10 People You Didn't Realize Were Of Hispanic Descent Until You Looked Closer and Then Yeah, That Totally Makes Sense
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10 People You Didn't Realize Were Of Hispanic Descent Until You Looked Closer and Then Yeah, That Totally Makes Sense

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | November 12, 2013 | Comments ()


This morning I was curious about whether Haddie Braverman would be making a return to Parenthood this season (there are no plans at the time) and ended up researching the actress a bit, and found out that she was Hispanic. I was like, “No way! Really?” But then I looked a little closer, and thought, well, yeah! That makes total sense (also the last name, duh). Then a friend was like, “Did you know that James Roday from Psych is also Hispanic? His name is actually James Rodriguez.” And again, I was like, UH UH. GET OUT. But then, yeah, upon closer inspection that totally makes sense.

So then I found eight more people that might fit that description, found some images and struck them together, and that, folks is how is a Seriously Random List is born.

Sarah Ramos


James Roday


Alexis Bledel

alexis bledel  photos 1600X1200.jpg

Cameron Diaz


Aubrey Plaza


Odette Yustman


Louis C.K.


Noomi Rapace


Frankie Muniz


Vanna White


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See | Kerry Washington Is a Stunning Woman. Except On This Magazine Cover. Where She Looks Like a Flogged Horse

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • e jerry powell

    Also, where are all the Sheens on this list? Martin Sheen (Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez) is Irish, but only through his mother; his father was Galician Spanish.

  • Twillahiss

    I seem to recall a few Emilio Estevez jokes on Psych.

  • Twillahiss

    This post is meant to be funny, right? I mean, it's NOT funny but it's so very strange, it can't be serious.

  • Will Spence

    So, OK, when a Spanish surname is hidden like Rodriguez is changed to Roday and then you find out - the clue was the Spanish surname, right? But when a Spanish surname is present and you don't have clue...really? Talk about not being a douche.

  • emteem

    Not only did I not know that Sarah Ramos was of Hispanic descent I don't even know who Sarah Ramos is!

  • Jimmy Tavez

    What really cracks me up is that so many folks out there are so completely ignorant of any American History that occurred away from the Eastern Seaboard.
    My family is American. More American than may "white" folks, if you consider tenure within our current boarders.
    My Grandfather's ancestors traveled to the Americas, landed north of the Rio Grande. That was nearly 300 years ago. We've been Portuguese, Spanish, Mexicans, Texans, and Americans without moving a single inch.

    Conversely, I am equally amazed at my Latin brothers' lack of affinity for anything European. I remind them constantly that the language they speak, Spanish, comes from Spain, which is in Europe, which is populated by white folks. Sure sure, not as white as say Germans, but pretty damn close. But in the end, what of it?
    We bleed red, we see our breath in the cold, we cry when loved ones die.

  • Jimmy Tavez

    Ten people you did not know were morons:
    1. Dustin Rowels
    Oh wait, I knew.

    Seriously, bro, who cares? Guilty white folks never cease to amaze me. I don't need your pity, sympathy, or for you know about my heritage.
    On the flip, you get paid for crappy work. You'd never make it in the oil biz, but congrats on conning your boss out of a check.

  • The Walking Cuban

    When can we expect "10 people you didn't know were of Gay Descent"?

  • e jerry powell

    Well, Cameron Diaz is, like lots of Southern Florida, Cuban. She "looks white" because not all the Spanish people in Cuba were about sexually exploiting either the indigenous (Guanajatabey/Ciboney) people, or the African slaves that the Spanish imported, simply because they could. C.K. isn't much of a surprise, because his dad was only half-Hungarian-Jewish (and if we're going by halakha, he's not Jewish at all, since C.K's paternal grandmother, the Latina in question, was a Catholic Mexican, and C.K.'s own mother is Irish Catholic). And somehow the name "Francisco Muñiz IV" kept me from being surprised by the Puerto Rican father; I was actually more surprised to discover that Muñiz is a Republican, which would have occurred to me had I cared about his views on Obama. As it happens, Frankie's maternal grandfather is Italian, and his maternal grandmother is Irish. So I guess that makes him three-quarters Latino, if only half Hispanic (we here in the west use "Latino" and "Hispanic" interchangeably, but the broader, more correct usage of "Latin" includes those of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian descent).

