COVER Yalitza Aparicio Illustration by Tanya Peregrino for ALEGRIA Magazine
“Creating this work of art for ALEGRIA was very special to me, not only because I got to paint this incredible woman, Yalitza Aparicio, but also because I have forgotten about my passion for painting, so this project brought me a lot of light creatively, reminding me about my artistic essence. This artwork was completed in three phases during three months of work and it kept changing continuously. It was in Bali - a very special place for me- where I finished it. I used different natural elements inspired by Mixtec astrology and their meaning of the moon as an essential element for harvesting and childbirth. I used flowers as well to represent Yalitza’s youth and her energy as a young empowered woman and the plants growing out from her chest represent her growth and love for her roots.” - Tania Peregrino @taniaperegrino.
Contents SPRING ISSUE 2019
YALITZA APARICIO SHARING HER LIGHT
ART 04 DANCE 12 BUSINESS 14 BEAUTY 24 SMART IS THE NEW COOL 25 INFLUENCER 30 WELLNESS 34 PEOPLE MAKING A DIFFERENCE 44 MUST STOPS 56 LATINAS IN TECH 60
SINGING HER HEART OUT / ARTIFEX
CAROLINA GUTIERREZ - DESIGNER
Commercial space designer and visual marketer. Designer of spaces by profession, designer of dreams by conviction. You can contact Carolina at: @Caritogutim CLARE MIRANDA - WRITER
Clare is a Los Angeles native. Of Mexican-American heritage, Clare spent years singing and acting in choral and theatrical productions. After studying in Italy and traveling throughout Europe, she completed her B.A. in speech communication and went to work in the fashion industry specializing in bridal fashion and helping to run a trendy boutique. When not traveling, or planning her next adventure, she enjoys kickboxing, dancing and supporting the arts. What gives her the most ALEGRIA in life, however, is spending time with her beloved family; Ysidro, Grace and Leah and their Dutch shepherd puppy, Kuma.
Letter Que inmensa gratitud siento por nuestra comunidad y nuestra #Alegriafamilia
To say that these 7 years have taught me much is an understatement.They have totally transformed me. I grew up in front of your eyes,learning about the world -but a lot more about myself.
SANDRA RODRIGUEZ - EDITOR
Entertainment and fashion are two of Sandra’s areas of expertise, but she enjoys talking and writing about all topics, be they mainstream or obscure. This bilingual communications expert with considerable experience in media and publishing currently lives in Los Angeles and writes for magazines, websites and newspapers in the U.S. and Mexico. Previously a managing editor for one of the most influential newspapers en Latin America, she has impressed various industry leaders. She has, for instance, been described as “a great conversationalist” by the former Senior Creative Director for BBC Worldwide, and as a person who is “always up-to-date on the latest trends and brings great intelligence and creativity to all of her endeavors” by the Marketing Director at Discovery Communications.
I went from being a young struggling artist to becoming a successful woman entrepreneur & author - rooted in my ever-growing love for our community and our culture. Mil gracias no son suficientes! To each and everyone of you -who has believed in me and my crazy creative ideas.
TANYA PEREGRINO - ART CREATIVE DIGITAL
She is a strong believer that we can design our lives. She loves to inspire other young professionals through her creative design & branding. She loves to share her experiences, knowledge and lifestyle with all the creative minds and free souls that identify with her. She believes we should be all living our dreams. You can connect with Tania @taniaperegrino KELLY LANDAVERDE - JOURNALIST
Desde la edad de once años ha escrito historias, poemas sobre el amor por la música, su familia, futbol y todo lo demás que le apasiona. Algunas de sus pasantías han sido, desde trabajar en las oficinas de el distrito de Los Ángeles, una revista bilingüe, hasta ser corresponsal de una radio de deportes en el internet. En sus reportajes le gusta abordar historias acerca de los latinos, aquellas que casi no se escuchan en los medios de comunicación, porque se siente conectada con su gente. CHARLIE MENDOZA - CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Carlos is a Colombian designer passionate about editorial design and graphic design applied to fashion marketing. What does Carlos think about design? Quoting maestro Leonardo Da Vinci, “Simplicity is the utmost sophistication.” You can contact Charlie at: @mckadamia FELIPE AGUDELO GALLEGO - BRAND STRATEGIST
Felipe Agudelo Gallego is a digital communication strategist & journalist. He received his B.A degree from The Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana & his Masters in digital marketing from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He is a creative producer who brings his light to all of his projects. For Felipe, creating is a vital part of his life,which permeates his understanding of fashion culture & the digital experience. He loves to travel & find friends around the world. @agudelofel DAVID JR. MARTIN - PHOTOGRAPHER
Iv’e always been obsessed with perfecting my craft and creating your flawless image. Perhaps I’ll let my work do the talking. Shooting with me is professional, comfortable, fun, and in return you will get some top-notch images! My clients like that they can be themselves when working with me. All that I am looking for from you is to bring your A-game. I’m here to help you build your career, capture your moment, or preserve your memories.
You are loved! I am forever grateful for your love and support!
A FEW THINGS I HAVE LEARNED DURING THESE 7 YEARS: · ALEGRIA is contagious. No matter where you come from, what brings us joy is pretty similar for all of us.
· Try as many new things as you can so you can keep excitement alive in your life as you innovate & create.
· Jumping into uncertainty has a price, but if you can endure the tests of entrepreneurship and life at once ,you will soar! It is just a matter of time.
· It is easier to begin something -but a lot harder to maintain it,grow it and keep it relevant.
· Many will be elated for you and with you and others will be waiting for you to fail - Be Kind anyways! · It always looks more glamorous on the outside.Nothing absolutely nothing beats hard work,consistency and perseverance. · Your best venture will come when your passion + your purpose unite to serve the world and not only yourself. · Most people fail to execute because they fill their minds with excuses and limiting beliefs about themselves.Believe in yourself! · Creation demands you become humble and fail before you can excel.
· Business is a creative art. · Your Self-development and growth is directly linked to your business evolution. · If you don’t grow, your business won’t do it either. · Grattitude attracts a multiple of blessings! · Leadership involves responsibility and an ever- growing awareness.We all have blind spots. · Adapt or die · You are gifted.Sharing your gift with the world will bring you a lot more joy/ ALEGRIA.
Alegria Bilingual Magazine Publisher CEO email@example.com @davifalegria
Art EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO CELEBRATES ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY WITH MAJOR PERMANENT COLLECTION EXHIBITION
Culture / and the People: EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO, 1969 -2019
A TWO-PART EXHIBITION CONSISTING OF SELECTIONS FROM THE PERMANENT COLLECTION AND A HISTORIC TIME-LINE THAT REFLECTS ON THE PIONEERING HISTORY OF EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO
n celebration of its 50th anniversary, El Museo del Barrio will present Culture and the People: El Museo del Barrio, 1969-2019, a two-part exhibition featuring selections from the Permanent Collection and a timeline contextualizing the history of the institution with related archival materials. Curated by Susanna V. Temkin, El Museo’s Curator, and co-organized by Noel Valentin, El Museo’s Permanent Collection Manager, the exhibition will reflect on the institution’s activist origins and pioneering role as a cultural and educational organization dedicated to Latinx and Latin American art and culture. The first part of the exhibition is currently on view and is comprised of more than 120 artworks by nearly 80 artists from the collection, whose work offers a multitude of perspectives related to core aspects of El Museo del Barrio’s legacy. The second part of the exhibition opens June 11, 2019, which unveils a chronological timeline of the institution’s history. The opening coincides with the Museum Mile Festival on June 11, 2019. Both sections will be on view through September 29, 2019. The exhibition borrows its title from an essay penned by one of the Museum’s founders and its first director Raphael Montañez Ortíz, who outlined his concept for the institution in a 1971 article published in Art in America. “The founding of El Museo del Barrio in 1969 was originated by Puerto Rican educators, artists, and activists under the mission of presenting, preserving,
and promoting their art and culture” says Patrick Charpenel, El Museo’s Executive Director. “Fifty years later, we recognize the importance of this pivotal historical moment and commemorate this act of cultural resistance. With Culture and the People, we continue to rewrite the history of the United States to include the broad spectrum of cultural and historical contributions by Puerto Rican, Latinx, and Latin American communities.” In addition to the two part-exhibition Culture and the People, El Museo will initiate a cycle of exhibitions dedicated to the Museum’s Permanent Collection in 2020. The cycle will focus on specific works from the collection, including room-size installations and in-depth bodies of work, enabling El Museo’s curators to work directly with artists, scholars, and conservators to uncover new research and grant further public access to the Museum’s Permanent Collection. PART I / APR. 11 - SEPT. 29, 2019 Organized in thematic sections, Culture and the People features selections from the Permanent Collection that explores the legacy of El Museo del Barrio through the concepts of Roots, Resistance, and Resilience. In Roots, artworks will be presented that address El Museo’s formation within the social and political context of 1969, and its relationship with the artists
and local community of El Barrio (East Harlem). This section will also take a more expansive perspective to cultural roots, through works that reference colonial and indigenous ancestries. In direct response to the Museum’s activist origins, the section devoted to Resistance includes artworks related to protest, gestures of solidarity, dictatorship, and exile. Created in homage to national heroes and fallen martyrs, as well as commemorating specific events, these pieces address historical political grievances and relate to contemporary events such as the ongoing border crisis. The final section, Resilience, recognizes El Museo’s ongoing commitment to its mission. In this section, works related to the construction and expression of self- identity will be displayed, alongside images that reflect a sometimes subversive or humorous method of survival. This section will culminate with a presentation of artworks that speak to personal and collective resilience, as well as the continuation of cultural traditions. Each section will feature artists of diverse cultural backgrounds and generations, and will range from indigenous art and artifacts to contemporary paintings and installation art. A number of the pieces on view will relate to multiple sections, inviting audiences to recognize echoes and dialogues between the pieces on display. The exhibition will feature new acquisitions
as well as artworks that have never been publicly presented, in addition to artworks familiar to El Museo audiences. “Since its first donation of La estampa puertorriqueña [The Puerto Rican Print] print portfolio in 1971, El Museo has grown its collection to over 8,000 artworks that span across the Americas, in both time and place,” notes Temkin. “The works included in this 50th anniversary exhibition address themes that are critically bound to El Museo’s historical legacy, ranging from political advocacy and education to a recognition of indigenous origins and a perseverance of identity and traditions.” PART II / JUN. 11 - SEPT. 29, 2019 Complementing the Permanent Collection, El Museo del Barrio will open a second display tracing the historical and cultural trajectory of the institution since 1969. Expanding on previous research about El Museo’s institutional past, the presentation will reveal different moments in the Museum’s history as it relates to its leadership and staff, its various locations, and key exhibitions and programs throughout its first five decades. Archival documentation including photographs, posters, invitations, exhibition catalogues, and other ephemera will supplement a detailed timeline to further illustrate and contextualize critical moments in the museum’s history.
ABOUT EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO El Museo del Barrio, founded by a coalition of Puerto Rican educators, artists, and activists, is the nation’s leading Latino/Latinx and Latin American cultural institution. The Museum welcomes visitors of all backgrounds to discover the artistic landscape of these communities through its extensive Permanent Collection, varied exhibitions and publications, bilingual public programs, educational activities, festivals, and special events. 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street in New York City. Wednesday to Saturday from 11:00am - 6:00pm, and Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00pm.
FEATURED ARTISTS Adál, Ignacio Aguirre, ASCO, Myrna Báez, Diógenes Ballester, Tony Bechara, Charles Biasiny-Rivera, Tania Bruguera, Roger Cabán, Rodríguez Calero, Luis Camnitzer, Martin Chambi, Papo Colo, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Felipe Dante, Margarita Deida and Piedro Pietri, Ana de la Cueva, Milagros de la Torre, Perla de León, Bartolomé de las Casas, Marcos Dimas, Nicolás DumitEstévez, Rafael Ferrer, León Ferrari, Antonio Frasconi, Coco Fusco, Carlos Garaicoa, Domingo García, iliana emilia garcía, Arturo García Bustos, Flor Garduño, Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Beatriz González, Félix GonzálezTorres, Muriel Hasbún, Pablo Helguera, Ester Hernández, Gilberto Hernández, Carmen Herrera, Lorenzo Homar, Graciela Iturbide, Alfredo Jaar, Ivelisse Jiménez, Charles Juhász-Alvarado, Shaun “El. C.” Leonardo, Rodrigo Lobos, Richard A. Lou, Miguel Luciano, Antonio Maldonado, Carlos Marichal, Hiram Maristany, Antonio Martorell, Héctor Méndez Caratini, Raphael Montañez Ortíz, Arnaldo Morales, José Morales, Marta Moreno Vega, Rachelle Mozman, Francisco Manuel Oller y Cestero, Pepón Osorio, César Paternosto, Dulce Pinzón, Miguel Rio Branco, Rubén Rivera Aponte, Arnaldo Roche-Rabell, Félix Rodríguez Báez, Freddy Rodríguez, José A. Rosa Castellanos, Fernando Salicrup, Juan Sánchez, Jorge Soto Sánchez, Taller de Gráfica Popular, Rubén Torres-Llorca, Nitza Tufiño, Rafael Tufiño, Patssi Valdez, Vargas-Suárez Universal, Rigoberto Torres, and the Young Lords Party.
Creative director, visual artist and celebrity photographer DAK is inspired by his native Honduras Dak is a creative director, visual artist and celebrity photographer whose work is informed by the bright colors he vividly remembers from his childhood in Honduras. He has been creating visuals since a very young age and has been mostly self-taught, although much of his inspiration stems from his many collaborators, and from his Latino roots. “My friends are such big drivers in my work. I try to involve as many of them into my creative process as possible. Collaboration is definitely the catalyst for every new photo and project I create’” he explains. “My goal is not to flat-out capture the subject in front of my lens; my goal is to capture the person I’m creating and nurturing a connection with. Through my photoediting and coloring choices, I bring out the person I experienced while shooting: the laughs, the conversation, the emotion, the vulnerability. That’s who I want to share with the world. Every new image motivates me to keep creating and innovating.”
