Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Las "Princesas" del Disney Channel

The Disney Channel was launched in 1983. At its inception, it targeted children and teenagers during the daytime, families during primetime and adults at night. In December 1986, it broadcast shows 24 hours a day. Latinos (and, in particular, Latinas) have been there since practically the beginning.

An early series, "Kids Incorporated," featured Marta Marrero (later to be known as the singer Martika) and Mario López. "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club" featured the acting and singing talents of Christina Aguilera.

Ever since the television series "Lizzie McGuire" and "Hannah Montana" made Hilary Duff and Miley Cyrus worldwide stars since their debuts in 2001 and 2006, respectively, The Disney Channel has been searching for the next "princess" to pick up the mantle and be the flagship iconic image for their network. And they seem to have turned to Latinas for that broad, "crossover" appeal.

Selena Gómez (1992- ), born Selena Marie Gómez Cornett al estilo latino, has been playing Alexandra "Alex" Russo on the Emmy Award-winning series "The Wizards of Waverly Place" since 2007. Like her character on the show, she is of Mexican-Italian-English heritage. The series spun off a movie The Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie in 2009. She founded and is the lead singer for the band Selena Gómez and the Scene. They have released the following albums to date: Kiss & Tell (2009) and A Year Without Rain (2010). Their latest album Otherside is set to be released in June of 2011. "The Wizards of Waverly Place" is scheduled to end its run in 2011.

Demi Lovato (1992- ), born Demetria Devonne Lovato de la Garza al estilo latino, has been playing Allison "Sonny" Munroe on the series "Sonny with a Chance" since 2009. The show's premise is that her character is accepting into a live sketch comedy show titled "So Random!" Lovato is of Mexican-Italian-Irish heritage. Like Gómez, she is also a singer-songwriter. She has released the albums Don't Forget in 2008 and Here We Go Again in 2009. She has announced that she is leaving "Sonny with a Chance" to focus on her music career; The Disney Channel has retooled the series to become the show-within-the-show "So Random!"

Bella Thorne (1997- ), born Annabella Avery Thorne, has been playing Cecilia "CeCe" Jones on the series "Shake It Up!" since 2010. The show follows her and her friend Rocky Blue (played by Zendaya) and their lives as backup dancers on the local television series "Shake It Up Chicago." An accomplished child model and actress with appearances in more than 20 films and television series and more than 40 commercials, she is of Cuban-Irish-Italian descent and spoke Spanish as her first language. She is the youngest of four children, who are all actors and models.

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