Revisiting Real Women Have Curves

Real-Women-Have-Curves-(2002)

Revisiting the 2002 hit Real Women have Curves, there are many aspects to this movie that really spoke to me and inspired me greatly. For those not familiar with the movie, it is about a teenage Mexican-American, Ana, conquering Mexican and American social norms. Along the way, she battles family duty and deciding whether she should continue her education.

The main actress, played by America Ferrera, is a first generation Mexican- American living in East Los Angeles. Freshly graduated from high school, Ana’s mother expects her to work in her sisters sewing factory. Her professor though, Mr. Guzman, played by George Lopez, sees a lot of potential in Ana and convinces her to apply for college. Ana goes ahead and gives it a try, but with the knowledge that her family will disapprove of it and not afford it.

As the plot progresses, we can see that she is continually insulted by her mother about her “longas” (flab stomach) and hates working in her sister’s factory, but one unforgettable scene stood out to me while she was there: Ana was getting too hot from the steam of the machines, so she decides to take her top off to cool down. Her mother immediately yelled at her to put her top back on, but Ana ignored her. Instead, she persuaded the other women to take off their tops and to embrace their bodies. This scene shows women of all sizes to be proud of their bodies, and, in this moment, Ana realizes who she is. This one scene is a big realization in the movie and it helps girls realize that a woman is more than her body type. This short scene can really influence a young Latina growing up who is told that the only way to be beautiful is to be thin. Ana proves that this is not true and embraces her appearance.

Seeing a strong, independent Latina get an education, love herself, be smart, and have the courage to move on really just hit home with me. As a young Latina, I never saw anything like this in Americanized television; it was nice seeing someone just like me for a change.

Aside from fighting the norms, Ana’s romantic interest and the way she handled it moved me. Ana has a little romance with a white boy from class. At first she doesn’t even realize that he liked her, but later he asks her on a date. What I found very inspiring and just awesome, is how Ana did go along with the romance and cherished her time with him, but she put her goals first when it was time to go to college.  Ana decides to end things; the way she ended it and why is what I found inspirational. She ended things with him on a good note, and she ended things because she was going to go to college and start life all over again. Way to be independent, Ana!

Through the hardships and being accepted to college with a full scholarship, Ana realizes what every woman should realize: to embrace her body in any shape or form and to follow her dreams. After watching this movie, I was so inspired by Ana and how she took on the world. She became independent and didn’t let her culture, a boy, or even her mother stop her from loving herself and following her dream to go to college.

Every growing Latina should watch this movie. In fact, I wish I had seen this movie when I was fresh out of high school! It really would have changed my outlook in life. Even as a college senior about to graduate, it really inspired me and proved how strong and independent us Latinas can be.

Latinas in Brooklyn Nine Nine

Screen-Shot-2014-08-16-at-5.45.26-pm-1There has not been a large variety of leading Latinas in television shows. If a show has a Latina actress, one assumes she is there for diversity instead of representation. And shows having two leading Latina actresses are even more rarer. Suddenly in the fall of 2013, FOX unveiled its new comedy about the crazy antics of police detectives working for a fictional Brooklyn Precinct, Brooklyn Nine Nine. Created by two writers who had previously worked for The Office and Parks and Recreation, Dan Goor and Michael Shur. Brooklyn Nine Nine has won two Golden Globes so far due to its witty script, character development, and all star cast. The cast has a variety of actors with different ethnic and career backgrounds. Including comedy veterans like Andy Samberg, Chelsea Peretti, Joe Lo Truglio, and Terry Crews or dramatic actors like Andre Braugher. However, Brooklyn Nine Nine‘s most representational casting choice came when they cast two up-and-coming Latina actresses, Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz.

Melissa Fumero, or formerly known as Melissa Gallo, was born on August 19, 1982 in New Jersey to Cuban parents. Her parents are first generation Cuban immigrants. She was formally trained to become an actress, receiving her Bachelors degree in Drama from New York University in 2003. Fumero is mostly known for her role of “Adriana Cramer” in the Soap Opera One Life to Live from 2004-2011. While working for the soap opera she met David Fumero whom Melissa Fumero married in 2007. She also has had a small supporting role in Gossip Girl. It wasn’t until 2013 when she proved that her acting range was not solely dramatic.

