In recent years, Filipino heritage has been more prominent in the spotlight. From Miss Universe winners to world-renowned athletes, Filipinos are making their mark on the world stage. But did you know many Hollywood celebrities have Filipino blood running through their veins?
Filipinos will be evident wherever they go. That is what makes us all happy to be Filipinos and what is fantastic about being one.
As well-known celebrities in the music, television, and film industries, our fellow Filipinos have been making waves in Hollywood. They are proud to have Filipino roots in them and to carry them.
Filipino-American Celebrities You Didn’t Know
Here is a list of well-known and rising celebrities whose Filipino ancestry you may not have recognized.
Gabriella Wilson is a multi-award-winning artist and songwriter. She has been nominated for numerous awards and won a Grammy Award in 2019.
The singer-songwriter explained to CNN Philippines’ New Day how she discovered her voice growing up in a close-knit family supportive of her work. She was born and raised in the United States to a Filipino mother and a half-African-American father. Let’s get to know more about H.E.R. with her story here.
2. Vanessa Hudgens
Best known for her roles in High School Musical, this actress also has descent from her mother’s side of the family.
Vanessa is a singer and an actor. Thanks to her mother, Gina Guanco, High School Musical’s Gabriela Montez, who is also one of our favorite trios, is half-Filipina. While her father was of Irish, French, and Native American ancestry, her mother, Gina, is a native of Manila. She has always been incredibly proud of her Filipino heritage.
3. Bruno Mars
Singer Bruno Mars may not look like it, but he’s part Filipino! His mother, Bernadette San Pedro Bayot, was born in Manila to a Puerto Rican father and a Filipina mother. His parents met while serving in the U.S. military in Hawaii before relocating to Los Angeles, where Bruno grew up. He has said that his Filipino heritage has always been essential to his identity, even if he doesn’t look like your stereotypical Asian person!
4. Demi Lovato
Pop star Demi Lovato was born in Texas to a Mexican father and an Irish mother of partial Filipino ancestry. Her grandmother was a Filipina who emigrated from the Philippines to California in the 1950s. Lovato has said that her Filipino heritage is something she is proud of, and she often celebrates it by cooking traditional Filipino dishes like adobo and lumpia.
5. Cameron Diaz
Actress Cameron Diaz is a one-quarter Filipina on her mother’s side, although she was raised primarily unaware of this fact until adulthood. She has since embraced her heritage, visiting the Philippines multiple times with her family and even learning Tagalog phrases along the way!
6. Mila Kunis
Actress Mila Kunis was born in Ukraine to a Jewish family. Still, her maternal grandfather was a native of Cebu City, Philippines, who moved to Ukraine as an immigrant worker many years ago. Kunis hasn’t talked much about this aspect of her background publicly, but it shows how far-reaching the influence of Filipino culture can be—all around the world!
7. Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson’s mother, Melanie Sloan, is part Filipina. Scarlett has said that her grandmother would speak Tagalog at home, and she spent time visiting her family in the Philippines during her childhood. She has since starred in numerous films, including The Avengers series, Her, Lost in Translation, and many more.
8. Nicole Scherzinger
Singer Nicole Scherzinger has always been vocal about her Filipino heritage—her Filipino father, Alfonso Valiente, is half Filipino and half Hawaiian. Nicole has performed several times in Manila before and speaks out against racism against Filipinos in America. She’s best known as the lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls but has also released several solo albums that have topped charts worldwide.
9. Olivia Rodrigo
Despite being only 18 years old, this rising pop singer is creating a stir. “Deja Vu” and “Driver’s License,” two of her songs, have become universally popular. Olivia’s father is Filipino-American; hence she is of Filipino descent. She added that her family practices Filipino traditions and eats Filipino food and that her great-grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines when he was a teenager.
10. Hailee Steinfeld
Hailee is a singer and an actress. Emily Dickinson in the T.B. series Dickinson, Kate Bishop in the newest Marvel series The Hawkeye, and Emily Junk in Pitch Perfect 2. Ricardo Domain, her maternal grandfather, was a Bohol native and half-Filipino. She even stated in an interview that she was quite proud of her Filipino ancestry.
11. Mark Dacascos
Celebrity half-Filipino Mark was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Moriko McVey and AI Dacascos are his parents, and Julie Condra is his wife. Together, they have two sons and a daughter, making a total of three kids. Mark Dacascos is a martial artist, actor, and television personality.
12. Jacob Batalon
American actor Jacob Batalon is well-known and was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was born to Filipino parents; therefore, he does, nonetheless, have Filipino ancestry. In the 2016 film North Wood, where he played Cooper, he made his acting debut.
13. Jose Llana
One of the most well-known Filipino actors, Jose Llana, was raised in the Washington, D.C., area but was born in Manilla, Philippines. Later, he relocated to New York City to enroll in The Manhattan School of Music Conservatory’s classical voice program. He received his first Broadway leading role at 19 as Lun Tha in The King and I. Additionally, he made appearances in movies and T.V. shows like Unconscious, Hitch S*x, and the City.
14. Jessica Sanchez
The 22-year-old singer is among the youngest Filipino Americans in today’s music industry. She gained nationwide recognition when she appeared on the 11th season of American Idol. Jessica is half Mexican and half Filipino, with her mother from Cavite City, Philippines. Jessica’s Filipina pride is reflected in her performances and interviews.
15. Steven Lim
Steven Lim is a YouTube personality, comedian, and Filipino American actor. His videos on YouTube have gained popularity, with his channel reaching over 7 million subscribers. Steven is a first-generation American born to a Filipino father and a Chinese mother.
Hollywood is becoming a more diverse place, welcoming celebrities from a wide range of backgrounds. A smaller number of Filipino Americans have been climbing the ranks of stardom, making the Philippines proud, while Asian Americans are gradually taking center stage.
Hollywood stars come from all walks of life! From pop singers to actresses and actors, these 15 celebrities share one thing in common—Filipino blood running through their veins!
Whether they embrace or shy away from their heritage is up to them; it’s exciting knowing there are so many famous names out there with connections back home in the Philippines! This list scratches the surface; many other Hollywood stars are tied to our great nation.