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5 Iconic Latinas Who Have Inspired Female Stars Today

First Posted: Mar 08, 2016 03:47 PM EST

Photo : Brad Barket/Getty Images for PEOPLE En Espanol

There are several Latinas who still influence today's entertainment industry, but few have cemented their status as icons of Latin culture and music like Celia Cruz, Rita Moreno, Gloria Estefan, Paquita la del Barrio and Selena Quintanilla.

Through their iconic hits, films, style statements, progressive careers and embodiment of Latin music, these five stars continue to inspire generations of talented women.

Celia Cruz

(Photo : Scott Gries/Getty Images)

Today, artists like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry have all worn colorful, unique outfits. While these stars may rock intense looks for music videos, award shows and other events, Celia Cruz cemented her status as queen of outlandish fashion years ago.

The "Queen of Salsa" -- known for hits like "Carnaval" and "Quimbara" and for coining phrases like "Azucar" long before Beyoncé made "Yoncé" a thing -- has influenced Latin music superstars like Estefan and Olga Tañón, as well as pop artists like Rihanna, who performed in the 2004 Billboard Latin Music Awards tribute to Cruz.

Cruz is considered an incredibly influential Cuban artist. Her career forced her to face challenges as a woman, taking on the male dominated genre of salsa. Her life has inspired a musical and a television series on Telemundo.

Rita Moreno

(Photo : Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Rita Morena is a great example of the phrase "triple threat." The Puerto Rican actress, singer and skilled dancer cemented her icon status in Latin and American culture with a career that made her the only Latina EGOT: one of 12 stars to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award.

Moreno was the second Puerto Rican actor and first Puerto Rican woman to win an Oscar.

This icon has inspired a vast number of stars, but she has had a direct impact on the careers of Jennifer Lopez and Gina Rodriguez, who have both expressed their love of the entertainment icon. Rodriguez acknowledged her connection to the star at the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors.

Paquita la del Barrio

(Photo : Ethan Miller/Getty Images for LARAS)

Taylor Swift and Jenni Rivera aren't the only musicians who can promote feminist lyrics or bash no good men. Francisca Viveros Barradas, better known as Paquita la del Barrio, has spent 45 years establishing her status as a strong Mexican woman with songs like "Rata de dos patas," in which she criticizes a cheating lover, and by challenging gender stereotypes.

She is an inspiration for other female banda artists like Rivera, who has also become a legend in her own right, Rivera's daughter Chiquis Rivera, and Ana Gabriel. Barradas was recently honored at Premio lo Nuestro 2016 for her career and contributions to music.

Gloria Estefan

(Photo : Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

One of the pioneers of mainstream Latin music in the United States, Estefan's name is known internationally, but she was able to make that happen without abandoning her Latin roots. Two of the Cuban star's most renowned hits, "Mi Tierra" and "Conga," pay homage to her Latin heritage.

Add to this several Grammys, a variety of awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Presidential Medal of Freedom -- which she received along with husband Emilio Estefan -- and The Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor, which is the highest honor for a U.S. citizen. Gloria Estefan can be considered one of the most successful and influential Latin American artists of all time.

Singers like Thalía, Jordin Sparks and Shakira --whose trademark curly hair Estefan sported years before the Colombian star debuted the look -- all make Estefan an influential icon.

Selena Quintanilla

(Photo : Suzette Quintanilla/Instagram)

Many stars have shared their love of Quintanilla, also known as the "Queen of Tejano music." From Beyoncé to Jennifer Lopez to pop princess Selena Gomez, who was named after the music icon, singers have admitted Quintanilla's career has had a huge influence on their own success.

From fashion to beauty, Quintanilla continues to remain a strong presence. Further proving her influence is the social media hashtag #SelenaDidItFirst, which collects examples of her style as recreated by stars like Minaj and Perry.

Despite her death in 1995, Quintanilla continues to remain present in music. With yearly tributes in her honor, two 2016 Latin Billboard award nominations, an upcoming Selena-inspired M.A.C collection and a petition for a doll of the iconic star, Quintanilla lives on.

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