It’s no secret that the world needs more Hispanic and Latina representation. Not only in the media but in every aspect. And at this point, it’s not even that we need it; we want it. We’re hungry for it. While the world wisens up, here are some of my favorite female Hispanic and Latina heroines crushing it today.
Released last year, Mirabel is the fifteen-year-old heroine and (unofficial) Disney princess that we didn’t know we needed until we had her. And honestly, while I’m at it, every woman from the Madrigal family line should be included on this list! Thankfully, Disney has been slowly evolving and becoming a better mirror to our culturally diverse world. We’re starting to see some phenomenal diverse main characters and backgrounds come out of this company. It’s honestly making me become a Disney adult… don’t judge me.
Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie
Ophelia Rojas is amazing. Let me just say, the coming-of-age-but-also-coming-of-sexuality stories like Ophelia’s always draw me in because they’re so real. At one point in their life, everyone questions themselves. Whether that’s sexuality, identity, future plans, or what you’re having for dinner, you’re going to question yourself because that’s being human. The way that Racquel Marie writes Ophelia’s navigation of her self-discovery in Ophelia After All is one that I will always go back to.
Amy and Rosa are my favorite characters from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Full stop. They aren’t your stereotypical Latina characters, even though those archetypes can be enjoyable, too (see Sofia Vergara’s Colombian character from Modern Family). In a slapstick comedy show like B99, it’s easy to go too far and be offensive, but I think that Amy (and Rosa) start to fill a much-needed gap in the genre. Amy’s competitive and sometimes extreme want of approval is something that I relate to. And Rosa’s complete disinterest in pretty much everything around her is also something that I relate to. (It’s safe to say I’m a very complicated individual).
The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
Look, I don’t want to say I’m a harlot for sapphic romance… but I’m not going to deny it. Much like Ophelia, Yami struggles to accept herself while in the mindset of WWSGD: what would a straight girl do? However, Yami has the added pressure of going to Catholic school (and we all know Catholicism and lesbianism don’t typically mix) and harboring a crush on the only openly queer girl at school… It’s not often that I enjoy YA characters and storylines as much as I loved Yami in The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School.
Jane the Virgin
I enjoyed Jane the Virgin waaaay more than I thought I would. I’m glad that I
binge watched this show because now I know the absolute joy that is Jane Villanueva. This is one of those shows that you constantly go back to rewatch because even though some parts are a bit… out there, you still enjoy every second. Jane is the iconic telenovela character that we lap up with no remorse. Throughout all the changes and twists, Jane stays true to herself, and that is the mark of a true heroine to me.
The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
I don’t know about anyone else, but Carmen was the first Hispanic or Latina character that I can remember from my childhood. My mom put me on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants when I was just starting to get into chapter books and then showed me the movie (after I finished the books, of course). Let me just say that America Ferarra is amazing, I love her. And I love Carmen just as much. I always wanted to have a group of friends to have a sisterhood like the girls, that level of understanding and love between them made me want to grow up so I could have friends like them.
The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
Y’all know I’m a sucker for a good romance book and The Spanish Love Deception is no exception. With the backdrop of a wedding in Spain and a saucy enemies-to-lovers plotline simmering, what more could a girl want? The fact that both Catalina and Aaron despise each other (but it’s a dual POV, so we know Aaron’s real feelings), but are still willing to be there for one another makes me sick! Absolutely gut-wrenchingly sick! (Mom, I want one!). Now look, I’m not saying you won’t be frustrated (as hell) with Catalina when reading this book, but you’re going to want to stick it out till the end.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
America Chavez is a Latina superhero. Let me say that again for those in the back. America. Chavez. Is. Latina. Superhero. Representation. When I tell you that I was on the edge of my seat whenever she came on during Doctor Strange. I love America Chavez. As a white American, I’ve never had an issue finding superheroes who look like me, but I’m not blind to the lack of color in these shows. I’m so, so excited that America is joining the MCU and I can’t wait to see what she’s going to do. Also, if anyone comes for her, you’ll have to deal with me.
Juliet Milagros Palante
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
YA queer Puerto Rican female main character? Hands down, already on my shelf with the spine cracked. If you’re wanting to experience beautiful queer spaces in your reading, Gabby Rivera is the author you need to gravitate toward and permanently add to your shopping bag. Once again, I’m talking about a main character that is discovering themselves. What’s different about Juliet is that she isn’t quiet about finding her own language when the typical (cis) feminist rhetoric doesn’t include her. I haven’t read a book quite like Juliet Takes a Breath in a minute, but I’m definitely searching for them in the future.
Also check out the graphic novel of Juliet Takes a Breath, illustrated by Celia Moscote!
The world is catching up. Change takes time and I, like everyone around me, is getting impatient. However, I’ll continue to promote underrepresented voices and communities to the best of my ability. Be sure to celebrate more Hispanic and Latin Heritage this month with us at Bookstr here!