23-year-old woman uses TikTok to highlight influential Latinas

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(NEW YORK) — One Arizona woman is on a mission to educate others about influential Latin women — by using her TikTok.

Fernanda Cortes, 23, immigrated to Phoenix with her family from Guadalajara, Mexico, when she was in elementary school. Growing up, to connect her to her culture, Cortes said her family made sure to teach her about influential Latinas.

“I think it wasn’t necessarily them trying to teach me history, but they’re just trying to teach me about these cultural icons that touched so many people in my culture,” Cortes said.

Like many 20-somethings, Cortes downloaded TikTok during the pandemic and began to get ideas for videos she could make. While millions of others were learning the latest dance crazes, she decided to make it a space where she could teach others about Latinas who changed the course of history.

“I just decided to start talking about these women that inspired me,” Cortes said. “I felt like they weren’t being recognized or acknowledged. … I wanted to put their names out there, their stories out there and hopefully connect with someone and have another young Latina find someone that they can see themselves in.”

Cortes began a series on her account called “Bad a— Latinas in History.” In every video Cortes highlights a different Latina and shares how she helped change the world. She began her series honoring Mexican film actress María Félix and has now highlighted nearly 100 influential Latina woman through her videos.

“I’ve talked about Rita Moreno, how she was the first Latina to win an Oscar, or Sylvia Mendez who and her and her mom helped end segregation in California, which set a precedent to end segregation in the entire country,” Cortes said. “I felt like their stories were so important. … So I wanted to put them out there and hopefully connect with someone who had never heard about them before.”

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