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Celebrities We Thought Were Latino, But Aren't

First Posted: 03/ 3/2012 10:56 am   Updated: 04/ 6/2012 12:13 pm

Jennifer Esposito played the role of a detective named Ria in the Oscar-winning film "Crash" and we actually believed that she was Latina for a second. When Linsday Hartley starred as doctor Cara Castillo in "All My Children", we were convinced she was one of us.

We've seen them play Latino characters on TV, we've seen them on the big screen, we've seen them on reality TV -- and all along we thought there was a part of them, even an eensy weensy part, that was warm blooded. In contrast to these celebrities who surprised us with their Hispanic heritage, the following convinced us that they had some Latino in them. But we were wrong.

From German to Filipino, to Italian and Irish, these celebrities come from diverse backgrounds with definitely no Hispanic heritage in the mix.

Check out these celebrities we thought were Latino. Did they fool you too?

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  • Carmen Electra

    Although we would love to claim her as a Latina, the former "Baywatch" actress, is in fact of Irish and German stock. Perhaps it's her stage name (her real name is Tara Leigh Patrick) -- Carmen -- a traditional Hispanic name, which has confused fans of her origins. Or perhaps it's her former marriage to <a href="" target="_hplink">Mexican-American guitarist Dave Navarro,</a> who's played with Jane's Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Sad, but Electra doesn't have much Latino blood in her.

  • Jesse Metcalfe

    Jesse Metcalfe was first launched into the public eye with his role as the Latino character Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald on the soap opera "Passions." Although Metcalfe played a convincing role as Lopez-Fitzgerald, the actor is not really Hispanic, but comes close! Metcalfe dad's is of French and Italian descent and his mother is of Italian and Portugese descent, <a href="" target="_hplink">according to</a>. Metcalfe also is best known for his role as Gabrielle Solis' (played by Eva Longoria) gardener and love interest on the hit series 'Desperate Housewives'.

  • Jennifer Esposito

    Jennifer Esposito has tricked us multiple times. Although Esposito is not actually Latina, she's played quite a number of Latina characters during her career. And she does it oh so well. She's remembered for her role as Latina detective, Ria in the Oscar-winning film "Crash". She also played the role of the Hispanic counselor <a href="" target="_hplink">Mrs. Diaz in the independent film "Mamitas." </a> Esposito was even nominated as one of <a href="" target="_hplink">the top 10 Latina models in a competition sponsored by the modeling agency Latinas inc. </a> As much as we like Esposito and would be proud to call her Latina, she is of Italian-American descent and was born in Brooklyn, New York. Esposito currently plays Detective Jackie Curatola on the CBS show <a href="" target="_hplink">"Blue Bloods". </a>

  • Christian Siriano

    Many believed that Christian Siriano, the winner of "Project Runway's" forth season and one of the <a href="" target="_hplink">show's favorite contestants ever</a>, was of Hispanic descent. Siriano's "hispanic heritage" meme, might have spun out of his final collection for Project Runway which was inspired by <a href="" target="_hplink">18th Century paintings from Spain.</a> The designer is of Italian descent.

  • Shannon Elizabeth

    Shannon Elizabeth will forever be remembered as Nadia, the sexy foreign exchange student from Czechoslovakia and as the love interest of Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias in his music video <a href="" target="_hplink">"Be With You." </a> But despite these characters, Elizabeth is neither Czech nor Spanish. <a href="" target="_hplink">She's from Houston, Texas and Syrian/Lebanese descent from her father's side and English, Irish and German from her mother's side.</a> Definitely no Spanish blood there.

  • Daniel Sunjata

    It's easy to confuse Tony-award winning actor Daniel Sunjata, for a Latino man. After all he played the part of Hispanic firefighter, Lieutenant Franco Rivera, <a href="" target="_hplink">the notorious ladies man</a>, for seven seasons on the hit FX series "Rescue Me." But Sunjata is actually of Irish and German descent.

