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7 Facts About U.S. Open Champion Naomi Osaka (Including How Her Mixed Heritage Has Affected Her Identity)

This past Sunday the world watched as tennis champion Naomi Osaka defeated legend Serena Williams in a controversial match at the U.S. Open women’s final in New York that upset viewers and users on social media. The 20-year-old star athlete went pro five years ago in 2013 and has been dominating the tennis courts ever since. This past year has been a string of especially impressive wins for the tennis player who has won matches against Maria Sharapova and Karolína Plíšková as well as tennis’ current world lead Simona Halep.

Here’s a look at 8 fascinating facts about the women’s all-star and the new reina de la tennis court. Including who her celebrity crush is.

She’s of Haitian descent.

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Semis ❤️

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Osaka was born in Chūō-ku, Osaka to a Japanese mother, Tamaki Osaka, and a Haitian father, Leonard “San” François. Osaka took her mother’s maiden name. She holds dual Japanese and American citizenship.

Her biracial identity has caused familial disputes.

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Japan is a pretty racially homogeneous country, where because of her biracial identity, Osaka is considered “hāfu,” or a person who is of mixed-race. When Osaka’s Japanese grandfather discovered that her mother had become romantically attached to a Black man, he became furious and as a result, her mother became estranged from her family for almost over ten years. Speaking about the racial assumptions and prejudices she has had to face her entire life, Osaka has said that people are often confused when they see her in Japan. “From my name, they don’t expect to see a black girl.”

She’s faced with quite a bit of labels.

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Like most Latinas living in the United States, Osaka has a pretty complex and mixed identity. The fact that she is a Japanese-born woman with a Haitian-American father who doesn’t speak Japanese fluently and was raised in the United States doesn’t make her descriptors any easier. Media outlets have described her as being Japanese, Haitian, American, Japanese- American, Japanese Haitian, and Haitian-American-Japanese.

She knows how to win.

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During the 2018 US Open, Osaka became the first Japanese citizen to win a Grand Slam singles tournament when she won her big match against Serena Williams. Her current world ranking is No. 7. With a serve that has hit up to 125 miles per hour, there’s no doubting her force and strength in the game.

She’s got jokes.

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All smiles here ????

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Despite her apparent shyness, Naomi has become known amongst reporters for her sharp sense of humor. In 2017, the tennis star won laughs during an interview in which she talked about letting her mind wander during practice. “Once I was practicing, right, and my whole practice– you know, there is that commercial that says ‘If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma,’ that’s all I could think about for the whole practice. I was like, why do I keep thinking  this?”

Her father got her into tennis because of the Williams sisters.

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After seeing the two sisters play at the 1999 French Open, Osaka’s father decided to give her and her sister tennis lessons. Osaka grew up idolizing Williams and ultimately crushed her as an opponent for the first time at the WTA Tour earlier this year and defeated the American tennis legend once again at the U.S. Open over the weekend.

Her sister, Mari, is her doubles partner.

Mari Osaka was born two years before her sister Naomi and is also a professional tennis player who represents Japan. The two sisters have competed alongside each other in matches as doubles partners. Unlike Naomi, Mari speaks fluent English and Japanese.

She’s got a thing for Michael B. Jordan.

During an interview on “The Ellen Show,” Ellen Degeneres asked the tennis star which celebrity she currently had a crush on. Osaka replied “I don’t know his name but he was in Black Panther,” she said. “He was the villain.” Ellen replied saying “Oh Michael B. Jordan, you want me to text him?” Osaka responded with a blush and insisted that Ellen shouldn’t.

