Leaving Our Mark: A Deep Dive Into the Evolution of Latina Beauty

Twenty years ago, Kate Moss ruled the runway and "heroin chic" was the trend to try. Today, thanks to these game-changing Latinas, curves and curls are the looks we love. 

Related: 10 Powerful Latinas Revolutionizing The Beauty Biz

1. Body By...

When Fly Girl Jennifer Lopez left TVs In Living Color for the movies, her firm, athletic frame differed from her fellow starlets. Oh, and let’s not forget she had an incredible booty. everyone, including her manager, told jenny to shed a few pounds. She refused, saying: “If I lose any more weight, it won’t be me.” Good thing she stood her ground. Lopez’s figure was perfect for her role in Selena — the film that made her a star — and Hollywood suddenly became obsessed with her, um, assets. Today, at 47, J.Lo’s body and booty, which she keeps tight and toned with lunges and squats, is still a wonderland. She’s fit and sexy enough to give younger celebrities (we see you crushing on her, Kim Kardashian) and her contemporaries #bootygoals.

2. Curve Appeal

Studies show that Latinas think of themselves as more “curvy” than “fat”—a healthy sentiment that was cinematically captured in 2002 when America Ferrera famously stripped down to her choices in Real Women Have Curves and declared about her cuerpo, “I happen to like myself!” Ditto, says Puerto Rican and Kuwaiti model Denise Bidot, whose mantra and social media movement is “There’s no wrong way to be a woman.” Our favorite curvy self-love advocate — who was once told she had the “personality of a leading lady but the body of the best friend” — became the  rest plus- size model to walk two runways for straight-size brands, Chromat and Serena Williams’s HSN line. But perhaps our most cherished curve-confident moments were watching Sara Ramirez dance around in her calzones and bed McSteamy on TV’s Grey’s Anatomy. It meant mainstream media was finally acknowledging that thick girls are just as sexy as las flacas.

3. Breaking Barriers

Plenty of A-list celebrities have beauty deals these days (see Zoë, Eva, Becky G). but when catwalk queen Joan Smalls became the first Latina spokesperson for Estée Lauder’s global marketing campaign, we all did a collective handclap. The win was especially sweet because the brand chose a dark-skinned model to rep its makeup and skin care. beauty is diverse, Smalls once told CNN; “the world isn’t just one palette. It’s a beautiful rainbow. Why not have someone to represent that rainbow?” And speaking of beauty companies... Let’s salute brands for recognizing that Latinas come in all shades, not just tan and beige. Many makeup palettes now include warm browns and hot chocolates and color-matching technology, ensuring a perfect blend every single time.

4. Hair Crush

Who run the world? Curls. Thanks to celebs and social media stars, curly girls are more inspired than ever to rock their natural texture. When Shakira and Mariah Carey hit the scene, they were known and loved, just as much for their ringlets as they were for their voice. Today, every major hair-care brand has a curl-specific line (and we’re not just talking beach waves), and YouTube is full of vids on styling every type of coil. Influencers are proudly showing girls of all ages that there is no such thing as pelo malo, and the world is saying yes! Proof positive: Alba Ramos, a.k.a. SunKissAlba (who’s got more than 900K followers) even inked a deal with SheaMoisture to feature the company’s products in her videos. Now that’s #Curlpower.