Latinas in TV & Film

WonderWomanThese famous women helped pave the way for generations of Latinos in TV and film.  In the early days of Hollywood, some of these Latina actresses opened doors by being the first Latina stars. More recently, Latinas in TV have reached new heights of stardom by becoming highly visible and starring in their own shows.

EARLY HOLLYWOOD

Lupe Velez- (1908-1944)

María Guadalupe Villalobos Vélez was born in San Luis Potosí, Mexico on 1908. One out of five children, Velez was said to be aggressive and impulsive so she was sent to study at Our Lady of the Lake in San Antonio, Texas. She began her career in Mexico in 1924 and later emigrated to Hollywood where she was picked for the film The Gaucho (1927). She became so popular that the “Mexican Spitfire” was written around her. By the age of 21 she had already done over 10 films. She was known as one of the first Latina women to make it in Hollywood opening the doors for Latinas. Although constantly portraying love scenes her personal life was the opposite and  she sadly took her life at the age of 36 for still unknown reasons.

Carmen Miranda (1909-1955)

Born in Marco de Canaveses, Portugal in 1909 The Portuguese Brazillian samba singer, Carmen Miranda was born as Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha. Most commonly known as the “Brazillian Bombshell” she was a singer, dancer, Broadway actress and film star!  Making her stardom in Brazil her talent lead to Broadway and soon Hollywood. Her first film in Hollywood was Down Argentine Way in 1940. She is recognized by the signature fruit hat she wore in American movies in specific The Gang’s All Here (1943). Soon she became the highest paid woman in the United States. Her death came from a heart attack in Beverly Hills at the age of 46.

Dolores Del Rio- (1905-1983)

The Mexican actress was born in Durango, México in 1905 as María de los Dolores Asunsola y Lopez Negrete. She married at the young age of 16 to Jaime Martinez, 34 and had a two year honeymoon in Europe. Later she moved to the United States where her career in singing and acting took off as she made her debut in the film Joanna. She soon continued to play roles in silent films becoming one of the most important female figures in Mexican Cinema. Jumping from Mexico to the United States for roles, she even worked with Rock n’ Roll Star Elvis Presley in Flaming Star. Winning an Ariel Award for best actress her life ended due to multiple health issues.

WONDER WOMAN

Lynda Carter- (1951- )

Daughter of Juanita (Mexican/ Spanish) and Colby Carter(Scottish and Irish), Linda Jean Cordova Carter was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1951. She is best known for winning Miss World USA in 1972 and playing the famous role of Wonder Woman. At the age of 17, she joined her cousins’ in the band The Relatives. She later attended the Arizona State University and continued to pursue a career in music. After winning Miss World, she moved to LA where she studied acting. Along the way, she guest starred on The Jackson Show, The Muppet Show, and even portrayed Rita Hayworth in The Love Goddess. Although acting opened many doors for her, she continued on to sing and even releasing a solo album called Portrait. She now has a website in which she sells her music and has tour announcements.

TV SHOW HOST

Cristina Saralegui- (1948- )

Born in Havana , Cuba Cristina Saralegui on 1948 she fled to Miami, Florida in 1960 following the Cuban Revolution.  She attended the University of Miami and in 1973 she began an internship with the magazine Vanidades which lead her to become the editor of the Spanish version of the Cosmopolitan magazine. After almost a decade of being an editor she launched her talk show, El Show de Cristina on Univision which had many prominent guests and ended after 21 years and earned 12 Emmys. She continued to publish a magazine Cristina: La Revista along with various books.  The “Spanish Oprah” journalist, actress, talk show host, and activist she is also created a foundation along with her husband, called Arriba la Vida to promote AIDS education in the Latino community and help other AIDS related causes.

Latinas in film have been taking on more starring roles in current times and Latina characters have evolved over time thanks to these leading Latina ladies.

HERstory: Frida Kahlo

1939_photo_nickolas_murayFrida Kahlo was a storyteller who shared her personal stories of love, pain, pride and self-discovery using paintbrushes and a mirror. To this day, she is considered not only of one Mexico’s greatest artists but an icon for Mexican culture and feminine beauty, women’s rights and equality.