 Stephanie Beatriz was born on February 10, 1981, in Argentina to a Bolivian-American mother and a Columbian-American father. Even though she has a large variety of Latino roots in her, she was raised in Webster, Texas. She graduated from Stephens College in 2002. It wasn’t until 2010 when she got her big break with a small role in the independent movie “Short Term 12”. From there she was attained a small role in Modern Family and eventually was able to get her current role as the short-tempered yet tough Rosa Diaz in Brooklyn Nine Nine.

In an interview with Front Row Live Entertainment, Stephanie Beatriz was asked about what it feels to be a successful Latina actress within Brooklyn Nine Nine. She exclaimed. “I’m not doing an accent of any kind, I’m playing this great strong woman character, and there is another Latina on the show too. It’s not just one of us. That felt like a success to me.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star_Wars_The_Force_Awakens-1As of January 2016, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the fourth highest-grossing film at the worldwide box office; raking in $1.54 billion and is projected to overtake “Avatar” at $2.89 billion, “Titanic” at $2.19 billion and “Jurassic World” at $1.67 billion. The big-screen often lacks diversity and representation of women, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens enhances both the strength of women and representation of minorities.

Guatemalan-American actor Oscar Isaac and British-Nigerian actor John Boyega as Finn have received wide acclaim for their roles in the film. Isaac received recognition for his role in the 2013 black comedy-drama Inside Llewyn Davis.  Isaac is often noted as part of the next generation of great actors, garnering comparisons to Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, and Jon Voight. Isaac’s rise to fame and increasing importance in Hollywood is a step towards equal representation of people of color in film, since he subverserses Hollywood’s expectations for Latino actors by avoiding being typecast.

“The people that cast films and TV shows, hopefully they will able to see past their limited ideas of what ethnicity is,” Isaac said in a backstage interview after his Golden Globe win. “There’s not a lot of us and it’s difficult for people that look not like the status quo in this country to get great roles, and it’s happening a little bit more and I feel humbled and honored and blessed to have the opportunity to do that.”

Although not a Latina, actress Daisy Ridley deserves recognition for her role as Rey. Ridley provides much needed female recognition in big budget blockbuster action films. Unlike other females in actions films, Rey is not meant to be a supporting character to a male lead, but rather she is her own character: steadfast, strong, resilient, self-sufficient, and smart. While her character could use further development, it is important to note that this is only the beginning of Rey’s journey, the audience expects to see her character grow and mature as the trilogy goes on.

Nonetheless, it is Nigerian-Mexican Lupita Nyong’o who also deserves recognition in her role of Maz Kanata. Nyong’o lends her voice to the thousand-year-old sage pirate that has a mysterious connection with the force and helps our heroine, Rey, through her journey.

Nyong’o was born in Mexico City to Nigerian parents. Although raised in Kenya, Nyong’o spent time living in Guerrero and studied at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico at the Learning Center for Foreigners. Nyong’o lays claim to her Latinidad through her Mexican nationality and brings much needed recognition to the 1.38 million Afro-Mexicans who were just officially recognized by the Mexican government this past December.

Nyong’o’s breakthrough performance was in 2013 in the critically acclaimed historical drama Twelve Years a Slave. Her role as Patsey earned her an academy award for best supporting actress; she is the first Kenyan and the first Mexican actress to receive an academy award.

“I’ve seen the quarrels over my nationality, but I’m Kenyan and Mexican at the same time,” Nyong’o said in an interview with El Mañana. Furthermore, Nyong’o talks about the difficulty and racism she faced while living in Mexico. People are quick to disregard Nyong’o’s Latinidad by claiming that just because she was born in Mexico City that does not mean she can be considered Latina. It is time for Nyong’o’s complex and hybrid Latina identity to be embraced by Latinos just as Latinos should embrace the large community of Afro-Latinos who have been subjugated, underrepresented, and oppressed for too long.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Wars fan or not, seeing strong female characters (who can forget Leia) and the inclusion of minorities in the big-screen is noteworthy.

