent on Rock Center with Brian Williams.
4. Latinas who Shine in Media: Kristina Guerrero
Kristina Guerrero: Born and raised in Sunnyside, Washington, this small-town girl had her sights set on the Hollywood dream. At 18, with only a few pennies in her pocket, the determined mexicana packed up and moved to L.A. She’s since graduated from USC with a journalism degree and became E! News’ first ever Latina host! She’s also our very own mommy blogger who writes about the wild and crazy ride that is pregnancy as Modern Mami.
5. Latinas who Shine in Media: Rocsi Diaz
Rocsi Diaz: The half-Honduran, half-Chilean TV personality recently ended her seven-year stint counting down the latest in hip-hop and R&B as host of BET’s 106 & Park to become a correspondent on Entertainment Tonight. Always looking fly, she recently shared some beauty tips with us: drink lots of water, find a good tailor, and get a Sonicare toothbrush. Now if only we had her legs!
6. Latinas who Shine in Media: Susie Castillo
Susie Castillo: The former beauty queen became the third Latina in history to win the Miss USA pageant, prompting People en Español to name her one of their 25 Most Beautiful. She’s since chopped off her hair, taking on an edgier look, and made the switch to TV. The Puerto Rican and Dominican beauty has hosted for MTV, NBC, and CBS, and has appeared on House of Payne, Castle, and My Wife and Kids.
7. Latinas who Shine in Media: Galina Espinoza
Galina Espinoza: Latina’s former co-president and editorial director has worked as a senior editor for People magazine, an on-air correspondent for Access Hollywood, guest speaker for Starbucks and NCLR, and is a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post/Latino Voices and USA Today.
8. Latinas who Shine in Media: Kimberly Guilfoyle
Kimberly Guilfoyle: As host of cable’s second-most-watched program The Five on Fox News, this Puerto Rican legal analyst is one of five voices covering the hottest topics of the day. A former Victoria Secret’s model and district attorney, Guilfoyle (her dad’s Irish) contributes to The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity, and frequently appears on late-night satire show Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld. She was previously an anchor at Court TV and commentator for CNN and ABC.
9. Latinas who Shine in Media: Cristina Costantini
Cristina Costantini: At only 24, Argentinean American Yale graduate Cristina Costantini scored a cool new gig as national affairs correspondent for the new joint venture between ABC and Univision after working as an editor for Huffington Post. Her advice for aspiring journalists? “Allow yourself to have a reporting persona, which is different from who you are in your daily life. Treat people respectfully, but if you’re braver in your questions, your stories will reflect that.”
10. Latinas who Shine in Media: Leila Cobo
Leila Cobo: Author of Amazon’s #1 Spanish-language book Jenni Rivera: La Increible Vida de Una Mariposa Guerrera (there’s also an English version), Cobo delves deep into the heart of one of America’s most prolific stars. The Colombian TV host, pianist, and executive director for Latino content and programming at Billboard is considered one of the country’s leading experts on Latin music.
11. Latinas who Shine in Media: Veronica Villafane
Veronica Villafañe: The Emmy Award-winning journalist was born in India to an Argentinean U.S. foreign diplomat and has lived in the Middle East, Africa, Central and South America, and all over the U.S. It’s no wonder she has over 20 years under her belt in English and Spanish-language broadcast journalism. Her blog Media Moves has been covering Latinos in the media since 2007.
12. Latinas who Shine in Media: Viviana Hurtado
Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D: Founder of the Latina-focused news and current events site The Wise Latina Club, this Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley grad (yes, she’s very smart!) has covered the global economic crisis, technology, and politics for ABC News, Al Jazeera, and the New York Times. She’s also Latina’s Washington, DC-based political correspondent.
13. Latinas who Shine in Media: Maria Elena Salinas
María Elena Salinas: As co-anchor of Noticiero Univision, the most watched newscast by American Latinos, this L.A. native is one of the most recognized female Latina journalists in the U.S. She’s interviewed some of the world's most politically influential figures, including President Obama, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Zapatista Army of National Liberation spokesman Subcomandante Marcos.
14. Latinas who Shine in Media: Maria Hinojosa
Maria Hinojosa: Born in Mexico City and raised in Chicago, this Harlem-based journalist is the founder of The Futuro Media Group, a nonprofit that brings diversity to the American experience. In 2012, she executively produced PBS’s election special America By the Numbers with Maria Hinojosa: Clarkston Georgia and as host of Lost in Detention, a documentary exploring the issue of deportation and immigrant detention and abuse, became the first Latina to anchor a Frontline report on PBS. She’s been named three times as one of the ‘100 Most Influential Hispanics’ by Hispanic Business magazine as a reporter for CBS, NPR, and CNN.