Read: Jillian Mercado Is The Disabled Latina Making Fashion Accessible

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Latinas Are Gearing Up To Run 2019: From Tessa Thompson’s Role in The New ‘MIB’ To J.Lo’s Skin Care Line, Here’s A Look

Fierce Boss Ladies

Latinas Are Gearing Up To Run 2019: From Tessa Thompson’s Role in The New ‘MIB’ To J.Lo’s Skin Care Line, Here’s A Look

As 2018 inches toward its finale, we can’t help but look forward to the new year and get excited for all of the exciting and unpredictable things that 2019 has in store. Among the things we’re excited about is a newly-announced skincare line from the venerable Jennifer Lopez, which is set to be released in late 2019. But Lopez isn’t the only Latina that has exciting projects lined up in the new year. In fact, so far 2019 is shaping up to be a year chock full of Latina-Power so far. In addition to Lopez, we’ve rounded up some Latina-Power Projects to look forward to in the new year, starting with the ageless goddess herself.

Jennifer Lopez


In response to a question about her skincare routine during her promotional tour of Second Act, Lopez revealed that she “will be coming out with a skincare line” that she’s been “working [on] for a long time”. She further explained why she decided to release it after her makeup collection, saying, “I don’t want to put [just] anything out”. According to Lopez, she hopes the line “encompasses all of the things I’ve learned, all of the secrets I have”. And suddenly, 2019 can’t come fast enough.

Gina Rodriguez


There will be no escaping Gina Rodriguez in 2019–not that we’d want to. Not only will her action-thriller Miss Bala (a film with a 95 percent Latinx cast and crew) hit theaters in February, she will also be voicing the iconic Latina character Carmen San Diego in Netflix’s animated re-boot, set to premiere on January 18. And lest we forget, the fifth and final season of Jane the Virgin is rumored to be premiering in early 2019, officially making next year the property of Gina Rodriguez.

Cardi B


Cardi B can’t–and won’t–slow down. Not only is she scheduled to make regular, showstopping appearances into 2019, but she’ll also be making money moves with her lucrative partnership with Reebook. It’s safe to assume that Cardi isn’t going anywhere for a long time.

Rita Moreno


As we announced before, Rita Moreno is set to appear in Steven Spielberg’s much-anticipated remake of the beloved classic, Westside Story. According to Deadline, the actress will play an “expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store” from the original movie. According to Moreno, she is “tingling” over the opportunity to re-visit the story that made her a legend. She further stated: “Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work, and to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling!”. We can’t wait to see her back on the silver screen where she belongs.

Tessa Thompson


Tessa Thompson isn’t letting some out-dated name of a movie stop her. In 2019, the talented Mexican-Panamanian actress will be starring in a “Men in Black” reboot with Chris Hemsworth. The fact that an Afro-Latina is headlining a movie that literally has “men” in the title is so refreshing–we can’t wait to see Thompson break down more barriers in 2019.

Isabela Moner


As soon as we heard that a live-action version of “Dora the Explorer” would be coming to a theater near us, we couldn’t wait to see what Latina fabulosa would fill Dora’s little white tennis shoes. Luckily for us, we weren’t disappointed. Peruvian-American Nickelodeon star Isabela Moner was announced as the actress who had won the part among many. Moner stated that she was “excited and honored” to get to play the iconic character. “I grew up watching the show, and for me, especially as a Latina, Dora was an amazing role model”, she said. We can’t wait to catch Moner in theaters on August 22nd.

Valentina Garza


Yes, we’re sad that “Jane the Virgin” is coming to an end, but we can’t help but be excited about its recently-announced spinoff. And in even more exciting news, this time the show will be run by Cuban-American writer/producer Valentina Garza. This will mark the first time a Latina has been a showrunner of a CW show. No news yet on when the new anthology series will premiere, but either way, Garza will have her hands full with development and pre-production all of 2019.

Anjelah Johnson/America Ferrera/Emilia Serrano

@mexemilia/Twitter. @americaferrera/Instagram. @anjelahjohnson/Instagram.

In November, deadline announced that it was developing a sitcom called “All Fancy” that is starring Mexican-American comedian Anjelah Johnson, written by Mexican-American writer Emilia Serrano, and produced by Honduran-American actress, philanthropist and overall powerhouse America Ferrera. According to “Deadline”, the series will revolve around Johnson playing a “newly successful 30-something Mexican-American woman who often goes against cultural and social expectations”. Kudos for these Latina ladies making waves in Hollywood.

