41 years on-air and SNL finally hired a Latina cast member. Yeah, that matters.

"Saturday Night Live" just hired its first-ever Latina cast member, so now's the time on Sprockets when we dance!

Sprockets. GIF from "Saturday Night Live."

But seriously, folks, this is huge wonderful news that's been a LONG time coming. In its 41 years on air, SNL has only had two Latino cast members: Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen.


The long-awaited addition of a Latina cast member shows the landscape of racial diversity on television is slowly but surely widening.

Without further ado, live from New York, it's Melissa Villaseñor!

Thank you @tylerossity for this capture of my roach man impression. @meltdowncomics

A photo posted by Melissa Villaseñor (@melissavcomedy) on

Villaseñor's journey onto the SNL stage has been a long time coming. She auditioned once before when she was only 21 (she's now 28), and she made it a ritual of sending the show a tape of her new stuff every summer — just in case.

"I’m starting to understand that when I visualize something happening and believe in it, I start seeing results. So I put myself out there," she said in an interview with Bird.

That's exactly what happened in 2011, when she killed it on "America's Got Talent" with two minutes of ridiculously good impressions.

Her spot-on impression of Kathy Griffin alone is worthy of a spot on SNL. Villaseñor's dream of joining the NBC Saturday night staple came closer when she began work on an impression show "Daily Itineraries" for Más Mejor, a Latino-focusd studio that falls under the umbrella of SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels’ company, Broadway Video.

Villaseñor does an impression of Jennifer Lopez that rivals Maya Rudolph's, and it's even better because Villaseñor is actually Latina.

Get ready for J Lo! @masmejor "Daily ItinerAries" @jonshefsky @kamellowtail @carastyle @missvint

A photo posted by Melissa Villaseñor (@melissavcomedy) on

Villaseñor's been more than ready to take SNL by storm for years, but the show's much-discussed lack of diversity in casting likely got in her way.

According to Splitsider, since SNL's inception in 1975, only 15 black performers have been cast, and only four of them have been women. Currently, with the addition of Villaseñor, there are only five cast members of color on the show. So while it's great there are steps being taken in the right direction, it's still an agonizingly slow uphill battle, especially for women.

Leslie Jones at the "Ghostbusters" premiere. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

SNL's producers keep their reasons for maintaining a predominantly white cast closely guarded, for obvious reasons, though when asked about it by WNPR in December 2015, Lorne Michaels defended the show's casting decisions, saying, "It didn't come from any place of intent or meanness; it came from looking every year for the best people we can find."

As diversity in media has become part of a more mainstream conversation, however, the show's noticeable lack of it has created more and more controversy and raised questions among viewers and cast members. On Twitter, people even joked that SNL stood for #StillNoLatinos and it became a popular hashtag in recent years.

Bringing Villaseñor into the SNL family is a huge win for Latinas in the entertainment industry — and viewers at home.

According to a 2014 study, Latinas only make up 4% of female characters on television. Of that small percentage, many end up playing hyper-stereotypical Latina characters like Sofía Vergara's Gloria on "Modern Family."

Based on Villaseñor's wide spectrum of awesome impressions, however, she will likely open the floodgates for a wider variety of roles for Latina comedians and actresses on screens big and small.

This is an important milestone because representation in media matters. It has an impact in the real world, beyond the screen.

For example, Whoopi Goldberg credits Nichelle Nichols' portrayal of Uhura on "Star Trek" for inspiring her to pursue a career in entertainment. When Goldberg was little, she was so excited to see someone like her on TV that she immediately jumped up calling for her family, shouting, "Everybody come quick, come quick, there's a black lady on television, and she ain't no maid!"

Earlier this year, SNL and "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones appeared on "The View" where she personally thanked Whoopi, saying, "I love you for what you've done for black women. I love you for what you'd done for black comedians, and I love you."

Leslie Watching a clip of Whoopi. Photo via The View/YouTube.

Jones told Goldberg that seeing her on TV was an eye-opening experience. Like Goldberg reacting to Nichols before her, Jones said she immediately jumped up, calling for her dad to come see, "There's somebody on TV who looks like me! She looks like me! Daddy! I can be on TV."

There have been even fewer Latino performers on SNL and even fewer opportunities for young Latino kids to see themselves reflected in the media. Villaseñor's addition to the SNL cast in the upcoming season is a huge opportunity for her and for all the young viewers who will see her beaming onto their screens every Saturday night. It won't be long before an up-and-coming Latina comedian tells Villaseñor what her historic start on the show meant to her.

After all, a dream can be born out of five little words: "Hey, I can do that."

It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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