Sometimes it’s nice to see you’re not alone in learning another language. Everybody who has learned or is learning another language has struggled and sounded less than perfect at times. Seeing celebrities that speak Spanish do it is even more fun.
It’s also helpful to see what different types of levels look like, so you can compare where you are, where you were and where you’d like to get to. Have a look at the short clips below of several well known celebrities speaking Spanish.
We’ve included some notes on their European Spanish level, to give you an idea of how good they are. Of course our comments are subjective and not based on a thorough analysis, but we’ve provided them mainly so you have an idea between, beginner, fluent, and somewhere in between. Enjoy! And keep in mind, if they can do it, you can do it!
Gwyneth Paltrow = Level B2
She spent a year studying Spanish in Spain as a teenager. She has often talked about her fondness for Spain, the Spanish culture, and Spanish cuisine. She speaks Spanish quite well, and you can hear a bit of the Castilian accent throughout.
Ben Affleck = Level B1
Not bad. Apparently Ben spent a year or so as a teenager in Mexico where he picked up some Spanish. While he’s searching for words, he’s able to communicate and even pay attention to his accent.
Jennifer Lopez = Level B2 / C1
While both her mother and father were born in Puerto Rico, they met in the U.S. where Jennifer was born. If you listen to her speak, you can tell she does not speak Spanish fluently, as a native speaker, though she has a good grasp of the language.
Will Smith = Level A1 / A2
“A” for effort! He has said he wanted to learn Spanish for doing interviews ect. While his American accent is quite pronounced when he speaks, he is able to string together some coherent sentences in Spanish.
Jada Pinkett Smith = Level A1
Seems like her husband’s Spanish is rubbing of on her. While she’s a little lower level than Will, she’s able to say some basic things and it’s nice to see her paying attention to her accent. Everybody has to start somewhere!
Eva Mendez = Level C2
Eva was born in the U.S. but has Cuban heritage. Her Cuban accent is quite pronounced when she speaks, which is a good sign that she’s been speaking, or at least listening, to Spanish since she was young. But it’s also notable she still relies on English for some more complex ideas, so she may not use it that often. Never-the-less she is quite advanced, though we’re not sure she passes for bilingual in a very strict sense.
Ricky Martin = Fluent/Bilingual
Ricky Martin was born and raised in Puerto Rico and speaks perfectly fluent Spanish, as well as English. When you listen to him speak, you can hear the fluidity and his native Puerto Rican accent.
David Beckham = Level A1 / A2
Nice to see the effort, but not as impressive given that he spent 4 seasons playing for the Real Madrid soccer club based in Madrid, Spain. He admits he is a bit shy to speak Spanish, like most of us when we are first learning to speak.
Shakira = Fluent/Bilingual
Well, Shakira was born and raised in Columbia, so she speaks with a clear, native Colombian accent. Enjoy listening to a nice example of a fluent/ bilingual speaker from Colombia.
Mayor Bloomberg = Level 0!!
It’s nice to see the Spanish speaking community included, but anyone who speaks Spanish can’t watch this video without laughing at his horrific accent. Granted, he is not claiming he speaks Spanish, but there is really no effort here to even try to pronounce the words correctly. Just remember you can do better than this!
So, which celebrity are you better than???