*I’m extremely proud of how Variety Latino’s first curated list came out. I really wanted to do something different than the usual lists and so we commissioned celebrity branding authority Jeetendr Sehdev to conduct this national survey for us. The celebrities really responded to it and shared it on their own Twitter, Facebook pages, which made me so happy. It was a big hit! And hopefully the first of many lists to come…
As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Variety and Variety Latino have joined forces to launch the “POWER OF LATINOS: 20 MOST INFLUENTIAL STARS LIST,“ spotlighting the most successful Latino film and TV actors in Hollywood (10 men and 10 women). The special appears in the September 30th issue of print Variety.
But rather than focus solely on their professional accomplishments, we went one step further, and looked at how influential and appealing they are within their own community.
Known as the “Oscars of Young Hollywood,” the Young Hollywood Awards on July 27 toasted the brightest trailblazing stars in music, TV, and film at The Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles.
It was a who’s who of young Hollywood – from Vanessa Hudgens to Ansel Elgort to Justin Bieber – but the one I was most excited about was Gina Rodriguez, our Variety Latino Rising Star of the Year honoree.
This fall, Gina makes history as the first Latina lead on the CW with her very own show, “Jane The Virgin,” a heartwarming new comedy about a 23-year-old girl with big dreams who gets pregnant after being artificially inseminated – accidentally!
We are so excited about the work Gina Rodriguez is doing in Hollywood and want to recognize that with this honor. She is smart, driven, uplifting, and empowering, and so are the characters she plays on the big and small screen, sending a clear message to Latina girls everywhere that they, too, are represented, and their stories are worth telling, too. Her being the first Latina lead on the CW with “Jane The Virgin” is groundbreaking, but it’s only the beginning. She is someone we’ll be talking about for years to come.
Don’t miss “Jane The Virgin” premiering October 13 on the CW.
The last time I interviewed Eva Mendes was in early April, for Variety Latino. She was promoting her clothing line for New York & Company — which I’m obsessed with, by the way. So she gave Latinas tips on how to achieve the perfect balance between sexy and sophisticated, which is what she basically does every day without even trying.
But we also talked about her childhood, the values that her parents instilled in her, how her mother inspired and shaped her, how she defines success at this stage in her career, and what happiness means to her.
Really proud of this little video I produced for Variety Latino with one of my FAVORITES!!!
Miguel invited the VL crew into the LA studio where he’s recording his next album, due sometime this year, and talked to us about so many things, including what it was like to grow up Black and Latino, his kaleidoscopic view of music & art, and…how he lost his virginity!
Yep, great story.
He even sang a snippet of a new song in Spanish called “Destinado a Morir” — which no one’s heard before until now.
He loved this interview so much he shared it with his fans via FB & Twitter. And the best part is, we have so much great material from this interview, we’ll be posting more Miguel goodness in the near future!
I’ve been busier than I’ve ever been in my life — as in, I forgot what sleep is — but I’m also incredibly proud of the work we’re doing over at Variety Latino, which launched February 27, 2014.
Check out some of the other great CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS we’ve done with everyone from Lupita Nyong’o to John Leguizamo.
*Miguel’s interview was originally posted on VarietyLatino.com.
How did I not know this existed?!
Makers: Women Who Make America is a historic video initiative developed by AOL and PBS. It aims to “be the largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled.” And so far, it’s on the right track.
Some of the extraordinary women profiled include Madeleine Albreight, Christiane Amanpour, Sandra Cisneros, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Tavi Gevinson, Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg and tons more.
Among them is Christy Haubegger, Founder of Latina magazine and a personal she-ro. Every day that I worked there from about 2007 to 2011 (a dream come true, for sure) I wanted to make her proud. And that’ll never change, no matter where I go.
What she’s built is incredible — and she’s nowhere near done. As big of a power player as she is in Hollywood (she transitioned from publishing to the agency life in 2005 and joined CAA, where she continues to create opportunities for Latinas), Christy always has time to listen, and for that, I’m eternally grateful. This only reaffirms the importance of mentorship for Latinas in any field.
Take a minute to watch her profile at Makers.com and I promise you’ll walk away newly inspired!
You gotta admire how Calle 13 stay true to their hasta la victoria siempre M.O. Their newest act of rebellion? A collabo with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, their buddy Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Palestinian musician Kamilya Jubran. Apparently Rene Perez, one half of C13, visited Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London this past summer. Their #JulianAssangeCalle13 campaign has been mounting since then, when they engaged their loyal Twitter followers on various themes and received thousands of responses, which they plan to incorporate into this new song. “We’re going to take their voice, what they’re saying, their idea, and we’re going to manipulate their idea and construct a song about the media…to talk against the bad media but using their voices,” says Perez in the teaser. Watch below:
The full “Multi_Viral” single will be released November 13. As for their next album, C13 has opted not to renew their contract with Sony and will be releasing their next album independently in March 2014. “We’re looking at different platforms,” C13’s Eduardo Cabra told Billboard last week. “Maybe we will give it away for free.”