    I'm generally more surprised to find that Mexicans I know are actually Sephardic Crypto-Jews. I always assumed that the Mexicans from the Rio Grande Valley were Catholic or Baptist. But then I remember that the Valley was being settled during the Inquisition, about the time that the Sephardim were being run out of Spain or forced to convert.

    Given the historical sexual exploitation of African slaves, I don't automatically assume that all white people are white, either. My mother could pass, and I know all her relatives.

    Assumptions are bad, mmmkay?

    And, yeah, kind of a racist thing. Assuming that Hispanic people are supposed to "look" a certain way and finding oneself "surprised" when you find some that don't is just not cool. It's up there on the level of making assumptions about people who wear hoodies.

  • Ben

    Frankie Muniz with facial hair makes me feel intensely uncomfortable.

  • Jessie Soto

    I we just having this discussion with my sister yesterday. My siblings and I are 100% Puerto Rican. My dad has the dark skin and the dark eyes, but my mom had red hair and fair skin, so we got her fair skin. No one has ever guessed we are Hispanic in any way, shape or form. They always guess Italian Japanese, or French. One time I went to Switzerland and asked for a Diet Coke at a McDonald's in my worst German and the guy behind the counter started having a conversation with me in German because I looked European. My sister and I cant decide whether people are being racist because there are generalisations as to what a Hispanic should look or sound like. Not all of us look and sound like Sofia Vergara or Shakira, you know.

  • Mark Maloney

    This topic just confuses me despite the efforts of posters to clarify. I'm old enough to remember when forms went from having check boxes for "White", "Black" or "Other", to adding one for "Hispanic". Watching international/World Cup soccer sort of blew that "clarity" for me. Having been raised in the 1960's and 1970's with a lot of confusing messages about race, culture, gender identity, etc. I've never really settled in on this classification of "Hispanic". If I move my lily-white, Anglo a** to a Spanish speaking country, stay there long enough, do I get to check that box? I dunno........at this point I'm trying to figure out the relevance of the question, or maybe thats the point, IT's IRRELEVANT!

  • mairimba

    The reason the Hispanic box was added is because it was/is confusing. Latinos/Hispanics are a mix of races so when you were/are given only two options to choose from, most people would classify themselves depending on the color of their skin, which resulted in a majority of Latinos identifying themselves as White in their census forms from the year 2000 and back.

  • Mark Maloney

    Thanks, and just to clarify I wasn't complaining about the forms with the added choice for "Hispanic". It seems like such a dated (and counter productive?) thing for a country's Government to be into officially counting "races" for any particular reason. It just was comical to me that, back then my soccer team in the Midwest had a Spaniard, an Argentine (who for all appearances seemed like a spanish speaking German to me), a Brazilian (spoke Portuguese), Costa Ricans and Mexicans, and all acted like they alone were the ones entitled to check that box. Different race and cultural topics to be sure.

  • ruz

    I was very surprised when Steven Bauer showed up as a Spanish-speaking character in season four of Breaking Bad - I had no idea he was Cuban.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Dustin. HOW DARE YOU! This post is totally offensive.

    If you are going to do a post with Odette you are contractually obligated to give us the white underwear/mirror shot from 'Unborn' dammit!

  • L.O.V.E.

    Little known fact: that vampire boy, despite his pale appearance, is actually a quadroon. At first, I was like, "No way, really"? And then upon closer inspection I totally got it.

  • e jerry powell

    I always thought he was octoroon...

    Never can tell, can we?

  • vbac23

    forget what you wrote all I can see is "Dat Ass"

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    This entire debate is bizarre. Is the thing that makes you "non-white" the existence of mestizo blood in your family tree? What if you were born in Mexico, and your parents, grandparents, great grandparents even great great, great grandparents had been born in Mexico, but no one in your family had reproduced with anyone other than others of straight spanish descent?

    Are you still a Latino?

    And if you are, then are all people from Spain latino? How about Italians from Sicily? What about the Portuguese?

  • e jerry powell


    Oh, and the Sicilians. Italian, North African, Greek. Frankly, anybody who had anywhere to go in the eastern Mediterranean conquered Sicily on the way and dropped a bunch of DNA there. That's why they're so culturally intriguing, in my opinion. And Anthony Bourdain agrees with me, so that's settled.

