Remembering Jenni Rivera, the Music Icon and Mother

I Love Jenni - Season 3

The world lost one of its brightest stars on December 9, 2012. But for all her success, Jenni Rivera was also unapologetically real, vulnerable and accessible. In this exclusive interview, Rivera’s eldest daughter Chiquis reflects on the loss and honors the legacy of banda music’s reigning queen.

Read my exclusive interview with Chiquis on the new MySpace.


Happy Halloween! From La Llorona to Paranormal Activity, Latinos love a good scare

A still from Paranormal Activity 4.

A still from Paranormal Activity 4.

When I was a little girl, I used to play a darker version of hide and seek with my older cousins in Ecuador. In our little game, whomever was the seeker would role play as La Llorona, and do the trademark wail of the mythical Weeping Woman: “Donde estan mis hijos?” (“Where are my children?”).

It was all innocent fun, but now that I think about it, it’s a creepy concept, and not something I’ll be passing onto my own children one day.

My experience growing up with this mythical figure as part of my consciousness was not uncommon. In homes all across Mexico, the southwestern U.S., certain parts of the Caribbean, and most countries in Latin America, La Llorona is collectively known and feared.

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Salma Hayek cover story for Glam Belleza Latina


Check out an excerpt of my new cover story on Salma for Glam Belleza Latina, the new magazine from the publishers of Glamour dedicated to Latinas and their passion for all things beauty. I first met her in LA when I interviewed her for the cover of Latina in 2011. I swear the woman just gets more beautiful with every passing year…

When we grow up, we want to be Salma Hayek Pinault. There, we’ve said it. At 46 she is stunning in a way that is both extra-ordinary and real. We could picture her kicking back at our family reunion as easily as she graces the red carpet.

But what really makes Hayek Pinault such a role model is her beautiful mind. She has the gravitas to take on an icon like Frida Kahlo, the edge to play a twisted (but ravishing) villain opposite Blake Lively in last year’s Savages, and the comedic chops to hang with the likes of Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in Grown Ups 2 (opening July 12). Then there are her businesses: the production company Ventanarosa and a cosmetics company, Nuance, inspired by her grandmother’s homemade beauty treatments.

When Glam Belleza Latina caught up with the star in Paris, she encouraged us to both push for our dreams and cut ourselves some slack. “We’ve got to fight for our confidence every day in modern life because we live in a society that is very harsh to women,” says Hayek Pinault. “You have to be smart and successful and a good mother and beautiful and young and skinny forever. It’s a lot of pressure. So I think we have to take a deep breath and just enjoy ourselves and say, ‘I’m going to be the best that I can be, and that’s more than enough.’ ”

But one doesn’t get to be as fabulous as Hayek Pinault by taking it easy, right? The actress reminds us that none of her biggest accomplishments, personally or professionally, came easy. It took almost 10 years for her to get Frida, the film that earned her her first Oscar nomination, produced—and another 10 years to launch her cosmetics line. “Patience is a wonderful skill,” says Hayek Pinault. “It teaches you to enjoy the process and not just the result of things.” Before she dashes off to pick up her daughter, Valentina, from school, she shares one more piece of advice: “Success is just happiness. If you’ve found the right companion for life, a good relationship with loved ones, if you are healthy—my God, you are immensely successful.” Read on for an illustrated history of Hayek Pinault’s extraordinary, inspiring, successful life.

To read the rest of this story, visit, where it was originally published.

What’s the one accent Gael Garcia Bernal can’t do?


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.

Latina magazine’s tribute to Jenni Rivera

It was incredibly special to me to be a part of this special tribute issue to the late Jenni Rivera. I got to interview people close to her, and they shared some amazing anecdotes, which really helped me understand and appreciate Jenni in new ways. The feedback I’ve been getting is all positive, including from Jenni’s own daughter, Chiquis.

Thank you, Latina, as always, for the work.

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What all the death in 2012 taught me about life


I know how this sounds, but it’s an honest question: doesn’t it seem like death and devastation were all up in the news in 2012? I think it started with Whitney Houston – a high-profile death that was not entirely shocking but nevertheless tragic.

There will never ever be another Whitney, just as there will never be another Jenni Rivera. These are women who left the world different than when they entered it. They inspired people. They opened doors for other artists after them. And many, many will mourn them – from those who knew them personally to those who felt extremely connected to them through their music.

