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COVER CUCO Photography Fidel Gonzalez with Look Artists Makeup Fidel Gonzalez with Opus Beauty Hair Carlos Ortiz with Cloutier Remix Producer Joshua McIntyreW


Contents FALL ISSUE 2019








Commercial space designer and visual marketer. Designer of spaces by profession, designer of dreams by conviction. You can contact Carolina at: @Caritogutim SANDRA RODRIGUEZ - EDITOR

LA-based Sandra Rodriguez is a former editor for Mexican newspaper Reforma, one of the most influential publications in Latin America. In this capacity, she met numerous leaders and A-List celebrities, attended international fashion weeks and Hollywood press junkets, and took part in a prestigious fellowship program for international journalists sponsored by LG and Seoul National University in South Korea. She currently writes on topics ranging from finance to entertainment for different media outlets in both the U.S. and Mexico. Entirely fluent in English and Spanish, Sandra holds certifications as a Court interpreter and a medical interpreter, and has translated a number of books for major publishing houses. Publications translated by her include medical, self-help, and business books (one with a foreword by President Bill Clinton), novels, and books focused on spirituality and personal growth by popular authors such as Louise Hay, Nick Vujicic, and Neale Donald Walsch.




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. 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: 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

The Team

Dear ALEGRIA Familia, As we begin our official re-launch of Alegria as a multimedia company this fall, we want to extend our enormous gratitude to all of you,who continue to share our love & passion for celebrating the best of LatinX culture since 2012. This restructuring of our company during these difficult times in our country have made our vision & mission clearer.


“Alegría” means joy in Spanish. The LatinAmerican ethos of a positive attitude in the face of ANY challenge is what it means to live in “Alegría”. Alegría is a mindset, an attitude, a spirit, a mark of the soul of the solution creator. JOY is an act of resistance – resistance to being stigmatized, resistance to oppression, resistance to the “odds stacked against you”, a resistance to being ignored and overlooked by the majority. We believe the modern “LatinX” story needs to be told. We tell stories from all corners of the LatinX world of personal triumph and success, and of the remarkable feats LatinX people achieve. We believe that these stories can transform the next generation.

Alegría is a community that connects, inspires, and highlights the beauty, the lineage, the thousands of years of positive contributions to this planet by artists & leaders of color – No matter where you or your ancestors hail from, Alegría embraces, promotes and highlights the unique contributions of the LatinX experience. ALEGRÍA is a print and digital multimedia company within the LatinX space, which elevates the collective consciousness of its audience by creating and nurturing its members, embracing and teaching the Alegria way of life, the richness of the LatinX ALEGRÍA experience in the U.S and the world abroad in a bilingual format because LOVE tastes better in different languages. We bring the aesthetic of our roots to a contemporary language & design. Through our ALEGRÍA community, we hope you will be inspired to make a difference in the world through connection, empathy and and unity. “We are highlighting the stories that TRULY matter about those who have historically being overlooked and under-represented. It is our mission to uplift people’s perception about the beauty of the LatinX experience and culture.” Interested in learning about ALEGRÍA? We can connect via Much ALEGRIA to you,

Davina Ferreira Alegria Bilingual Magazine Publisher CEO @davifalegria














Carolina Arenas offers colorful bags inspired by her Colombian roots How was Meraki Wayuu born?