  • mairimba

    Latino Americans = From a Latin American country
    Hispano-Americans = From a Spanish Speaking country
    Ibero Americans = From a country that was a colony of Spain or Portugal

    Don't know about the Italians. Though they immigrated into some countries in South America (mostly Argentina) long ago.

  • e jerry powell

    I think that "Latin" that was used in the early part of the 20th century to refer to anyone that spoke Latin derivatives (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian), particularly men who fit into the "Latin Lover" Hollywood archetype (which was definitely inclusive of Italians), kind of morphed into "Latino" as specifically referential to Spanish-speaking Amerindians. I can't pinpoint a time specifically, because I haven't done a lot of reading about it (yet), but my opinion says that it came somewhere between the time that low-bred Anglo-Americans started referring to Hispanics as "spics" and the time that Colombian John Leguizamo reclaimed the pejorative in Spic-o-Rama.

    I'm joking. That's a really long span of time.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    In truth, it always ends up being about amerindian bloodline. Over 95% of the population of central and south america has at least some amerindian heritage, so it ends up being the default.

    From the (northern european) American perspective, it functions as shorthand for "Mexican" everywhere but Florida. For some, it's used as a racial slur, but that's faded.

    I guess thats why I look at this list more like a list of "people you didn't know were Irish".

  • BendinIntheWind

    Can I follow up with a list of "10 People You Didn't Realize Were Black Until You Looked Closer and Then Yeah That Totally Makes Sense"?


    ...this post is weird.

  • Ben

    I don't believe that Elba is black, that's a lie, and I won't believe it until someone posts numerous confirmation photos of him without much clothing on so I can carefully examine his skin tone to check....

  • e jerry powell

    Especially the high-and-tight, generously rounded backside. That's how everybody figured out Djimon Honsou.

  • Bea Pants

    Not to mention Steve Martin.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    IDRIS ELBA IS BLACK?!?!?! I'm going to have to re-watch The Wire now.

  • e jerry powell

    Just so long as you don't walk up to me at a party with a big smile, wanting to talk about it.

  • BendinIntheWind

    Whatever the reason, I support this decision.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Dustin obviously doesn't watch many telenovelas.

    Or know his Mexican History:



  • e jerry powell

    Well put. Not to mention all the Ashkenazic Jews (as well as the closeted German war criminals traveling incognito) that ended up in Argentina after World War II.

  • L.O.V.E.

    For example, did you know this man, William Levy, is "Hispanic". Its true!

  • He's the Brad Pitt of Latin America. You can't miss him even if you're just channel-flipping through Univision, that dude is EVERYWHERE.

  • e jerry powell

    I'd be more surprised to find out that he's not a gay porn star.

    I'm just sayin'. It's the standard-issue gay porn star over 25 look. That's not a six-pack, it's a baker's dozen.

  • Twillahiss

    I need to start watching gay porn.

  • Pawesl

    The ones with Hispanic last names shouldn't have been a surprise. It would have been more surprising if they 'werent' Hispanic.

  • barcia

    Maybe some of them came by the names through marriage or step-parents though?

  • e jerry powell

    Definitely not Diaz or Muñiz. Diaz's family is Spanish Cuban, Muñiz's father is New Jersey Puerto Rican.

  • junierizzle

    I always knew Aubrey Plaza and Odette Yustman were hispanic. They don't look "white" to me. But yeah, there are blonde, blue eyed latinos out there.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I'm kinda uncomfortable with this list. As a woman so white, I'm utterly translucent, I'm not seeing why I need to "look closer" to properly identify people.
    Of course, I'm mostly German, so categorizing people is something we try to avoid these days...

  • As a fellow Teutonic-American I also have a similar aversion to this. A big red "NEIN" popped up in my head while reading through it.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Also, I have a racist aunt that's always asking "what do you think she is? You think she has some black in her?" So my gut reaction to all this is to scream "WHY DOES IT MATTER" and run in circles in a white guilt panic.

  • alwaysanswerb

    White Guilt Panic is my next band name.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    You can do covers of blues and jazz, and apologize profusely after each song.

  • PDamian

    Whenever I hear someone ask, "Do you have some Hispanic in you?" I'm always tempted to answer, "Not at the moment, but I'd love some. Do you know a cute one who'd oblige?" I was once asked if I "had a little Hispanic in you," and I answered, "No, and I'd like a big one, if that's possible." Unfortunately, my mother was nearby, and was unamused -- both at the question and my response.

