Lana del Rey – Is she Latina?

Apparently Lana del Rey is the hot thing right now, and her popularity began some time last year – but I had no clue who she was until a couple weeks ago.

I don’t listen to music in English even half as much as I listen to music in Spanish – so that might be why Lana flew under my radar for so long, and she would have continued to remain unknown to me if it weren’t for these terrible headaches I’ve been getting.

These particular headaches aren’t anything to fool around with – I can’t just take Tylenol and carry on as I usually do – and by “carry on as I usually do”, I mean playing Pitbull full blast for at least some portion of my day.

Well, I can’t manage with no music at all and so I decided I needed a temporary replacement for Pitbull, Reggaeton, Norteños, and all the other typically loud-ish music I listen to. One day, with a headache building, I flipped through the satellite radio channels and impatiently stopped on some sort of “coffeehouse” station – I ended up leaving it on the entire week. The music was calm, didn’t distract me from my work and some of the songs they repeated often began to grow on me.

Then one day, this song began to play and I stopped mid-typing, completely absorbed in the hauntingly beautiful music and the singer’s voice.

I rushed to find out the name of the singer and the song, which turned out to be “Video Games” by Lana del Rey. I laughed to myself, seeing the name. Leave it to me to find the only Latina on the coffeehouse station, but when I looked up the artist to find out more about her, I found a number of things I didn’t expect.

First of all, she’s highly controversial for a multitude of reasons. (See here, and here, and over here…Okay, and here too.)

The other thing I found out? While her exact heritage isn’t publicly known, Lana most likely isn’t Latina. Born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, her birth name suggests Anglo ancestry, (though one never knows whose hiding in the family tree.) The Spanish-sounding “Lana del Rey” is just a stage name which some say was concocted from the name of movie star Lana Turner and the Ford Del Rey automobile. Lana tells a different story…

“I wanted a name I could shape the music towards […] I was going to Miami quite a lot at the time, speaking a lot of Spanish with my friends from Cuba – Lana Del Rey reminded us of the glamour of the seaside. It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue.” – Source: Vogue magazine interview

Despite the various controversies over everything from her authenticity to her plump lips, I can’t help but like the girl based on her voice alone. As for Lana/Elizabeth using a Spanish name for her public persona, what do you think?


  1. It seems like she has better marketers than she has talent. She was awful on SNL. She’s got some killer connections though, which sadly will mean we will probably have to put up with her until she OD’s. The music INDUSTRY drives me crazy. LOL!

  2. i like her music but, please, ladies, can we all stop inyecting our lips/eyes/butts? She was already very young and very pretty. I’m not the hottest thing walking, but I’m all me and I like me that way!

  3. Since Ashlee is about the most Anglo name possible, I used my grandmother’s name (Eva) a lot of times in Spanish-speaking countries, especially if my real name isn’t important. It’s easier than having to answer questions about how you spell it, or how to pronounce it (“shl” is a complicated consonant cluster for Spanish speakers!). Considering my dad is French and my mom is Italian, one would have expected them to give me a Latin-based name, but, Ashlee it was haha.

  4. She’s not Latina, She’s of Scottish decent. I am Latina and in my opinion she doesn’t look Latina at all. I honestly thought she was Irish when I first listened to her but she if of Scottish decent. I love her though, her music is so good!

    • she doesn’t look latina at all? hahaha wtf? as is the Latin type? i am american and i was in Argentina and there are like us type..

  5. I am Latina and she doesn’t look anything like Latina! She looks more Irish and Scottish Than Spanish. Also ‘Elizabeth’ isn’t really a Latina name. Love her music!

  6. Listen to west coast she literally says “he’s crazy y Cubano como yo I love” which means he’s crazy and Cuban like me.

  7. At least she is not trying to be black like so many out there. I’m flattered she embraces Latin stuff. Hope no one is offended bu the comment

  8. She is gorgeous, so in love with her and her voice … her music puts me at ease even if its sad … perfect for a rainy day, a solo day, a cruise thru the hood … as a guy i admire her passion and gifts ..

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