Back in the ’90s, Sofia Vergara cohosted a Spanish-language travel show on Telemundo called Fuera de Serie. That was the first time I remember watching a travel series with Latino hosts and it was a big source of inspiration for this future travel journalist.
But that was it. Growing up in Southern California, in a bilingual home, I hardly ever saw enough Latino representation in media, much less regarding travel, adventure, leisure, and other positive activities.
Thirty years later, when the latest US census reports the Latino and Hispanic population at an estimated 19 percent of the population or 62.1 million people, Latino media representation still isn’t much better. A 2022 report on Latinos in media notes that across film, television, and streaming, Latinos in front and behind the camera comprised only 2.6 percent of leads, 2.6 percent of coleads or ensembles, 1.4 percent of showrunners or screenwriters, and 1.5 percent of directors.
Yet, this year has brought some great news for the travel media genre. In 2023, both Eva Longoria and John Leguizamo have hosted, produced, or directed new travel series on mainstream US television and streaming networks. Covering travel, culture, gastronomy, and history, both shows are sure to make their mark in the Latino community’s media legacy.
Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico
Hosted and executive produced by Eva Longoria with Stanley Tucci as coexecutive producer.
Watch on: CNN and Amazon Prime.
In this six-episode CNN original series, actor, producer, and directorEva Longoria takes viewers along for a culinary exploration of her Mexican heritage through conversations with top chefs and her family. For those unaware, Longoria describes herself as a “Texican,” as she was born in Texas, and has deep Mexican American roots. Throughout the series, she explores the gastronomic culture of Mexico City (which she affectionately calls her “second home”), Yucatan, Oaxaca, Nuevo Leon, Jalisco, and Veracruz. In one episode, sheeven unearths powerful family history regarding a mysterious thirteenth great grandfather.
In addition to a fantastic introduction into one of the US’ most beloved cuisines by someone who is neither a true local nor a true foreigner, viewers will enjoy Longoria’s deep questions, cameos by her son and husband, and her passion for showcasing another (and more beautiful) side of Mexico.
Leguizamo Does America
Hosted and executive produced by John Leguizamo, directed by Ben DeJesus, and executive produced by Carolina Saavedra
Watch on: MSNBC, Peacock TV
Swiftly confirmed for a second season, Leguizamo Does America aired on MSNBC this spring to rave reviews. The six-part series took a more local focus than Longoria’s and showcases the diversity of the Latino experiences across major US cities, including Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, and the territory of Puerto Rico. Full of insightful conversations with changemakers across the country, the show highlights Latino culture and contributions to the US in fashion, fine arts, theatre, music, food, poetry, politics, dancing, and entertainment.
The first episode begins in New York City’s Jackson Heights neighborhood, where Leguizamo and his family landed when he was three years old after his parents migrated from Colombia. Leguizamo does not hold back and connects with viewers by sharing his roots and childhood, including the small apartment where he grew up. In bringing his heart, passion, and a platform to celebrate Latinos in the US he ensures our stories in this country are not forgotten. If you’re headed to L’ATTITUDE’s annual conference this September, watch out for Leguizamo—he just confirmed his attendance.
As for this travel journalist who’s traveled to sixty-one countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, India, Argentina, and Colombia, I hope that 2024 will bring us even more shows with Latino talent and Latino crews and more representation of fun-filled and expansive travel shows.
For now, don’t miss these exceptional and insightful new travel series and share your favorite episodes.