Spotlight: 5 Latina Athletes

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Have you heard of these leading Latina athletes? Check them out:

Diana Taurasi
Outstanding basketball player, and  two-time winner of the Big East Player of the Year award. Since her childhood, Taurasi has shown immense talent by winning several awards and tournaments. Now, she is a three-times WNBA champion, six times All-Star champion.

Amy Rodriguez
Rodriguez, a Cuban Futbol soccer player and winner of 3 gold medals and a silver medal, is known for her speed; she is a force to be recognized. Rodriguez has attended the Olympics and FIFA Women Cups, and even had to miss a couple of games during her senior year of college to attend the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Idalys Ortiz
A Cuban judoka, a practitioner of judo, and winner of 16 gold medals and 4 bronze medals, Ortiz has participated in the Olympic Games, World Championship, Panamerican Games and Panamerican Championship. In the 2008 Olympics, she earned the recognition of being the youngest Olympic medalist — at the age of 18! She is a highly accomplished judo athlete, and is one to truly admire if you are into martial arts.

Mariana Pajon
Pajon is a Colombian Olympian gold medalist and highly successful cyclist. She earned her first national title at the age of 5 and first world title at the age of 9.  Better known as La Reina del BMX, Pajon has been riding since the age of three, which has led to gaining several titles, 14 world titles to be exact, and other awards throughout her career. From being called La Reina to La Hormiga Atomica, and/or La reina and Marianita, she is a master at BMX riding.

Monica Puig

Winner of  the Premio Juventud-Nueva Promesa deal Deporte Award, Puig  is a highly accomplished Puerto Rican tennis player. In 2016, she reached her best singles ranking of world number, 36. She has won the WTA Tour Championship, International, Panamerican Championships and has participated in the Centroamerican Caribbean Games. In 2010, she became the Puerto Rican athlete of the year.

Review: Princess Academy

85990Princess Academy by Shannon Hale tells the story of a 14 year old girl named Miri Larendaughter. Miri lives in the village of Mount Eskel with her father Laren and her sister Marda. There, she struggles to fit in and feels isolated, because she has never been allowed to work in the quarry like the rest of the villagers due to an accident that left her motherless.

The only person who actually sees Miri for what she’s worth is Pedar Doterson, her childhood playmate and best friend. Pedar and Miri both share a secret affection for each other but it is not allowed to flourish because one day, a messenger from the king arrives and announces that the prince is to choose a bride from Mount Eskel. A “princess academy,” is created and the girls from the village are taken away for princess training.

At the academy, Miri outshines all the other girls and receives the title of academy princess. She is allowed the first dance with the prince and from that point onward, Miri experiences many changes and is faced with trying to figure out where her heart lies… Does she want a prince, or is she in love with Pedar? Can she leave her family behind? Even scarier, can she be a princess?

Princess Academy is a wonderful coming of age story, and it really calls attention to the themes of community, gender, and education. It’s empowering. It’s thrilling. And more importantly, it breathes hope and life into the hearts of anyone who reads the tale.

Gaby Orendain comments, “I remember really liking the book! To me, Miri was a strong but relatable character who did great things despite her ‘humble’ mountain origins. I liked how she started off as being small and shy, and then grew to be not only one of the best in the academy, but also someone who helped save the day!”

It’s hard to say why Miri Larendaughter is the great protagonist that she is without spoiling the story, but one things for sure: Miri breaks the norm. Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty,etc.  are damsels in distress and they needed a prince to come save them. And sure, Miri may start off as a damsel in distress, but she evolves so much throughout the story. However, in the end, she provides the saving. She saves the prince, she saves the village, and she grows up to be a real woman with strength, power, humility and big big heart.

Artistas Talentosas

These talented women have made significant contributions within the art world.