Gina Torres


Finally, Cuban-American actress Gina Torres is getting her day in the sun. After co-starring in “Suits” for six years, USA Network has given Torres her very own spinoff that is currently in production and set to premiere in 2019. According to Deadline, the series, entitled “Second City”, will center on Torres’s iconic character Jessica Pearson as she “enters the dirty world of Chicago politics”. It’s so rare that a Latina–let alone an Afro-Latina–has the chance to star in her own show, that we’re jumping up and down for joy because of this one. We know Torres will be her usual, mesmerizing self in this role.

Read: After A Judge Ordered Activist Ale Pablos’ Deportation, Thousands Sign Petition Urging Arizona Governor For A Pardon

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From Coach To Anastasia Beverly Hills Latinas Are Snatching Up Some Of The Most Influential Brands With Collaborations

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From Coach To Anastasia Beverly Hills Latinas Are Snatching Up Some Of The Most Influential Brands With Collaborations

In light of Cardi B’s groundbreaking (and not to mention, lucrative) partnership with Reebok, we decided to do a little digging into other partnerships Latinas have made with powerhouse brands. Although the specifics of the deal haven’t been confirmed, early estimate suggests that the contract is worth millions. This just further proves that no one in the industry works harder than Cardi to make that shmoney. In fact, Reebok will be the third brand she’s collaborated with, after Fashion Nova and Steve Madden.

In order to celebrate Latinas making a name for themselves and making money, we’ve compiled a list of fabulous Latina stars cum entrepreneurs that have collaborated with big-name brands and put their own personal twist on name brand staples. Take a look below!

1. Selena Gomez + Coach


Selena Gomez and Coach launched a much-anticipated collection of handbags in Fall 2018 and the collection had Selena stans (and the internet in general) going crazy with excitement. Like many of the collabs on this list, this partnership was a lucrative one, with Selena signing a contract worth a reported $10 million. Gomez, who also serves as Coach’s brand ambassador, says the partnership happened “organically” and came to be when the brand wanted a “different perspective on [her] generation”. Excuse us while we do some online shopping.

2. Demi Lovato + Fabletics


In Spring 2018, our flawed and fierce musical queen released her third collection with Fabletics appropriately titled “Demi Lovato for Fabletics”. The collaboration came to be when Demi and Fabletics co-founder Kate Hudson ran into each other by chance at the gym! According to Demi, the line is meant for all women, stating “we all have different body types, different shapes and sizes, and it’s important not to exclude anybody”. And although Demi is taking a break from work after relapsing in July, Fabletics still supports her completely, saying they “send her our love and support as she finds the strength to recover”. Now that’s a meaningful partnership!

3. Camila Cabello + L’Oreal Paris


On the heels of Camila’s hugely successful single “Havana”, she and L’Oreal Paris partnered to release a line of Cubana-inspired bronzer, lip gloss, and eyeliner. And because it’s a drugstore brand, buying it will be easy on your wallet. Needless to say, the venture was incredibly successful, and Youtube practically exploded with inspo looks and step-by-step tutorials on how to achieve the perfect Havana “look”. Just another example of how Camila is slaying the game and making her mark in the industry. We love you, girl!

4. Nicole Richie + Revolve


It’s no surprise that boho-chic Latina Nicole Richie took her spot-on fashion instincts and used them to partner with a renowned brand. What started off as a simple collaboration between her and the millenial-focused e-commerce site Revolve has morphed into a full-blown fashion line called “House of Harlow 1960”. Richie acts as the founder and head creative director for the line, which you can stalk over at their inspo-inducing Instagram. We always new that Richie was a fashion genius, but it’s still satisfying to see her being a boss babe in all the ways we knew she could be.

5. Bella Thorne + Buxom


Good girl gone bad Bella Thorne partnered with Buxom Cosmetics to create social media content promoting the lip-plumping products as part of their new strategy to target the younger-skewing Instagram audience. According to the rebellious Cubana, what made her and Buxom a match made in heaven is that they both “love to do it big”. You can say that again! According to Buxom, Bella acts as “Queen Babe” to Buxom’s “Band of Babes” that are involved in promoting the brand. We love how comfortable Bella is in expressing her sexy side.

