Hola Hollywood

Celebrities who speak Spanish, and why you should too

In the US, Spanish is the most spoken non-English language.

It is spoken by more than 38 million individuals and amazingly, not all of them are Hispanics. This makes US the fifth largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world, next to traditionally Hispanic countries such as Mexico, Spain, Colombia and Argentina.

Fluency in Spanish is a key communication skill for employment especially in a diverse and multi-cultural country such as the US.

In Hollywood, it is a fact recognized and appreciated by some of the industry’s top actors.

Here are five Hollywood celebrities who, not only dazzle with their big screen appeal, but with their impressive Spanish skills.

1.     Viggo Mortensen. In his youth, Mortensen lived with his family in Argentina where he acquired a proficiency of the Hispanic language. Aside from English and Spanish, he is also fluent in Danish and is conversational in French and Italian. He also understands Norweigan and Swedish. Mortensen also has some knowledge of Catalan.

2.     Gwyneth Paltrow. When she was 15 years old, Paltrow spent a year as an exchange student in Talavera de la Reina in Spain where she mastered the language. She was part of the TV series documentary Spain… On the Road Again with celebrity chef Mario Batali, food writer Mark Bittman and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols. The foursome toured different regions of Spain, exploring culinary traditions and history. During the show’s run, Paltrow displayed her strong grasp of Spanish. The Hollywood A-lister is also an “adopted daughter” of Talavera de la Reina.

3.     Freddie Prinze, Jr. Growing up with his paternal grandmother, Prinze had the chance to embrace his Puerto Rican heritage as a young boy. The actor and now-WWE producer and director speaks fluent Spanish, and Italian too.

4.     Alexis Bledel. The Gilmore Girls and Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants star was born in Texas but was raised in a Spanish-speaking household. She did not learn to speak English until she went to school. In fact, Bledel has stated that she considers herself a Latina.

5.     Michelle Rodriguez. Also born in Texas, Rodriguez and her family spent time living in Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico where she was able to hone her Spanish skills. In the filmMachete, Rodriguez plays Luz/She who is a revolutionary with mean fighting and Spanish-speaking chops.

Hollywood or not, it always pays to pack some Spanish. Not only does it enhance career opportunities and travel experiences, it also comes in handy when getting up close with Hollywood celebrities.

 

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