Latinas on Screen: 7 Roles That Broke the Stereotype

We all know the stereotype: Latinas are maids. Latinas speak with an accent. Latinas all have big booties and lots of curves -- and they love to flaunt them in their favorite color: red. Truth is, Latinas come in all different sizes, shapes, colors and personalities -- and TV should reflect that. From Dr. Callie Torres to Santana Lopez, these 7 roles are breaking the stereotype! 

1. Marisol 'Flaca' Gonzales

Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales from Orange Is The New Black:

We know what you're thinking: "She's in prison. How could she possibly be breaking Latina stereotypes?" The fact is, Flaca is a very different type of Latina character. She listens to the Smiths, not J.Lo. She's flaca, not curvy. Actress Jackie Cruz told Vulture that it's important that her character strays from traditional interpretations of Latinas on screen. "All Latinas are different," she said. "Different sizes, different colors. We don't all have the big boobs, the curvaceous body, and we 'tauck ike tis.' No, some of us are born in America, like me, and that's what Flaca is. I love [that] that's on television."

2. Santana Lopez

Santana Lopez from Glee:

Santana Lopez is a bold reminder that Latinas aren't all maids who follow their man's every move. Naya Rivera portrays a strong, fierce, talented young woman who's trying to pursue her dreams of stardom. Oh, and she also happens to be one of the few lesbian characters on TV today.  “There are very few ethnic LGBT characters on television,” Rivera told us. “I am honored to represent them. I love supporting this cause, but it’s a big responsibility.”

3. April Ludgate

April Ludgate from Parks and Recreation

An intern with the Pawnee Department of Parks and Recreation, April Ludgate is an apathetic college student with a dark sense of humor. Her cynical, cold demeanor is vastly different from the stereotypical images of Latinas portrayed on TV today. In the sarcastic words of Ludgate herself, "My mom is Puerto Rican. That's why I'm so lively and colorful."

4. Dr. Callie Torres

Dr. Callie Torres from Grey’s Anatomy:

Sara Ramirez revolutionized Latinas on TV — in more ways than one. Dr. Callie Torres is a deeply nuanced character: she enjoys dancing around her apartment as much as getting her hands dirty on the table of the OR. She's dealt with love and loss -- not to mention her own personal struggles coming to grips with her sexuality. She's a character with many layers, and we deserve to see more Latinas like her on screen. 

5. Amy Santiago

Amy Santiago from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Amy Santiago is a different kind of cop. Raised alongside seven brothers (all of whom became police officers), Santiago is fiercely competitive and feels she has a lot to prove. The show finds humor in humanity – not stereotypes — and Santiago's character proves that Latinas can be smart, funny, fearless characters. 

6. Marisol Duarte

Marisol Duarte from Devious Maids

Don’t be fooled by the name of the show. Marisol Duarte is far more than a maid. Played by Ana Ortiz, Duarte is a fearless and fiercely intelligent college professor who goes undercover as the hired help to acquit her son of murder. Ortiz's portrayal of Marisol Duarte plays off the "maid stereotype" to create a dynamic Latina character. 

7. Regina Vasquez

Regina Vasquez from Switched At Birth:

Regina Vasquez, played by Constance Marie, is a former alcoholic who straightens up her act when she becomes the mother to a deaf daughter. Later, she discovers that her daughter and another young girl were switched at birth. Where many women would crumble, Vasquez stands tall and powers through the difficult circumstance with unparalleled grace and bravery. She's a role model for all Latinas, and a character with a lot to offer our community.