The legendary musician has undoubtedly left an indelible mark in the entertainment industry. She's not only earned countless Latin Grammys and Grammy Awards, but has also been named one of the greatest artists of all time by VH1 and Billboard (among other accolades).
However, Gloria exclusively tells E! News that out of all the awards she's received in her decades-long career, having a Barbie in her image is "a big one for me."
"I played with Barbies since I was a little girl," she shared. "It was just a thrill and they were really sticklers about being accurate."
Gloria's doll, which celebrates the 65th anniversary of her 1989 hit "Get on Your Feet," is a replica of her iconic fashion look from the music video.
"I wanted to emulate the torero jackets because my grandfather was from Asturias, Spain," she said, explaining the history of her memorable outfit, "and a mix of Moroccan from the Lebanese side of Emilio [Estefan]'s family because him and I are so intertwined. It's just one of my favorite looks that I've ever had."
As for what this accomplishment means to the "Conga!" singer, she puts it simply.
"I'm well-known in the Hispanic world as someone who has maintained their culture. Despite the fact that we've recorded in English and had pop hits all over the world, we never allowed anyone to change our sound, our image and kept the Latinismo in our music," she said. "So, for a little Hispanic girl to see herself reflected and say, 'Maybe one day I could do something that would have someone make a Barbie about me,' it's really cool."
Being able to see other Latinx artists stay true to themselves, she added, is progress worth noting.
"I'm honored to have pushed that door open a little bit more," Gloria, 64, expressed. "For me, it was Carlos Santana, José Feliciano, Desi Arnaz—I was seeing him sing in Spanish on I Love Lucy when I was a kid and it was the top-rated show in America."
She continued, "Those artists paved the way for me. So, to somehow have helped things get a little easier...I mean, I was thrilled to see Bad Bunny doing his acceptance speeches in Spanish and performing in Spanish and not having to adapt. That's a wonderful move forward."
As she summed it up, "I love to see Latinos succeeding in anything that they do, so I'm very happy that it's moving in that direction."
And even though Gloria has made an impact in the music business, she hopes to be remembered for celebrating her roots.
"My grandson or his kids, I want them to be able to look back and see that we were proud of our culture—whether it be Emilio's Lebanese side or my Spanish and Cuban side—that we did something to keep our culture alive in a respectful way," she said. "And that we were able to inspire people through music and my words—that, to me, is the biggest privilege because other people's music got me through the toughest times of my life."
"For my music to be there for someone else," she added, "is the ultimate honor."