15. Latinas who Shine in Media: Johanna Torres
Johanna Torres: MamásLatinas editor-in-chief Johanna Torres has worked as a lifestyle expert, editor and writer for over 20 years, but perhaps her greatest experience has been raising three kids (now 18, 16, and 10) as a single mom. She shares her knowledge on the bilingual site that creates an online community for moms.
16. Latinas who Shine in Media: Lucia Ballas-Traynor
Lucia Ballas-Traynor: The co-founder and executive vice president of MamásLatinas has over 25 years of experience with leading Hispanic media brands, including Univision's Galavision, MTV Tr3s, and People en Español. Born in Chile and based in New York, she was named “Media All Star” by Adweek's Marketing y Medios and made The Hollywood Reporter's "Latino Power 50" list.
17. Latinas who Shine in Media: Elizabeth Vargas
Elizabeth Vargas: ABC’s 20/20 anchor Elizabeth Vargas goes down in history as the first woman since Connie Chung to anchor a network evening newscast in the U.S. and the first national evening news anchor of Puerto Rican and Irish-American descent. Born in New Jersey to a U.S. Army colonel, Vargas spent her childhood moving from base to base in Germany and Belgium before graduating with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, where she made her debut broadcast as a reporter/anchor for KOMU-TV.
18. Latinas who Shine in Media: Lauren Sanchez
Lauren Sanchez: As co-host of Fox 11’s wildly popular Good Day LA, New Mexico native Lauren Sanchez is quite the celebrity anchor. When she wed talent agent Patrick Whitesell, her guest list included Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, and Hugh Jackman. Sánchez is also a regular contributor to Larry King Live, The Joy Behar Show, Showbiz Tonight, and The View.
19. Latinas who Shine in Media: Maria Eugenia Alcon
Maria Eugenia Alcón: Born in Colombia and raised in Spain, this Emmy Award-winning producer has worked for CBS’s Telenoticias, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, and is currently deputy editor for NBC Latino. Perks of her job include profiling 30-year-old rocket scientists, undocumented immigrants starting their own non-profits, and kids adopted by gay parents who are fighting for marriage equality.
20. Latinas who Shine in Media: Monica Herrera
Monica Herrera: As senior editor for RollingStone.com, Monica Herrera became the first Latina staffer in the history of the magazine. She assigns music, TV, and movie stories and manages a team of editors and writers when not covering the deaths of such iconic music stars as Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, and the Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch. Prior to Rolling Stone, she worked at Billboard.
21. Latinas who Shine in Media: Nina Garcia
Nina Garcia: Marie Claire creative director and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia is the expert on fashion. The former Elle magazine creative director is always dressed to the nines and has penned four best-selling books on style, crediting her stylish parents for her fashion sense.
22. Latinas who Shine in Media: Christine Devine
Christine Devine: The Afro Brazilian news anchor has won 16 Emmys, including the prestigious Governors Award, as a news anchor for L.A.’s Fox 11 News. She’s best known for her tear-jerking adoption segment Wednesday's Child, which profiles foster children looking for adoptive homes and has resulted in hundreds of success stories. She’s also appeared as a reporter in countless shows including 24, Prison Break, Melrose Place, and 90210.
23. Latinas who Shine in Media: Yoani Sanchez
Yoani Sánchez: This Cuban writer has achieved international fame and multiple awards for her blog Generación Y, which takes a critical look at life in Cuba under its current government. Despite censorship in Cuba, Sánchez manages to publish the blog by e-mailing entries to friends outside the country who then post them online. Today, the blog is translated and available in 17 languages.
24. Latinas who Shine in Media: Maria Celeste Arraras
Maria Celeste Arraras: Telemundo’s Al Rojo Vivo TV host and producer began her career as a reporter for Puerto Rican TV station Canal 24. She’s since worked as co-anchor for Univision’s Primer Impacto, interviewed Yolanda Saldívar (the woman convicted of murdering Tejano music legend Selena), and has penned three books including Selena‘s Secret: The Revealing Story Behind Her Tragic Death.
25. Latinas who Shine in Media: Michelle Caruso-Cabrera
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: CNBC’s chief international correspondent has covered everything from the European financial crisis to elections in Baghdad. Prior to crossing over into English-language news, the You Know I’m Right: More Prosperity, Less Government author won an Emmy Award for a five-part series on children with AIDS and received an Emmy nomination for a report on sexual abuse by clergymen at Univision. Fierce!