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Saturday Night Live Adds Its First Latina Cast Member

Sept. 13, 2016

Melissa Villaseñor is the first Latina in the show's 41-season history

Live from New York, it’s a more diverse Saturday Night Live! The show just added its first Latina cast member, Melissa Villaseñor, in the show’s forty-one season history. Villaseñor will be joined by other new cast members Mikey Day and Alex Moffat; Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam announced their departures in August.

Villaseñor is best known for her voice impressions—including Owen Wilson—which helped catapult her to fame on America’s Got Talent, where she was a finalist. She has numerous YouTube videos as well, with over 50,000 subscribers and 5 million views total.

Although Saturday Night Live had cast two Latino cast members—Fred Armisen and Horatio Sanz—Villaseñor’s addition to the show injects diversity and opens doors for Latina comedians. In 2013, the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts sent Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels a letter, scolding him for the lack of diversity: “The lack of Latino representation in the entertainment industry has historic roots; perpetuating this marginalization and isolation is frankly segregation in the digital age.”