In Love With Creativity and Color 6
“He fotografiado de todo, pero nada me parece tan especial como captar un rostro.” When did you initially experience a passion for photography?
I can’t recall the exact moment it hit me, but I remember stealing my dad’s camera back when I was in elementary school and taking that camera to school. Capturing anything and everything that was around me brought me so much joy, and I didn’t know why. Now, as an adult looking back, those images are so full of exactly what I try to convey now: joy, colors, and people. People have been such a driving force in my photographic journey. I’ve tried photographing everything, but nothing feels more special to me than capturing faces. I think once I captured my first one-on-one portrait I was hooked. How do you honor your Honduran culture through your art?
Every time I visit Honduras, I’m re-inspired by the people, the colors, and the sounds. There’s something so unique and impactful every time I’m back home that just drives my creativity. I always make it clear that I’m a proud Catracho (Honduran), because I believe this is what made me who I am, creatively and in every other way. My colors and work ethic reflect Honduras, vibrant colors and hardworking people. What is the best part about being a bilingual and bicultural visual artist?
Being bilingual and bicultural has helped me reach, and communicate with, a bigger audience. Not only do I get to collaborate with more people, but I get to have a conversation and connect with anybody I’m creating with, whether they speak solely English or Spanish or even both. Being able to speak with someone in their native tongue really helps me understand who they are while we collaborate. It helps make others feel comfortable, secure, and confident, something I strive for while I’m creating. What brings you ALEGRIA?
While I shoot, I create a space to make people feel confident, creative, and like the best version of themselves. Music, colors, and people inspire every creative move I make. They inspire my ALEGRIA.
SONIA ROMERO DRAWS INSPIRATION FROM STORYBOOKS AND CHICANX CULTURE Photos provided by Spiritu
The Spiritú Box is a subscription box packed with beauty and lifestyle products. The Spring 2019 products are placed inside a gorgeous box designed by artist Sonia Romero, who spoke with ALEGRIA about her work. 8
When did you become passionate about art?
I grew up in an artistic household, so art-making was simply part of my culture. It was naturally integrated into my lifestyle. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My first influences were stories and storybooks. I have always loved vintage ephemera and vintage children’s book illustrations. My family collected crafts and folk art from around the world, so I have always been inspired by handmade objects. I have also been influenced by the history of printmaking and the Chicanx culture here in Los Angeles. Artists you admire…
I admire artists and craftspeople from all over the world who create their work from a place of joy, tradition, and respect for their craft. We love the Spiritú Box you created. What was your inspiration?
This artwork is part of “Inner Landscape”, my series which depicts our internal emotions and energies in symbolic form. I made it with the intention of bringing healing energy to a friend of mine. I decided to focus on the lower part of the female torso, because so much is contained there, from our digestive and reproductive
“A veces creo arte para comunidades específicas, pero siempre estoy pensando en los puntos en común universales de los seres humanos”. systems to our center of nervousness and fear. It’s a place that needs a lot of attention and self-care. My figure is also holding her heart, an area of the body which seems to hold so much emotion, love and power. I chose to add a pansy, because it holds a lot of nostalgia for me. It’s the first flower I grew as a child and it reminds me of home and childhood and comfort. What is the best part of being a bicultural artist?
The best part of being a bicultural artist is that you can step into different cultures, but you can also step out of them and take a wider view. I sometimes create art for specific communities, but I am always thinking about universal human commonalities.
What brings you ALEGRIA?
Composing beautiful meals, watching my two young children take on a personality, walking in nature, immersing myself in a painting, getting hit by inspiration, making connections with people, exploring, altar making, and yoga. What do legacy and heritage mean to you?
I think we really value innovation and individuality in our culture, but there is also something to be said for tradition and passing on knowledge from one generation to the next. I value the artistic knowledge that was passed on to me by my family, and I am passing it on to my own children.
rcome e v o ADVERSITY ART TO
Jannet Carrera Changes Lives through Dance Jannet Carrera had always wanted to be involved in the arts. As a Latina, a college education was a must, and her family supported her college career along with her dreams. Then her journey in dance began. Photo by Steven Lam
When did you find what you believe was your path to your own ALEGRIA through your career or talent?
I trained in LA for dance with the best choreographers, such as Galen Hooks, to be able to be a backup dancer. I got an agent to represent me, someone from Nuestra Belleza Latina, for acting and commercial modeling. I took singing lessons and recorded in the studio with the best producers/artists in the industry, such as Sean Brown. As soon as I received my B.A. in psychology, with a focus on advocating and empowering Latinx communities, I was asked to teach dance at Jurupa High School. Witnessing those kids’ faces, hearing about their goals, and feeling the amount of love I experienced left an imprint on my soul. I had discovered my true passion for dance, as well as my real purpose: to live an authentic life through dance in hopes of making a difference in the life of every human I meet. How are you advocating for the Latinx community through your work or everyday endeavors?
By having the courage to use my voice. My passion has led me to meeting people from different cultures, of different religions, ages, sexes, and languages. Dance allows every single one of us to come together and celebrate each other. I have created a safe, uplifting space of kindness, positive vibrations, and meaningful experiences where we can show vulnerability, confide any worries, or share our hopes and dreams. How has your bilingual and bicultural heritage influenced who are you today?
I am proudly Mexican-American. I have been given the freedom to live the American Dream and am also proud of my Hispanic roots. I take pride in being inspired by two different cultures. What brings you ALEGRIA?
My family, my friends, dance, and my bulldog. I am in full bliss, living in the flow of joy, surrounded by so much support and unconditional love.
Lowest point in your life…
In 2007 I started getting really bad headaches, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Because of this life-changing situation, I initially suffered seizures, panic/anxiety attacks, and unbearable chronic migraines. My condition has shown me torture, trauma, suffering, struggle, depression, pain, having no sense of control… it broke me. After many doctor’s visits, trial-based testing and procedures, and successful breakthroughs in medicine and science; I overcame the confusion caused by what was happening to me. “I decided to walk by faith with the help of family and friends. I have been battling my condition for 11 years now and it has taught me to be mindful of my surroundings.” It gives me the courage to find energy and strength when I think I don’t have any. Most importantly, it made me listen to my true purpose and see the real, raw, authentic version of myself. I was able to visualize and unlock the talents of Jannet Carrera. Highest peak of your life…
This very moment. I am a dancer, mentor, creator, educator, choreographer, and business owner. I am living my dream through my courage, hard-work, self-discipline, heartaches and triumphs. I have fought adversity with the support of my loved ones. To be able to create an incredible bond and a deep connection through dance is the highest peak in my life. It’s more than just an 8-count on a studio floor, it’s a platform were we inspire and empower each other. It’s always more than just dance. What are you reading right now?
Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, and What It Takes to Be #1, by Vince Lombardi, Jr. My relationship with God is very sacred to me, and the first book instantly grants you calmness and a strong sense of mindfulness and faith.
He luchado contra mi afección desde hace 11 años y me ha enseñado a prestar atención a mi entorno. Me da el valor suficiente para encontrar energía y fuerza”.
What quote resonates with you right now?
“ I stand on the sacrifices of a million women before me, thinking what can I do to make this mountain taller so the women after me can see farther.” - Legacy , by Rupi Kaur
Seven things or experiences you would like to manifest this 2019?
1. A life filled with radiant health and energy. 2. Enhancing my creativity as a dancer. 3. A life of abundance and prosperity so that I can meet my needs and support people and causes. 4. Publishing the book of poems inspired by my life that I have been writing since high school. 5. The right location to open a dance/fitness studio. I will create a safe, positive, uplifting space where everyone will defeat adversity and express themselves freely through dance. 6. Helping young Latinxs suffering from mental health issues by creating a non-profit space filled with dance, art, and theatre. 7. Starting a podcast to inspire and empower.
The Power of Communication JULIE ROMERO HELPS PROFESSIONALS AND BUSINESSES NAVIGATE ROADBLOCKS By Clare M. Miranda / Photo by E. Mackey, Dope Heart Media
Julie Romero was born and raised in Colombia, moved to the U.S to study journalism, and quickly became obsessed with helping others tap into their superpowers. She has since joined the UR team at Twitter, where she not only recruits, but acts as a GPS for young professionals navigating recruitment roadblocks. She was a founding member and NY Lead of Oath’s Latino Employee Resource Group LIT (Latinos In Tech), and is now a lead member of Twitter’s business resource group (BRG) “ALAS,” where she helps organize and execute some of most important flagship events, including recruiting events for the Latino/Hispanic community. 14
What is something you are grateful for?
I’m so grateful for the family I was born into. I have an amazing, supportive mother, the kindest brother, the most thoughtful father and the funniest twin sister. When did you find what you believe was your path to your own ALEGRIA through your career or talent?
I am still going through my ALEGRIA journey. The great thing is that my horizon sometimes changes and I discover new paths, with new ALEGRIA moments throughout my life. For example, I wanted to go study in Switzerland after high school. My parents asked me to go to Florida for college instead, because of proximity. That changed my horizon completely, but that new path created amazing moments and opened different career paths that took me to where I am today. How are you advocating for the Latinx community through your work or everyday endeavors?
I started working with Latinx business resource groups at different companies for a while, but once I started working at Twitter, I immediately knew I wanted to join ALAS (our BRG) and work towards increasing the Latinx community at our company. It has been an amazing journey. At our company, we work with so many powerful people that support and elevate Latinxs in many different ways. For example, they might help us
create recruiting events during Hispanic Heritage Month, or invite Latinx students to our offices to learn how to improve and create healthier conversations for Latinos on our platform. Everything takes time, but every day ALAS works diligently in order to achieve our goal. How has your bilingual and bicultural heritage influenced who are you today?
The best way to communicate with people and influence them is by speaking their own language. Things can be misconstrued because of the wrong hand gesture or body language. I’m glad I’m able to communicate with people in different languages because we understand each other better. I’m privileged to have experienced so many different cultures throughout my life. My world has never been the same since I left Colombia.
“I think being multicultural is the key to experiencing what the universe has to give you.” The more connected you are with those around you and their origins, the more connected you are to the world and its beauty.
What brings you ALEGRIA?
The health and happiness of my family, inner peace, new special connections, unexpected happy moments, sudden miracles and, of course, a good chocolate chip cookie! Lowest point in your life…
After college, trying to find a great job and failing miserably. Highest peak of your life…
Going to the World Cup in Brazil and watching Colombia rise after 16 years of absence. The moment the national anthem played before the first game started, I cried. This is our seventh anniversary, and 7 is a sacred number in many cultures. What are seven things or experiences you would like to manifest this 2019?
Perfect health, giving more to our Latinx community, more adventures around the world, meeting more powerful Latinas that inspire me, more wealth, more miracles such as lucky encounters, and lastly, more positive moments. A quote resonates with you right now?
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.” - Jim Rohn
“Ser multicultural es la clave para experimentar todo lo que el universo tiene para ti”.
“We work with so many powerful people that support and elevate Latinxs.”
Bold n’ Proud MARIBEL LARA DISCUSSES IMPORTANCE OF LATINXS IN SENIOR CORPORATE ROLES Photos by Jennyfer Parra
Find Maribel on f d Latina_Sweetie or at: www.thesashagroup.com 16
What is something you are grateful for?
The ability to travel. My husband and I are preparing for a trip to Chile, where my father was born. In a way, it feels like I’m going to go home. My dad passed away 9 years ago and never got to share his birthplace with me. This trip is going to help me feel connected to him in a new way. When did you find what you believe was your path to your own ALEGRIA through your career or talent?
Within the last year. When I worked in education and during my time as a manager in the agency world, mentorship was built into my job. The last two years I have not had a direct team and I missed it, so I learned that I need to carve out time and be more proactive about establishing mentorship relationships. Making time for others, especially other women, has reenergized me and given me greater purpose. How are you advocating for the Latinx community through your work or everyday endeavors?
There is progress to be made in terms of there being greater representation of Latinx people in senior corporate roles. I believe I advocate for our community by wearing my Latinidad boldly and proudly every day, showing others the value that people like me can bring to the table, and advocating for more seats at that table for folks who look like me.
How your bilingual and bicultural heritage influenced you?
My parents had little to no formal education and came from very humble upbringings. They never let us take the opportunities that we were afforded in this country for granted. I am not afraid of hard work, as I don’t expect anything to be handed to me, and I believe that gives me a competitive advantage that has helped me tremendously in my career. In terms of language, I get to interact with Latin American clients every once in a while and I love that I can make them feel more comfortable by speaking to them in Spanish. It’s a great point of commonality to establish at the start of a relationship. What brings you ALEGRIA?
My friends and family. Whether it’s sharing my day with husband, learning about my sister’s salsa dancing, humblebragging about my niece’s amazing grades or laughing over memories with my BFF, the fact that I get to share space with such good-hearted people brings me ALEGRIA. Lowest point in your life…
2010. After losing my mom in 2009, I had just finished taking time away from working to provide my dad with home hospice care, and in the process exhausted my savings. I was financially broke and heartbroken. I felt hopeless.
Highest peak of your life…
Realizing that I was in control of my own happiness. 2018 was full of lessons that taught me my human instinct was to be fearful of the unknown but that, despite initial fear, if I reminded myself of how far I had come and trusted in my own abilities, I really had nothing to worry about. What are you reading right now?
Bruja Born, by Zoraida Cordova. It‘s the second book in the Brooklyn Brujas series about three sisters who come from a long line of powerful witches. I love the escapism of fantasy and the light lift of young reader books as a break from talking business day in and day out at work. A place where you feel inspired…
Any art museum. I’m filled with so much awe when I see the visual stories that artists are able to tell. Museums are a standing testament to what’s possible when individuals are aware of their gifts and share them with the world. What are seven things or experiences you would like to manifest this 2019?
Spiritual growth, greater physical strength, more time with friends, more books read than last year, a fruitful first year for The Sasha Group, finally printing a large photo from my wedding two years ago, and letting go of more of the physical stuff that clutters my home.