Alexis Herrera
Alexis Herrera is known for her diverse gothic paintings. Cuento de mis monsters is one of her outstanding galleries that emphasize anxiety, ordinary illusions of herself and her own version of mythological stories. She possesses an excellent technique at drawing and an outgoing imagination since she tells the most creative, and sometimes dark, stories around Texas with her paintings.

Carmen Herrera
Carmen Herrera has made great contributions to the abstract expressionism movement in Cuba with her paintings. She is iconic and well-known for using bright colors and expressing them through geometric figures.

Carmen Lomas Garza focuses on the daily lives of Mexican Americans. Her paintings emphasize ordinary events that she went through while living in California and Texas during her childhood. She uses a technique called gouache (which is a water color paint in a dry and opaque surface). This contemporary Latina established the Carmen Lomas Garza Primary Center in 2007 in Los Angeles. The center creates a free discrimination space for Mexican American kids who want to learn about painting.

Quiz: Is your mom your BFF?

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Instructions: Read the question or statement and answer either “yes” or “no.” When you are finished with the quiz count how many “yes” answers you got and read the results below. Have fun, chica!

1 Do you and your mom have a favorite movie that you like to watch together? Y/N

2 Calling your mom at any time, day or night, is one of the most comforting things in the world. Y/N

3 Will you go to a concert of your favorite band with your mom? Y/N

4 Are you able to tell your mom everything without fear of judgment? Y/N

5 Can you tell your mom a secret and you are sure that she won’t tell no one? Y/N

6 Sometimes you don’t need words because you can communicate with her using facial expressions. Y/N

7 If you are looking for a great advice about everything, do you consult your mom? Y/N

8 You never seem to be able to hold a grudge against her for too long. Y/N

9 She’s your rock and you know you’ll be lost without her. Y/N

10 She’s the person you turn to that can instantly make you feel better when you’ve had a bad day. Y/N

11 You bond over favorite TV shows or movies and sometimes call each other just to complain about something one of the characters did last week. Y/N

12 One of your favorite things to do together is have long conversations over coffee or tea about life, the past, the present, experiences you’ve shared, and everything in between. Y/N

13 Is she the first person you immediately call or text after something major happens, like a first date or when you make a new friend? Y/N

14 You can always talk to her about your school crush because your mom has amazing advice based on years of experience. Y/N

15 When you’re feeling down your mom knows how to lift your spirits up by doing whatever she can to make you feel better? Y/N

16 On a big life decision you go to her for a piece of advice Y/N

17 Do you have strong communication with your mom? Y/N

18 Do you think your mom is hilarious? You both share the same sense of humor and you love sharing funny stories or things you find online to get her reaction. Y/N

19 Are you always thinking of nice things you could do for her or little things that would make her life easier? Y/N

20 Your relationship gets stronger and stronger every year. The love and respect you have for her is ridiculously high and you can’t imagine a life without her in it. Y/N

No. OF YES TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP
1 – 3 “The Stranger”

It seems like you and your mom need to work on getting to know each other. Maybe it is not all on you or on her, it might be external factors that are affecting the relationship. Get informed and find ways to interact more often, simple things like putting away the dishes or walking the dog can be the start to a wonderful mother-daughter relationship.

4-7 “I think I’ve seen you around “

Routine can be a killer for a relationship, maybe that’s what’s happening with you guys. Don’t let routine become a wall between you and your potential best friend. Organize your schedule and plan activities together. A girls night, a movie, or a walk to the park can be a good way to shake the stress away and get to spend more quality time together.

7-10 “ The Settlers”

It seems like both of you know “enough” about each other. Don’t settle for the basics and instead upgrade the relationship to trying new things together — maybe a new hobby just for the two of you, volunteering at the same place, a physical activity or learning one the famous family dinner recipes.

11-15 “Are we there yet?”

Not quite there yet but you guys have earned an “A” for effort.  Think about the “stuff” you don’t feel comfortable sharing with your mom or doing with her. Communication is the best tool to build bridges and bring down walls; use it wisely and discover all the good stuff that is waiting for both of you on the other side of the wall.