I admit I did not sleep all that well in the days following the news of Jenni Rivera’s death. Following and covering the story of someone’s tragic and untimely death 24/7 will do something to you, will make you wonder things, like: What does looking at death mean to your own life? Is it a chance to make all your wrongs right? A chance to be grateful for what you take for granted? A chance to really start living?

It’s a little bit of everything, I think.

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Fans, family and friends celebrate Jenni Rivera at her memorial service


Jenni Rivera’s fans, friends, and family bid farewell to La Diva de la Banda today from the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles in a memorial service led by her brother, Rev. Pedro Rivera Jr.

The ceremony was not open to the press, only fans with tickets were able to attend, although a livestream was made available by several media outlets. Tickets, which were $1, appear to have sold out within the hour after they were made available on Tuesday. Even fans who didn’t get tickets found a place outside the theater to honor their idol, like Lisseth De Paz, 13, who watched the ceremony from a giant screen and held a Jenni Rivera poster and a white rose. “I love her,” she said. “I grew up listening to her music. My mom introduced me. I’ll always remember who she was and how she turned her stories into songs.”

Xochitl Rosas, 36, also had to watch from the outside. “I liked her trajectory, her life was meaningful to me,” she said. “Her songs gave me strength. She overcame domestic violence. It didn’t hold her back. She pushed forward. That helped me as a single mom to help my children and have them excel at anything.”

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A look at Jenni Rivera and Selena, side-by-side


There are great performers, and then there are game-changers. Jenni Rivera, who died at age 43 in a plane crash outside of Monterrey, Mexico early Sunday morning, was that rare breed of artist who will be remembered not only for her success, but for all the rules she re-wrote.

As the undisputed queen of banda music, her professional achievements within a male-dominated genre run deep – among her many feats, La Diva de la Banda sold some 1.2 million albums in the United States alone and sold out arenas like the Staples Center in Los Angeles, something no other female regional Mexican artist had done before. But make no mistake: nothing was ever handed to this woman.

Rivera was born in Long Beach, California on July 2, 1969, one of six siblings. The daughter of bartender-turned-music mogul Pedro Rivera, who launched his own record label, Cintas Acuario, in 1987 to produce the music of narcocorrido legend Chalino Sanchez, among others, and launch the career of his own son Lupillo, Jenni was a straight A student in high school. When she got pregnant with her first child as a sophomore, instead of dropping out, she earned her GED at a continuation school in 1987 – as the class valedictorian, no less – before going on to earn a college business degree in 1991.

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Regional Mexican star Jenni Rivera dies in plane crash


Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Mexico’s Secretary of Communications and Transports, confirmed on Sunday night that the remains of the private jet carrying Jenni Rivera have been found, with no survivors. Rivera, 43, was one of seven passengers.

Rivera’s father, Pedro, confirmed the news of his daughter’s passing to reporters stationed outside of his home in Lakewood, Calif., where several family members were gathered, including Rivera’s mother Rosa and her eldest daughter Chiquis, who has still not made any statements. Rivera’s father reportedly received the news via telephone from his son, singer Lupillo Rivera, who was in Mexico at the time of the jet’s disappearance. “This is the first tragedy of this kind that we suffer as a family,” Rivera’s father told reporters on Sunday evening. “I hope people remember her as she was – someone who was straight with the world.”

Celebrity reactions on Twitter have poured in since news of the disappearance of Rivera’s jet, including Paulina Rubio (who was set to co-host the Mexican edition of The Voice with Rivera) William LevyJoan SebastianRicky Martin, and others.

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Historic Mexico issue of Latina magazine (editor)

In 2009, Mexico’s reputation had suffered greatly in the mainstream news media. With the constant reports of drug wars, violence and H1N1, you’d think it was the worst place on Earth. So I suggested we devote an entire issue to the culture, beauty and people of Mexico, showcasing its many positive contributions. The staff agreed; it was a no-brainer. It was the first time in Latina‘s history that we devoted an entire issue to a specific country/culture, and the first time we didn’t feature a celebrity on the cover. The response was incredibly positive, from the Mexican and Mexican American community, and beyond. Read more about this historic issue here.