That’s a cause I can get behind.
I’m just loving Comida Caliente, a new web series from my friend and executive producer, Stefani Vara.
It’s a fun cooking show centered on a matriarch (the hilarious Dene) and her 3 gorgeous daughters (Danielle, Stefani and Diana). I think a lot of Latinos will see themselves in this Mexican American family from Houston. I know I do.
Stef was my roommate at CU Boulder, where we were both really useless in the kitchen. Our idea of cooking consisted of making cornbread from a box, busting open a can of refried beans or driving over to Wendy’s. And I don’t know that our sorry asses have gotten much better since, but man, did we have a blast! She taught me about all things Selena and I schooled her on New York hip-hop.
I’m just so impressed with Stef and how she put this whole thing together, even getting Goya to sign on as an official sponsor. She’s always been so driven – whether it’s related to her singing career, her modeling, and now, this.
Watch these gals heat things up in the kitchen every other Tuesday on the Comida Caliente YouTube channel. My favorite episode so far has been “Sucking Bones,” which is as awesome as it sounds. You may even see me in the kitchen trying one of their recipes (the operative word being trying).
Check it out and tell me: what’s not to love about Dene & her daughters?
Bossing around Armandito on set.
Recently, I scored an exclusive invite to the set of Dancing With The Stars in LA, where Armando Christian Perez (better known as Armandito, or that lil’ chico Pit), was shooting a promo for the upcoming 16th season of everyone’s favorite reality dancing competition.
I happily watched as Mr. Worldwide injected everyone in the room with his dose of feel-good energy to the tune of his latest single, “Feel This Moment,” featuring fellow Latina A-lister, Christina Aguilera.
Though Xtina wasn’t there, we took the opportunity to ask El Señor Worldwide about how she and all the other iconic Latinas that he’s collaborated with (J.Lo, Shakira, Paulina Rubio, the list goes on and on) have influenced him.
He also told us why he thinks people continue to connect globally with his videos, the first artist that made him want to bust a move, why he loves Miami and what his mother, tia and abuelita have taught him about life.
Watch the exclusive video at Latina.com and tell me: what do you love most about him?
Since Almodovar’s Bad Education we know Gael García Bernal can credibly and enthusiastically curse like a Spaniard. Motorcycle Diaries had him doing a young Che Guevara’s subtle Argentine accent. In Rudo y Cursi, he’s the sexiest naco ever. In his latest, NO, out February 15, 2013, Gael García Bernal tried his hand at a not-so-easy accent, that of a native Chilean from Santiago.
Pablo Larraín’s film, nominated this year in the Best Foreign Film category at the Oscars, was inspired by actual events. García Bernal plays Rene Saavedra, a brash young ad man spearheading a campaign aimed at ending the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet during the country’s 1988 referendum. Riding on the slogan “Chile: Happiness is coming!” this opposition campaign emerges victorious, setting Chile free from a rule defined by human rights abuses, and “desaparecidos.” As García Bernal notes: “The campaign appealed to optimism and to happiness in a country submerged in the painful shock of its recent politics.”
Putting his brilliant performance aside, how did he fare with the Chilean accent? On a scale of 1 to 10, we’d say he sits comfortably at an 8. But what happens when we challenge him to do other, tougher Latin American accents? Let’s just say he needs a little practice…
Watch the video interview on Fusion (ABC/Univision), where it was originally posted.
Jenni Rivera was never just a singer. She was a savvy businesswoman with her own real estate company, her own line of jeans, cosmetics, fragrances, and more. Recently, she had begun to build an impressive TV resume, as producer of several reality shows on mun2, including one centered on her own life, I Love Jenni. Her next TV project was to be a scripted comedy series in development for ABC, based loosely on her life.
Film was the next frontier for Rivera, and judging by her performance in the hip-hop driven indie drama Filly Brown, there’s no telling how far she could have gone as an actress.
Edward James Olmos, who served as executive producer on the film – which was written and directed by his son Michael D. Olmos and Youssef Delara – calls Rivera’s performance “Oscar-worthy.”
Rivera is hardly recognizable in the film, having shed her usual glammed up hair and make-up for the chola-inspired look of a drug-addicted, imprisoned mother whose daughter (Gina Rodriguez) turns to rapping to help bust her out of jail.
I had the chance to interview Rivera in January during the Sundance Film Festival, where the movie premiered to critical praise. She talked about going the Mariah Carey route in Precious, and how she managed to bring her character to life. It was such an honor to meet her in person and I will always be grateful for that opportunity.
Watch the video interview on Fusion (ABC/Univision), where it was originally posted.