16-19 “The Amigitas”

You guys know you can’t go do anything without sharing it with one another. Whether it’s talking about your school crush or hanging out with her, you and your mom have a great relationship!

20 Best Friends for Life”

No doubt! You girls are meant to be besties. Life has gifted you with an amazing woman who’s your mother and friend at the same time. What a great combination, don’t you think? Your friends must love the relationship that you have with your mom.

Musician Spotlight: Jessica Hernandez & Ana Tijoux

Lately, the Latinitas office started to explore different musical genres. These two Latinas are not only talented, but we can’t stop dancing to their songs!

jessicahernandez_photo_gal__photo_432388068Jessica Hernandez
Lead singer of The Deltas, an American soul/pop band from Detroit, Michigan, has been described as a “rock’n’soul powerhouse”! As a first-generation American daughter of a Mexican mother and Cuban father, she grew up working in her family’s bakery. Her most recent breakthrough has been the release of Secret Evil in 2014. Her catchy rock-n-roll tunes is definitely worth a listen, chicas!

800px-Anita_tijouxAna Tijoux (Ana María Merino Tijoux)

Ana Tijoux, a French-Chilean musician, has an impressive background in hip-hop and rap. Consuelo Vargas and Makul influenced her musical interests in the late 80’s and early 90’s, which led her to create the hip-hop group, Makiza, withLos Gemelos withZatourno. In the late 90’s she was the female MC of Makiza, a hip-hop group, and in 2006 she crossed over to Latin Pop with her collaborative hit with Julieta Venegas, Eres para mí.

Spotlight: Gina Rodriguez

Born in Chicago Illinois, Gina Rodriguez is the Latina everyone is talking about. Puerto Rican daughter of Genaro and Magali, Rodriquez is the youngest of three sisters. She was always one to be on stage, and, at the young age of seven, her love of salsa led to dancing her way into college until the age of 17. Attending NYU’s Tisch School of the arts, Rodriguez continued four years of training with the Atlantic Theater Company and Experimental Theatre Wing. Soon after she had her first lead role in a feature film, Tiny Dancer, she had the role of Frida Kahlo in “Casa Blue: The Last Moments in the Life of Frida Kahlo” at the American Stage Theatre.

Prior to being cast as Jane Villanueva in the comedy Jane the Virgin, she played the role of Beverly in the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. She has also worked in movies such as Our Family Wedding (2010), Go for It!(2010), Filly Brown (2012), Enter the Dangerous Mind (2013) and Sleeping with Fishes(2013) among other television and short films.

Jane the Virgin is a network success, which is attributed to Rodriguez and the energetic cast. The Venezuelan Telenovela inspired show has seen great amount of success, winning an AFI award for program of the year, a Dorian Award for Campy TV Show of the Year and a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy all in 2015.  Gina won her first Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a television series musical or comedy for her role as Jane. In her moving speech, she mentions “…this award is so much more than myself it represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes…”

Although Jane the Virgin has been her most successful role, she has appeared in other television shows, which include  Law and Order (2004), 10 Things I Hate About You (2010), Army Wives (2010), Happy Endings (2011) and Longmire (2013), among other shows.

Rodriguez’s success extends to the film industry. She has also won an Imagen Award for Best Actress for the film Filly Brown and also an ALMA Award of Special Achievement for the same film.

Iconic Female Artists

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Learn more about some iconic female artists:

Frida Kahlo
One of the most iconic Mexican female artists is Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo is known for her self-portraits and of her realism, symbolism, and surrealistic art style. Kahlo was born on July 6th 1907, in Mexico City, Mexico. Her art began after she was severely injured in a bus accident. Kahlo incorporated her life into her work, such as her injuries, miscarriages, indigenous roots, and her husband (Diego Rivera). Her work reflects life and the beauty of Mexico.