  • Vanessa Minnillo

    Many think Vanessa Minnillo, former Miss Teen USA, is Latina but the truth is Minnillo does not have any Latino blood in her. Despite often being cast in TV roles as a Latina -- including an episode of <a href="" target="_hplink">"30 Rock" where she played Carmen Chao</a> -- Minnillo is part-Italian, part-Irish and part-Filipina.

  • Michael Copon

    "One Tree Hill" fans, brace yourself. Michael Copon, aka Felix Taggaro, who played Sofia Bush's (Brooke) love interest and Lucas' rival in the second season of the CW hit series, is not Latino. Copon <a href="" target="_hplink">is of Filipino and German descent</a>.

  • Lindsay Hartley

    Lindsay Hartley starred in "All My Children" as <a href="" target="_hplink">doctor Cara Castillo</a>, who adopts the name Cara Finn when she travels to the U.S. in pursuit of her ex-husband. As is often the case, the ruse eventually is discovered and the good doctor has to face <em>La Migra</em>. Despite the perfectly-pitched dramatic notes Hartley brought to the role, she's not Hispanic. The actress is actually <a href="" target="_hplink">part-Greek and part-Italian.</a> Hartley also played Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald Crane, a working-class Latina on the NBC soap "Passions" and as Arianna Hernandez in the soap opera "Day of Our Lives". Clearly there's a <em>telenovela</em> in her future, no?

  • Cassie Steele

    For nine seasons we saw Cassie Steele play Manuella "Manny" Santos in the hit Canadian TV series "Degrassi: The Next Generation". Santos had problems with boyfriends, friends, went through abortion, an embarrassing topless photo of her surfaced the internet, etc. Drama in the best "Degrassi" style. And through all that drama Steele had us fooled that she was in fact Latina. But unlike her character "Manny", Steele is not Hispanic. She is in fact Canadian of British and Filipino descent.

  • Joe Jonas

    In a <a href="" target="_hplink">mun2 comedic short</a>, teen phenom Joe Jonas poked fun at the fact that a lot of his fans think he's Latino: "It's interesting, it seems like a lot of fans think I'm Latino for some reason. It's confusing, I really don't understand it," he said. In the short--which you can watch here--Joe talks in Spanish slang (dimelo loco!), listens to banda and orders a lunch that consists of arroz con pollo con frijoles negros (rice with chicken, black beans), dos albondigas (two meatballs) and tres chuletas (pork chops).

  • Giancarlo Esposito

    The "Once Upon A Time" star has a Latino last name (Esposito) and he's played Latino characters in several movies and television shows. He was the Nuyorican poet Miguel Algarin in the biopic, <strong>Pi&ntildeero</strong> (2001) and starred as the Puerto Rican father of Omarion Grandberry's character in <strong>Feel the Noise</strong> (2007). But Esposito--who won rave reviews for his turn as Gustavo "Gus" Fring on AMC's critically acclaimed series <strong>Breaking Bad</strong>--has no Latin roots to speak of. He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark to an Italian father and an African-American mother.

  • Maria Menounos

    This television correspondent <strong>(Today, Access Hollywood)</strong> and sometimes actress <strong>(One Tree Hill, Entourage)</strong>, is 100% Greek, but she says people constantly mistake her for Latina. <strong>"Fred Berry (What's Happening!!)</strong>, said the only reason he came on to my first film -- <strong>In the Land of Merry Misfits</strong> was because he thought I was Latina," Menounos tells "Magazines and stars always thought I was Latina -- everyone has thought this," she adds.

  • Antonio Sabato Jr.

    A lot of people think of former Calvin Klein underwear model Antonio Sabato Jr. as a quintessential Latin lover. Trouble is Antonio--who was born in Rome, Italy to an Italian father and a Czechoslovakian mother--doesn't have Latin roots. Still, that hasn't stopped him from taking on Latino roles, like his role as Pablo Alesandro, an Argentinean Latin lover in the independent film, Testosterone (2003).