What’s the big deal about ‘Jane the Virgin’?

Jane The VirginBy now you have probably heard about the hit TV show ‘Jane the Virgin’, starring Gina Rodriguez as the titular star. The show, which is based off a Venezuelan telenovela called ‘Juana la Virgen’, debuted in the fall of 2014 on the CW. It is set in Miami, a city known for its lively Latino culture, and features a largely Hispanic cast and much Spanish-language dialogue. The sitcom immediately took the airwaves and the awards season by storm, and Gina herself won this year’s Golden Globe for Best Actress.

So why is this new show so explosively successful? For one, the premise and main character are in stark contrast with many other shows popular among preteen and teenage girls. Jane is, like the title says, a virgin who is waiting until marriage to have sex. The show explains early on that her reason for this decision is multifold: She is Catholic, she does not want to get pregnant before marriage, and she deeply respects her grandmother who taught her the values behind waiting to have sex. But Jane is no goody-two-shoes: She is a normal 23 year old woman who is both studying to become a teacher and working as a waitress at a posh hotel. Also, she has a boyfriend of two years whom she plans to marry.

She ‘miraculously’ becomes pregnant after a visit to the doctor’s office, where her gynecologist mistakenly artificially inseminated her. When she discovers what happened her life is thrown into turmoil. Her boyfriend, who had just recently asked her to marry him, tells her he does not want to raise another man’s child. Her mother is grief-stricken that her daughter will become a single mother like she did. Jane is horrified that the father of the child, Rafael, is a notorious playboy and also the owner of the hotel where she works.

But Jane’s miraculous pregnancy is only a small part of the whole show. The first season is laced with intrigue, as people are mysteriously murdered at the hotel and Rafael’s wife attempts to get custody of the unborn child. Jane also finally meets her own father, whose identity has been kept a secret her entire life. The one constant in Jane’s life, however, is her own integrity. Though she is often overwhelmed by the pregnancy and the drama that has turned her life upside down, she maintains her pure heart and her desire to pursue her dreams. She does not quite her job or school when she falls pregnant, but continues to work hard to achieve her goals. Throughout, she is loving to her mother and grandmother even when they disagree on how she should live her life. She is compassionate towards Rafael despite the fact that she does not want to have his child. But just as importantly Jane is never a doormat. She openly asserts her wants and needs and she protests when others attempt to manipulate her. Jane is truly a new sort of sitcom heroine, one whom is not ashamed of her beliefs and consistently acts with intelligence and empathy.

And what makes Jane’s character even better is the fact that she and her close-knit family deeply embrace Latino culture and values. Of Venezuelan descent, they often speak Spanish [with subtitles] and openly practice their Catholic faith. They exhibit a truth about the US’s Hispanic population that is often ignored by mainstream media: we are growing and flourishing and possess strong beliefs and character. Latinas are proud to have Jane as part of our ranks! And we can’t wait to see what adventures the second season of her show will bring!

The Immigrant Struggle in ‘Boyhood’

11189929_ori‘Boyhood,’ the 2014 film that spans twelve years of a boy’s life, from age 6 to 18, won Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes.  The acclaimed movie takes the audience through the growing-up process of Mason, a boy living in Texas with divorced parents. Throughout the film there are a couple scenes that prominently feature Hispanics. The first features a teenaged Latina girl who appears with Mason’s sister as they flip through fashion magazines after school. The second Latino portrayed is a Mexican immigrant who does some work for Mason’s mother on her new home. Mason’s mother recommends that he go to school. A few years later he comes up to her at a restaurant to tell her that he took her advice, got a degree, and is about to be promoted to a managerial position at his job.

Latinitas provided me with the opportunity to attend a Google Fiber Q&A session with the film’s main actor, Ellar Coltrane, who plays the role of the boy Mason. While there I asked Ellar why he believes the Hispanic immigrant’s role was included in the film.

