12 Stars That Owe Their Unique Beauty to Their Ancestry
When we talk about multiracial people, we are referring to sons or daughters of parents of different ethnic groups. Their diverse origins often give them beautiful, original looks and complex personalities encompassing an exciting mix of cultural backgrounds. And, of course, celebrities aren’t the exception.
1. Keanu Reeves: English, Irish, Portuguese, Native Hawaiian, Chinese, and Dutch
Keanu is probably one of the most famous Canadian citizens in the world. He has a broad ethnic heritage, but ironically, he has no link to Canada in his ancestry, not even by birth, since Keanu was born in Lebanon. His father, a Hawaiian geologist (with Portuguese, English, Scottish, Chinese, and Dutch ancestry), and his mother, an English dancer and costume designer, met in Beirut. Soon after that, Keanu was born.
His name means “fresh breeze” in Hawaiian. After his parents’ divorce, the actor and his mother lived part of his childhood in Australia and the United States, to later settle permanently in Canada, hence his Canadian citizenship.
2. Shakira: Lebanese, Spanish, Italian and Indigenous
Sharika’s DNA combines a set of diverse cultures, such as Arab, Latin, and European. Her paternal grandparents were Lebanese immigrants who settled in New York, where her father was born. Later the family moved to Colombia, where her parents met.
On her mother’s side, she has indigenous, Spanish, and Italian ancestry. Through her music, she has tried to show the world part of her cultural richness, including in her song’s native rhythms and her performances of traditional dances, such as the Arab dance or the Colombian Afro-Latin styles. Her love for Colombia has led her to become a philanthropist too.
3. Avan Jogia: English, Irish and Indian
Handsome actor Avan Jogia also harbors an interesting ethnic mix in his genes. His father was born in London, UK, but is of Indian descent, while his mother is of English, German, and Welsh ancestry. In addition to English, the actor also speaks French and some Gujarati Hindi while legally holding two nationalities, Canadian and English.
Being of mixed race has been an experience of mixed feelings when it comes to discovering his own identity, so much so that he wrote a book about it, which he hopes can help others who, like him, feel confused about their identity. “The goal of this book is to be like a framework or a guide, or at least to ask the right questions that might inspire you to define or discover who you really are.”
4. Vanessa Hudgens: English, Scottish, Irish, German, Filipino, Spanish, German, Filipino and Chinese
Although it has been mentioned that she also has Native American roots, this ancestry has not been documented. She has Filipino, Spanish, and Chinese ancestors in her maternal line.
5. Taylor Lautner: Dutch, French and German, and Native American
Although most of his ancestry is European, Lautner also has a small distant part of Native American relatives from the Odawa and Potawatomi tribes. He is of Dutch, French and German descent. He has stated that while preparing his role in the Twilight saga, he and his family could discover that through his mother’s line, they were distantly descended from a Native American tribe, the Anishinaabe.
6. Demi Lovato: Mexican, Spanish, Native American, English, Scottish, Irish, and Portuguese
On her mother’s side, Demi has English and Northern Irish ancestry. On the other hand, her father comes from a Mexican family that lived in New Mexico for several generations. Like many people of Mexican descent, her father had both Spanish and indigenous roots and a small amount of Portuguese and Sephardic Jewish ancestry.
Her curiosity about her family’s past encouraged her to take a DNA test. The results showed that an interesting ethnic cocktail runs through her veins. While her genetic ancestry is mainly European (85 %), with 32 % from the Iberian Peninsula, 16 % from Scandinavia, 14 % from Ireland, 11 % from Great Britain, and 7 % from Western Europe, she also has 10 % Native American, 4 % Asian, 1 % African and 5 % from unspecified areas.
7. Vin Diesel: African, Scots, English and German
This 55-year-old actor never got to know his biological father; he only knows what his mother could tell him. She knew he was African-American, and they lived in a challenging time, so they couldn’t disclose their relationship.
“When I was in my mother’s womb, it was still illegal in some parts of the United States for people of color and whites to procreate,” Diesel said. “Everyone knew me as a janitor because I couldn’t get any other job. There was something too ambiguous about the way I looked.” He said that the start of his career was not easy; when he auditioned, many considered him “too white” for some roles while appearing as “too Afro” for others.
8. Zendaya: African-American, German, Irish, Irish, English, and Scottish
Zendaya also has mixed features due to her diverse ethnic background, such as African and European. Her father is African-American and comes from a family originally from Arkansas. On her mother’s side, on the other hand, her ancestry is European, more precisely German, Irish, English, and Scottish. The name “Zendaya” is of African origin and means “to give thanks” in Shona, a southwestern African language spoken in Zimbabwe.
9. Darren Criss: English, German, Irish, Filipino, Chinese and Spanish
Best known for appearing in Glee, this actor, composer, and singer is Eurasian. On his father’s side, he has English, German, and Irish ancestry, while on his mother’s side, he is of Chinese, Filipino, and Spanish descent. While he is half-Asian, no one has taken a particular interest in that due to his European appearance. “I’ve always been proud of my Filipino background. The fact that people don’t notice it doesn’t make it any less real to me.”
Like many other celebrities, he also confessed that a diverse background could sometimes be a confusing experience to deal with when it comes to forging one’s identity. “You’re faced with two experiences that show different reactions. Not just on the inside but on the outside. Who are you to the world? How do they see you? How do you see yourself? What if you look more like one thing than the other, which one are you?”
10. Jesse Williams: African American, Native American and Swedish
Jesse charmed Grey’s Anatomy’s fans with his unique and exotic traits. His ethnic mixtures, African-American on his father’s side and Swedish-American on his mother’s side gave him a distinctive combination of traits you’re unlikely to find easily.
Besides being an actor, he also works as a model, and thanks to his charming features, he has topped many male beauty lists: he was included in People’s selection of the most attractive men in the world.
11. Naomi Scott: English and Indian
The actress who played Princess Jasmine in the latest film version of Aladdin has Indian and English ancestry. She was born in London, England, and on her father’s side, all her ancestry is English; on her mother’s side, she is Gujarati Indian.
Naomi says that she also felt that her mixed race made it difficult for her to become an actress, and many scripts she really wanted were sent to other people. Her multi-ethnic persona confused Hollywood. “When you’re like me, people think, ’She’s not white, she’s not black, she’s not Latina, what is she?’ Ultimately, maybe she was the ’other option,’ or the ’exotic’ option.”
12. K.J. Apa: English, Scots, Irish and Samoan
K.J. Apa has Samoan ancestry on his father’s side and Scottish, English, and Irish on his mother’s side. Still, Samoan culture has been an important part of his and his siblings’ upbringing throughout his life. One of his favorite traditions of Samoan culture is tattoos. Practically, his entire family has some, and he is no exception.
“My grandfather was a Grand Chief of our people. In fact, my father took on the role of chief in his place and was very proud of that. My mom, sister, and I got Samoan tattoos to commemorate the occasion when my dad got his title.” His tattoos have designs specific to his village and symbols representing his family.