6. Eva Mendez + New York & Co.


Eva Mendes is number one on this list because her collaboration with New York & Co on a clothing line was so successful, it is credited with “saving” the company. Mendes has had her very own line at the classy chic store since 2013 and now NY&C has extended her contract to 2019, further proving her worth to the company. As to what makes the line so popular? Mendes credits it to her strong connection to her fans. If spending all our money at New York & Co turns us into Eva Mendes, we’re committed to going bankrupt.

7. Jennifer Lopez + Inglot


If there’s one thing J.Lo knows, it’s how to leverage her many talents into a paycheck. She’s also smart enough to know that everyone and their mother would spare a pretty penny or two to look like her. That’s why we have to hand it to her for seizing the opportunity to release a 70-piece makeup collection with high-end makeup brand, Inglot. And before you ask–yes, there is a bronzer in this collection! In fact, there are a few of them. That means the J.Lo glow can now be all yours. We ain’t mad at it!

8. Isabela Moner + JC Penney


The Peruvian-American Nickelodeon star took over the reigns from Laurie Hernandez to be the face of JC Penney’s Obsess line for girls aged 7-16. According to the mega-brand, the line is meant for social-media savvy girls “move rapidly from one fashion trend to another”. The capsule collection, which Moner had a hand in designing, is supposed to “represent [her] style” which is “comfortable but still super cute”. Can you blame us for wanting to be 16 again simply in order to rock these trendy outfits?

9. Nicole Guerriero + Anastasia Beverly Hills


Nicole Guerrirero is the first Latina on this list who rose to fame through Youtube. That means she’s 100% self-made, which we love. In 2017, she released a beautiful highlighter palette called the “Anastasia Beverly Hills Nicole Glow Kit” which practically took over the Instagram beauty world. It was so successful, that the company completely ran out of stock and had to replenish their supply due to popular demand! We hope that Nicole and ABH release more collaborations in the future, because this one just served to whet our appetite!

10. La La Anthony + Lord and Taylor


Not only is La La Anthony beautiful and big-hearted, she’s also a fashionista! The Puerto-Rican personality and actress partnered with Lord and Taylor to release her own line of clothing entitled “From Day To Play to Slay”. The line is a mix of LaLa’s signature Brooklyn street style and Lord and Taylor’s famous “professional woman” look. And leave it to LaLa to keep it real, the line is size-inclusive, which means it offers a range of sizes from 0-24! Count us in.

11. Joan Smalls + Smart and Sexy (Walmart)


Puerto-Rican supermodel Joan Smalls no doubt has her pick of designers to choose from when it comes to collaborating on a collection. That’s why it surprised everyone–not to mention, warmed our hearts–when she went with Walmart-distributed line, Smart and Sexy. Smalls is in charge of designing both intimate apparel and swimwear for the line, and none of the pieces should cost you  more than $25. Smalls gave an insight into her design process stating that she takes multiculturalism into mind because she “wants something that my mother can wear, that my sister can wear, that my friends can wear” and wants to be “thoughtful and mindful of everyone”. We agree 100%.

12. Sofia Vergara + K-Mart


Sofia Vergara may have more endorsements than she knows what to do with, but her partnership with K-Mart was one of the first time she had her name attached to something that she was involved with professionally and creatively. In 2011 K-Mart and Vergara partnered up to launch a line of women’s clothing named “Sofia”. It didn’t hurt that the contract was also reportedly worth millions. According to Vergara, she designed the line with the intent to make it “comfortable and chic, affordable, and versatile to wear from day to the night”. Is there nothing this woman can’t do?