What quote resonates with you right now?
“How beautiful is that the past did not define you, and your story is being woven into something beautiful and new.” - Morgan Harper Nichols
“Falta avanzar más en cuanto a la presencia de personas de origen latino en puestos corporativos de alto nivel”.
“Making time for others, especially other women, has reenergized me and given me greater purpose.”
Loving her Community LUZ LLUNCOR LENDS A HELPING HAND TO ENTREPRENEURS AND FAMILIES Photo by Adam Bialik
Luz Lluncor, driven by a deep love of community, is an active and vocal voice in the worlds of real estate and mortgage financing. Luz’s belief in the power of community to create lasting change has led her to become not only a successful business owner and entrepreneur, but also a source of empowerment for the people around her. With a strong focus on managing her time, Luz successfully founded New World Mortgage in the City of Downey. As a producing branch manager, she has helped thousands of families achieve their American Dream. An immigrant herself, she can relate to their life stories. Luz, who is passionate about her career, has been a true leader in her industry, and is currently part of APMC’s Advisory Council. In 2016, her entrepreneurial spirit led her to co-found HUP, an international business development/event management network platform. HUP helps mid-sized companies establish themselves and expand in the U.S. Now, HUP is working in partnership with the Dutch Government to support companies in need of a jumpstart when entering the U.S. market. Luz is excited about creating business opportunities, and her strength has allowed her to focus on the financial aspect of HUP. She is currently its Chief Operating Officer. In 2017, she continued to make a difference, not only in her business, but in her community as well. She co-founded Home Field Advantage, a non-profit leadership program. Since its inception, HFA has trained 35 high school students to become coach-
es, and 250 kids have gone through the program. HFA is now in seven schools, and 135 kids have enrolled in it. The program is growing and this year’s goal is to reach twelve schools in the City of Downey. Luz recently founded Citroen, an investment company focusing on social entrepreneurship projects. Currently, Citroen is proud to be part of a project, BLVDMRKT, in the City of Montebello. BLVDMRKT aims to promote growth of the local small business ecosystem by providing incubation services to emerging restaurant entrepreneurs from any of the Gateway cities, as well as career opportunities. Luz, you are a serial entrepreneur by nature. Tell us about your mindset and how you’re able to manage your businesses and family life.
My mindset is a positive one, I never take things too seriously. I smile all the time and know that there is a solution to every challenge. I keep moving forward. I am highly organized and balance my time very efficiently. I organize my priorities every day, week, month, and year. In fact, my life has been a timeline with goals for the last two decades. It’s all part of the plan. That said, my family always comes first. One of your latest ventures is linked to an entrepreneurial hub in Montebello. How did this come to happen?
I recently founded Citroen, which focuses on social entrepreneurs. When this project was introduced to me, I loved the idea. I did not think twice about being part of something that gives other entrepreneurs the opportunity to obtain the resources they need to grow their business.
“The ecosystem that this project is providing could make in impact in every city.” What do you believe women need in order to excel in business today?
Mentorship and accountability. If you have a good mentor, it will trigger a mindset shift. The impossible will become possible. The accountability part is also crucial to our success. What leadership advice can you offer women who are hoping to experience the entrepreneurial life of their dreams?
Write down your goals and measure your results. Pour your energy into the area you are most talented in, and build a team to surround you and help you achieve your goals faster. Learn from your failures and embrace all the wins! What brings you ALEGRIA?
That is a very tough question. A lot of things bring me ALEGRIA, but if I have to name only one thing, that would be my family. Seeing my kids smile and enjoy life is what makes me the happiest.
“No lo pensé dos veces cuando tuve ocasión de formar parte de algo que les brinda a los demás empresarios la oportunidad de obtener los recursos necesarios para que su negocio crezca”.
“If you have a good mentor, it will trigger a mindset shift. The impossible will become possible.”
“Las pequeñas empresas pueden crear campañas exitosas gracias a que tienen a la mano nuestras herramientas”.
Social Media Strategies FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM EMPOWER LATINX ENTREPRENEURS Photo by Andrew Knapp
Deborah Renteria, Creative Strategist at Facebook, and Mitzi Gaitan-Naranjo, Creator & Emerging Talent Partnerships expert at Instagram, explain that the social media sites they work for are currently helping Latinx entrepreneurs market their brands effectively. “Deborah and I launched Latin@ in FBLA in May of 2018. Latin@ is a resource committed to connecting, supporting, and developing Latinx and Hispanic employees at Facebook, while also giving back to the external Latino community in our area. We found each other and then saw an opportunity to create a community within Facebook for our Latinx employees, given our location in L.A., a cultural hub,” says Mitzi. “We also saw a huge opportunity to connect with the larger external Latinx community and wanted to expand our programming to them. Knowing how powerful Facebook and Instagram tools are, for both people and businesses, we decided to host an event to empower the thriving Latinx Entrepreneur community in L.A.,” adds Deborah. What are some tips for Latinx business owners you can share with us?
MGN: I would say to familiarize themselves with the product by using it and exploring all of the surfaces available to post on. By experiencing it as a consumer, you can use that as a guide as to how to create for the people you want to reach. Facebook also has resources online, including Facebook Blueprint, an online education and certification program to help train advertisers and small businesses so that they can effectively achieve their desired business
results through marketing on both Facebook and Instagram. What are your current efforts to make sure minority business owners and creatives get to market their products and services without getting lost among so many enormous brands?
DR: Today, tens of millions of local businesses use Facebook and Instagram to get started, grow, trade and hire. Our ad-supported model means we can give the same powerful tools to businesses big and small. Most small businesses and entrepreneurs can’t afford to buy broadreach media like TV commercials or outof-home billboards — but nearly anyone can advertise with just a mobile phone.
“Small businesses can build successful campaigns because our tools are right at their fingertips.” This gives them the same opportunities as big businesses to reach consumers. What brings you ALEGRIA when it comes to inclusion and diversity?
MGN: It brings me ALEGRIA to be able to help people in our community reach their fullest potential by empowering them with the tools and knowledge we have about Facebook’s platform. Knowledge is key, and being here at Facebook, opening doors for more of our people to succeed, brings me a lot of ALEGRIA.
DR: It brings me so much ALEGRIA to work at a place that recognizes that diversity leads to better decisions, better products, and a better culture — and to know that I’m supported in creating these spaces to empower and uplift my own beautiful, vibrant Latinx community. What would be your advice for a young entrepreneur opening a business today?
DR: To let go of the myth that you need huge budgets or training to build your business. Take the ingenuity and creativity that are so ingrained in our culture, and apply them to every aspect of your business. That will make all the difference. MGN: Be authentic with your voice and your mission. Don’t shy away from showing the world who you are and why your business is important for our community. Each one of us has a unique story and a reason why we do what we do, so don’t be afraid to open up and express yourself as you start building your brand.
Where the Light Enters You TURNING PAINFUL MEMORIES INTO A SOURCE OF EMPOWERMENT By Clare M. Miranda / Photo by David Jr. Martin
Find Judy Stella on f judystella 22
A line from a work of the great poet Rumi reads, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Indeed, every person on this earth has had some struggle, pain, or sorrow to deal with, and many people try to hide their wounds and scars, which can be both physical and emotional. For a long time, this was Judy Stella’s way of coping with painful memories and experiences, but now, within her scars, she is finding strength, power, and, yes – even beauty. Beauty is not a characteristic that the Latina entrepreneur always saw when she looked down at the scar on her leg. The result of a hit-and-run accident when she was just 8 years old landed her in a hospital where she spent weeks recovering. “I didn’t realize how traumatic that experience was until I started talking about it with my therapist and, for the first time, I cried about it,” Judy recalls. She also remembers the anxiety and insecurity that the scar’s appearance brought her. Now, Judy owns her story and sees her scar as a sign of immense strength and in a determined tone says, “I’m not missing out on anything anymore.” The accident is one incident that stands out in her childhood years, during which she experienced abuse and neglect, causing her to question her self-worth. During high school, she hadn’t thought much about her future
until her high school counselor urged her to challenge herself and placed her in college prep courses, which would change her life.
“I feel very fortunate that I’ve had people to guide me. The right people always seemed to appear at the right time.” Judy explains, adding that her school counselor is one of many people who helped her along the way. She did eventually get accepted into college, but even when she was sitting in her classes, Judy often felt “…so out of place. I didn’t feel smart enough to even be there, but I was more scared to walk away and I took it one day at a time.” Taking it one day at a time proved to be an effective strategy. Not only did she receive a degree from Cal State Long Beach, but she also received her Master’s from the University of Southern California. Working for years as a licensed clinical social worker, Judy found joy in mentoring women and chil-
dren. After marrying her husband Erick and having their two children, Judy felt that there was a different path in life that she wanted to take. Her husband urged her to explore the path of an entrepreneur. Today, Judy works as the Business Development Manager for the Stella Health Insurance Agency, where she works to connect individuals and organizations to resources and oversees community outreach. And, yes, while it is lucrative and the potential is great, Judy especially enjoys getting to “…help and educate individuals and mentor people who are seeking professional and personal development.” Judy is also continuing to work on her own personal development. A mental health advocate, she has experienced great personal growth from working with a therapist and she now shares her story in seminars and workshops. The scars that once brought her shame and insecurity are now a source of empowerment and inspiration. “I own my story now and I share it with women so that they can be inspired to grow and heal as well,” Judy says. In addition to her husband and beautiful children, discovering this new purpose and finding the light within her scars is her ALEGRIA.
“Me siento muy afortunada de haber tenido gente que me guíe. Las personas adecuadas siempre parecían aparecer en el momento adecuado”. 23
The scars that once brought her shame and insecurity are now a source of empowerment and inspiration.
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Influencer FIND NICOLETTA ON @VIDA.MAGICA.LOVE, OR THROUGH HER WEBSITE VIDAMAGICA.LOVE
NICOLETTA DARITA DE LA BROWN’S SPIRITUALITY AND HER HERITAGE INFORM HER WORK Photos provided by Talent
What is something you are grateful for?
Mi mamá y mi abuela; two beautiful panameñas who remind me in spirit, and as being, to stand proud in my power. I appreciate the little surprises that pop up often to remind me that I am perfect exactly as I am. I love that my four children show me what pure joy looks like and remind me to be playful. I am happy that I love myself unapologetically, with intention, out loud, and on purpose. I practice self-love daily and hold space weekly (typically on Sundays) to dive deeper into self-care to reflect, restore, reset, rest. When did you find what you believe was your path to your own ALEGRIA through your career or talent?
I found my path after being hit by a car and bouncing off of the hood. Self-care became the key to my liberation. Loving myself first is the core principle in both my life and my career as a creative and social entrepreneur. How are you advocating for the Latinx community through your work or everyday endeavors?
As a speaker and host I hold space. As a negrita, panameña, Latinx artist, my arts practice connects me with others, shares my story, and empowers the next generation of amazing creatives. My art embodies all aspects of me as a being. I am an artist in every aspect of my life. My spirituality (connection to something bigger than myself), my heritage, my ancestors, and my identity all show up in the pieces that I create. My life and my art are one and the same. How has your bilingual and bicultural heritage influence who are you today?
icoletta Daríta de la Brown is a producer, host, performance artist, interdisciplinary fabricator, mother of four, self-love champion, and unicorn. She is the founder of Vida Mágica Love LLC, providing healing-centered engagement through interactive workshops, immersive activations, and multi-sensory experiences. Nicoletta is Black Latinx and proud to be a first-generation Panamanian born in the United States. She comes from a long line of healers.
panameña set to the beat of the Congo de Colón, which runs through my veins. My performances are an exploration of space, rhythm, culture, spirituality, and ancient healing. The forest floor is my dance floor, nature is my medicine, and Coco Solo is my heart. My sculptural objects are housed in a reliquary to reflect upon the culture that is forever imprinted in my skin and fused to my bones. What brings you ALEGRIA?
Making art brings me ALEGRIA. I find so much joy when an inspired idea fills my mind. Excitement takes over. I love creating something tangible, something tactile, something others can feel. Highest peak of your life…
Each morning, when I wake up, I say, This is the best day of my life! Every day has the potential to be the peak. My goal every day is to allow things to flow and playfully discover the possibilities. I am enjoying the adventure. What are you reading right now?
I am re-reading The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. A place where you feel inspired…
I feel inspired while inside my home studio. It is my sacred sanctuary. What quote resonates with you right now?
"Magic, you just can't see it until it touches something" - Fabrice Brown (my daughter, at age 5)
My heritage influences everything that I am. It is how I walk, how I show up in spaces, it is visible the moment I enter a room. Each day is a celebration of being a
Seven things or experiences you would like to manifest this 2019?
1. Traveling to Panama, South Africa, Bali, the Amazon Rainforest and the Bermuda Crystal Caves. 2. Doing fact-finding research in healing spaces and with indigenous healers. 3. Collaborating with other creatives to build experiential activations centered on wholeness and well-being. 4. Many more national and international exhibitions and performances. 5. Vida Mágica Love LLC producing largescale events, including: talks workshops, and retreats throughout the United States. 6. Receiving more awards and grants to take my studio arts practice to the next level. 7. Discovering new ways to love myself.
“El suelo del bosque es mi pista de baile, la naturaleza es mi medicina y Coco Solo es mi corazón”.
Influencer · DENISE HERNANDEZ IMPORTS ITEMS THAT BEAUTIFY HOMES ·
Photos provided by Talent
enise Hernandez, from El Salvador, is a true world traveler. Even when she was very young, she would visit El Salvador during summer vacations, and she studied in Thailand when she was only 17. Growing up, people would call her Jitana (meaning “gypsy” in Spanish, but spelled with a “j” rather than a “g”), a name that truly embodies her spirit and sense of wonder. Denise, who shares her experiences through her blog in hopes of inspiring people to achieve their goals and dreams, recently launched a home décor shop, Shop Jitana. It offers bohemian home décor from Indonesia.