I am a social worker, mom of two boys that is now taking on a new venture as a business owner. I worked as a social worker for over 10 years and after having my second child we decided that it was best for me to be a full-time stay at home mom. I take my hat off to all moms! Having experienced the hat of a working mom and that of a stay-at-home mom I can say that they are both equally hard and rewarding. I applaud you all. As time passed I started to think about what I wanted to do with my career. I always knew I wanted to have my own business but I never knew quite what I wanted it to be. I came to the conclusion that I would take the plunge and start my own business, but what? In February 2019 my family and I decided to take both kids to Colombia and stay with our family for a month. I was born and raised in Queens, New York. I am a proud first-generation Colombian American. My mother would take me to Colombia almost every summer vacation. I feel that my Colombian roots are well grounded and I wish to share that same experience with my children. During our time in Colombia I started to feel a sense of direction with what I wanted to do as a firsttime business owner. The one item that stood out to me the most was the Wayuu mochila. These bags come in bright, beautiful colors. But then I stopped myself and said, I have seen these bags and owned them for years. Ever since I was six years old I had been around items made by the Wayuu. Why didn’t I think of this before? A lightbulb went off in my head. I want to work with the Wayuu artisans and bring their items to customers. I knew immediately that I wanted to incorporate my passion for social work with my intention of becoming a female entrepreneur. I want to share a little of what my parents’ beautiful country has to offer with you. I want to represent my culture in Houston and other places, sort of like an ambassador. My family is originally from Antioquia and, although we do not have any family members from the Wayuu tribe, we do have a lot of respect and love for the Wayuu culture.

www.merakiwayuu.com_ merakiwayuu@gmail.com_ @merakiwayuu_


Photos by DANIELA @velamoraphotography

What is the most rewarding part of educating people about the beautiful art and cultural traditions of La Guajira, Colombia?

Located deep in the La Guajira dessert, close to the Colombian and Venezuelan border, is a traditional, historical, indigenous community who are known as the people of the sun, sand and wind. Meraki is a greek word that means creativity, love, and soul you put into something; the essence of yourself you put into your work. This word stood out to me a lot because Meraki is what I see when I see a finished product handmade by powerful Wayuu artisans.

The most rewarding part of sharing the beautiful art and culture with others is that of providing an open door, a spark of interest into another culture, encouraging travel and dialogue. It’s bringing awareness, a spotlight on a culture that you might not know existed. Embracing Colombian culture, sharing our liveliness, energía, and colores. We want to give our community the opportunity to shop with a purpose. In doing so, we are giving back to their community and giving them a voice the rest of the world can hear. In educating others I too continue to learn and grow as an individual. What brings you ALEGRIA?

I want to say everything but if I had to narrow It down I would say music, family, friends the connection to others. Humanity. I believe there is more good than bad in this world and when I see us all coming together and putting our differences aside it makes me feel genuinely happy.


Nos asombraron las cintas emocionantes que nos presentaron este año las comunidades latinas de todas partes de Estados Unidos y del mundo.


Panama on the Big Screen Carlos Carrasco and Maia De Zan Hatch Celebrate Cinema, Culture, and Community Produced by the Panamanian International Film Festival in Los Angeles (PIFF/LA), PANAFEST 2019 will take place October 18, 19, and 20th at The Downtown Independent movie house and events venue in Los Angeles. PANAFEST is currently celebrating its fifth year. The schedule for this highly-anticipated film festival can be found at Carlos Carrasco, Founder & Artistic Director, is known to filmgoers as “Gigantor” from the movie “Speed”, with Keanu Reeves, and as “Popeye” from Taylor Hackford’s “Blood In Blood Out.” Carlos has been seen on stage, screen, and television. He is also an award-winning director and producer. A native of Panama, Carlos served for six years as the Executive Director of HOLA (Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors). Maia De Zan Hatch, Associate Director, was born in Panama and raised in Spain. Maia, a filmmaker based in Los Angeles, has worked with the Panama International Film Festival and the Guadalajara International Film Festival in Los Angeles as a Visual Art Designer and Editor, a role she also holds at PIFF/LA.

What can audience members expect this year from the Panamanian Film Festival in Los Angeles?

Maia: They can expect three days of fun and a great sense of pride in the beauty of Latino narratives, captured by filmmakers who are telling stories of importance to us.