He had two answers for me. Firstly, because the film takes place in Texas it just wouldn’t make sense if no Hispanics were featured, particularly those who recently immigrated. Secondly, the Hispanic immigrant provides a direction comparison to Mason’s mother, a single mother struggling to support two children. Both immigrants and single mothers, Ellar said, battle difficulties in achieving their dreams for themselves.

Most would agree with Ellar that a Texan film should present Hispanics to be credible. After all, recent statistics from the United States Census Bureau show that Texas is about 40% Hispanic. Pew Research Center demographics show that 88% of those Hispanics are Mexican, while almost half of all Texan Hispanics were born in their native countries.

Most would also agree that both single mothers and immigrants face financial and social difficulties that others do not. While the factors vary greatly, depending on the unique situation of the individual, both single mothers and immigrants occupy spaces outside of traditional society that create or complicate difficulties. Single mothers struggle to take on both their maternal role and an additional financial one. Immigrants, thrust into a starkly different country, must adapt to a new job, a new language, a new culture entirely.

However, after Mason’s mother suggests Enrique go to school he does not reappear until years later, when he is all smiles and boasting of his achievement. His brief explanation leaves the viewer with unanswered questions, wondering about the difficulties not portrayed in the film. How did Enrique pay for school? How did he balance work and study? Did he have a family at home needing immediate financial support? Did he struggle to understand and read English? Was he undocumented, and if so how did it complicate his schooling and career search? These are but a few examples of real-life scenarios that could have affected Enrique as he pursued his dreams. So while it’s glad that Enrique took the advice of Mason’s mother I’m aware that ‘Boyhood’ did not portray the many struggles he must have faced along the way.  ‘Boyhood’ is not a film about an immigrant’s triumph over struggle. I get that. Still, the simplistic picture painted of Enrique’s success reminds me that for those Americans unfamiliar with the struggles faced by immigrants, the movie did little to educate them further. Nonetheless it’s never a bad thing to portray the American success story of a Hispanic immigrant.

Actor Luis Guzmán

Source: http://www.hispanicizeevent.com/

Source: http://www.hispanicizeevent.com/

At the Hispanicize Conference in Miami, where Latinitas co-founders Alicia Rascón and Laura Donnelly won the 2015 Positive Impact Award, they got the chance to interview the well-known actor Luis Guzmán, recipient of the Latinovator Award at Hispanicize 2015. Read below for his conversation with Laura, in which he delves into his inspirational success story and offers young Latinas advice on how to be women of integrity.

We are trying to change Hollywood. How close are we?
We’re right there. Technology has changed so much. There is easier access to the public now. We have the power of Internet and you can record or do a video on your phone or make a podcast. There are so many different outlets to pass a message. Even just doing short movies and putting them on YouTube – that has such an impact. By having this impact we outside Hollywood can do all this stuff to have an impact, and empower young girls…

To become directors themselves, or writers, or graphic designers.
Yeah, anything is possible. Especially now on a laptop. You can build anything from that. You can build fabric, clothes, design, you name it. But also you hit play and it records and you can edit it right there. Something you do in five minutes can have an incredible impact on the whole world.

 Who is a female you admire that is taking Latino voices to new spaces?
I admire people like Rosario Dawson. She does a lot of work for the whole community. Rosie Perez too. They don’t only impact the female community but also act as role models. Rosario does a lot of work with the Lower East Side Girl Club [in New York City] and Voto Latino.

Tell us a little about how you got your first start and what inspired you to go into the field?
I was a social worker on the Lower East Side and one day a few of my kids didn’t show up to the program, so I went out into the street looking for them. I happened to run into a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a few years, and he told me he was writing for a TV show and they were coming to NY and were going be looking for people [to cast]. He gave me a phone number, so I called up, went in, and auditioned. I had no clue what I was doing.

Next thing I know, I am costarring on the season premiere of Miami Vice. But I still maintained my job as a social worker for awhile because I didn’t know anything about acting or the entertainment industry. And I was really dedicated and committed to empowering young people and getting them off of welfare, and giving them tools to go out and succeed in society. Basically the tools that I provided were questions. “Who are you? Where are you going? How are you going to get there? Where do you want to be six months from now? A year? Five years?” And I found out nobody ever asked them these questions. They were like: “Oh wow, I never even thought about that because nobody ever asked.” So when you provide people with those kinds of mental tools they refocus themselves.