FIND DENISE HERNANDEZ ON @THEJITANA AND @SHOPJITANA OR THROUGH HER WEBSITE THEJITANA.COM
Although I am constantly working, it brings me ALEGRIA to know I am truly passionate about everything I do while building my own business and inspiring others to do the same. How are you advocating for the Latinx community through your work or everyday endeavors?
My blog is bilingual, half English and half Spanish. Since I love my Latin roots, it is very important for me to be able to communicate with my Latinx followers.
“Los empresarios más exitosos son los que han corrido los mayores riesgos”.
What is something you are grateful for?
Life! I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities throughout my life. When did you find what you believe was your path to your own ALEGRIA through your career?
Never in a million years did I think I was going to become a blogger! I’ve always been passionate about fashion, and worked in sales, styling, merchandising, marketing, and buying within the industry. Little did I know this was prepping me to build my own business. I decided to become a full-time blogger when I moved back from Australia to LA. It was a risk I decided to take, and one of the best decisions I’ve made.
How has your bilingual and bicultural heritage influenced who are you today?
I grew up traveling to El Salvador to visit my family. I would spend weeks in El Salvador at a time, and really embraced my culture. I learned how beautiful the country was, and was proud to say I was Salvadoran. I’ve carried this confidence throughout my life. A place where you feel inspired…
Bali, Indonesia. Bali is such a spiritual island, filled with lots of creativity. Before starting my business, I traveled to Bali. This was three years ago. I instantly fell in love with the energy. I don’t know what it is, but it’s very easy to feel inspired here. Lowest point in your life…
I wouldn’t call it the lowest point, but one of the most difficult times in my life was when I graduated college. I had just come off of a backpacking trip through South America and I had to make a decision that would shape my future. I had been offered a well-paying job, and also a dream internship with no guarantee of it becoming a full-time job. I was conflicted between taking the job or following my dreams with no guarantee of security. I decided to follow my dreams, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
Highest peak of your life…
Starting my business, Shop Jitana. I realized that all the jobs I’d had and all the situations I’d encountered had prepared me for this moment. I always knew I wanted a business of my own, but did not know at what stage in my life this would happen. It all came together at the right time, when I was fully prepared. Now I am one year into my business and could not be more passionate about what I do! This is our seventh anniversary. What are seven things you would like to manifest this 2019?
Keep working hard to make Shop Jitana and my blog successful. Traveling more within the States (I’ve only been to about five). Building a bigger team for Shop Jitana. Traveling to at least one country in South America. Traveling to more cities in Mexico. Creating more YouTube videos. Being featured in a magazine—but I guess I have accomplished that now. What quote resonates with you right now?
One of the most important things that stuck with me from college is when my international finance professor said, “The most successful business owners are the ones that have taken the biggest risks.” Since then, I have lived my life that way and have succeeded in a lot of decisions that I’ve made. What brings you ALEGRIA?
Traveling! I love exploring new places, meeting new people, and learn about different cultures.
FIND MAIAH OCANDO ON SOCIAL MEDIA @MAIAHOCANDO OR THROUGH THE SITE WEDONTBELONG.COM
COMEDIAN AND SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER MAIAH OCANDO FIGHTS STEREOTYPES Photos provided by Talent
What is something you are grateful for?
When your life is such a rollercoaster, having the chance to start over is something I’m definitely grateful for. No matter how hard you fall, there’s only one way up. When did you find what you believe was your path to your own ALEGRIA through your career or talent?
I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m curious about everything. That’s a curse when building a career in entertainment, because it takes too long to reap the fruits of your work. I did decide something when I moved to America six years ago, to explore how creative I could be at everything I tried, even though I might fail.
How are you advocating for the Latinx community through your work or everyday endeavors?
Representation matters. There are too many stories that haven’t been told, and too few people deciding which one deserves to be told. The most important thing is being a vehicle for telling stories that don’t only focus on what people in the industry think is part of the Latino identity. I can write a romantic comedy that is good, without including what marketing pundits define as “the Latino experience”: drug traffickers, TexMex music or over-the-top telenovela stereotypes. We are much more than that. I want to tell great, funny, important stories anybody can relate to, but I happen to be a Latina from Venezuela living in the United States. Nobody can have my point of view on things. We need more points of view from people like me.
How has your bilingual and bicultural heritage influenced who are you today?
I live in Los Angeles, and my upbringing was different from the way people are raised here. I learned to appreciate even the smallest things, and never take anything for granted. However, my secret weapon is the way I see tragedies. I was trained to laugh at them louder than at anything else, but I’m cheating. I think that doesn’t stem from being Venezuelan. It’s just a trait of the craziest family you’ll ever meet: mine. What brings you ALEGRIA?
Seeing my mom happy. Seeing my entire family happy. Also, I just live in my own sitcom with my husband and partner in crime. I’m pretty sure I’ll never stop laughing. Lowest point in your life…
My mom was diagnosed with cancer for a second time. I was out of work and out of money. I could have drowned in the biggest depression ever, but I found the energy to work harder on figuring out a way to solve the problem. I’m a problem-solver. I would love to stop solving these really dark problems for once, though. I’d really like to fix lighter problems, like what color I should paint the walls of my apartment. For once. Highest peak of your life…
A week ago I had a meeting that could change my life. After all these years, I could see a real opportunity to make the big things I’ve always dreamt about happen. Getting a new chance right after the lowest point in my life is what Hollywood is made of.
“Hay demasiadas historias sin contar, y son muy pocas las personas que determinan cuál es la que vale la pena contar”. 33
What are you reading right now?
Rebel without a Crew, by Robert Rodriguez. It’s a roadmap for anyone who wants to create their own things and take Hollywood by storm. I love finding things in common between his story and mine. What quote resonates with you right now?
“Don’t worry about life too much; life doesn’t give a damn about you.” - My dad Seven things or experiences you would like to manifest this 2019?
1. The opportunity to keep doing what I love and call it “work.” 2. Please, life, stop hitting me so hard. 3. A sense of humor so that I can laugh when life definitely hits me even harder than before, no matter what I say. 4. Health, so I can enjoy success when it’s finally here. 5. Enough money, so I can stop making it important. 6. Everyone I love happy and healthy. 7. Freedom for Venezuela.
COMPARTIR CON EL MUNDO LOS DONES QUE POSEES EN TU INTERIOR ES TU RESPONSABILIDAD
By Paula Betancur @sacredinteriorsbypaula www.sacredinteriorsbypaula
STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE IN 2019
ne thing I know for sure: 2019 is not the year for playing it safe and repeating the same patterns that keep you stuck, stale, frustrated and depressed. This year is all about living with passion and stepping out of our comfort zone. Why?, you might ask. Well, simply put, because the world needs you to show up. Loud and clear, bold and willing to shine your light. This, I promise, goes way beyond clichés. This year is no longer about working on your vision board and setting up goals for yourself. Sure, that stuff comes in handy at some point, but having a-ha moments is no longer enough. Instead, this is the year to truly take action. Action that comes straight from the heart. Not from the head. Yogi Bhajan said that it is very inhuman to seek, to look for something and try to get it. Instead, he implored us to recognize and deliver; to be still and let things come to us. Sounds contradictory, right? So we need to take action but also be still? Huh? Here’s the thing. Becoming passionate about your life takes courage and discipline. It requires tuning in to the essence of your being, your destiny and the gifts you have been born with, which are meant to be shared with the world.
That 9-to-5 that sucks the life out of you? That’s not the way to live anymore. Covering nothing but your basic needs is not the way to live anymore. Why? Because you are worthy of more and because it is your responsibility to share those gifts within you with the world. It can sound fun to tap into your passion, but it is serious business. And it’s oh-so worthwhile! Living with passion, a passion aligned with pure, truthful intentions, opens the doors to living in ALEGRIA, prosperity and happiness. This is your birthright. Connecting with our inner space requires one very specific thing: getting out of our heads to travel deeper, so we can listen to the calling of our soul. And no, this isn’t as esoteric as it sounds. There is actually a science to it and it is called Kundalini yoga. The yoga of aware-
ness, in which breath, movement and sound awaken your fullest potential in the shortest amount of time. We all have the ability to still the mind, even with all those thoughts that come to us when we try to meditate. This is, in fact, the very act of meditating. We become able to control how we think. We increase our ability to extend our aura and optimize the functions of our energy centers. When we do this, we align with our true identity, our Sat Nam. We allow our genuine expression to come through in a manner that is not based on external focuses like “goals” or “visions.” As we commit to this connection with the self, we become able to be more and do less, and that is the sweet spot where passion lights up!
When you live a life of passion and purpose, and share your truth with the world, you create a ripple effect in which your legacy spreads and inspires others, and as the chain continues to grow, our world blossoms and our fire for life fulfills our deepest longings. So go ahead, take action! And awaken you inner passion by acting in stillness.
INTERVIEW WITH CELEBRITY SKIN CARE GURU
Can you give me three tips for a glossy summer skincare routine?
You should be exfoliating 1-2 times a week, depending on your skin type and the other products you’re using will keep your skin glowing and clear. In the summer, we tend to be outside and it’s so important to keep your skin protected. Using a moisturizer and sunscreen in one will keep your routine easy. I love Supergoop’s Superscreen which is lightly hydrating, yet won’t cause congestion! If you’re using the right products for your skin type, you likely won’t need to switch up your routine too much. However, some may want to switch to a lighter moisturizer. Daily Oil Free Moisturizer is a lightweight, fast absorbing moisturizer that keep skin hydrated without relying on oil-based formulations which may be too heavy in the summer!
Why do you love the new Dove Dry Serum products?
I love that Dove takes a skincare approach to their antiperspirants and deodorants. The skin under your arms is sensitive and delicate and needs to be treated as such. Dove Dry Serum Antiperspirant was inspired by the technology of skincare serums – just like a serum you might use on your face or under your eyes. The sheer ultra-lightweight formula absorbs instantly, leaving skin dry to the touch. This combined with Dove’s signature moisturizers, leaves the skin soft and smooth and provides 48hour odor and wetness protection. What brings you ALEGRIA?
Being a mother to my two amazing daughters is the greatest gift!
It was a sunny day on Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood. Swedish-born singer and songwriter Angelica, a.k.a. ARTIFEX, stopped by a store, where she bumped into Alejandro Montesinos, CEO of True Makers Music Group. They traded background stories, and ARTIFEX showed him videos of her and her band, ARTIFEX The Band, playing and grooving at The Mint LA.
In no time at all they were setting up a meeting at the True Makers studio, where she got to meet multi-platinum Grammy-nominated producer/composer Luigie Gonzalez. After that meeting, ARTIFEX handed out flyers announcing her upcoming shows. “They laughed at my wrinkled old-school flyers and said they were great,” ARTIFEX recalls, adding that the very same week they both showed up at the gig. “That was when a new chapter in my life began.” ARTIFEX had originally moved to California because she was attracted to the music and the nightlife in Los Angeles. She gradually worked her way into the music industry by performing in small bars and clubs with her band. One night, when a full moon was shining, she sang her heart out, and that same night her new journey actually took off. 38
ARTIFEX is currently working on her new singles, together with Luigie Gonzalez. The first single, Paraíso, will be released this spring in Spain.
Un día soleado en Sunset Boulevard, en West Hollywood, Angelica, mejor conocida como ARTIFEX, cantante y compositora nacida en Suecia, fue a visitar una tienda. Ahí se topó con Alejandro Montesinos, fundador de True Makers Music Group. Compartieron sus respectivas historias y ARTIFEX le mostró videos en los cuales ella y su banda, ARTIFEX The Band, tocaban en The Mint LA. En ese instante planearon una junta en el estudio de True Makers, donde conoció a Luigie Gonzalez, productor y compositor nominado al Grammy, quien posee varios discos de platino. Al término de esa junta, ARTIFEX les entregó volantes que promovían sus próximos espectáculos. “Ambos se rieron de mis volantes arrugados hechos de papel y dijeron que estaban geniales”, recuerda ARTIFEX. Agrega que esa misma semana ambos se presentaron al concierto. “Desde ese momento comenzó un nuevo capítulo en mi vida”.
CANTA CON EL CORAZÓN
“These upcoming projects are so exciting, and I can’t wait to share them. I finally feel that I’m working on songs that truly represent the artist I am. I’m very proud to share Paraíso, which has been a true challenge. It took some time to figure out how to develop myself in a way that wouldn’t compromise my true ARTIFEX,” the singer/songwriter says. “This song contains everything I could dream of. It is sexy, sassy, it contains substance, it is urban mixed with Caribbean and Latin heat… it sounds hot!”
ARTIFEX inicialmente se mudó a California pues le atraía la vida nocturna musical de Los Ángeles. Gradualmente se abrió paso en la industria, tras presentarse en pequeños bares y clubes con su banda. Una noche de luna llena, ARTIFEX cantó desde lo más profundo de su corazón, y esa misma noche fue cuando inició su nueva aventura. Actualmente, ARTIFEX está preparando sus nuevos sencillos junto con Luigie Gonzalez. El primer sencillo, Paraíso, se lanzará en España esta primavera.
Artifex is not afraid of new sounds or experimenting with elements of world music. She grew up in a family where both parents taught her the art of being comfortable with its diverse culture.
“Estos próximos proyectos son tan emocionantes y estoy muy orgullosa de compartirlos. No puedo esperar. Por fin siento que estoy trabajando en canciones que realmente representan a la artista que soy. Crear este sencillo ha sido todo un reto. Me tardé en averiguar cómo desarrollarme de una forma que no pusiera en riesgo mi verdadero ARTIFEX”, indica la cantautora. “Esta canción contiene todo lo que pude soñar. Es sensual, contiene carácter y sustancia, es sonido urbano mezclado con sabores latinos y caribeños. ¡Suena rico!”
“My sound will reflect the multicultural background I carry within me and show some of the influences I have collected on my way here,” she explains.
ARTIFEX no tiene miedo de mezclar nuevos sonidos y experimentar con elementos de la música global. Creció con padres que le enseñaron el arte de sentirse cómoda con sus diversas culturas.
When asked, “Where do you belong?,” ARTIFEX offers an honest, refreshing reply.
