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Beyond the Red Carpet: Top Hispanic Celebrities on Health Care and Financial Security

These Latinos are riding high with breakthrough projects and multiple accolades. But their impact doesn't stop at the red carpet. Here, they sound off about their success and about financial security and health care.

 

Adriana Barraza

   

 

Ricardo Chavira

 

Emily Rios

   

 

Kenny Ortega

 

Daisy Fuentes

   

 

Sara Ramirez

 

Mario Lopez

   

 

Benito Martinez

 

Miguel Sandoval

   

 

Dan Guerrero

 

Adriana Barraza

This screen and stage veteran earned an Oscar nomination for her supporting role in Babel.

Adriana Barraza was a long-time stage and television actress before director Alejandro González Iñárritu picked her for Amores perros and for Babel, in which she played the suffering nanny Amelia. The character gave a face, Barraza says, to "those invisible Latinas who so lovingly take care of other people's children." As a single mother, Barraza forsook stardom for steady work as a director and acting coach. The Oscar nominee still directs a telenovela acting workshop for Telemundo and soon will appear in the feature film Henry Poole Is Here. "I'm proud to be 51, a Mexican, a Latina, and to do what I know how to do," she says.

On Health:

"[Health care] should be a main issue for our political leaders to address, since they are the voice of all people living in this country. Latinos here work very hard. They are—we are—a very important cog in the machinery that makes this country run, whether or not we have the proper papers. [Lack of access to health care] is troubling and sad."

On Financial Security:

"Go to banks and ask for the best [savings] option so you can get the best return for your money and have better access to education, to owning a house, and to health care. Ask and keep asking."

Ricardo Chavira

The "bad boy" on television's Wisteria Lane is moving on to roles on the big screen.
 
Ricardo Chavira relishes how his Carlos Solís character on ABC's Desperate Housewives has evolved over four seasons. "I used the models of...the Latino men I grew up with," says Chavira, 36, who flies home to Texas frequently to be with his young son. He'll appear in several upcoming films and has written his first script. "There aren't enough Latino writers, directors, or producers," he says. "I have the mind and the capability to handle those positions." As a teen, Chavira handled much more, losing his mother to cancer. This prompted his involvment with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

On Health:

"So many businesses no longer provide health care—they've taken those benefits away from their employees. My father just retired, and when he left he didn't get health benefits. I've seen these issues affecting my family and also my community."

On Financial Security:

"Financially, Latinos have always been family-oriented. I'm the first in my family to have this luxury that is financial security, and I'm doing my best to take care of it—not just for myself and for my family now but also to make sure my son has enough money for college."

Emily Rios

She made her screen debut in Quinceañera, the 2006 Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance.

Her role as the pregnant 15-year-old Magdalena earned Emily Rios ALMA and Imagen award nominations—not bad for a first-time actress discovered while shopping at a Southern California mall. "I decided to pursue acting as a career after Quinceañera," says the now 18-year-old, who has since worked on the features Vicious Circle (where she plays an epileptic rocker opposite Paul Rodríguez Jr.) and The Blue Hour (she's a Los Angeles graffiti artist). "I've learned so much with every project and every single person I've worked with," she says. "Every day I take it as a complete honor to be part of this industry."

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