By Leonard Rodriguez

This column highlights inspiring stories of Latino leaders. For more than 500 years, Latino men and women have positively influenced the face of United States society. Let us celebrate these outstanding hispanics.

Rosie Perez

From an undergraduate student to a sought-after “hip-hop” music choreographer and rising actress, Rosie Perez had watched her career flourish in a short time. Stepping into the limelight as a dancer on “Soul Train,” Perez grabbed the attention of Louis Silas Jr., senior vice-president of MCA Records, who invited her to choreograph one of his artists. Before long, Perez was choreographing Fox TV’s “In Living Color,” In 1989, she made her screen debut in “Do the Right Thing.” A Latina actress to keep an eye on, Perez is famous for getting lead roles after directors see her audition. Three of her biggest roles, the female lead in “It Could Happen to You,” “White Men Can’t Jump” and “Fearless,” were originally written for non-Hispanic actresses.