This week, everyone is talking about the breakout performance of 27-year-old Puerto Rican actress Gina Rodriguez in the Sundance hit Filly Brown. The buzz surrounding Gina (coupled with the fact that she just signed a talent holding deal with ABC and ABC Studios to star in a pilot targeted for next season!), got us thinking about other young Latinas who have what it takes to become Hollywood fixtures on the big screen. Without further ado, meet the next generation of Latina movie stars!
Next Slideshow: The 10 Best Latino Movie Performances of 2011!
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Corina Calderon, 25
So deafening was the buzz for newcomer Corina Calderon's work in the film All She Can, that the Mexican actress was named one of the"Actors to Watch" at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. In the indie, Calderon played a willful South Texas teen gunning to win a powerlifting championship. (Note: Sundance is the same festival that predicted the Hollywood breakthroughs of stars like Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), both of whom went on to earn Oscar nominations! Could Corina be next?
Victoria Justice, 18
Aside from having her own star vehicle on Nickelodeon (Victorious), the half-Puerto Rican star is lining up starring roles left and right in movies. Justice is set to star in Fun Size, a coming-of-age comedy for Paramount Pictures directed by Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl,The OC) that takes place during Halloween. The movie tells the story of a teenage girl who loses her little brother during Halloween and has to overcome numerous challenges to find him, while at the same time learning an important lesson about what's really important in life. Justice also has a supporting role in the indie, First Time, a teen romance movie directed by Jon Kasdan (Freaks and Geeks). In the movie, she plays the beautiful girl in school who thinks of her co-star as just a friend.
Jacqueline Macines Wood, 24
The stunning Brazilian actress is best known for her role as Steffy Forrester on the ABC soap, The Bold & The Beautiful, but this summer she added movie star to her resume with a lead role in one of the biggest movies of the summer, Final Destination 5 (which premiered worldwide on August 12th).
In Paramount's remake of Footloose, Puerto Rican actress Ziah Colon will play Rusty Rodriguez, the character that Sarah Jessica Parker made famous in the 1984 classic. Ziah says she's honored to be the next generation's SJP in the film. “[I think about that] all the time! It is truly a surreal experience! It is such an honor to follow in her footsteps.” Footloose—with Ziah Colon—dances into theaters on October 14th, 2011!
Sara Paxton, 23
Best known for her starring roles in films like Aquamarine, The Last House on the Left, and Sydney White, the half-Mexican actress is playing a badass in the new action flick, Shark Night 3-D, in theaters this Friday. She also had four other movies out this year, including the hit indies, The Innkeepers and Enter Nowhere.
Natalia Tena, 26
She made her big screen debut in the revered Hugh Grant film About a Boy (2002), and had a recurring role on the Emmy-nominated HBO series, Game of Thrones—but Spanish actress Natalia Tena is best known for her role as fan favorite, Nymphadora Tonks—a character whose hair color changes depending on her moods—in the Harry Potter film series. This summer, Natalia starred in the box office smash, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (the final film in the series).
Sandra Vergara, 28
Colombian actress Sandra Vergara might be Sofia Vergara's cousin, but the charismatic and funny actress isn't counting on Sofia to make her a star. This summer, Sandra was one of the stars of the horror film, Fright Night, and the actress told us her ultimate goal in Hollywood. "It would be cliché if I tell you that I want to be like Meryl Streep. My dream role is something where I can play myself and where I can explore different aspects of my personality and my background," she said. "Something really close to my heart would be my dream role."
Noomi Rapace, 31
Best known for her starring role in the 2009 Swedish film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the part-Spanish actress recently stole scenes from both Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr., in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Next, she'll star in the sci-fi film Prometheus.
Gina Rodriguez, 27
Gina is getting rave reviews for her astonishing work in Filly Brown, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this week. The Chicago native of Puerto Rican descent stars as the title character in the film opposite Jenni Rivera and Edward James Olmos. She just signed a talent holding deal with ABC and ABC Studios to star in a pilot targeted for next season!