We were blown away by the exciting films that got submitted to us this year from Latinx communities throughout the U.S. and all over the world. Audiences are really in for an experience that will tap into all of their emotions. There are many U.S. premieres, shorts, features, and documentaries from at least fifteen countries. There is great representation from Latinas, both in front of and behind the camera, and from Afro-Latinos, LGBTQ+ talent, Veterans, People with Disabilities, and other diverse artists who form the Latinx community at large. Carlos: There will also be invaluable professional panels on the craft of filmmaking and other industry-focused topics. Then, because we like to weave in a variety of artistic expressions, we’ll be featuring poetry and spoken word with live performances and music. It’s why we like to call this festival PANAFEST – because it is a celebration of cinema, culture, and community. Why is it important to bring the work of Panamanian filmmakers to Los Angeles and create networking opportunities with Latino filmmakers from Los Angeles and beyond?

Carlos: Panama’s filmmaking community is growing every day. As a proud Panamanian who has had a career in Hollywood, I wanted to help bridge the two worlds for the benefit of both. Putting U.S. Latinx creators in conversation with Panamanians was how it all started, but we didn’t stop there. It only made


sense to get all Latinos involved. We’re creating an event that demonstrates, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how qualified Latinos are to create their own projects and tell their own stories in really complex and creative ways. At the same time, we’re raising awareness about what Panama has to offer to the film community, both in terms of the country’s diverse beauty and in terms of its talent pool. We’re connecting Latinx filmmakers because as different as we all are, there are still such strong commonalities, such a sense of family, that we should be opening doors for one another and moving our image forward – especially in these dark times when our community is under siege. Together, we can realize our full potential. What is something that most people don’t know about Panamanian Filmmakers and media creators?

Maia: That they are awesome. That they are working in every genre, including animation, horror, documentaries, and more. They are also telling a spectrum of stories – because Panama may be small in size, but it is huge in terms of the infinite number of worlds that are part of the Panamanian imagination. Panamanians are so diverse—the country’s history is fascinating. The city is celebrating its 500th year. U.S. Panamanians are also inspiring, and inspired by their family’s heritage, which could be Black, West Indian, Asian, Jewish, Indigenous—Panamanians can be all of those groups and more. What brings you ALEGRIA?

Carlos: Artists who are passionate about their art. Audiences who love to be inspired by great stories. People who come to PANAFEST and return every year because they had a great time and met great people. Maia: Stories that come from the heart. Creating connections. Celebrating our communities. Being Panamanian and sharing that with the world.


55 Panafest Panafest PRESENTS PRESENTS



OCTOBER 18-20, 2019



DE MI CORAZÓN La cantante Natalia Jiménez en sus propias palabras…



¿ POR QUÉ ESAS CANCIONES FUERON LAS ELEGIDAS PARA TU NUEVO ÁLBUM? Hice el proceso de selección junto a Manuel Cuevas, quien es un profundo amante de la música mexicana, y mezclamos canciones que yo he cantado por mucho tiempo (La Gata Bajo La Lluvia, Amor Eterno, Sombras Nada Más) con canciones que siempre quise cantar en mariachi además de un par de versiones en mariachi de las canciones Algo Más y Me Muero, que compuse junto a Armando Ávila en mi época con La Quinta Estación y siempre quise oírlas en mariachi. Son canciones hermosas y clásicas que todo el mundo conoce y que hace mucho tiempo nadie las versiona en mariachi y con una voz de mujer.