I used to tell all the young people I worked with: “Think of yourself as a camera lens. Right now you’re really out of focus. My job is to help you help yourself get better into focus.” So that’s what I do and I still go back to where I used to work and I talk to the young people. It’s an important element of my life because though I love what I do as an entertainer and getting to travel the world it’s important to come back. Sometimes the young people there put me on a pedestal. I didn’t necessarily want to be on that pedestal, but they see someone who comes from the same place as them and succeeded. I have the ability to give people faith and to give people hope.

You’d be great in Latinitas! What advice do you want to give to the girls at Latinitas?
Believe in yourself, take pride in who you are, love yourself. Respect yourself as a woman. Don’t give into male domination. Be in control and let a boy know that ‘no’ does not mean ‘yes.’ And as far as bullying goes, because that’s a big thing, bullying is not the way to go. Protect each other from that. Unfortunately there are girls out there who don’t have the love, don’t have the support, so they choose suicide over enduring violence.

Review: Spare Parts

 213957Spare Parts, directed by Sean McNamara, is a film that was released in theaters in January 2015 and is now available for purchase. The movie stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Alexa Vega, Carlos Pena, and George Lopez, who is also a producer.

Spare Parts is based on a true story about a group of Latino high school boys who join an engineering club. These boys, with the support and guidance from their teacher Fredi Cameron (George Lopez), strive to build a robot that they hope to enter into a robotics competition in which they would face-off with championing schools such as MIT and Stanford. Winning this competition means beating the odds, though, because these students have practically no funding and a limited amount of resources in order to get the job done.

Although science and robotics is one of the reasons why this rag-tag team formed, it is not the only theme within the movie. This film covers the heart-warming bases like family and friendship as well. However, this film does not shy away from the hard-hitting issues that can be relevant in the lives of hard-working Latin American families in the Southwest United States. Carlos Pena’s character, Oscar Vasquez, hopes to join the U.S. Army, but his plans come to a halt when he learns that he cannot do so as an undocumented immigrant. Undocumented immigration, financial struggles, and tough life choices are the foundation for a film like this, a film about how dedication and ambition can take you places you wouldn’t have thought possible.

Spare Parts is definitely a film worth checking out! It is well paced, running just under 2 hours. The plotline is easy to follow but not without its shocks and surprises throughout that will make you want to lean just a little bit closer to the screen, wondering…who is at the door, who is on the phone, who will win the grand prize?

Review: East Los High

EastLosHighKey

Hulu released its first and only original series in 2013, East Los High. This short series is one of a kind, an English-language show with an all Latino cast. With only two seasons under its belt, it is making an impression. East Los High is produced and directed by Carlos Portugal, who’s worked on other Latino projects such as East Side Story and Pop Star. Portugal called for help from Advocates of Youth, Voto Latino, and the California Healthy Family Council to create a series that is informative, educational, and realistic to its audience.

East Los High is a teen drama based in East Los Angeles, an area with a reputation of being tough and dangerous – a stereotype the show wants to discourage. The show follows a group of students at the local high school and focuses on many common situations that occur in a high school setting: friendships, love, sexual encounters, and peer pressure. However, even though many of these matters can be found in other teen drama series, the difference with East Los High is their focus on Latinos and their way of addressing the issue in an honest and upfront manner.

In Season 1, a student finds that she is pregnant and viewers get to see her discuss her options with a counselor. The information provided to the character is not limited to her and can be information useful to any adolescent outside the TV screen. This situation repeats in season 2 when a student is discussing her encounter with an abusive relationship to a counselor. These scenarios, which are rather serious in nature, are seen in today’s society and are able to be addressed to a young audience watching the series.

“The wholesome kid show, the polished teen drama isn’t real life,” said Danielle Vega, East Los High’s Ceci, in an interview with LA Times. “‘East Los High is gritty, it’s in your face because the world out there is in your face. But it’s also teaching something, which is incredibly important because you look at kids these days and they don’t look up from their screens. So at least this show gives them something to think about when their eyes are glued to their devices.”

