Institute for Latino Studies presents ‘Transformative Latino Leaders in Hollywood,’ featuring Mark Consuelos, Nicholas Gonzalez and Wilmer Valderrama

Author: Notre Dame News

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Mark Consuelos, Nicholas Gonzalez and Wilmer Valderrama

On Thursday (Nov. 2), the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies will present “Transformative Latino Leaders in Hollywood: Actors, Producers, Change-Makers,” a discussion with a three-person celebrity panel featuring Mark Consuelos, Nicholas Gonzalez and Wilmer Valderrama.

The discussion takes place at 5 p.m. in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library and will focus on elevating overlooked voices in the entertainment industry. It is a free but ticketed event, with online registration available here.

The actors are the latest participants in the institute’s Transformative Latino Leadership lecture series, led by director Luis Fraga, the Rev. Donald P. McNeill, C.S.C., Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership. Previous speakers include Oscar winner Rita Moreno, civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.

“The purpose of this series is to bring major influencers who can speak to issues important to Latino communities to help our Notre Dame community be fully informed,” Fraga said. “This group will address the underrepresentation of Latinx actors in entertainment. How Latino communities see themselves and how others see them is significantly determined by the entertainment industry. Who better to address this challenge than actors who are directly involved in Hollywood and beyond?"

Consuelos, Gonzalez and Valderrama have worked both in front of and behind the camera “to transform an industry that has underrepresented and misrepresented Latinos since its very start,” said Jason Ruiz, associate professor and chair of American studies, who will be moderating the discussion.

“Latinos are almost 20 percent of the U.S. population but, according to a recent study, have only 5 percent of the speaking roles in movies,” Ruiz said. “Mark Consuelos, Nicholas Gonzalez and Wilmer Valderrama are working to change that.”

Consuelos, along with his wife, Kelly Ripa, serves as co-host of ABC’s morning talk show “Live with Kelly and Mark.” He previously worked with Ripa on the ABC soap opera “All My Children” and, in 2007, the two created the production banner Milojo Productions. Consuelos also portrayed the character Hiram Lodge for five seasons of the CW show “Riverdale” and most recently appeared in season two of Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building.”

Gonzalez is best known for his portrayal of Dr. Neil Melendez in ABC’s “The Good Doctor.” He debuted as medical student-turned-boxer Alex Santiago in the Showtime series “Resurrection Boulevard” and is currently starring as Capt. Levi Delgado on NBC’s sci-fi series “La Brea.”

Valderrama has starred in the last six seasons of the CBS police crime drama “NCIS.” He is also reprising his role of Fez in Netflix’s “That ’90s Show,” a successor to the Fox sitcom “That ’70s Show,” and voiced the character of Agustín Madrigal in the Disney animated feature “Encanto.” He is currently developing a TV series based on the Disney Western “Zorro” for Disney+.

Consuelos, Gonzalez and Valderrama have helped to “revolutionize what our students see on TV and in movies over the past 20 years” through the roles they have interpreted, said Paloma Garcia-Lopez, associate director of the Institute for Latino Studies and chair of the event committee.

“Growing up watching strong Latino character leads on ‘Encanto,’ ‘Handy Manny,’ ‘Riverdale’ and ‘The Good Doctor’ is one major step toward building a more responsible and inclusive community as Americans,” Garcia-Lopez said. “This event offers an in-depth look at how small decisions in their career can open doors and change outcomes for Latino communities, as these actors have done in their production and philanthropic work.”


Originally published by Notre Dame News at on November 02, 2023.