Latinos invaded reality television this year in a big way! Five of ten finalists on FOX’s hit show So You Think You Can Dance were Latin, boricua Roberto Martinez won Ali’s heart on ABC’s The Bachelorette, J-Lo became the first Latina to judge American Idol, and season 21 of the CBS ratings giant, Survivor, was set in Nicaragua. As if that’s not enough, Mondo Guerra has been dominating the competition over on Project Runway’s 8th season and he’s expected to be crowned the winner in tonight's finale (airing at 9PM on Lifetime). All of this unscripted Latin love got us thinking about our reality stars who have made a splash.
Here are our all-time favorite Latino reality stars:
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David Archuleta, 19 (American Idol)
We fell in love with AI contestant David Archuleta the moment the part-Honduran started singing John Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change during his very first audition. And clearly we weren’t the only ones! His flawless renditions of Robbie Williams’ “Angels,” John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and The Miracles dance tune “Shop Around,” led Archie all the way to the AI finals where he came in second. David’s incredible voice and infectious smile had us at hello.
Nicole Richie, 29 (The Simple Life)
They don’t come much funnier than Nicole Richie. When Nicole co-starred on the hit Fox reality series, The Simple Life with Paris Hilton, no one knew who she was. That quickly changed when Richie, a talented comedienne and prankster who has brought laughs to shows like Saturday Night Live and Chuck, overshadowed Paris and became the show’s breakout star.
Jaslene Gonzalez, 24 (America’s Next Top Model)
When Jaslene Gonzalez appeared on ANTM season 8, viewers knew immediately that she was Latina because she wore her pride on her sleeve. The Boricua model went on to win Cycle 8 and be crowned America’s Next Top Model. She was immensely humble and people related to her story. Plus, we love that Jaslene spoke Spanish on the show. When she won she gushed, “iYo gane Top Model en este momento y yo soy una Cover Girl!” Yes you are, Jaslene!
Janette Manrara, 26 (So You Think You Can Dance)
When Hialeah, Miami native Janette Manrara first took the stage on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance with a sexy salsa dance number, she made judge Nigel Lithgoe’s jaw drop. “We have been waiting for some spicy salsa in Miami. Some [of your] moves I’ve never seen, which are fabulous!” he said. We couldn’t agree more. Manrara’s friend and fellow Latina Jeanine Mason won season 8, but no one forgot Janette.
Pedro (The Real World)
What can we say about Pedro? He was a beautiful person. Even though he died of AIDS, Pedro’s impact as an AIDS educator helped change people’s minds about the pandemic. Even former President Bill Clinton commended Zamora on humanizing those living with HIV. His legacy will keep him alive forever in our hearts.
Snooki, 22 (The Jersey Shore)
Snooki (whose real name is Nicole Polizzi) is the standout star of MTV’s hit reality show, The Jersey Shore. Sure, all the adopted chilena does is make out with boys, drink and search the beach for ripped guidos, but lets be honest—she’s really good (and funny) at that!
Mario Lopez, 37 (Dancing with the Stars)
There are no words to describe the awesome dance moves that Mario Lopez showcased on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, so we’ll let this clip do the talking for us. The fact that Mario and his partner Karina Smirnoff lost to Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke still makes us mad. They were robbed!
Frankie Delgado (The Hills, Laguna Beach)
Whether Lauren Conrad was at war with Speidi on The Hills or having it out with Brody on his show, Bromance, Frankie Delgado always seemed to enjoy a front seat to all of the juicy drama. Though he’s (sort of) made a career of reality TV tomfoolery, he’s actually a musician, best known for DJing for the rock band Deftones.
Nina Garcia, 43 (born May 3, 1967)
Elle magazine’s Fashion Director Nina Garcia brings some serious fashionista credibility to the judging panel of Project Runway. This poised Barranquilla, Colombia native is as put together as she appears on the show, juggling her TV and magazine jobs with a husband, a baby and another on the way (she announced she was pregnant with her second child in July). Nina obviously makes it work!
Adrienne Bailon, 27
Bailon, who is part Boricua and part Ecuadorian, is best known as a member of Disney teenybopper group, The Cheetah Girls. But we got to know and love her as Rob Kardashian’s girlfriend on the smash hit E! reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. We couldn’t help but be smitten with Adrienne and Rob’s relationship, especially since Bailon came off like such a down to earth and sweet girl.