She was born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón on July 6, 1907, in Coyocoán, Mexico City, Mexico. Kahlo was born and raised in her family’s home–later referred to as the Blue House or Casa Azul, which would be her workspace and home in her later years before her passing. Throughout her life, she was constricted by physical disabilities. Around the age of 6, she contracted polio, which caused her to be bedridden for nine months. She did recover from her illness but had a slight limp because the disease damaged her right leg and foot. However, it seemed as if her physical limitations only pushed her strength and talents further. She was encouraged by her father to be active and play sports, acts that were deemed impossible for her to do.

At the age of eighteen, she was involved in a trolley accident that would have her injured for the rest of her life. Doctors were not sure she would live, much less ever walk again but she did, despite the odds. Once again, she chose an activity that strengthened her recovery: painting. One year after her accident, she completed her first of many self-portraits, which would gain worldwide recognition for their honest portrayals of her life.

Her work was often described as “surreal” because of its strange, dreamlike images. While her portraits and paintings weren’t necessarily realistic, they did display more than what she could say in words.

“I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration,” Kahlo said.

Her faint mustache striking monobrow and colorful wardrobe have made her a symbol of the traditional Mexican woman in that she never transformed her natural appearance. Quite the opposite, she would flaunt her features and dressed in a way that paid tribute to her culture.

She was famously married to Diego Rivera, another revolutionary Mexican artist. Despite their rocky relationship, Rivera greatly admired Kahlo for her original artistic take and her expressive attitude.  “Frida is the only example in the history of art of an artist who tore open her chest and heart to reveal the biological truth of her feelings,” Rivera said. “The only woman who has expressed in her work an art of the feelings, functions, and creative power of woman.”

Her career as a professional artist allowed her to live in the United States and travel to Europe to showcase her unique works at high-end galleries. Her artwork and, most notably, the way she carried herself inspired her audiences. Frida considered herself to be an independent woman, free from society labels. As a result, she was seen as a rebel, a title she gladly embraced along with her other flaws.

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do,” Frida said. “I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”

Even after her passing on July 13, 1954, she left behind a legacy, one that inspires others to persevere through life’s obstacles, accept flaws as well as their beauty and freely express their innermost emotions and thoughts.

Sorority Sister Spotlight: Arlina Garcia

gammasDo you remember the last time you were in a brand new setting? Making friends and being yourself isn’t so easy when you’re not in your comfort zone, but sometimes there are ways to ease these transitions. Arlina Garcia is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and a sister of the “Oh So Fly” Xi Chapter of the Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority. Through this sorority, she has transitioned into a college student who proudly embraces her heritage in her daily life.

What was the most difficult part about transitioning from high school to college?

 The most difficult part about transitioning from high school to college was definitely the culture shock. I pictured UT to be very diverse, but when I arrived I was surprised by the large number of White students on campus. I felt out casted at times in my classes. I grew up in Houston, in a predominately African American and Latino community. The environment was a lot different at UT than my previous schooling institutions. Joining SLG definitely helped me transition.

Why did you decide to rush?

 Even though I knew a good number of people at UT from my school district, I still felt alone at times. I did not feel like my peers had the same goals and mind set as mine. I came in to UT wanting to join a sorority, but I never would have thought I’d join a Latina based sorority. I saw the Gammas perform a step and stroll and “Go Greek”, an event the Latino Pan-Hellenic council puts on every semester, and it sparked my interest. After attending an informational I knew Sigma Lambda Gamma was the right sorority for me. All the sisters had accomplished so much during their time at UT. I could see Gammas were ambitious, confident women and that is exactly what I wanted to be surrounded by. A positive influence to push me to pursue all my aspirations.

How has being a UT Gamma influenced your views on your culture?

 I have become very proud of my heritage and have gained so much knowledge of not only my own culture, but others as well. I truly value diversity in my everyday life now. I studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa this past summer, my first time leaving the state of Texas, and now I want to travel the world! Because: “Culture is pride, Pride is success.”

Describe your sisterhood in 3 words.