  • e jerry powell

    But you do get brownie points for the follow-through with the punchline.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    She didn't even give you points for creativity?

  • barcia

    Actually, it does matter to me (a brown girl). I would rather have people know my background--and I would rather know when I'm dealing with racists.

  • e jerry powell

    "I like my hatred right out there where I can see it."

    -- Cynthia Heimel, during her anti-PC crusade back in the nineties

    "'I just can't tell any of you Asians apart.'
    "'Why do you need to tell us apart? Are we going to be separated?'"
    -- Margaret Cho; the first time I heard this line in her act was at the beginning of the Notoroious C.H.O. tour, 9 September 2001. Of course, quite a bit of the set got shifted around a couple of days later, but that bit was still in there.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I respect that. I wouldn't want to inflict my aunt on anyone.

    I guess I come from a place where the question "What are you? Or what is your background?" seems rude. And part of the list seems to imply that these people are "passing", or attempting to pass, as white. When I don't believe that's the case.
    But again, I'm a white woman that's got a pretty grizzly legacy in her genetic background, so perhaps I'm overly sensitive and I'm not sure how much of a voice I truly deserve in this conversation.

  • Just tell your dear old aunt, "Probably about as much as our family has" and she will either misunderstand that as a "no" or else she will have an aneurism and she won't irritate you any more. Win-win.

  • e jerry powell

    Aneurism is best!

  • Bodhi

    Brilliant! I may use that line on my husband's grandmother.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Excellent idea! I'm using that!

  • Bodhi

    Yup, same here.

  • As a Latino Ninja (Latino but can blend in with los gringos) I applaud the work of my hermanos and hermanas in slowly letting everyone drop down their guard ahead of la revolucion.

    Your Jennifer Lawrences are belong to nosotros!

  • PDamian

    My lighter-skinned primos and I call ourselves "Stealth Latinos."

  • FireLizardQueen

    I'm totally stealing "Latino Ninja" that's so perfect!

  • Jessica Caldas

    I love love love Pajiba, but this list is totally rubbing me the wrong way. As BabbyBear points out, Hispanic people are pretty diverse-white, black, ginger. When you "look closer" what exactly are you seeing that makes them suddenly look Hispanic to you?

    (Just a disclaimer, I am a white Hispanic Latina)

  • OMG folks, un-twist your panties already. If you are truly a fan/regular reader of Pajiba you ought to be able to tell when the tongue is firmly embedded in the cheek.

  • e jerry powell

    Come on. When there's supposed to be surprise that a celebrity with a Spanish surname (e.g. the prominently-mentioned Cameron Diaz) is Hispanic, there's only so much humorously ironic hay one can make.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    For Frankie Muniz, it was probably the mustache.

  • FireLizardQueen

    I forgot my disclaimer, I'm a white hispanic as well. Half my family looks like Alexis Bledel.

  • Repo

    Well, there's a family reunion I want to attend.

  • Stephen Nein

    Senior high school girlfriend. When her parents showed up at my graduation party, my own parents freaked -- her dad, a wonderful, gentle man, is a first generation pueblos indígenas (indian-Peruvian). As BabyBear notes later on, 'hispanics' - spanish & portugese speaking, non-North Americans, are just as Skittled as . . um . . North Americans.

  • Shea Spruill

    Vanna Blanca!

  • earlybird

    Que bonita!

  • FireLizardQueen

    Hmmmm...Ok, I'll bite: you didn't realize they were Hispanic...because they're white.

    Just like Skittles, Hispanics come in every color of the rainbow.

  • e jerry powell

    Plus which, they're called HISPANIC because they speak SPANISH. You know Spain, the white people who colonized, like, seventy percent of the Western hemisphere, right? Their sexual fetishization of the non-white people they found (and the African people they imported) is largely responsible for the number of Spanish-surnamed brown and black people (and not just in Major League Baseball).

    sin intención de ofender.

  • Helo

    Preach it. I'm white Hispanic, albeit with French and Chinese genes thrown in. Certain spots in Latin America are big ethnic melting pots, such as my native Panama and Brazil.

  • e jerry powell

    Brazil is a massive, fun, beautiful melting pot!

  • mairimba

    Ya. This is pretty much what my family looks like.