Ante la pregunta “¿en dónde perteneces?”, ARTIFEX brinda una respuesta sincera y única.
“Often the focus is on trying to peg me, to stuff me in a box in which I don’t fit in. However, I belong right where I am. You see, how can you place a Swedish-born, Cuban- and Finnish-rooted chick like me in a box?”
“Muchas veces se enfocan en tratar de encasillarme en una caja en la que no encajo. El lugar donde pertenezco es justamente donde estoy. A ver, ¿cómo puedes colocar en una caja a una chica mezclada como yo, nacida en Suecia con raíces cubanas y finlandesas?”
“Mi sonido reflejará el trasfondo multicultural que llevo en mí y traerá partes de las influencias que he recogido a lo largo del camino que me trajo hasta aquí”.
“I finally feel that I’m working on songs that truly represent the artist I am.”
Photos by Yudith Carrion
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People Making a Difference
ased in New England, Amanda Pericles is an Afro-Dominican blogger and the owner and creator of @afrolatinas_ on Instagram, a social media platform that celebrates and highlights the diversity and beauty among Black women of Latin American descent. After noting the lack of representation of Black Latinxs within her day-to-day life and within the media, as a whole, she started her platform in October of 2015 by posting various pictures of Black Latinx celebrities, social media bloggers, and women just like her. With features and mentions in The New York Times, People Chica, Remezcla, HipLatina, and others, Amanda has built a community of nearly 20k followers who are eager to learn and appreciate the nuances within the Black Latinx community. Her mission is to uplift the Black Latinx community by highlighting events, businesses, projects, authors, and conversations owned and/or centered around Afrolatinidad. What is something you are grateful for today?
Something I am grateful for today is opportunity. I’ve been given the opportunity to live, love, get an education, work, find a support system, travel, and meet some amazing people … and that’s just the beginning. When did you find what you believe is your true horizon horizonororpath pathtotoyour yourown ownALEGRIA ALEGRIAthrough through your yourcareer careerorortalent? talent?
I believe that I’m still on a journey to finding my own consistent ALEGRIA in life. I can be quite anxious, so finding the bright side of things can be quite difficult. I recently started graduate school, so I’m hoping to find my true ALEGRIA soon within my field of speech-language pathology!
How are you advocating for the LatinX community communitythrough throughyour yourwork workororeveryday everyday endeavors? endeavors?
@youraverageafrolatina Photos provided by Talent
“Algo por lo que siento gratitud hoy en día es el tener oportunidades”.
I am advocating for the Latinx community by lifting up the Black Latinx community. As women, many of us were told we were not beautiful or worthy simply because of our bodies, the color of our skin, our facial features, or our hair. I am here to empower others and say that we are beautiful in our many shapes and forms, we are all unique, and we are doing amazing things. I’m also representing our community and educating others, as I go.
“La vida recompensa a aquellos que se entregan de forma extraordinaria”.
A voice for the
Voiceless Alejandra Ortiz’s Calling Is Sharing Powerful Stories Photos provided by Telemundo
lejandra Ortiz is known for appearing on Telemundo 52 / KVEA. The Emmy-winning weekday morning news anchor for Noticiero Telemundo 52, on at 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., shines a light on real problems in the world to encourage working toward solutions. When did your passion for journalism begin?
It was sparked at the age of 16, when serving as the president of a Rotary Club called Interact, an organization than promoted leadership through community service. But prior to that, at the age of 13, I began visiting the most vulnerable communities in my home city of Barranquilla, Colombia. I noticed the real problems the world was facing and how the local government did little to nothing to solve them. Then, in 2004, I learned of a heartbreaking story that happened in an underserved neighborhood of Bogota, Colombia. A mother was feeding her children newspaper as part of their daily meals. The children were literally eating pieces of newspaper in order to survive because the family was earning only one dollar per day. When I heard this story, every fiber of my being shuddered in shock and an immediate calling awoke deep inside of me. I understood that my life’s purpose was to be the voice for the voiceless in hopes that, through my storytelling, I could help improve lives. During these three years in the U.S., you have accomplished so much. Besides hard work and talent, what has been the key to your success?
When you are passionate about what you do, when you trust God, and when you believe in yourself and in the power of your dreams, everything else will fall into place. I feel that I have always been myself, very authentic. I always go the extra mile, because the difference between achieving ordinary and extraordinary things is
just the little word “extra.” Siempre he pensado que la vida recompensa de manera extraordinaria a aquellos que se entregan de forma extraordinaria”. So I always try to put in extra effort, to add extra love to what I do, extra work, extra perseverance, and extra determination. It’s at 212 degrees that water starts to boil, not at 211 degrees. You only need one extra degree for the magic to happen. What’s the most meaningful part of your career as a news anchor?
As a journalist, it is my responsibility to tell stories that reflect the community we serve and to empower it with information that helps make decisions to improve daily lives. To give a voice to the voiceless is the most gratifying feeling I have experienced as a journalist. To feel that you have a special connection with your audience, that they see you as their friend and that they trust you strengthens, without hesitation, the commitment you have to the community. I feel proud to work alongside colleagues at Telemundo 52 who share the same mission. What are some challenges you have faced as a woman in journalism?
From the onset of my career, I worked tirelessly to gain the respect of my peers based on my capabilities and professionalism. This was sometimes difficult to achieve in an industry historically dominated by men and influenced, at times, by physical appearance. What gives you ALEGRIA?
Helping others, in my opinion, is the greatest reward. Every day I step into Telemundo 52 Los Angeles and I am reminded of the incredible responsibility I have to tell powerful stories that inspire and inform the Hispanic community in Southern California. And that definitely fills my heart with ALEGRIA. Also, sharing my journey with journalism students in hopes that hearing about my experiences will inspire them to be fearless and advance confidently toward achieving their dreams. Also, being with the ones I love always brings me ALEGRIA.
People Making a Difference
Dreams Pamela Delgado Strives to Spread Positivity Photo by Molly Smith Photography
amela Delgado, raised in Los Angeles, was born to a Puerto Rican father and a Salvadorian mother. Seven years ago, she moved to New York City to create the life of her dreams, despite her family’s reservations. She is now a mother of two toddler boys, as well as the founder and CEO of ethically-made apparel company Rawly Bold. Travel, food and wellness are what she indulges in the most. It’s safe to say she marches to beat of her multi-passionate heart. What is something you are grateful for?
I am grateful to be creating the life of my dreams with a mission to inspire and spread positivity. I think the world needs more of it. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and now I am cherishing every single moment. When did you find what you believe was your path to your own ALEGRIA through your career or talent?
About two years ago I learned I was experiencing wage inequality in the workforce. After having conversations with my directors, I was denied a pay increase. The world had also become consistently negative and, as a mom, I felt the need to be part of the change we must see. I’d worked in fashion before and managed e-commerce, so it was natural for me to start this type of company. That’s when was I got a huge wake-up call to create my ALEGRIA. How are you advocating for the Latinx community through your work or everyday endeavors?
Rawly Bold is an inclusive community. I am able to create and share a space to celebrate, support, and highlight fellow Latinxs. Rawly Bold is not about me. It’s about us as a community. I have been able to collaborate with amazing jefas and organizations. Whatever I can do to continue to lift us up, I will do proudly. How has your bilingual and bicultural heritage influenced who are you today?
I am able to connect on a deeper level with others. I can communicate with more people because I know
more than one language. As a mother, I now understand the struggle my maternal family went through to call the U.S. home and I do not take that for granted. That makes me work harder to ensure that their struggle was worth it. What brings you ALEGRIA?
My two kids. I used to be the type that said she never wanted kids, even as a young girl. It was never a dream of mine. It happened unexpectedly and completely changed my life. It’s a bond unlike any other. A real, endless love. It’s powerful. What are you reading right now?
Heart Talk, by Cleo Wade. Talk about a dose of inspiration. I feel like I can take on the world and I haven’t even finished reading it. A place where you feel inspired…
New York City. I wanted to live there since I first visited. The energy of this city is indescribable. The diversity is beautiful. I can walk outside and hear so many different languages and dialects. There is no place like it and I am happy to call it home, although I will always be an LA girl at heart. This is our seventh anniversary, and seven is a sacred number in many cultures. What are seven things or experiences you would like to manifest this 2019?
Expanding the Rawly Bold collection; inspiring, motivating and empowering at least one person; growing the Rawly Bold community so we can impact more lives; travel to new destinations; connect with others in this ALEGRIA community and beyond so we can support one another in all endeavors; continued love, health and safety for all, and what can I do to manifest more peace and love in the world? We need more of this. What quote resonates with you right now?
“When you inhale deeply, you are reminded that you are alive and that every moment represents a new possibility for you to step into your destiny.” - Cleo Wade
Su misión es inspirar
Find Jessie @jessiemedinaofficial, @femgency or @femlatinas, as well as on her websites jessiemedina.com and femlatinas.com
Jessie Medina Encourages Females to Overcome Fears Photo by Jessie Medina
essie Medina is a social entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and CEO of branding agency @FEMGENCY. She speaks to women and teenage girls about social entrepreneurship, leadership, and empowerment. Jessie is also the founder of female empowerment movement @ FEMlatinas and the host of bilingual podcast “With Heart y Ovarios,” which offers inspiration for Hispanic women to overcome fears and design the life of their dreams. When did you find your path to your own ALEGRIA through your career or talent?
When I felt how fulfilling it was to step into my purpose and inspire other women, whether it be through a talk, by helping them with their business, or by hosting an empowerment event. You know you’re doing what you’re supposed to when you’re working your butt off and you still enjoy it. How are you advocating for the Latinx community through your work or everyday endeavors?
I try to lead by example. If I tell a fellow Latina to be fierce, I better do it too. Also, our @FEMlatinas events help Latinas find their power by inspiring, connecting, and equipping them. Empowering women empowers everyone. A strong mom will raise strong children, a powerful businesswoman will inspire others, a thriving career woman will be able to provide better for her family. We believe in the ripple effect. How has your bilingual and bicultural heritage influenced who are you today?
When I started my career in corporate America, people said I was too young and were skeptical about having a millennial Latina in the boardroom. However, I made sure to overcome stereotypes and show what my heritage really taught me. I came to the U.S. at 15. I had to adapt to a new culture and learn a new language, yet thrived in academics, graduated high school early, got a college degree, and by age 24 was a director of marketing sitting with C-suite executives. How did I know I could do all this? Well, my mother dared to take her kids to a new country and give us an education. She worked all day— and nights at times—to make sure we always had food on the table. I had the best example growing up! Also, I come from Argentina, one of the most collectivist countries in the world. I am passionate about community, collaboration, and activism. My upbringing plays a huge role.
Lowest point in your life…
When I first came here as a teenager, I felt lost. I didn’t know English and was bullied at school. I remember thinking I had no purpose in life. I kept challenging God to show me a purpose, and didn’t want to continue living if there was none. Thankfully, I got my answer and was able to find my purpose. Now I’m so grateful for being in this country and all the opportunities here. Highest peak of your life…
I have checked off so many things on my bucket list, accomplished a lot at a young age, and have been able to help many people. But the highest peak was when I connected with my divine self and started doing what I was supposed to be doing. There is no better feeling than to know God’s unconditional love and my purpose for existing. 47
Seven things or experiences you would like to manifest this 2019?
1. Publishing a women’s book I’m working on, as well as my mom’s book. Having both become bestsellers. 2. Speaking on three international stages. 3. The successful execution of FEM Latinas Summit (Fall 2019) and FEMGENCY Fempreneur Summit (Summer 2019). 4. Launching a creative space for women. 5. Buying my dad a house in Argentina and helping my mom move to San Diego. 6. Getting a brand that truly cares about women to sponsor my podcast. 7. Finding a female mentor with similar paths and passions.
What brings you ALEGRIA?
My family and close relationships. I have a circle of people who are always there for me and won’t judge me. I love meaningful conversations, and I love to travel, eat good food, and dance! Also, I believe in God. This gives me peace and joy because I’m confident He is with me.
ABOUT THIS INTERVIEW This interview was made possible thanks to publicist, Ivette Rodriguez at The London Hotel in West Hollywood. A selected group of media was invited to meet and interview Yalitza and we got lucky to be part of this special group of media colleagues.
La oaxaqueña Yalitza Aparicio saltó a la fama tras estelarizar la cinta Roma, que recibió el Oscar como Mejor Película Extranjera. La intención original de la bella mujer indígena era desarrollarse laboralmente como maestra, mas de manera sorpresiva fue elegida por el aclamado director mexicano Alfonso Cuarón para interpretar a “Cleo”. Su carisma y talento le permitieron recibir una nominación al Oscar a la Mejor Actriz y figurar en publicaciones internacionales renombradas. Habló con ALEGRIA sobre sus experiencias. ¿Te esperabas tan buena reacción ante la película?
No. Cuando supe que iba a ser a blanco y negro, dije “nadie va a querer verla”. ¿No sabias desde el principio que algo especial estaba pasando?
El primer día del rodaje, todo mundo estaba emocionado. Los que estaban en el equipo decían es que Alfonso era un maestro en el cine, con una gran visión. Yo había leído en su biografía que había ganado el Oscar. Pero pensaba que nada más íbamos a terminar la película, que me iban a invitar a verla y que tal vez harían un pequeño convivio por ahí. ¿Imaginabas que tu vida cambiaría?
No. De hecho, cuando me dijeron que iríamos a Venecia, yo pensaba “ojalá y sea verdad”. Platicaba con Nancy (García, quien también participa en la cinta), mi amiga de años, y le decía: “¿crees que sí nos lleven?” El productor nos dijo: “¿quieren ver la película en México, o se esperan hasta Venecia?” Marina (de Tavira, otra estrella de la película) dijo que se esperaba. Nosotras también, porque si la veía-
mos en México, capaz que no nos llevaban. Cuando íbamos volando hacia Venecia, las dos nos estábamos tomando fotos. No las subíamos a redes sociales porque nos daba pena que nos dijeran: “pensamos que estaban trabajando, pero andan paseando”. ¿Cómo te trató Cuarón en el primer encuentro para que te sintieras cómoda?