 “Hermanas por vida.” 

What’s your favorite memory?

 I have too many memories with my sisters to choose one. I would have to say my probate was an amazing day. A probate is a coming out show, after pledging a semester. When I took off my mask and revealed myself as “Arlina ‘Ambiciosa’ Garcia,” and stood next to my line sisters with my letters on for the first time, it was unforgettable.

 Has being a member in your sorority made you feel closer to your roots? Why or why not?

 Definitely, my family is very Tejano, so learning from my sisters who grew up with a more traditionally Mexican family is so interesting. I have learned to appreciate the values my parents strived to instill in me. 

What does your family back home think about your involvement?

 Being a first generation college student, I do not think my family fully understands the purpose and meaning of a sorority. However, they have been more than supportive. They have expressed that their proud of me for going through the journey of becoming a sister and how involved I have become. They also loved coming to our family weekend we host for all our parents, annually. And I must say, watching my 6’ 3” dad dominate in the sack races was priceless.

What has been the greatest benefit/s? 

Self-growth. I came in to UT very reserved, timid, and disengaged. Since becoming a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma, I have really learned the importance of opening up. It is necessary to build relationships. You cannot improve by staying in your comfort zone. I have definitely grown a voice. For example, I speak up in class a lot more often, which is beneficial for being successful in college. I am definitely not afraid to provide input or state my opinion. I have learned the importance of networking and am no longer to put myself out there and meet people.

What advice would you give our Latinitas readers about the whole college experience?

DO THE MOST. Branch out. Study Abroad. Get a mentor. Go to different campus events. Join organizations. Do community Service. Do research. Hang out with new people. Do not just stay in your dorm room. Your undergraduate career will contain some of your best memories and you do not want to regret this time. Always remember to keep your academics a priority. Yes college is fun, but the reason you are at your institution is to get a degree. Never give up either. It can get stressful and overwhelming but you have to keep pushing. Use your resources wisely, colleges offer tutoring, skills workshops, office hours, career services, advising, and writing centers. By being a minority and a woman, making the most of your education will make a lot of people proud. Overall, stay committed and open minded.

If you’re interested in learning more about the UT Gammas visit www.texasgammas.org.

Career Spotlight: Journalist

Photo Credit: http://www.kint.com/artist/rosy-zugasti/

Photo Credit: http://www.kint.com/artist/rosy-zugasti/

As a Latina, it brings a lot of pride watching other Latinas excel in their careers. This is the case with Rosy Zugasti, a Mexican reporter whose passion for journalism brought her to begin her education in the United States and whose language barriers did not prevent her from succeeding. In this interview, Rosy Zugasti explains the steps she took in her career.

What are your job responsibilities?
My responsibilities are to investigate everything that happens in the communities of El Paso, Juarez and Las Cruces that in someway affect the people. Primarily, I inform the audience without bias.

What is your educational training?
I studied for my professional career in journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso. Before that, I studied English, communications and my basics in high school in Cuidad Juarez and then EPCC. Throughout my studies, I was involved in journalism activities like the newspaper and other school projects that helped me learn about being a reporter. I was also a radio announcer for KCCR when I was at community college. During my senior year in college, I did an internship with Univision El Paso

How did you find your current job?
I found my job because  I did an internship at Univision my last year of college. During my internship, I focused a lot on demonstrating that I was a hardworking person with a willingness to learn. That is why I was selected for a full-time job with the news station.

How did you prepare for this career?
I prepared during school and with extracurricular activities. For a future reporter it is very important to get involved in media early because that will open many doors for you.

What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is being able to have direct contact with the people. I like being able to give voice to those who need to be heard and to help the community.

What is the most challenging part of the job?
It is difficult when I have to report on tragedies or death. It makes me very sad to see people suffer. Sometimes it is hard to concentrate when a family is suffering.

 What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
I like to spend time with my family, playing the piano, going for walks in the park or going to the movies.

 What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
I would recommend that they start now connecting with people who work in media. There are TV stations and newspapers that allow youth to do internships at a young age to learn about the the work and get informed about media. It is also important to learn about all the aspects involved in mass communications.