 

Danza-de-la-Tierra_finalJudy Baca
Judy Baca is a Chicana artist born on September 20th, 1946, to Mexican – American parents. Baca’s murals helped her gain recognition in her early years as a high school teacher. She utilized mural painting to bring together students and community members as there existed tensions among them.

Baca’s work has left a significant impact on the Latino community, which is still ongoing to this day. One of her murals is Mi Abuelita , which illustrates a grandmother with her arms outstretched for a hug. This mural is important and significant as it was also painted by rivaling gang members, which surprised city officials. Baca’s other murals would shift Chicano and Latino culture.

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Olivia Peguero
Olivia Peguero is a Dominican artist who focuses on contemporary landscapes and botany. She was born in Las Salinas, Barahona Province, in 1961. Her art style was first influenced by Dutch painters and the love of the physical beauty her country. Peguero’s work is important as viewers can escape and appreciate Caribbean beauty. Her efforts in providing back to her community is seen through her organization of the Art Books for Education Project, where young kids are given the appropriate tools needed to enter the art world.

 

 

BoulangerAmourtendresseGraciela Rodo Boulanger
Graciela Rodo Boulanger is a Bolivian painter born in La Paz in 1935. Her parents introduced her to the arts, and encouraged a creative outlet. Boulanger’s signature art is known for her depiction of children. Boulanger has had her work displayed at UN Assembly and with UNICEF. The latter chose her in 1973 as the official artist for the International Year of the Child.   Boulanger’s work has been shown all around the world, which is a great celebration for a fellow Latina artist.

Powerful Latinas to Look Up To

These talented Latina actresses not only shine on the screen, but also as role models and volunteers.  These Latinas are setting an example for the rest of us by using their fame and power to do good for many!

Roselyn Sanchez Roselyn Sanchez

The beautiful Puerto Rican Roselyn has been working in the industry for a long time. She has been recognized for her beauty in many pageants and that gave her a chance to land big roles in different movies and TV shows. She has also worked as a producer and director. She has done philanthropic work and created a foundation dedicated to help animals and little kids. She has also led a triathlon for children’s charities.

Judy Reyes

From Dominican parents, Judy has participated in many TV shows since the 90’s, including The Sopranos and Oz, but her most recognized roles are Scrubs and Devious Maids. However she’s not only an actress, she has spent some of her time helping orphans with organizations such as Orphaned Starfish Foundation, a group that help them overcome poverty through education in Haiti, Latin America and Africa. She has also helped to build community gardens with help of the Garfield Health Department.

Ana Ortiz

Ana Ortiz, who is of Puerto Rican and Irish descendent, graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and now is a mother of two. She is well recognized for her roles in Ugly Betty and Devious Maids. She has dedicated some time to do charity work! She has been a part of the fight against AIDS, participating with AIDS Healthcare Foundation. She has also worked for the Animal Rescue Foundation. While she was part of the Ugly Betty cast, they helped with a charity auction benefiting Save The Children.

Bella Thorne

From Cuban Descent, Bella Thorne has been working really hard since an early age and she’s only 18! She started as a child model. She was a lead actress and a great dancer on a Disney TV show while simultaneously working as a model for a couple of brands, and later working on movies and TV shows. With her busy life, she has set aside some time to help others by working with Humane Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and The Nomad Organization.

Victoria Justice

She started her artistic career at a young age and hasn’t stopped working since then. She has appeared in many TV shows and is well-known from Zoey 101 and Victorious. She has also made a singing career and released many singles. But she is also making a difference. She joined the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign to educate, protect and empower girls in developing countries.

 

Discover Your Talents

Growing into being your own individual is a precious time. As you get older, your interests and capabilities will shift. It’s most important to take some time and get to know who you are and what brings you joy.

Explore Your Interests
Finding out what brings you joy may not be as hard as you think.Have you ever wished upon a star or hoped for something spectacular before blowing out the candles on your birthday cake? Ask yourself what makes you excited?

