The 10 Best Latina Leading Ladies in Hollywood

It’s no secret that Latinos are dramatically underrepresented in Hollywood movies. But did you know women are, in general, absurdly absent from leading roles in Hollywood? In a study of the top movies from 2007 through 2009, the USC Annenberg School of Communications found that just 32% of roles in movies go to female actresses. 

Hey, Hollywood, we've got news for you: these 10 Latinas have starred in movies before, and they can do it again. Let's see these leading ladies on the screen more in 2014: 

1. leading ladies salma hayek

Salma Hayek


Salma Hayek has had an illustrious career as an actress, producer, philanthropist and more. The Mexicana has long played the badass sidekick to her male lovers (Wild Wild West, Once Upon A Time In Mexico), but she really proved she could carry a movie when she starred in the critically acclaimed drama Frida. C’mon, Hollywood, it’s time to give this lady more leading roles!


2. leading ladies kate

Kate del Castillo


There’s a reason Kate del Castillo is one of Mexico’s most acclaimed actresses. The badass Latina has starred in movies such as Under the Same Moon, A Miracle in Spanish Harlem, and K-11... not to mention countless TV shows and telenovelas.

3. leading ladies zoe saldana

Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana is one talented mujer, as she proved when she took on the role of Cataleya in the brutal drama Colombiana. Saldana has been outspoken about not wanting to take on the “bombshell” roles, and we agree that she deserves to be given substantial roles that show off her talent. 

4. leading ladies america

America Ferrera
America Ferrera is a phenomenal actress -- and one who’s carried several movies and a successful TV show on her shoulders. The Ugly Betty star impressed audiences and critics alike with her leading roles in Real Women Have Curves and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (along with fellow Latina, Alexis Bledel!)

5. leading ladies penelope

Penelope Cruz
There’s no denying Penelope Cruz is one of the finest actresses today, but too often she’s given supporting roles that cast her behind actors such as Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise. We were wowed by her performances in Woman on Top and Volver, and we’d love to see her as the star of more flicks!

6. leading ladies cameron

Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz is a talented, funny actress with a huge personality and the acting chops to headline any flick. We saw and loved The Sweetest Thing, My Sister’s Keeper, In Her Shoes, Charlie’s Angels, and more, and we’re dying to see the badass Latina star in more female-focused flicks!

7. leading ladies jess alba

Jessica Alba
For years, Jessica Alba starred as the fiery super-soldier Max Guevara on Dark Angel. Max kicked some serious ass, and Alba has always impressed us with her ability to bring characters to life, particularly in her starring role Sin City. We’d love to see her ditch the rom-coms like Good Luck Chuck and The Love Guru, and take on the substantial roles we know she can handle!

8. leading eva mendes

Eva Mendes
This cubana has taken on some amazing roles in The Place Beyond the Pines, We Own The Night, and more. She hasn’t taken on the lead role in too many films (although we loved Girl in Progress), and we think she deserves to headline her own flick.

9. leading ladies jlo

Jennifer Lopez
It’s true: Jennifer Lopez has starred in a lot of movies -- everything from Selena to The Wedding Planner to Bordertown. JLO skyrocketed to stardom because she can sing, dance, and act, so let’s put that talent to good use and give her more starring roles in the coming years.

10. leading selgo

Selena Gomez
Although Selena Gomez has been hyper-focused on her singing lately, don’t forget that the Mexicana started as an actress...and a good one. She was barely a teenager when she starred in the popular Disney Channel show The Wizards of Waverly Place. Since then, she’s proved she deserves a spot among the Hollywood elite, headlining movies like Spring Breakers. If she ever retires from music, we think Gomez could have an amazing film career ahead of her.