Latina women are severely underrepresented in the world of television, both on- and off-screen—as are Latinx people in general. Despite their being one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States, according to a 2014 study, there are no Latina leads on network TV, and they make up only 9.5% of all supporting female roles on television. The Latinas who are represented on screen often fall within specific stereotypes of criminals, law enforcement officials, hypersexualized women, or low-wage workers such as maids or caretakers. In fact, the same 2014 study found that since 1996, about 69% of maid roles in TV and film have been played by Latinas.
While Hollywood has a long way to go in terms of Latinx representation across both film and TV, there are several women in the industry who have broken barriers. Below are just a handful of the history-changing, award-winning Latina women who ignored all the rules and fought to have themselves represented on screen.