Telanovelas are known for its popularity in Latin American cultures and East Los High reflects this in their Latino-focused show. With a telanovela-esque plot and character dynamics, the series does not have a shortage of entertainment and drama. There are love triangles, revenge, mean girls, and the classic, good girl losing her way in the face of popularity. Each of these situations touches on a realistic aspect found in a teenager’s journey through high school – and there is no sugar coating.

The team of writers reflects the demographics in cast: predominately Latina. Only two men grace the writers’ desk and one African American woman. Portugal, Director and Producer, has stated that he wanted to write what he knew and encourages his writing staff to do the same. The storyline is to reflect daily lives and connect to its audience through authenticity. Admittedly, some characters and the vernacular do seem to embody a stereotype found in Latinos. However, it is fleeting and is cancelled out by the wide range of perspectives, personalities, and conduct presented by the characters.

“Since we are the culture, it never feels like, ‘Oh, we’re creating stereotypes,'” Portugal said in an interview with LA Times. “Stereotypes exist. I think one of the reasons why we are doing this is we present them, and then we start exploring them. My hope is that the people from East L.A. see themselves being portrayed as diverse individuals.”

East Los High succeeds in its uniqueness in teen dramas that are dominated by Caucasian actors and actresses. Hulu’s original series brings in a handful of new faces to the screen – freshness amongst the overdone big names. And it excels in bringing real life situations and addressing them in an educational way that takes the viewer outside the classroom. This show can be seen as a teaching method, which is a goal achieved through the help of the numerous organizations that have played a role in its creation. However, some incidents and character portrayals do seem exaggerated and it can distract from the purpose of the show. Even though the series’ main characters are the youthful faces, it has been overlooked that the counselors, doctors, teachers, and other professional in the series are Latino.

This teen drama does illustrate genuineness to American-Latino culture, a nice change to shows like George Lopez and Cristella that relies on comedic scripts. It is serious, honest, and mysterious.

East Los High has been renewed for a third season; bringing in a new set of characters as each season focuses on a new group of students. The series airs weekdays on Hulu and entire seasons are available for Hulu Plus members.

TV Review: The Fosters

the-fosters-290x400I remember sitting in the small theater in my neighborhood, large drink in one hand, while shoving handfuls of popcorn in my mouth with the other, the ad for “The Fosters.” ABC Family was presenting a new series, “The Fosters,” and among the many teenage faces on screen, I saw the familiar faces of Cierra Ramirez (“Girl In Progress”) and Jake T. Austin (“Wizards of Waverly Place”). I was a former Wizards fan, so, yes, my interest was sparked.

That was the exact memory from the summer of 2013 that played in my head when I was scrolling for something to watch on Netflix. “The Fosters” appeared before me. I clicked. And boy, I do not regret it.

“The Fosters” is a show that entangles drama, addresses social issues, and gives life lessons through background stories and character development – just like the classic ABC Family TV-show should. However, the story follows a multi-ethnic family composed of biological, adoptive and foster children. A lesbian couple heads the home full of teenagers. The show, whose executive producer is Jennifer Lopez, is rich with love, trust, and family. Think of ‘The Fosters’ as a more modern ‘7thHeaven’.

The show follows 16-year-old Callie, as she enters the new foster home. Her and her 12-year-old brother, Jude, have had multiple fosters homes during their six years in the system – all terrible and full of problems. But this foster home is different. Vice Principal Lena Adams (Sherri Saum) and police officer Stef Foster (Teri Polo) are in a domestic partnership and built a home through honesty and compassion. Brandon Foster (David Lambert) is the 16-year-old son of Stef, from her previous marriage, and is the “golden boy” with his good looks and musical talent. The adoptive 15-year-old twins are Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), who embodies the classic teenage girl just wanting to fit in, and Jesus Foster (Jake T. Austin), the more rebellious out of the teens with ADHD.