Fue muy amable. Cuando hicimos la primera prueba, me dijo: “si algo te incomoda, la podemos repetir; tenemos todo el día”. Hicimos la escena donde Cleo le dice a la señora Sofía que está embarazada. Esa vez hicimos una única toma y me dijo: “se me hizo perfecta, pero si quieres la volvemos hacer.” Le dije: “si ya está, ya está”. Yo era la única chica que llevaba a su mamá y (Cuarón) le agradeció que me hubiera dado la oportunidad de ir al casting y que me hubiera acompañado. ¿Cómo fue tu experiencia en el rodaje?
Al principio no teníamos el guion. Antes del rodaje, (Cuarón) se sentó a hablar tanto con Marina como conmigo por separado. Nos contó la historia, pero hasta cierto punto nada más,
“Me encantaría hacer otra película. Pero siempre soñé con educar a las personas,
despertarles la ilusión de poder alcanzar lo que quieran”.
para que la fuéramos descubriendo. Había días que terminábamos de grabar y me ponía a pensar en qué iba a pasar con mi personaje. Me concentré en disfrutar y observar lo que los demás hacían. ¿Entraste al mar sin saber nadar?
Para que no me echara para atrás, (Cuarón) me comentó: “mira, vas a entrar hasta esta profundidad; hay seguridad y los niños saben nadar”. Los productores me habían preguntado si sabía nadar y se me hizo fácil decir que sí, porque me imaginaba un río o alberca. El mar es diferente. Parece que tienes una bonita relación con Marina.
Sí. He aprendido de ella. ¡Cómo se expresa en las entrevistas y cómo responde tan rápido! Cuando supe de su nominación (al Oscar, como Mejor Actriz de Reparto), pensé en el trabajo increíble que hizo. Háblanos de tu labor como maestra.
Me encantaría hacer otra película. Pero siempre soñé con educar a las personas, despertarles esa ilusión de poder alcanzar lo que quieran. Escogí educar a personas en edad preescolar, pues conmigo tendrían su primer contacto con la escuela y de mí dependería si continuaran o si se fueran por un mal camino. ¿Hay algo que extrañes?
Mi privacidad. He tenido que aprender a hablar con las personas o por lo menos a responder cuando me hacen preguntas. Antes me escondía o decía que sí y corría. Además debo tener cuidado con lo que digo, porque más personas están observando. ¿Cómo te sientes al ser un ejemplo para las mujeres indígenas en Estados Unidos y en Latinoamérica?
Muy feliz. Cuando era chica y volteaba a ver la pantalla, decía: “no hay nadie que se parezca a mí”. En cambio, si alguien ve la pantalla ahora, puede decir: “ella se parece a mí y puedo llegar a estar allá”. Se darán cuenta de que se puede. Puedo servir para que más personas le echen ganas y alcancen lo que quieran sin importar el físico o el nivel socioeconómico. Hay que reconocer que es un esfuerzo todavía más grande, pero se recompensa.
“When I was younger, I would look at the screen and say,
There’s no one there who looks like me.
Yalitza Aparicio, born in Oaxaca, became famous after starring in Roma, winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. This indigenous woman originally planned to work as a teacher, but was surprisingly chosen by Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón to play “Cleo”. Her charisma and talent led her to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. Were you expecting such a wonderful reaction to the film?
No. When I learned it was going to be in black and white, I said, No one’s going to want to see that. Didn’t you know from the start that something special was going on?
The first day of shooting, everybody was excited. The team said that Alfonso was a master filmmaker. I had read his biography and learned that he had won the Oscar. But I thought we were just going to complete the movie and that they might have a little party somewhere. Were you aware that your life was about to change?
No. In fact, when they told me we were going to Venice, I thought, I hope it’s true. I spoke with Nancy (García, also featured in the film), who’s been my friend for years, and asked her, Do you think they’re really taking us? The producer had asked, Do you want to see the movie in Mexico or would you rather wait until we’re in Venice? Marina (de Tavira, another star of the movie) said she’d wait. So did we, because if we saw it in Mexico, they might not take us anymore. While we were flying toward Venice, both of us were taking pictures of ourselves. We didn’t upload them to social media because we would have been embarrassed if people said, We thought you were working, but you’re living it up. How did Cuarón treat you the first time you met?
He was very nice. When we did the first test, he said, If something makes you uncomfortable, we can do this over; we have all day. We did that scene where Cleo tells Mrs. Sofía that she’s pregnant. That time we only did one take and he said, I thought that was perfect, but we can do it over if you like. I told him, If it’s done, it’s done. What was the shooting like for you?
At first we didn’t have a script. Before shooting, he (Cuarón) sat down to speak with Marina and me separately. He told us the story, but only up until a certain point, so that we would discover it over time. There were days that we finished shooting and I would start wondering what would happen to my character. I concentrated on enjoying myself and observing what the others did. Did you go into the ocean without knowing how to swim?
Since he didn’t want me to back out, (Cuarón) said, Look, you’re going to go in only so deep and the children know how to swim. The producers had asked me if I knew how to swim and I said I did. I was picturing a river or a pool. The sea is different. You seem to have a nice relationship with Marina.
Yes. I’ve learned from her. The way she expresses herself during interviews, and the way she answers so quickly! When I heard about her nomination (for an Oscar, for Best Supporting
Actress), I thought about the amazing work she did. Tell us about your work as a teacher.
I would love to do another movie. But I always dreamed of teaching, of sparking hope in people that they can achieve whatever they want. I chose to teach preschoolers, because I would be responsible for their choosing to keep studying or to go down the wrong path. Is there anything you miss?
My privacy. I have had to learn to speak with people or at least to answer when they ask me questions. In the past I would hide or I would just say yes and run away. I also need to be careful with everything I say, because more people are watching. How does it feel to be a role model for indigenous women here in the United States and in Latin America?
I’m very happy. When I was younger, I would look at the screen and say, There’s no one there who looks like me. However, if someone looks at the screen now, they can say, She looks like me and I can get to be there. They will see that of course they can. I can encourage more people to make an effort and achieve what they want, not only when it comes to acting, but as to anything they want, regardless of physical appearance or socioeconomic level. It must be said that it requires an even greater effort, but it is rewarded.
Si alguien ve la pantalla ahora, puede decir:
“ella se parece a mí y puedo llegar a estar allá”.
Photos by Lionsgate media archives
New York City has no shortage of hotels, shops and restaurants.
Which are the trendiest ones right now? Here’s a list, in no specific order, of the coolest hotels, shops and restaurants to visit in some of NYC’s trendiest neighborhoods. By Tabitha Serrano
The Coolest In Soho, Nolita and Williamsburg SOHO BALTHAZAR BAKERY ? 17 PRINCE ST.
Shops, Restaurants & Hotels
THE BROOME HOTEL ? 431 BROOME ST.
HOUSING WORKS THRIFT SHOP ? 130 CROSBY ST.
thebroomenyc • The Broome
This boutique hotel includes only five floors of fourteen rooms. The rooms surround an open-air Mediterranean style courtyard. Each room has soundproof windows to block out New York City’s symphony, which is especially needed when trying to sleep. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, daily breakfast, access to their patio and an array of other free services. Listed in Time Out New York as one of the best hotels in Soho in 2016 this hotel is known for being peaceful. Although the outside of the building reads New York City, once inside the garden-like courtyard of this hotel which was created by four French friends in 2014, guests are instantly transported into an oasis.
The Housing Works Thrift Shop has
Opened in 1997 this Soho staple is known for is fresh bread, beautiful pastries and yummy weekly specials. Stop in for breakfast and try the avocado tartine, or lunch for an avocado shrimp salad. Finally, don’t forget to pick up a dessert from their cake and cookie selection which include classics like French Madeleine’s. This French-style bistro/bakery has been listed in the Grub Street section of the New York Times for The Absolute Best Breakfast in New York and on The Absolute Best Sticky Buns in New York list. It is crowded daily with both tourists and locals looking to grab a bite. Stop in on the less crowded times in the early morning or late evening on weekends when the establishment stays open until 1am.
NOLITA CAFÉ HABANA ? 17 PRINCE ST. cafehabana • Cafe Habana
been one of the best places to stumble upon unusual finds, since 1992. The Housing Works Organization includes various thrift shop locations and a bookstore café. You can shop at any of their locations knowing that the organization donates its profits to ending homelessness, various programs that help the community and fighting HIV. Clothing found here have been featured in articles for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and POPSUGAR among other publications and websites. After shopping walk towards the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe located on 126 Crosby St.
Featured in Zagat as one of NYC’s Best Caribbean/Cuban Restaurants, Café’ Habana was opened in 1998 by Sean Meenan an entrepreneur based out of New Orleans. This Cuban/Mexican eatery has locations around the globe including Tokyo and Dubai. Not only is Café Habana known for its delicious food, but also for its philanthropic offshoot Habana Works, a non-profit that educates communities with free environmental and educational programs that feature local businesses and talent. With items on the menu like Huevos a la Mexicana, Coconut Flan and a menu of drinks that’s named For the Hangover, what’s not to love?
Which do you think are the
in these neighborhoods?
LA ESQUINA (THE CORNER) ? 114 KENMARE ST. ON THE NOLITA /SOHO BORDER This flagship Mexican taqueria and brasserie was open in 2006 with two added locations in the upper east side and in midtown. What looks like only a quick taco spot actually has a Brasserie in the lower level. To get into the Brasserie you must reserve a table and have the doorman show you the way to the hidden speakeasy-like restaurant. Menu items loved by customers of both the taqueria and the brassiere are the “elotes”, pork dishes and of course the tacos! With DJ’s in the evenings and its insane popularity expect a crowd and a lot of noise.
THE BOWERY HOUSE ? 220 BOWERY
of their time exploring the city. Spots close by include the New Museum of Contemporary Art, Café Habana, and specialty boutiques. Its surrounding neighborhood’s perfect for walking.
MOTHERS RUIN ? 18 SPRING ST. mothersruinnyc
This cozy bar is a great place to grab brunch or one of their specialty cocktails in the evening. There are not many spots to sit, but if you can grab a table or a stool at the bar make sure to grab a frozen drink out of the slushy machine Also, important to note is that they serve all-day brunch with items like “Real Deal, Maryland crab cake benedict” and a “Falafel Burger”. It’s a perfect spot to go to when you want to grab a quick bite to eat or after a night out given that they are open until 4A.M.
The Bowery House
This hotel is a renovated hostel, with shared showers and small rooms, perfect for the solo traveler. It was once soldiers living cabins in the 1940s after they returned from WWII. In keeping with that history each room has original details and holds exactly one bed. The renovated yet preserved hostel includes a rooftop garden, heated bathroom floors and a security guard among other extras. Its location is perfect for the “get up and go” traveler who likes to spend most
WILLIAMSBURG PINK OLIVE ? 370 BEDFORD AVE. Given its location near the Williamsburg Bridge, this is the perfect place to get great shots to remember your trip. Its location is also walking distance to local shops, eateries s and parks. You can grab a
bite at Llama Inn or get a cup of coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee a few blocks away. The Vale, which offers women’s clothing and jewelry stores, is nearby, and so are music venues and fitness studios. The hotel boasts easy access to the downtown Manhattan neighborhoods of the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Soho, and more. The perks include live music in the lobby, an onsite restaurant and bar, a rooftop pool, and a spectacular bar by the rooftop water tower. Each hotel room has a media hub and floor to ceiling windows. Views might include the Brooklyn skyline, the Manhattan skyline, or a bit of both.
LLAMA INN RESTAURANT ? 50 WITHERS ST. This Peruvian-inspired restaurant was put on the list of The Absolute Best Restaurants in Williamsburg by Grub Street of the New York Times in 2018. This restaurant combines fine dining with hearty traditional Peruvian fare. Drinks made with Peruvian Pisco or Brandy, Ceviche plates for brunch and an array of beef and seafood dishes made with Peruvian Tacu Tacu seasoning can be found on the menu. Created by Peruvian-American Erik Ramirez in 2016 the restaurant has gained so much popularity that there are now two other critically acclaimed offshoots in Manhattan. Llamita on 80 Carmine Street in the West Village and Llama San which is projected to open in the fall .
THE WILLIAMSBURG HOTEL ? 96 WYTHE AVE. With good reason given its location, near the Williamsburg Bridge, it’s the perfect place to get great shots to remember your trip. Its location is also prefect walking distance to local shops, eatery’s and parks. You can grab a bite at Llama Inn or get a cup of coffee at the Blue Bottle Coffee shop a few blocks away. While you can also shop for women’s clothing and jewelry at The Vale and find music venues and fitness classes all within walking distance. Not to mention its easy access to the downtown Manhattan neighborhoods of the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Soho and more. Some of the perks include live music in the lobby, an onsite restaurant and bar, rooftop pool and a bar in the rooftop water tower. Each hotel room has floor to ceiling windows and a media hub. While views include the Brooklyn skyline, the Manhattan skyline or a combination of the two. Whether you’re in one of these downtown Manhattan neighborhoods or in Brooklyn you’ll be sure to find some of the coolest restaurants, hotels and shops. There are many more that didn’t make the list but are equally worth visiting. What are the coolest places in these neighborhoods for you
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LATINAS IN TECH
From D.C. to the Tech Industry JASMIN DEL CASTILLO BELIEVES LEGISLATORS MUST STAY ABREAST OF SCIENCE BREAKTHROUGHS By Claire Miranda
asmin Del Castillo, Marketing Manager at Amazon, spoke with ALEGRIA about her day-to-day activities, advice for those hoping for a career in tech, and a science breakthrough she finds concerning. Describe the type of work you are doing right now. What does a typical day look like for you?
As a marketing manager for Amazon's Appstore, I work on new projects every day. Whether it’s researching top trending apps that customers love or setting up the next big app campaign, there is never a slow period. Much of my day is consumed fulfilling my priorities, such as working with other marketing managers to provide them input on the best customer experience for our Fire tablet devices, interacting with business partners who manage apps like HBO, ESPN, and Tik Tok, or finding ways to get customers to see these great apps! What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?