Sylvia Orozco: The Mind Behind Mexic-Arte

mam-logoIf you’ve ever been to Austin, Texas, you have probably seen the museum Mexic-Arte that is located in downtown Austin. The museum, which was founded in 1984, started out as a small gallery in a 300 square foot warehouse. The mission for this museum has always remained the same: to teach the people of Austin about Mexican-influenced art.

LATINITAS: When did you realize you were interested in art?
SYLVIA: My father was a boot maker from Guadalajara. He worked in a boot shop in Cuero, Texas and I would go with him on Saturdays and watch him make boots. I liked watching him create something. I always liked drawing. I won a contest for best drawing in 2nd grade of a little dog that I drew (laughs). I guess I was always comfortable drawing and was told I was good at it.

LATINITAS: How did you end up in Austin?
SYLVIA: I transferred to UT and studied Studio Art and Painting from 1975 to 1978.

LATINITAS: What made you decide to stay in Austin?
SYLVIA: I didn’t. I went to Mexico City and got my master’s at the Autonomous University of Mexico. It was there where I learned a lot more about museums and galleries.

LATINITAS: I see, so how did that partake into the formation of Mexic-Arte?
SYLVIA: Well, while I was in Mexico City I kept in touch with organizations that I worked with while I was studying at UT, like Mujeres Artistas Del Suroeste and LUChA, the League of United Chicano Artists. I wanted to bring what I saw in Mexico City to Austin.

LATINITAS: Racism is still alive and apparent, have you come across this issue in your career?
SYLVIA: We’re located downtown and we’ve been told before that we should be in east Austin (a high percentage of Latinos reside in east Austin). What most people don’t know is that Republic Square (located in downtown Austin) was a Mexican neighborhood. I believe there is an $8 million budget for art and Latinos need to get an appropriate share. In the 90’s, 17% to 19-% went to Latinos, now it’s only 12%.

LATINITAS: What do you feel art is so important?
SYLVIA: There’s a lot of negative things out there about Latinos, we have a lot of positive things and art helps bring that forward. Art connects us to our history. If people feel connected to something positive they feel stronger. Art contributes to the quality of life, it stimulates your brain and helps you develop creativity.

LATINITAS:What is your advice for future Latinas and career women?
SYLVIA: Those are difficult years. I would say to be aware of how hard it is and how those times can make a huge difference in the future. Be careful and make wise choices so you can have a better future for yourself.

LATINITAS:What do you aspire to see Latinas accomplish in the future?
SYLVIA: I hope that Latinas get more involved in art, even in politics. They shouldn’t be intimidated. I would want to see them embrace the arts, whether an artist themselves or a supporter but to at least become involved. [Art] enriches your life. Latinas are encouraged to do other things, but there isn’t enough encouragement to become involved in the arts.

Fashion Designer: Carolina Herrera

Don’t you ever wish that you could have the power to draw an outfit and make it come to life? Especially when it comes to designing beautiful dresses that will be worn at the grammy’s by a celebrity? Carolina Herrera, a fashion icon, is a true example of a hard working Latina and fashionista.

Carolina+Herrera+MBFW+Spring+2011+Official+fjUVhGM4HnCl

Personal Life

Carolina Herrera was born on January 8, 1939 in Caracas, Venezuela. She was introduced into the fashion world at a young age by her grandmother, taking her to local shows. Her grandmother also taught young Carolina that dressing up mattered by buying her outfits from Lanvin and Dior. During her career, Carolina Herrera has given birth to four children and has been married twice.

Career Launch

Once Herrera grew older, she was known for having an elegant fashion style. She was convinced by one of her friends in New York who worked for Vogue to create a few items and send them to her. Still in Caracas, Carolina took up her offer and created a few fashion items and brought them to New York. A fashion boutique in New York offered to showcase her items and it became a success. She was able to raise enough money to fund an official launch and runway show in 1980, and her successful career skyrocketed in New York.