The ethnic diversity in the cast makes the show much more unique than most. From the multi-racial Lena to the Latin descendent twins, the diversity is acknowledged and embraced. Most shows with minorities in the cast always resort to having an incident with racism and bigotry to produce a discussion. However, this has not been seen. Instead, the show introduces situations that subtly express their diversity, such as a quinceañera episode, the twins carrying conversations in Spanish, and Lena sharing how she was called an ‘Oreo’ in high school. The variety of races in the family is not something that is blatantly said – which by now, it really doesn’t need to be – but is displayed on screen beautifully to the audience.

Another hit for this tv-screen family is Lena and Stef’s relationship. The two mothers face some obstacles in a world still adjusting to the LGBT community. But despite a father failing to accept a daughter’s lifestyle, the couple is seen immersed with the love from friends and family members. The success of the couple parallels the success of ‘Modern Family’s’ Mitchell and Cameron – just minus the constant comedic quips. The couple demonstrates kindness and selflessness as the raise their children.

This television series thrives with its breaking of boundaries with the “non-traditional” family.  The show relies on realistic problems that can occur rather focusing heavily on the apparent uniqueness of the family. The classic ‘let me show you rather than tell you’ applies greatly to the storyline.

It’s a show for all ages – adults and children alike can watch and learn from the Foster family. It powerfully confronts serious issues such as child abuse, drug abuse/dealing, and teenage sexuality. While most can criticize these instances, in this day-and-age, the realities of the events have proven to occur. ‘The Fosters’ deal with these issue that is suitable for any age – no need to cover a child’s eyes. Even though you may not be able to relate to every occurrence in the show, the character’s actions and emotions allow an understanding of the dilemmas they face and the morals they abide by.

“The Fosters” is an excellent TV show that leaves you hooked. Its ingenuity and one-of-a-kind storyline brings a freshness to the television realm, full of bad reality TV shows and the over-played teenage love triangles.

Seasons 1 and 2 are currently on Netflix.

Film: Life on the Line

Photo Credit: http://finelinefilms.org

Photo Credit: http://finelinefilms.org

In the documentary, “Life on the Line: Coming of age between nations” by Jen Gilomen and Sally Rubin, the life of a young eleven year old girl, Kimberly Torrez, is portrayed in the story to show her family’s hardships in life facing difficulties in two different worlds. This documentary will be aired during Hispanic Heritage Month, in September on PBS.

Growing up is hard as it is, with all of the different changes happening, especially when you have to grow up in two different countries. In the life of Kimberly Torrez, the oldest of three children, she is faced with drastic changes in her life living in Mexico and going to school in Arizona. Each morning she wakes up early to walk across the border to go to school because she does not drive.

At such an early age of only 11 years old, she is faced with many responsibilities, has to wake up extra early, takes care of her little siblings from time to time to help out the parents, and, most importantly, is being brave through this passage of growing up.

As if it isn’t enough, she also has to deal with the ongoing violence occurring in Nogales; from hearing gunshots to police sirens nearby, at an early age in her life, she has many worries at such a young age.

In addition, she also has to cope with her parents going through a rough patch. Her father has Hepatitis C from getting several tattoos, which he later realizes were done with unsterilized needles. In need of a liver transplant, it became difficult for the father to find a reliable job in Nogales.

Because of the father’s sickness, the mother became the only one that could work to provide for their family.  She worked in Mexico because she was never a U.S citizen; she had crossed a long time ago illegally to have her children, but returning was not possible.

Times began to get more difficult, and the father then decides to cross the border and find a job in the U.S, which he did. He found a job in construction in Arizona, which was hours away from his family. He took the job and was separated from his family for months, in order to earn more money to be able to support his family through these difficult times.

After a while Kimberly’s mom got her Visa in the mail, which allowed her to finally cross the border to the U.S.. To add to the good news, Kimberly’s family finds out that a liver became available for their father’s transplant

Growing up is hard, and living in two worlds is difficult, but with Kimberly’s family supporting one another and always trying their best without giving up, they did it, together. For a tale of perseverance and the obstacles that come from immigrant families, this film is a must-see this September.