The entire time she was competing on "American Idol," half-Mexican contestant Jessica Sanchez knew she had the support of the Latino community. In fact, Sanchez told The Huffington Post on Friday that it was that support that made her work even harder to win "American Idol" season 11. "It kind of pushed me even more because I wanted to make them proud," Sanchez told us. "I made it this far and I'm glad I could do that for the Latin community!"

The 16-year-old singer from Chula Vista, California (who is also half-Filipino) spoke to The Huffington Post about her Latin roots, the Latino singers she most admires, and her plans to record a Spanish-language album!

First of all, congratulations on all of your Idol success!
Thank you!

We know you're half-Mexican and half-Filipino. Can you break down your Latin roots?
I'm Mexican and my dad is Mexican, but I didn't grow up with him speaking Spanish to me, so I don't really know much. {But} I'm proud to be Mexican. I'm proud of both my ethnicities.

Did you grow up with any Latino traditions?
I'm not really sure because I have both (Mexican and Filipino), so there was a bunch of stuff thrown at me, and I live in the States, so it wasn't just one thing...

The Latino community really rallied behind you and wanted you to become the first Latina to win "American Idol." Were you aware of the community's support during the competition?
Yeah, and that was...it kind of pushed me even more because I wanted to make them proud and I'm glad that I did. I made it this far and I'm glad I could do that for the Latin community!

Would you ever release a Spanish-language album?
I would, yeah. I think the language is beautiful and I have {sung in Spanish} in the past. I don't know how to speak it, but definitely in the future, I would love to do that. I have a really good ear.

Are there any Latin singers like Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato that you look up to?
I love Selena - not Selena Gomez, but Selena Selena...Selena Quintanilla.

jessica sanchez

When Phillip Phillips was named this year's "American Idol," a lot of people took to Twitter to tweet that you were robbed. How do you feel about the reaction that many fans had?
I'm happy for him. The last couple of days, we were hanging out because we were the last two. I couldn't have been with anybody better. He is an amazing artist, he's original and I can't find anybody else like Phillip Phillips. He really fought for this and I think he deserved to win 100 percent.

How hard was it to compete on a show like "American Idol?"
It was life-changing. I used to be home-schooled and I had my own hours - I could sleep whenever I wanted, wake up whenever I wanted and now I'm on this busy schedule and everything has to happen in order for the show to go {well} and in order to prove yourself as an artist. This show is perfect for people that are really serious about this. I fought through and I made top two, so I'm happy about that.

What's next for you?
Well, next there's a lot of stuff. I'm going to do a couple of events here and there and then go on tour. And then hopefully when I'm on tour, or as soon as possible, I'm going to try and work on some songs for my album.

JESSICA SANCHEZ ON STAGE:

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  • In this April 25, 2012 photo released by Fox, contestant Jessica Sanchez performs on the singing competition series "American Idol," in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Fox, Michael Becker)

  • In this May 9, 2012 photo released by Fox, contestant Jessica Sanchez performs on the singing competition series "American Idol," in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Fox, Michael Becker)

  • Jessica Sanchez

  • In this May 9, 2012 photo released by Fox, contestant Jessica Sanchez from the singing competition series "American Idol," is shown on stage in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Fox, Michael Becker)

  • In this April 4, 2012 photo released by Fox, Jessica Sanchez performs on the singing competition series "American Idol," in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Fox, Michael Becker)

  • In this March 7, 2012 photo released by Fox, contestant Jessica Sanchez, of San Diego, Calif., 16, performs on the singing competition series "American Idol," in Los Angeles. On the Fox show's 400th episode, the men tackled songs from Stevie Wonder's catalogue and the women choose from Whitney Houston's hits, a tribute to the singer who died Feb. 11, on the eve of the Grammy Awards, at age 48. Sanchez performed Houston's "I Will Always Love You." (AP Photo/Fox, Michael Becker)

  • In this May 10, 2012 photo released by Fox, the final three contestants from the singing competition series "American Idol," from left, Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez and Josh Ledet pose in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Fox, Michael Becker)