As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Variety and Variety Latino have joined forces to launch the “POWER OF LATINOS: 20 MOST INFLUENTIAL STARS LIST,“ spotlighting the most successful Latino film and TV actors in Hollywood (10 men and 10 women). The special appears in the September 30th issue of print Variety.
But rather than focus solely on their professional accomplishments, we went one step further, and looked at how influential and appealing they are within their own community.
It’s not about who makes the most money, wins the most awards or has the most followers on social media. We’ve seen those lists and there are few surprises there. What we wanted to explore was the relationship between mainstream success and that bond with the Latino audience. Ultimately, that’s the most valuable currency.
For this task, we commissioned the best in the business, Celebrity Branding Authority Jeetendr Sehdev — who recently conducted a similar survey for Variety showing that YouTube stars are more popular than mainstream celebrities among American teens — to survey a random sampling of Latino men and women in both Spanish and English, across U.S. cities, acculturation levels and age groups.
While the Latino community is highly diverse, the study focused on the bigger themes that emerged across the board, including perceived authenticity, relatability, likeability, accessibility, connectivity/social media engagement, reinvention, optimism, language, industriousness/work ethic, community activism and involvement, grace, style, humor, crossover appeal, desirability and individuality.
“Latino celebrity influence and appeal is especially powerful because it taps into these unique themes that are deeply ingrained in the Latino culture, across regions and across acculturation levels (whether Spanish or English dominant),” says Sehdev, analyzing the findings. “Conventional wisdom leads us to believe the bigger the celebrity, the more influential. However, the study reveals the Latino celebrities who seemingly integrate aspects of the Hispanic culture into the mainstream culture are in fact the most influential and respected.”
What’s more, he found that 78 percent of people surveyed agree that Latino celebrities who have crossed over into Hollywood from Spanish language media are good role models for the community, and 83 percent agree that humor permits a heightened emotional connection and increases engagement between themselves and the celebrity — which perfectly explains why a certain actor and actress landed at the top.
The findings, as a whole, are the most compelling measure of these celebrities’ personal brand power, seen through the lens of the Latino consumer.
Join the conversation via the hashtag #VLPowerList and visit varietylatino.com/poweroflatinos for more.