Disney Actors Talk Latino Identity and Hispanic Heritage Month
Disney Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month!
It’s Hispanic Heritage Month and so many Latinos I know are talking about why our culture makes us proud… including these young Disney actors! Being a bicultural Latino in the United States is quite the tight rope walk, but watching these young people pursue their careers in mainstream media really makes me proud. They are role models for all kids, but especially for the tiny Latino kids that believe there is a space for them.
I asked some of our favorite young, Disney actors what they felt about being Latino (and bicultural)… this is what they had to say to DSM readers….
“Stuck in the Middle” star and voice of Princess Isabella, the younger sister of Disney’s Princess Elena
Being Latina is important to me because it’s who I am! It’s good to stay true to yourself and stay connected with your roots. I love how important family is in my culture, and for me, my family is my number one support system.
Lewie Diaz of Disney’s “Stuck in the Middle”
Family is a HUGE part of my life. Being a part of the Diaz Family on “Stuck in the Middle” is nice because there is always someone around…..there are 7 of us!!! On and off set we really care about one another. We have ups and downs just like a real family. In my real family I only have a sister (Nicole) but I have TONS of cousins, aunts and uncles. They are what I call the #hometeam. They are the people that are always in my corner. When I’m happy they are happy. When I am sad they are sad. A few years ago when my Great-Grandma passed away she made us promise that all of our traditions would continue and that we’d always be there for each other. That means everything to me! We would never let her down. When it comes to holidays we just know that it will be spent together. One day when I have my own family I hope I can set as good of an example as my aunts and uncles have done for me. I am so fortunate.
My father is Puerto Rican. Growing up, one of my favorite traditions included going to visit my abuela and watching her cook delicious authentic Puerto Rican dishes. “Stuck in the Middle” embraced my heritage by my character Georgie having a quinceañera. It’s a traditional thing to do when you turn 15, and I thought it was so amazing that our show included that. Such a fun moment.
Daphne Diaz on Disney’s “Stuck in the Middle”
Growing up in a bicultural Latino family we have so many traditions. My favorite traditions would be during the holidays. We love to have big dinners with lots of family and friends. My mom and Abuela (grandma) make the best Spanish food ever. My favorite dish is Arroz con pollo! We also make sure we eat 12 small grapes on New Year’s Eve right before it turns midnight! Eating the 12 grapes before it hits 12:00 a.m. represents good luck for each month of the year. It is so funny watching everyone shove grapes in their mouth and swallow all of them in like 10 seconds!
My Latino heritage means a lot to me. It represents unity of family and traditions. My own family has taught me that respecting and supporting each other is truly one of the most important things you can do in a family. I believe that The Diaz family in “stuck in the Middle” shows unity in a big family. That is the essence of a big Latino family.
Ethan Diaz on Disney’s “Stuck in the Middle”
A couple of my favorite Cuban traditions are Noche Buena and New Year’s. Noche Buena to us is like Thanksgiving but it’s Christmas Eve and instead of turkey, we have rice, black beans, and pork. Another tradition I love is when the clock strikes twelve for New Years, we have this superstition where we eat 12 grapes, each grape representing a month of the year. Every grape we eat, we say something we were thankful for that month and then we get a bucket of water and go out outside and throw the water out to represent us washing away all the bad of the previous year to give us a clean slate for the next year.
My culture is a very big influence and importance in my life. “Stuck in the Middle” makes me feel proud to have a Latino background and how we can bring culture onto the screen in a fun, kid friendly way. One of my favorite things about the show is how we discuss and bring up Latino topics like having an “Abuela” and “Quinceaneras”.
Jorge on Disney’s “BUNK’D”
It’s awesome that I know how to speak one of the most romantic languages! 😂 I’m very proud of being part of the Latino community it’s truly amazing! My favorite cultural tradition is “Las Posadas Navideñas”, it’s truly the most beautiful time because we celebrate the 9 months of pregnancy of Jesus’s mother Maria, from 16th through the 24th of December. I am very proud to be Latino because it’s just an amazing culture all-around. And I just want to say thank you so much to everybody for the support especially my mom and my whole family!!