PARA ESTE PROYECTO, ¿ POR QUÉ NATALIA PENSÓ EN HACER UN HOMENAJE A MÉXICO? Es algo que he querido hacer desde que es14 EN MARIACHI taba en La Quinta Estación, cuando empecé a trabajar con Armando en nuestros discos él Y 1 EN BANDA me abrió la puerta al maravilloso mundo de la música mexicana y ya no hubo vuelta atrás. En mis conciertos siempre hay mariachi. Al fin el año pasado decidí junto a mi equipo hacer este disco y estoy completamente encantada de haberme sacado la espinita y hacerlo. ¿ CÓMO LLEGO LA IDEA DE TRABAJAR DE NUEVO CON ARMANDO ÁVILA? La verdad no hay nadie mejor que él para hacer este disco, y además sabía que nadie le iba a poner más cariño y dedicación. Los arreglos musicales son exquisitos y eso es lo que buscaba desde un principio, ya que él tiene un conocimiento de la música mexicana muy extenso pero sabe cómo refrescarlo. LA EXPERIENCIA DE INCLUIR UNA CANCIÓN EN BANDA La música de banda me encanta y estoy feliz de poder tener a la Banda MS conmigo en este disco. Siento un agradecimiento profundo con Sergio Lizarraga por haber aceptado la propuesta. Son la banda número uno en este momento y este es el primer dueto que hacen desde que se fundó la banda. ¡Cuando hice el disco de Homenaje a la Gran Señora tuve una probadita de grabar con banda, pero esta experiencia fue completamente distinta y estoy loca por repetir!


Photos by Omar Cruz







Lista de invitados que forman parte de este proyecto

¡La lista de invitados es de lujo! Tenemos a CARLOS RIVERA cantando conmigo “El Destino”, que es una canción preciosa que antaño cantaron Juan Gabriel y Rocio Dúrcal, y se nota mucho nuestra complicidad en la grabación. PEDRO FERNÁNDEZ también forma parte de este disco y cantamos “Ya Lo Se Que Tú Te Vas” en un dueto espectacular. Escogimos esta canción para Pedro porque por su tesitura se iba a escuchar hermoso. PAQUITA LA DEL BARRIO canta conmigo un clásico de Juan Gabriel “Juro Que Nunca Volveré”. Paquita es una de mis cantantes favoritas y con su color de voz la canción se escucha mucho más desgarradora. LILA DOWNS me complació aceptando mi propuesta de cantar “La Cigarra” que es un huapango complicadísimo pero que ella bordó con hilo fino con su portentosa voz. En “Te Lo Pido Por Favor” me acompaña EL BEBETO quien se está abriendo paso como una de las estrellas de la música regional mexicana, y disfrutamos mucho haciendo esta canción juntos. BANDA MS accedió a hacer una versión en banda conmigo de su éxito “El Color De Tus Ojos” y no puedo esperar a que la escuchen.


Since I was a little girl I became curious about the natural and home remedies that my grandmother used to make. I saw that they were very effective and for that reason I have always used plants and home remedies for the skin and internally for myself.



Desde niña me entró la inquietud por lo natural y remedios caseros que mi abuelita hacia. Yo veía que eran muy efectivos y por esa razón siempre he usado plantas y remedios caseros para la piel e internamente para mí.

What is something most people don’t know about the harm of using chemical skincare products?

Something that most people do not know is that there are many scientific studies of the use of chemical and toxic ingredients that indicate that there are shortand long-term consequences. Little by little our body becomes sick and, as a consequence, there are many diseases such as cancer in the skin because our skin is a sponge that absorbs everything we apply to it, and it goes directly into our blood. What inspires you to keep growing your brand?


Definitely the satisfaction of seeing and knowing that my formulas have helped improve my clients skin in a natural and non-toxic way using organic ingredients. What new products can we expect this 2019?

I’m very happy to present to you a firming mask with antioxidants properties with a cocoa concentrate and a luxurious Quetzalli perfume with cacao and avocado with an exotic and organic essential oils base.

a n a i r d A galde Is your bicultural heritage a part of your brand?

Yes, it is something that I have worked hard and carefully built since my brand contains ingredients that represent my culture as well as contributing to the environment and human beings.

U @QuetzalliSkinCare Photos provided by Quetzalli Beauty @mychiquimiau

Photos by Mayra Azanza

Artist mayra creates personalized toys I was born in a beautiful winter in Los Angeles, when 3YO Emilio wanted to show how much love and appreciation he had for a very special friend who he called “My Kitty”. 24

I am a mix of childhood memories, creativity and lots of love. I became popular almost instantly, with kids and moms hugging me and playing with me, I felt so much love.

How did art find you?