I spent most of my college years interning in Washington, D.C. I wanted to be involved in work that helps people and drives them to do good. In D.C., you are surrounded by the smartest and savviest minds in the world. By my third internship in D.C., even though I had achieved my dream internship at the White House, once it ended I left feeling small and unable to help people, despite my passion.
When I returned to Irvine, I said to myself, Where do I go from here? This was followed by, What scares me the most? What scared me the most was the tech industry. It scared me not only because of its continuous, rapid growth and ability to transform lives, but also because it seemed like the least Latino- penetrated field I knew. To plunge in seemed so daunting. So I simply thought, Well, there’s nowhere to go but up. Looking back, I realize I suffered from impostor syndrome at first, but I’m glad I kept going. What is the most exciting thing in the world of technology today?
Gene editing has captured my attention, not because it’s particularly exciting, but because it’s actually quite frightening to think about. Although there are pros to gene editing, such as taking out the strand of DNA that leads to HIV in carrier babies, my concern is, at what point will the gene editing stop? Or who will have access to gene editing? The rich, the poor? It’s almost something out of a science fiction movie or a book such as Brave New World, where you have classes of human beings that are genetically modified to fulfill a purpose. To bring this back to present day, there was a summit recently. There seems to be progress in the field. However, scientists agree it's a gray area. Items like these make
it important for our legislators to be tech-savvy, and to stay updated as to science breakthroughs. They would be the ones to potentially set precedents in regard to how this is applied in our everyday world. What do you do to disconnect from work and/or technology and to recharge?
Never get e-mail on your phone if you can help it! Once it’s there, even if you have left the office, there is this strange compulsion to check your e-mails, which keeps you in “work mode” mentally. I do take time off—not just a few days here and there, but a good twoweek vacation once a year. I used to think that by always showing up at work I would show my team how committed I was. That is utterly and completely wrong. Rather, the people I admired in the office took countless vacations, worked hard when present, and also got promotions. What is something you wish you had known when you started down this path?
Negotiate your salary or your raise. And a raise might not necessarily be in the form of money. You could get, for instance, fully-paid trips to a conference of your choosing or a paid membership to a professional network.
If a Latina wanted to have a career in tech and didn't know where to start, what would be the first step?
“A pesar de haber cumplido mi sueño de hacer prácticas profesionales en la Casa Blanca, una vez terminadas me sentí pequeña e incapaz de ayudar a la gente”.
Look at your past experience and find the role that best aligns with that experience. The hardest part is getting in, but once you are in the tech industry, there are endless possibilities to get your dream job. I had experience in government, and when I looked at my resume I realized the common theme and the thing I enjoyed most was helping people. I then thought Amazon HR would be a great fit. Now, two years later, I am in marketing, and feel like I have arrived at the place I had always wanted to be. What brings you ALEGRIA?
An empty landscape, whether it be the Grand Canyon, an open field, or Zion. Just admiring the beauty of the land while listening to nothing.
LATINAS IN TECH
Spurring Women to Thrive ROCÍO MEDINA VAN NIEROP INSPIRES AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT LATINAS IN TECH By Claire Miranda
ocío Medina van Nierop, Executive Director at Latinas in Tech, aims to help its members succeed and reach their career goals. Additionally, she is an in-demand consultant for interesting, varied clients. Describe the type of work you are doing right now. What does a typical day look like for you?
After working for 6 years with Prezi as Director of Product Marketing, I have decided to go independent and consult to different clients instead. Currently I’m consulting a promising healthcare startup. We are developing a product that will combine tech and women's health, so it’s right up my alley! At Prezi, I’m working with their executive team on a project that hits one of my favorite areas of expertise, Pricing and Packaging. I get to work with their Product Managers to improve our strategy in order to accelerate Prezi’s growth as their line of products evolves. Last, but certainly not least, I’m Executive Director at Latinas in Tech. My primary goals are to make sure our organization advances and to help our members thrive in their careers. I am involved in everything from making sure our organization has the funds to operate to seeing that we curate the right content. Therefore, all of my days vary. At any given time, you could find me prototyping a new product, having a partnership call with a tech company, talking to lawyers and accountants, sitting in
front of a computer, or volunteering in my kid’s classroom. What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?
When I went to school, I learned market research the old way. You needed to wait for many days, weeks or even months to start seeing results of a marketing campaign. When I started working in tech, the first thing that hooked me was how fast results from a campaign could be retrieved. Sometimes you can even get directional information the same day. I have always loved the intersection of creativity and analysis. Tech has given me the opportunity to work with this for many years now. What is the most exciting thing in the world of technology today?
I think that every year we see different trends. A couple of years ago, we could see society and companies becoming more aware as to diversity and inclusion, and taking action. The “Me Too” movement also gave our conversation a more relevant role. I believe there are now a lot of efforts made by companies to attract diverse talent. This year, I feel the conversation will focus on making sure diversity numbers are not just vanity numbers, but real hires for full-time positions with equal benefits and pay. What do you do to disconnect from work and/or technology and to recharge?
Spending time with my kids and husband. I try to do yoga as much as possible. Gardening and cooking help me focus on something not work-related, and sharing those
activities with the family makes that process even better. What is something you wish you had known when you started down this path?
I wish I asked for pay raises. I naively thought that if I worked really hard, someone would notice and volunteer a salary increase. Later I realized that most people get them by asking, and that women tend to do what I was doing. So I got out of my comfort zone, asked for one and got it. Had I known this, I would have asked for raises sooner and more often.
“Si tienes pasión por lo innovador, un espíritu emprendedor y un cerebro, aquí tendrás cabida”.
If a Latina wanted to have a career in tech and didn't know where to start, what would be the first step?
It depends on where you are in your career. If you are still in high school and want to explore technical roles, it will be important to choose your field of study wisely. If you are already on a career path, even if it is not currently tech-related, you can still work in tech and be part of the technology production process. Regardless of what you studied, if you have a passion for innovation, an entrepreneurial spirit and a brain, there is room for you in tech. I would start by finding the job you really want to have.
Find people who can refer you to that specific role. That will really increase your chances of getting in. Lastly, if you don’t have relevant experience, internship programs are a great way to enter the tech industry. What brings you ALEGRIA?
Knowing that I’m alive, and that my kids and husband are happy and healthy. I don’t think I need anything else.
LATINAS IN TECH
“We are really proud to see how much our community has grown over the past five years to now include more than 4,000 women.”
Strengthening Female Presence GRETEL PERERA IS PROUD OF THE GROWTH OF HER ORGANIZATION By Claire Miranda / Photo by Roku
retel Perera, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Latinas in Tech, is passionate about helping women of similar backgrounds and experiences grow stronger together.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My full-time job is serving as Director of Public Relations for Latin America at Roku. In this role, I am responsible for driving communications and brand awareness for Roku in Latin America. On a day-to-day basis, I talk to journalists from Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and other countries. I travel frequently to these regions to participate in industry events and host meetings. My full-time passion is serving as Executive Director and Co-founder of Latinas in Tech. Latinas in Tech started five years ago with the simple notion of uniting women from similar backgrounds who were encountering similar professional experiences. I started the organization along with Rocio Medina in Silicon Valley, and we are really proud to see how much our community has grown over the past five years to now include more than 4,000 women, working at every major tech company, representing the entire tech ecosystem. We have also expanded to now have local chapters in Austin, New York City, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Miami, and Mexico City. We’ve hosted more than 100 events over the past five years at all major tech companies, featuring panels of Latinas on differ-
ent topics, such as how to advance in your career or challenges and opportunities you may encounter, with the simple goal of increasing the number of Latinas working in tech.
What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?
Tech kind of “happened” to me. I work in public relations and started my career working at PR agencies in Washington, D.C. and Texas. One of my main clients early on was Dell. I was responsible for managing communications throughout Latin America. This was my first real experience working in tech and I loved it. I enjoyed seeing how fast things move within the industry, and, most importantly, how differently tech advances in international markets. Each country is so different, yet so similar, in terms of tech adoption. I love telling the stories behind what technology enables you to do, whether it is to run your business more efficiently, communicate better with your customers, or create an amazing product. What is the most exciting thing in the world of technology today?
The beauty of tech is that things change so frequently. You have to constantly be on the lookout for new trends and innovations. I’ve enjoyed seeing how “disruptor” companies have entered the market to fundamentally change the way things work in our day-to-day lives, such as Uber changing the way we transport ourselves, Airbnb and HomeAway transforming the way we travel, and Netflix or Roku transform-
ing the way you enjoy your favorite shows. What do you do to disconnect from work and/or technology and to recharge?
I have a very busy job, travel a lot, run a non-profit organization, and have three adorable kids. It’s not easy to balance everything, but my children are my priority when I’m home and on the weekends. I try to disconnect as much as possible and spend as much time I can with them. That means no e-mail once I’m home until they’re asleep, though I sometimes reconnect late at night. What is something you wish you had known when you started down this path?
Be confident and speak up. Never burn bridges. It’s a small world. You never know when you will run into someone again later on in your career. If a Latina wanted to have a career in tech, what would be the first step?
Join Latinas in Tech! The main thing is to network and meet other Latinas working in tech. Learn from them, absorb their knowledge, ask questions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other women in the industry. You will find that Latinas are very welcoming and nurturing as part of our culture. We are always willing to help out others. We can only get stronger by helping each other. What brings you ALEGRIA?
Traveling with my kids and showing them the beautiful world out there, full of different people, different points of view, and amazing places to visit.
“Nos enorgullece ver cuánto ha crecido nuestra comunidad en los últimos cinco años. Ahora engloba a más de 4,000 mujeres”.
LATINAS IN TECH
Making a Difference ZITLALIC LEY EDUCATES LATINOS ABOUT BRANDING AND TECHNOLOGY By Claire Miranda / Photo by Carolin Torres
native of Sinaloa, Mexico, Zitlalic Ley moved to the U.S. at 17 to learn English and pursue higher education. She graduated with honors with a B.A. in Political Science and became a standout track and field star, earning All-American status and ranking 3rd nationally in the Steeplechase track event. Additionally, she co-founded a high school mentorship program that aided nearly 200 at-risk students who were one grade behind in school. After graduating college, Zitlalic moved to Washington, D.C. where she continued to create opportunities for minorities to excel academically and increase government resources for low-income families. Zitlalic worked for ALPFA National, where she developed multiple growth initiatives and managed relationships with 11,000 student members nationwide. She moved to Silicon Valley to join a Latino Accelerator Program, representing a smart jewelry startup. Then, she joined Square, Inc., where she launched the first Square en Español initiative in Los Angeles County, empowering Latino small businesses to grow. To continue to pursue her passion for internet technology, she completed the Global Leadership Program from Hive at Harvard Business School and the Social Innovation Fellowship from Starting Bloc, an organization built on the belief that a small, committed group of people can change the world. Currently, Zitlalic resides in Los Angeles and is the Founder/CEO of Latina Nerds® where she educates
the Latino community about branding and technology through various workshops and other services. In her free time, Zitlalic loves to volunteer and make a difference in the community. Describe the type of work you are doing right now. What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different. A must for me is to put myself in the best mindset with a short meditation and a homemade breakfast. In the morning, I like to debrief with my Operations team. We set the agenda for the day and make sure we are prepared to maintain our high standards of efficiency and productivity while maintaining 100% customer satisfaction. It is crucial to maintain a culture that is productive and fun in order to better serve our mission to empower the Latino community. Some days consist of networking and providing in-person consultations with partner organizations and clients. Other mornings, I work with my team to lead a workshop and educate hundreds of small business owners about the importance of technology and branding. Don’t be surprised to see me speak at a workshop during the day, then pass out flyers at “El Mercadito” and try a new dish from one of the amazing small businesses there. What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?
When I was working in Silicon Valley, I discovered the need in the community for small business owners to learn about technology and how they could use it as a business tool. However, most clients lacked basic tech skills, and when I asked for funding to create tech
workshops to educate others, I was encouraged to exclusively work with business owners from a more affluent market who already had technological skills. I came to learn that the lack of investment in tech education is a common issue across industries because innovation is not always a priority. Sometimes leaders do not fully understand technology and its benefits to a company’s success themselves, which shows they are not using all their resources wisely. Since I encountered this obstacle, I decided to create the opportunity for myself, and later for others, to build a platform where Latinos could not only exist, but also lead the race in the tech industry.
“La tecnología permite que todos, sin importar dónde se encuentren, tengan acceso por igual a la educación”.
What is the most exciting thing in the world of technology today?
Technology allows everyone to have equal access to education, no matter where you might physically be. Also, I am looking forward to implementing Intelligent Automation to drive the success of small businesses in Los Angeles. What do you do to disconnect from work technology and to recharge?
I like going for a run, going to dance practice or social dancing, spending time with family and friends, listening to music and trying new recipes in the kitchen.
What is something you wish you had known when you started down this path?
That creating boundaries between my professional and personal life is a game changer. As an entrepreneur, it is a challenge to juggle between the two, especially when you truly love what you do.
LATINAS IN TECH
Solving Business Problems Through Data ANDREA MARCOS COMPLETES ANALYSIS PROJECTS TO GUIDE DECISIONS By Claire Miranda / Photo by Joseph Calvo
ndrea Marcos, Credit & Risk Manager at Tala, optimizes credit product terms and credit strategy to improve product market fit while improving profitability. She discusses her current position and her background with ALEGRIA. Describe the type of work you are doing right now. What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m constantly defining how to test different loan terms or amount increases in test and control environments. I can then analyze the data and guide business decisions to satisfy both our customers’ needs and our company’s key performance indicators. My mornings start off hectic since I have remote calls with the Mexico team. Sometimes I have to join calls related to credit product releases, or help with quality assurance, along with our engineers in Kenya. I have days where I block my calendar to concentrate on completing analysis projects. Other times I’m running between meetings to either present or help prioritize projects, or to brainstorm. I also sometimes travel to markets I manage to meet with customers, ask them about our credit product features, and understand them in their context. Even though there are a lot of moving parts to manage, I get to test my hy-
potheses, learn about them with real data, and later implement and report on them. Improving our credit product is a never-ending cycle and we do it as we get to know our customers better. What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?