Carolina Herrera’s Line

Carolina Herrera is best known for her evening wear designs. She has won many awards and she has had success with having her fashion be worn by several household names, like Renee Zelweger, Oprah Winfrey and even Michelle Obama. Her line is mainly based in New York, but she has been successfully expanding worldwide. She has opened stores in London, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Japan. She currently has 18 stores under her name worldwide! Her clothing line has been positively written about from famous publications, like The New York TimesWomen’s Daily Wear and Tatler. Carolina has also been inducted into the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame. Not only did Carolina try to branch out in the fashion industry, but in the beauty industry as well with the creation of a new perfume.

Awards and Achievement

Throughout her lifetime, Carolina Herrera has been recognized multiple times because of her elegant and beautiful designs. She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and has been awarded “Womenswear Designer of the Year.” Herrera is a recipient of The International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence as well as Spain’s Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts, which was presented to her by King Don Juan Carlos I. She received the Fashion Group International Superstar Award, the Style Awards Designer of the Year in 2012 and the “Mercedes-Benz Presents” title for her 2011 collection.

Carolina Herrera is an example of an inspirational and hard-working Latina. She is an icon for many chicas out there who want to succeed in the fashion world. If she can do it, then you fashionistas can as well!

Q&A with Gaby Moreno

Gaby_Moreno_en_Acceso_Total_3_CroppedWritten by Sylvia Butanda and Sara Eunice Martinez

With a soulful sound and incredible vocals, Gaby Moreno has received three Latin Grammy nominations in the Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist categories. In 2013, Gaby nabbed a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist. Latinitas sat down with Gaby Moreno, Guatemala singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Can you recall your most memorable performance?
My most memorable performance would have to be performing in Paris. It was a dream come true. As an artist, your dream is to bring your music to the world. Being able to perform in Paris gave me the opportunity to do that.

Who would you say your biggest musical influences are?
I went to visit New York City for the first time when I was 13 or so, and that’s the first time I heard the blues… My music is influenced by blues singing and also has a lot of Spanish sounds. I get a lot of inspiration from old school blues artists that were popular before the 1960s.

Gaby+Moreno+14th+Annual+Latin+GRAMMY+Awards+QasuOEdm417lWhat made you get into music?
It was actually my mother who had gotten me into it. At the age of five, she thought that I had a good singing voice. I started singing lessons and at age thirteen, my family went on a vacation to New York That was when we passed by a lady in the street singing to Jazz. I thought that it was so different and beautiful. So that was what inspired me to contribute some jazz into my work.

For those Latinitas who want to pursue their dreams, what advice do you have to them when they’re trying to express their identity in what they love to do?
You know, when you’re little, you can only dream of going to these far away places and one day, there you are. Find what makes you happy and stick to it, no matter how cliché it sounds, just do what you love and be proud of who you are and the rest will follow.

Dreams On Pointe

© BE Studio Inc 2013For many girls, attending dance is a great way to have fun or to participate in an exciting form of exercise. For others, it is the passion that pushes them to the edge of exhaustion and then some, in order to be the graceful figure on stage. Becoming a professional dancer is something that has most likely crossed the minds of many young girls, but those who wish to pursue it as a serious career will find that it takes far more than attending the occasional class.

What many dancers do not realize is that reaching the professional level takes more than joining the dance team at school.  It takes sacrifice and a large amount of one’s time and dedication to the dance studio. The life of a dancer who wishes to pursue the role of a professional revolves around being healthy and maintaining stamina- all while pushing yourself to be better and stronger everyday. This pursuit is no different than becoming a professional athlete and requires the same amount of serious dedication.

Making it in this Industry

Careers in dance are not for the faint of heart, nor those who cannot stand a bit of strong-willed perseverance. From the perspective of a dance student who now teaches at the studio she established after working with a pre-professional company, Jessica Zamarripa, a native of Laredo, Texas and founder and creative director of Laredo School of Contemporary Dance says, “I have had a lot of students come and go… [because] dance requires a lot of time. It requires a lot of sacrifice… even now as a dance teacher, I have to sacrifice my personal life. But I have no regrets, it’s all going to be worth it.”  After dancing with pre-professional contemporary dance company Ballet East of Austin, Texas, Zamarripa established Laredo School of Contemporary Dance to fill the need for a pre-professional dance industry in Laredo

Jessica

On her thoughts about what it takes to make it in the industry: “You need to have the heart to be in this field. It does not matter if you have the natural ability alone, the other part is your willingness to work through the monotony of countless rehearsals and repetitions.”