13. Daisy Fuentes + HSN


The prolific Cuban-American TV host, comedian, and model stretched her creative muscles by partnering up with the Home Shopping Network for her own clothing line. Daisy describes her customer as a woman who “mixes and matches and understands high and low end”. She also knows the value of affordability when it comes to clothes, stating that she doesn’t believe a woman “[should] have to choose between [her] mortgage and a new handbag”. We appreciate the rare celebrity who recognizes the day-to-day lifestyle of the average woman.

14. Gina Rodriguez + Naja


Never the girl to do something half way, Gina Rodriguez loved the Naja underwear brand and what it represented so much, that she partnered with the co-founder (fellow Latina Catalina Girald) to act as co-owner and investor. Funny enough Rodriguez and Girald met at an event entitled “Nine Up and Coming Nueva Latinas” and had so much in common that they decided to join forces. This partnership isn’t so much of a collaboration as a full-blown business venture, but are you surprised? Gina is know to be an over-achiever. The brand is also committed to empowering women, and their employees are overwhelmingly made up of underprivileged women, like single mothers struggling to pay the bills. Just another reason to stan for Gina.

15. Adriana Lima + Puma


If you follow Brazilian Supermodel Adriana Lima, then you know that she’s as committed to fitness as she is to walking the runway.  In October, Puma announced that they will be partnering with Lima, making her the official brand ambassador pf the activewear line. The partnership will entail her promoting the sportswear on her various social media accounts under the hashtag #TeamLima and, of course, wearing the pieces every chance she gets. No word yet on whether she’ll have a hand in creating any new designs for the sportswear line, but if she does, you can count us as buyers!

17. Jessica Alba + DL1961


Although she’s already a wildly successful entrepreneur in her own right, Jessica Alba dipped her toe in the designing pool with her collaboration with DL1961 that launched in the Fall of 2016. The clothing line is exclusively jeans, a textile that Alba is passionate about, because according to her, “feeling beautiful and confident in a pair of jeans is what every woman wants”. And every one to keep it eco-friendly, like her Honest brand, the line is made in an environmentally friendly manner as well.

18. Fergie + Wet N’ Wild


Want to look like sultry Latina singer Fergie? Luckily, she’s released an affordable line of makeup with Wet N’ Wild to help you make your dreams into a reality. Fergie grabbed her Wet N Wild “Ambassador” role by the horns and first released a successful collection of nail polishes with the mega-brand. She then expanded the line to include color cosmetics. The fierce and affordable makeup line was called “Centerstage” and had fans everywhere flocking to their local drugstore.

19. Salma Hayek + Juice Generation


The uber-talented, uber-classy Salma Hayek was so impressed with Juice Generation as a company, that she contacted its founder directly in order to get her foot in the door. What resulted was a groundbreaking collaboration called “Blend it Yourself”, which is described as “a subscription service that brings smoothies and açaí bowls to freezers all over the country”. Hayek also disrupted the business model further when she promoted “Blend it Yourself” as a DIY skincare option, like her abuela did when she was little. She explained that her grandmother made her own face mask by taking “leftover papaya” added some orange juice and “smashed it and stuck it on her face”.

20. Alba Ramos (Sunkiss Alba) + EcoTools


Our favorite Dominican-American natural beauty Youtube guru Alba Ramos (aka Sunkiss Alba) parlayed her cyber-fame into a partnership with Eco Tools. For those of you who don’t know, Eco Tools is ultra-affordable, environmentally friendly line of beauty tools that you can find at your local Target or Walgreens. With this partnership, Alba curates beauty boxes, films tutorials, and writes informative blog posts for their website. We consider this a match made in heaven, as Alba is super-passionate about sustainable and all-natural products.

21. Eva Longoria + JC Penney


The Latina superwoman herself seems to never get tired! Between being an actress, an activist, and a new mom, Eva Longoria has somehow found the time to curate and design a self-titled home collection for JC Penney. Longoria has been candid about how the collection has been inspired from her childhood where she and her family would get creative to make their home look as beautiful as possible on a budget. She’s stated that she “started sewing curtains and throw pillows because [her] aunt always [said] make your house pretty”. Well thanks to Eva, we now all have that opportunity.

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