Create a List
Remember everyone is different. You may find that something others really enjoy may not be as rewarding for you. Don’t be discouraged use your list, give it time, and keep practicing.  Try brainstorming on things you like to do.

Explore New Hobbies
Find out what activities you really enjoy learning about. You may find a hidden talent you didn’t realize before. If there is just one or even numerous hobbies you enjoy, make a list and explore your options by getting involved in each one. Usually practicing a hobby often is the best way to figure out if it’s also a talent. Being talented at something means that you are skilled or perform very well at something. Keep in mind that most people aren’t experts when they first try a new hobby. Give yourself time to practice and build your talents.

Tune Into Your Musical Talents
If you have been wishful about a new guitar, maybe your talent is music based. Look into joining a music class or start a band and practice on the weekend with friends.

Get Active in Sports
Some other ideas would include if you like to be active in sports. Being talented in sports would mean that you’re a team player, and have the skills to help them win. There are so many types of sports so if you find that you’re more flexible then most, your talent could turn you into being part of the ballet.

Get Creative
Another idea would be if you’re creative with building, doing crafts or even painting projects. Your art could be a one of a kind piece, which could result in earning a special place in a gallery or showing. Even the most opinionated person could explore their options in becoming a talented debater. Believe in your talent and know that it’s just another special part about you.

Share Your Talent
Once your talent is discovered, you can figure out if you’d like to keep it to yourself or share it with the world! Beechacres.org explains more about how your interests change over time. So as you grow, you may find that your talents and how many you have will do the same. Make sure your talents are something you enjoy sharing. People will want to watch you show off your skill so make sure you are comfortable with that. It’s ultimately your choice if you decide to expose it by joining a team or competing with others. Keeping these tips in mind will help you learn more about yourself and what you have to offer.

Review: Esperanza Rising

51G3peGW7RL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Esperanza Rising by Pam Muños Ryan is a touching book about a young girl, Esperanza, born in Aguascalientes, Mexico — the pride and joy of her family ranch, El Rancho de Las Rosas. Nearing the grape picking season, and Esperanza’s thirteenth birthday, a sudden turn of events leads to Esperanza’s father’s death, which sends her whole life quickly tumbling upside down. Her power-obsessed uncles burn down her house and the grapevines and plan to take over their whole estate. Esperanza and her family are forced to flee, but her childhood friend and servant, sixteen-year-old Miguel, and his family tell Esperanza and her mom that they plan to go to the United States. To Miguel and his family, it is a land full of opportunity, so they offer to take them along. In almost an instant, Esperanza goes from being a rich daughter of a Hacienda owner in Mexico to being a poor plantation worker in the United States. She realizes that she is no longer a member of the rich upper class, and is forever in debt to Miguel and his family.

Esperanza Rising counts the story of Esperanza’s journey in adjusting to her new life style, cope with the loss of her father, become a strong figure in her small worker household, all while trying to see the world differently than she ever had before. She sees an injustice in the treatment of herself and her fellow workers, and sickness and poverty in her own household.

Esperanza is amazed by the small details in life and the joy of Miguel’s prima. She admires the selflessness she sees in the women she sees everyday, her mother included, and learns to find the beauty in the people she meets and the land she tills and discovers. In Pam Muños Ryan’s beautifully crafted writing, this award-winning book shows the beauty of Hispanic tradition and spirit. Esperanza’s story is a life-changing that you will never forget!

Filled with many relatable proverbs (like the one below), and life advice about the ups and downs of life, this novel is sure to bring a tear or two to your eyes.

“Aguàntate tantito y la fruta caerà en tu mano.”
“Wait a little while and the fruit will fall into your hand.”

– Mexican Proverb 

For Esperanza, despite her hardship, the fruit did fall into her hand.The novel will remind you of the beautiful complex spirit of your Latina background.