EXCLUSIVE: 9 Latino Celebs Who Are Learning Spanish

Here are nine Latino celebs who are brushing up on the mother tongue! Viva Español!

1. Learning Spanish: Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez, 19

Last Christmas, Selena Gomez told Latina.com she knew exactly what she wanted from Santa. "I really want to get Rosetta Stone because I really need to learn my language," said Gomez, who’s half-Mexican. The reason Gomez was so keen on learning the language was that she didn’t feel entirely confident speaking Spanish in interviews. “I practice [Spanish], but I can understand it better than I can speak it,” said Selena. “So in a lot of my interviews that I did recently, they would speak to me in Spanish and I would answer back in English. They were like, 'You pick it up so easily,' but I don’t want to say it in Spanish because I’d be embarrassed if I mess something up."

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2. Learning Spanish: James Roday

James Roday, 35

Even though he was raised mostly by his father’s (Mexican) side of the family—actor James Roday, who plays fake psychic Shawn Spencer on the hit USA network show Psych—admits he isn’t fluent in Spanish. The actor, whose real name is James David Rodriguez—recently told Latina.com that he is “brushing up on my Spanish,” in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

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3. Learning Spanish: Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba, 30

Jessica Alba’s grandparents Jose and Isabel—who were both raised in California—deliberately chose not to raise Spanish-speaking children in the 1960s for fear that they would be marginalized—and her parents (Mexican American dad Mark and French-Danish American mom Cathy) did the same thing with Jessica. But in recent years, Jessica has decided to learn Spanish. She hired a private tutor—a half-Mexican Ph.D candidate in Applied Linguistics at UCLA. Alba is also learning the language in other ways, like using Rosetta Stone language software and watching Spanish-language films and TV. And as if that’s not enough, she recently told Latina.com she’s considering moving to a Spanish speaking country for a little while. “Even if it’s just a month or two, because I think at the end of the day that’s how you really learn.”

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4. Learning Spanish: Emilio Estevez

Emilio Estevez, 49

While directing his most recent film, The Way—which he shot in Spain—half-Spanish actor Emilio Estevez says he reconnected with his Latin roots—and the Spanish language. “I understand more than I speak,” says Estevez of the language. “I’m very shy because I always get the verb tenses messed up. But when I’m immersed in it—for instance when we were in Spain for four months—my Spanish got very, very good,” he explains. Estevez says there’s just one thing he needs to master the language. “As long as it’s spoken slowly…mas depacio!” {Laughs}. 

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5. Learning Spanish: Heather Hemmens

Heather Hemmens, 23 

The Costa Rican actress—best known for her role as cheerleader Alice Verdura on the CW show Hellcats—says her Spanish is far from perfect. “I do speak it because I took it in school for a couple of years," says Hemmens, “but it’s very broken. I could definitely use some work on that” {Laughs}. So how does she plan to learn the language? “I think I need to go to Costa Rica two or three more times and just immerse myself,” she says. When we told Hemmens that Selena Gomez used Rosetta Stone to learn the mother tongue, she was game for that, too. “That’s totally what I need to do!”

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6. Learning Spanish: Melissa De Sousa

Melissa De Sousa, 44

The Panamanian actress—who says she wasn’t raised speaking Spanishtells Latina.com that she felt like a fish-out-of-water during a recent trip to Panama, where she was surrounded by her Spanish-speaking relatives. "I {was} trying to piece things together,” De Sousa said of her trip. “I got frustrated and I just felt terrible.” That’s when the Reed Between the Lines star decided it was time to brush up on her español. "I'm constantly practicing and I've taken tons of classes," she says. "I definitely have to be more aggressive about learning faster. I speak a little Spanish, but I would not feel confident doing it in public," she explains. 

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7. Learning Spanish: Lana Parrilla

Lana Parrilla, 34

The half-Puerto Rican actress—who plays the evil queen on the hit ABC drama, Once Upon A Time—tells Latina.com that she used to know Spanish—but doesn’t anymore. “I’ve lost a lot because I’ve been away from my family on a regular basis for so long,” explains Parrilla. “When I moved to Spain four years ago and was there for a while, it all came back to me and I spoke it a lot…then I just stopped again.” Lana says she’s been practicing her Spanish with her friend Esai Morales. “Esai Morales is a dear friend of mine and I speak Spanish with him,” says Parrilla. “He throws the Puerto Rican my way!” she explains.

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8. Learning Spanish: Bella Thorne

Bella Thorne, 14

The half-Cuban star of Disney’s hit series Shake It Up spoke Spanish as a child with her father Reinaldo—but she lost her grasp on the language growing up in a suburban neighborhood where no one else knew the language. “I didn’t really want to tell anybody I spoke Spanish because no one else did in my school,” the 14-year-old star tells Latina.com. Thorne recently went to Colombia to brush up on her español (“I was actually picking it up really fast”) and she tells Latina.com she’s going to be taking Spanish in school. “I’m really excited about that because then I can get back to speaking Spanish the way I did when I was little,” she explains. 

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9. Learning Spanish: Stacey Dash

Stacey Dash, 45

The half-Mexican Single Ladies star said she never learned Spanish as a child, but she wants to learn the language so that her kids can be fluent. “It’s important that my children speak Spanish,” says Dash.  She also sees learning the language as an investment in her career. "Hopefully I can get to do more roles if I get my Spanish right," she says. "I'm going to work real hard so my accent is good."

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