Also on HuffPost, Latinos You Didn't Think Were Latinos:

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  • Alexis Bledel

    Who would've thought that little Rory Gilmore is a Latina? But Alexis Bledel, who starred as Gilmore in the CW series Gilmore Girls has Latino genes coming from both sides of her family. Bledel, who was born in Houston, Texas, is daughter of a Mexican mother and an Argentinian father, <a href="" target="_hplink">according to her official bio on IMDB.</a> Even though she pretended not to be be fluent in Spanish in <a href="" target="_hplink">this Gilmore Girls' episode,</a> Bledel's first language is in fact Spanish.

  • Kid Cudi

    Kid Cudi became a music sensation after his song "Day n' Nite" debuted in 2008. Kid Cudi, whose birth name is Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to an African American mother and a Mexican father, <a href="" target="_hplink">according to Latina.</a> Since his mega hit in 2008, the rapper has also ventured into the acting world. He plays Domingo Brown on the HBO series, "How to Make it in America".

  • Aubrey Plaza

    Yes, comedian Aubrey Plaza is Latina! Plaza, who plays Amy Poehler's bratty college intern, April, on the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation is half Puerto Rican. She grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. "I have a huge family and tons of cousins in Puerto Rico. We actually hung out with them last summer, and it was awesome", <a href="" target="_hplink">she told Latina.</a> Plaza had her big Hollywood break when she appeared as Daisy in Judd Apatow's movie "Funny People".

  • David Blaine

    David Blaine, the magician known for his over-the-top, life threatening tricks, is Latino. His father is Puerto Rican, <a href="" target="_hplink">according to Latina. </a> He <a href="" target="_hplink">has levitated on camera</a>, he was <a href="" target="_hplink">drowned alive</a> and <a href="" target="_hplink">froze himself in a 6-ton block of ice in New York City's Times Square </a>, from which he emerged 61 hours later.

  • Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi

    Although Snooki became famous by playing a Jersey Shore' guidette, a term which usually refers to Italians, Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi is actually Latina. She was born in Chile but was adopted by Italian American parents, <a href="" target="_hplink">according to her bio on IMDB.</a>

  • David Gallagher

    For ten seasons you watched David Gallagher play <a href="" target="_hplink">Simon Camden, the cute little blonde boy turned rebellious teenager</a> in the show "7th Heaven." Simon was a member of the Christian, white, suburban Camden household. His blonde locks and green eyes made him a perfect fit for the Camden family. But Gallagher was born in Flushing, Queens, to a Cuban mother, <a href="" target="_hplink">according to Latina. </a>

  • Odette Yustman

    Odette Yustman appeared with Megan Fox in the action-thriller "Transformers." But her big break came when she starred in the 2009 horror film "The Unborn." The stunning actress was born in Los Angeles, California, to a Cuban mother and a Colombian father, according to Ethnicelebs. She's been appearing regularly on "House" since the show began it's eighth season this year.

  • Vanessa Marcil

    Vanessa Marcil is best known her role as Gina Kincaid, the little vixen on Aaron Spelling's series, Beverly Hills, 90210. She later went on to play Sam, a tough business woman, for five years in the NBC show "Las Vegas." Marcil, whose birth name is Sally Vanessa Ortiz, was born in Indio, California, to a Mexican father and a French mother.

  • Louis C.K.

    Louis C.K. is one of the hottest comedians now. C.K. writes, acts, directs, and edits his sitcom "Louie" Louis C.K. was born to an American mother of Irish ancestry and a Mexican father. The famous comedian lived in Mexico till the age of 7 before moving to the U.S. His first language is Spanish.

  • Noomi Rapace

    Noomi Rapace is one of Hollywoods hottest international stars. The Swedish beauty became a household name after her big breakthrough role as Lisbeth Salander in the film of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo". What most people don't know is the actress is also part-Spanish. Rapace was born in Sweden, to a Swedish mom, actress Nina Nor&eacuten and a Spanish father, flamenco dancer Rogelio Dur&aacuten. Rapace also got casted as Lisbeth Salander in the sequels, "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest". She made her English language debut film in "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" as Madam Simza Heron.


Filed by Laura Steiner  |