  • PDamian

    Mine, too. And I have fair skin and blue eyes (think Alexis Bledel's coloring, although I look nothing like her otherwise, more's the pity), and I'm college educated, and my family is middle class, which means I get a lot of, "Did you marry a Mexican?" when people hear my last name.

  • e jerry powell

    Even if that doesn't make you angry, it makes ME angry on your behalf.

  • barcia

    Ah, the ol' "Did you marry a Mexican?" question. I've been getting it since I was fifteen.

  • AvaLehra

    It's better than the horrible, "You don't act Mexican" I would get when I was younger. What does that even mean?!

  • e jerry powell

    It's like the equally offensive "he's so articulate" that they throw at degreed black people.

  • Kris

    My favorite question is when total strangers come up and ask "What are you?" It seems like any ambiguously tan person is susceptible to breaking out in rude people at any moment.

  • e jerry powell

    Wanda Sykes says "anyone darker than khaki..."

    Ugh. I need to stop expecting that white people are somehow more... "enlightened."

  • AvaLehra

    NO KIDDING. Some guy thought he was being smooth once by walking up to me and saying, "I can't figure out what you are." A human being, asshole.

    I once had someone argue with me about my ethnicity.
    "You're Japanese, right?"
    "No. I'm Mexican."
    "Are you sure you're not Japanese?"
    "Yes. I am not Japanese."
    "That you know of!"

    Serenity now!

  • e jerry powell

    If you really wanted to annoy somebody, you could count the number of generations that it took the Mongols to migrate through eastern Russia, across the Bering land bridge, into Alaska, then Canada, then across North America until just before they got to Guatemala. That would eat up at least an hour of their time, and it would serve them right for being so presumptuous.

    But if you were aiming to REALLY piss them off, after you trace the Mongols, you could trace how long it took all the albinos cast out from the African tribes to migrate from sub-Saharan Africa into Europe to make white people. That's just extra credit, though.

  • Kris

    If I'm in in a bad mood, I screw with whoever's asking the asinine question by answering "American" or "female" or "shopping" or "irritated." 75% of the time, they re-ask the question in an even ruder way, their own rudeness dawns on them a nanosecond later, and then I get to watch them try to backpedal. Mean and childish, but fun.

  • e jerry powell

    And there are so many other adjectives to amuse yourself with in confounding them until they're blue in the face. "Itchy." "Hungry." (usually in concert with "Donner.") "Impatient." "In need of a cocktail."


  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Your family would make a lovely back splash.

  • AlabasterSalamander


  • Even Stevens

    Nope, even when you look closer, Louis C.K. does not make sense. That man is the gingeriest ginger around! I just don't see it.

  • marsaili

    Apparently there have been studies done recently that show that the Irish, Scottish and Welsh are originally from Spain. Wrap your head around that one!

  • kushiro -

    Check out boxer Saúl Álvarez, the pride of Mexico:

  • Jessie Soto

    This looks like a younger version of my youngest (who is half Puerto Rican and half English).

  • anikitty

    Or Blake Griffin's twin separated at birth.

  • The Walking Cuban

    Blake Griffin reminds me of freckle face black kids I use to hang with. One of em broke one of my teeth. Ginger black on black Cuban crime, I tells ya

  • kushiro -

    His nickname is Canelo (cinnamon), but he's often teased by people calling him Howdy Doody. To me he's Richie Cunningham.

  • BlackRabbit

    He looks like a serial killer. I mean he's got the "innocent Ted Bundy boy-next-door Criminal Minds" look.

  • anikitty

    Richie Cinnamon?

  • Hee. I just found out a couple of days ago that Louis CK was born in Mexico & Spanish was his first language (saw an old video of him from, I think, Conan). He was talking about a time he was in Southern CA and some woman was bitching her head off about "The Mexicans" and what horrible vermin they are etc. Of course, he made it funny.

  • It doesn't throw me off because there was a sent of fraternal twins that I went to college with. Their dad was Mexican American and their mom was white (I don't know what her specific heritage was). One of the twins looked like he was of Mexican heritage, the other was pale, freckled and ginger. Genetics are fun.

  • chanohack

    He's not even in the top ten gingeriest gingers!

  • Nat

    He was actually born in Mexico City and even has dual citizenship. I know what you mean though, the Eastern European part of his ancestry REALLY takes over his appearance. He's always looked Irish to me.

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