I started my career as a financial analyst in the biggest telecom company in Latin America, América Móvil, based in Mexico City. Even though it was a great start to my career, I didn’t have the patience to deal with the bureaucratic processes or the long hours at work without being able to be productive. I felt I was not diving deep enough into data analysis to guide business decisions. I decided to leave Mexico City and get a Master’s Degree in Mathematical Finance at Pepperdine University. I was determined to get a job in Los Angeles in the consumer technology space to really learn how to perform data analytics and implement my findings to solve business problems while building better technology products for consumers. A fintech start-up, ZestFinance, hired me, mainly because I had horsepower. I had the honor to sit side by side with the most brilliant people I’ve ever met. I taught myself how to use R and SQL, and asked every possible question to the data scientists and business analysts that were sitting by me. Within a year, I was managing a 30-million dollar portfolio, with a 1-million dollar marketing budget to spend per month. I thrived
in that environment because I felt comfortable being myself and learned to appreciate feedback. I just love working for a technology start-up because of the fast pace and the challenging problems you work on through data analysis. You simply cannot get bored. What is the most exciting thing in the world of technology today?
The rise of smartphone penetration is allowing a rising class of consumers to be reached and understood for the first time in history. That is fascinating to me. We will be able to use this data to make better decisions and better policies. Like Bill and Melinda Gates mention in their 2019 Annual Letter, objective data “helps us create goals and measure progress; it enables advocacy and accountability.” The rise of smartphone penetration among women in the developing world has allowed companies like Tala to empower them. They can now have access to credit, connect with and support other women, and become self-sustainable. What do you do to disconnect from work and/or technology and to recharge?
I work out at least 5 times a week. I let my mind disconnect and just do whatever the coach tells me to do. I also meditate if I wake up before my alarm clock rings. I try not to check e-mail for the first 60 minutes of my day, and I
“El incremento en la penetración de los teléfonos inteligentes permite que por primera vez en la historia podamos alcanzar y comprender a una clase emergente de consumidores”.
read an interesting article while sipping Philz coffee before my first meetings. What is something you wish you had known when you started down this path?
Work doesn’t have to be so serious just because you’re solving challenging issues. Sometimes I forget how much I’m missing out by not going to get coffee with a colleague, participating in an afternoon run or chilling at happy hour. The quality of your work by itself will not make you excel in your career path; one has to be mindful of one’s attitude at work and take time to help others.
LATINAS IN TECH
“In my opinion, mentors and sponsors aren’t enough. You need someone who will go to war for you.”
A World Where Everyone Belongs JASMINE MORA AND HER COMMUNICATIONS EFFORTS ACROSS REGIONS By Claire Miranda
ver the course of three years, Jasmine Mora, of Airbnb, worked collaboratively with policy, legal and partnership teams to lead development and execution of strategic communications efforts across regions including Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, California, and surrounding mountain states. This work was impactful because she engaged with host communities in each of these places as her company worked to ensure fair, reasonable regulations and exciting new partnerships. Describe the type of work you are doing right now. What does a typical day look like for you?
In my new role at Airbnb, I’m continuing to work with the policy team, but am more focused on helping to tell the stories of diverse communities on our platform. At Airbnb, we’re really focused on creating a world where everyone can belong anywhere, with magical travel powered by people at the heart of it all. It’s so hard to define what a typical day looks like, because there is no typical day. But it usually involves staying on top of what the company is doing, driving high-level communications strategy with different team members, and working with the Airbnb community. What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?
I was working in D.C. as the Communications Director for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and I sat in on many meetings with our Latino Members of Congress and the private sector. The state of affairs of Latinos and minorities at these companies was discussed. Being in these meetings made me realize that tech was driving innovation
and that Latinos and Latinas needed to be inside these companies to have an impact on our community. Instead of talking about increasing the number of Latinos in tech, I wanted to be at one of those tech companies myself.
Prior to Airbnb I spent my entire career in public service, first teaching middle school in Los Angeles and then working for Members of Congress in Washington, D.C. When I decided to leave Capitol Hill, I wanted to join a tech company that aligned with my values and where I could fight the good fight. Airbnb is that place, because its mission is to ensure that everyone can belong. Working at Airbnb is the best job I’ve ever had. And I was lucky that there was a position in my hometown of Los Angeles, since this allowed me to come back to California and be close to my family. What is the most exciting thing in the world of technology today?
Tech is making things more accessible, whether it’s shopping or traveling. Technology makes booking trips much more accessible. Growing up, the only time I traveled was with my primas, because their parents, my aunt and uncle, owned a timeshare in Palm Springs. Airbnb has revolutionized the way people travel. You don’t have to own a timeshare or have thousands of dollars. Through Airbnb, you can travel in a way that’s comfortable and affordable, similar to staying with your tía or abuelita.
What do you do to disconnect from work and/or technology and to recharge?
I’ve been in the workforce for nearly 20 years now, and it’s something I haven’t yet mastered. However, I am definitely being more mindful about taking care of myself. This past fall, I got my yoga teacher certification and one day I hope to teach bilingual yoga classes and own a yoga studio in Los Angeles. I try to run and swim when I can. I also make an effort to meditate and pray, spend quality time with friends and family, and take vacations. On the weekends, I try to disconnect from e-mail and work! What is something you wish you had known when you started down this path?
Today we hear so much about the importance of mentors and sponsors and how they help with upward mobility. In my opinion, mentors and sponsors aren’t enough. You need someone who will go to war for you and fight for you when they have the ear of decisions makers. The path to moving up in the workplace depends a lot on who advocates for you when you’re not in the room. I’ve been fortunate at Airbnb to find someone like that. My former boss and now Airbnb hermana goes to battle for me. Of course, I had a strong record of doing excellent work and adding value to our team. Cultivating relationships and earning trust is hard, but it can be done. If a Latina wanted to have a career in tech and didn’t know where to start, what would be the first step?
Take the time to really learn about the tech company that interests you. You obviously will not have the same knowledge as a current employee at
“En vez de hablar acerca de aumentar la cantidad de personas latinas en el medio de la tecnología, yo misma quería estar en una de esas empresas de tecnología”.
the company does, but learn everything you can about that company. Set up Google alerts and reach out to people who may be able to connect you with someone there. What brings you ALEGRIA?
The small things in life. My mom’s cooking, yoga, time with my goddaughters, and notes from mentees.
LATINAS IN TECH
Advocating for Inclusion CATALINA LAVERDE URGES YOUNG WOMEN TO EXPLORE CAREERS IN STEM By Claire Miranda
Seven things or experiences you would like to manifest this 2019?
1. Reading 20 books. 2. Celebrating the holidays by my 92-year-old grandma’s side. 3. Growing CAN’s Hispanic user base. 4. Celebrating my birthday with a volunteering trip. 5. Traveling to 10 new countries. 6. Speaking at technical conferences. 7. Learning to garden. I’m becoming my mother, ha!
atalina Laverde is a 27-year-old Colombian immigrant, software engineer, entrepreneur and public speaker living in New York City. She joined Spotify five years ago as one of their first female software engineers in the U.S. and currently works on improving user experience on the app’s home screen. In 2017, Catalina co-founded Civic Action Network (CAN), a civic engagement company that summarizes legislation and calls Congress on behalf of constituents. What is something you are grateful for?
Every piece of the puzzle of who I am, including the young girl who grew up in a small town a 10-hour drive away from Colombia’s capital and the 18-year-old teenager who moved to the U.S. without her family, unable to speak English. When did you find what you believe was your path to your own ALEGRIA through your career or talent?
At 22, I realized that no one else around me looked like me or had my background. A few months into my first engineering job, I started feeling the loneliness that comes with lack of representation. As time went on, I questioned young girls on why they found careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) unappealing. Before I knew it, I was teaching coding to high schoolers and sharing my story. In October 2016, a 17-year-old girl I had
coached wrote me a heartwarming e-mail, saying my insights had prompted her to pick computer engineering as her college major. She even asked to interview me for a Women in Technology project she was working on!
force. There’s a sense of isolation that comes with being an immigrant, yet I’ve never felt as empowered. When you’re the only Latinx person in the room, you represen an entire community, whether you like it or not. How powerful is that?
After that, I made it my mission to seize every opportunity to tell women, Come join a field most people call magic. There’s a place here for you.
Have I been Americanized? Yes, to an extent. The United States encourages the pursuit of personal happiness above all else, and as a young immigrant I was immediately influenced by this promising, yet unfamiliar, way of thinking. I’ve spent time trying to bridge the gap between Colombia’s commitment towards family and community and the United States’ individualistic, ambitious mindset.
How are you advocating for the Latinx community through your work or everyday endeavors?
As an engineer, I tell my story. Michelle Obama said, Your story is what you have, what you will always have. I do my best to make myself available for every event, panel and forum so that I can share mine. As a Latina, I pioneered and co-lead Spotify’s Latinx Employee Resource Group, looking to create a sense of belonging within the company and to open Spotify’s doors to our community. We do this through events, conferences, and helping to ensure a more inclusive recruiting pipeline. Through CAN, we to amplify the voices of Hispanic constituents in the U.S. by making our platform fully available in Spanish. We allow Latinx users to read legislation, vote and express their opinion to elected officials in their language. Once a stance is submitted, we call Congress on their behalf and deliver the message in English. How has your bilingual and bicultural heritage influenced who are you today?
I doubt I’d have my level of self-awareness if I hadn’t moved here and become one of the 2% of Latinas in the tech
Lowest point in your life…
Losing my mother two years ago. If pain, guilt and absence were human, they introduced themselves to me the day she left. Following me everywhere, showing up uninvited to every event, and ultimately forcing me to make room for their presence. They will never entirely leave and I’ve made peace with that. I live to make her proud.
Find Catalina on f d @catalinaonpoint, on c at /catalinaonpoint or at catalinaonpoint.com
Highest peak of your life…
Receiving a full-time offer from Spotify before graduating college. I had moved to the U.S. on an International Student visa. I had no money for out-ofstate tuition. My mother sold the house we grew up in to pay for my college education, and I worked and studied insane hours in order to land a job that would allow me to stay in the country. I remember holding the letter in disbelief. “A job offer,” Spotify called it. “A life offer,” I secretly repeated in my mind. That piece of paper validated every single day of my past four years.
“Si tienes pasión por lo innovador, un espíritu emprendedor y un cerebro, aquí tendrás cabida”.
Passion and Profit DOMINIQUE PIÑON SUGGESTS INVESTING IN COMPANIES SOLVING GLOBAL CHALLENGES By Claire Miranda
ominique Piñon, also known as Nika, is a Mexican-Nicaraguan American. Born and raised in Los Angeles County, she believes that passion and profit can be attained in tandem. She intertwines her desire to serve our world and the people in it with each venture she pursues. She currently works with the People Operations and Investor Relations teams at Swell Investing LLC, an impact investing platform for investors seeking companies that are solving major global challenges.
A graduate of Syracuse University, Nika began her career as an educator in Houston, Texas, with Teach For America. During her summers, she worked with World Learning’s flagship program, The Experiment in International Living. There, she led groups of high school students through Argentina and Peru to help them develop an understanding of the lands, their people, and their language. As an educator, Nika noticed disparity of resources and institutionalized oppression in our educational and economic systems. She decided to go into the nonprofit sector to help create an equitable playing field. She served as a Program Manager at Motivating Our Students Through Experience (MOSTe), a nonprofit that mentored and encouraged girls to achieve higher education. During her time at MOSTe, she developed social-emotional intelligence, financial literacy and college access workshops for students and learned about strategic ways to ensure that these services were sustainable. While at MOSTe, she was introduced to social
entrepreneurship and saw how tech companies were accelerating impact through innovative business models.
She transitioned into tech a year ago and became a Product Specialist at a Healthtech SaaS company whose mission is to help health and wellness professionals. While at this job, she joined Latinas in Tech. Andrea Marcos, its Chairman of the Board, helped her work for her current company. Nika wishes to get more women of color into her field, as she feels representation matters. Describe the type of work you are doing right now. What does a typical day look like for you?
My primary job is People Operations, which entails assisting in shaping the culture of a new organization. I ensure our talent is performing efficiently. I support my manager by providing feedback on decisions that affect employees and advising on solutions for potential issues. I also assist the investor relations team with investor inquiries. What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?
I’ve always been interested in tech, though I was very intimidated. Three key experiences helped me transition. In 2016, I went to a HOPE (Hispanas Organized For Political Equality) conference and learned how little representation we had in tech, which
is dominated by white men. I was shocked to learn there were only 4% of Latinas in this industry and only 2% were in leadership positions. While working at the non-profit, I went to a workshop at the Southern California College Access Network (SoCalCan), where a woman discussed strategic ways to ensure the financial sustainability of nonprofits by using technology as leverage. I did the work I had dreamed of and loved it. However, it was difficult to sustain a livelihood in California, since nonprofits have limited resources. Luckily, I found an avenue where I can intertwine my passions and get paid. I now support nonprofits in my spare time and am paid to work for a company that helps others leave an impact in this world by investing in their future. What is the most exciting thing in the world of technology today?
I’m excited by how technology is being leveraged by businesses with a social or environmental mission. There are about 2,600 companies called B Corporations. They have earned a certification that proves their commitment to not only make a profit, but also to do well by their employees, their community, and the environment.
“Me emociona ver cómo aprovechan la tecnología aquellos negocios que tienen una misión social o ambientalista”.
Catchafire is an example of a B Corporation. It connects professionals that have a burning desire to volunteer with nonprofits that need their skill set. Another example is PEGAfrica, which uses technology to finance Pay As You Go solar energy products to off-grid customers in Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, and Senegal, thus providing more access to quality light, mobile phone charging, and appliances.
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