Careers in dance start and end in youth. The earlier you train, the better the chance of improvement and the more things you retain over time. Once you figure out dance is the career for you, the hours spent at the dance studio become something to look forward to, no matter the price- and this price will be your hard work and dedication. According to Zamarripa, those who seek immediate results “belong in the audience, watching dance.”

Young Female Artists in San Antonio

ArtSuppliesSan Antonio features several young artists, musicians, and poets throughout the city. Meet some of the vibrant artistic women in San Antonio.

Manuela Gonzales

Born in Venezuela, she began to discover her love for drawing at an early age. Now, she attends St. Mary’s University as an Internal Relations student and still regularly draws on the side. Most of her artwork focuses on her own thoughts and desires.

“Everything else in the world is so analytical and art is the one thing that has no rules. Anything you think of can be created into a reality,” said Manuela.  She intends to incorporate art into her future profession as well. Some of her artwork can be viewed at plumeetencre on Tumblr.

Sarah Garcia

Sara Garcia, 19, will be attending the Art Institute of Chicago this fall. As a child, her mom would always make creative projects since she had access to a lot of supplies as a pre-k teacher but her interest in the fine arts really began to peak during high school. A lot of her art focuses on the vast traditions and folklore in her Chicana heritage. Her personal cultural experiences provides a connection between her art and the viewer. Sarah plans on getting her Bachelors of Fine Arts to make a career out of her art. Her artwork can be seen at saritagarciaart on Instagram.

Natalie Dee Sauceda

Natalie Dee Sauceda, 18, also found her passion for art at a young start. She began drawing in kindergarden in order to fully express herself and she hasn’t stopped since then. Natalie believes art is important to her because “it breaks down social barriers and creates a sense of identity for the artist” and she plans to use art in her future profession. Her artwork may not be suitable for younger viewers or those who are easily offended, but you can find her grotesque artwork at gatalajara on Instagram.

If you would like your art featured by Latinitas, e-mail your art work to editor@latinitasmagazine.org. 

Rocking Out with Latina Musicians

Music2Being Latina is something to be proud of. What better way to express your inner self than through music! Take a look at some albums by Latinas who are not afraid to express their culture and themselves.

Shakira – Shakira

Being a Latina, Shakira is an amazing and inspiring artist to listen to! Her new and tenth album, Shakira, has a variety of rhythms that are sure to satisfy a variety of music tastes. Shakira and multilingual abilities draws a variety of listeners and other feature singers into her new album so check it out for some upbeat tunes!

Christina Aguilera- Lotus 

Although this album was released in November of 2012, the meaning and message behind each song remains the same. The songs reach out to its listeners as empowering songs and they promote an inner strength that Aguilera was feeling at the time she wrote and sang these songs.

Mariah Carey- Me. I Am Mariah 

From the sounds of the singles released from this album so far seem to be confident songs and of being independent. Even from the title of the album, “Me. I Am Mariah”, lets the listener know that her songs as a Latina are going to be ones pertaining to being your own person.

Paulina Rubio- Pau Factor 

Paulina Rubio is an empowering Latina singer that many younger girls look up to. This is because, as can be seen in this album, her songs are upbeat and meaningful. The lyrics can easily fit your mood and and the beat is so catchy and entertaining. It is definitely worth taking some time to listen to her latest album!

Jennifer Lopez- A.K.A. 

JLo’s latest album features collaborations with Iggy Azalea and Sia. Her variety in this album will be sure to reach the music tastes of music lovers everywhere. Her songs are also known for their upbeat tunes which is another reason to anxiously await her new album!

All these great Latina singers should make you want to listen to their albums when you feel like listening to upbeat and enthusiastic music. Get your headphones and speakers ready to rock these great tunes!

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