Art is in every part of my body, from the special care my creator Mayra and her team puts in personally curating the best fabrics from around the world to the very last stitch. Each one of us is basically a unique work of art, we believe each person is special so toys should be as unique as their owner.

Chiquimiau seems to be very closely related to your own Mexican roots and your culture, how important is for you to bring a part of your heritage to every creation you make?

Latino culture in general is so rich in creativity, colors, shapes and ideas it just seems natural to add a touch to it. Mayra has been an alebrije sculptor for decades, so there’s definitely a strong influence of Mexican folk art in my personality and charisma that goes beyond We love the concept of Chiquimiau because it is a curated one single culture, but connects many work of art made with love, what is the creative process for of us equally. each Chiquimiau? We have a profound love for art as much as for technology, beWhat brings you ALEGRIA? ing now based in Silicon Valley we have a wonderful mix of both, I am so honored to reconnect kids so the first step is to visit our website and and their families to their very roots of decide if you want a Chiquimiau or a Buttercup, who is a smaller role-playing, sparking creativity and inversion of Chiquimiau. Then you click on your fabric choice for spiring art in many forms, including the the head and the body, and then the website will take you to over art of playing. I am Chiquimiau and it 100 fabric options for the legs and arms. Once you submit your gives me a lot of ALEGRIA to ask who order, Chiquimiau Workshop gets started with the magic of giving would you be if you were a cat? life to your very own creation, like a collective work of art. We add our little touch of creativity to the ears, nose, tails whiskers and belly button… yes, we have the cutest belly button! (And we are very ticklish.) Once each one of us is done, our team gives us a hug to wish us a good trip and then we’re carefully placed in beautiful boxes to travel to our final destination where we will spark love and creativity for years to come. We also have the option of making it a subscription and getting your very own Chiquimiau and a membership for accessories and other fun items like clothing, toy food, coloring books and many other fun stuff once a month.


GET MARRIED IN COLOMBIA In your opinion, what are some of the advantages of getting married abroad?

What is the most rewarding part of creating these unforgettable wedding celebrations in your home country, Colombia?

Being able to bring to the couple’s dreams to life in such amazing settings that Colombia has to offer. Creating unforgettable memories that last forever in people’s hearts. Seeing how the couples and their loved ones get to experience a unique celebration full of details in breathtaking landscapes for a few days.

When did you set up your business, Get Married in Colombia, in the U.S?

Four years ago, after my own wedding. I lived in Charleston, SC and was so lucky to have my own destination wedding there. Going through that exciting process and being able to enjoy having friends and family coming from different countries to our celebration made me realize how passionate I was about planning this kind of experiences and I wanted to make that passion my full-time job. Considering that destination weddings are on the rise in the US and knowing that Colombia is truly a paradise on earth, I decided to start this journey that has only brought joy into my clients’ life and my own.

Couples can have a unique celebration that only few people get to experience. In addition, they will save money as they will have better pricing vs having a wedding in the US and they will definitely get a lot more perks like living exciting adventures, immersing themselves in a new culture, visiting incredible places, seeing amazing landscapes that they won’t see anywhere else. Getting married in Colombia is giving the couple and their guests the opportunity to live a wonderful experience that will live in their memories forever. It’s a gift, for everyone!

Realizing that there is a need for finding new ways to express love and to upgrade the “wedding day experience” for couples and guests, and knowing that I can offer magic in my home country through our bespoke destination wedding planning service, are two endless sources of inspiration. Traveling inside and outside Colombia gives me a lot of creative and original ideas on how to make my clients’ dreams come true. I love and enjoy my company’s growth!

What would you say to someone, who has never visited Colombia about the magic of this country?

Colombia is “Magical Realism”. We have all types of weather; its landscapes are a treasure to the world; the kindness of its people is overwhelming; the uniqueness of its exquisite flavors is constantly praised internationally. Its geographical location is an asset; Pacific and Atlantic oceans are our borders; the international airports of its cities facilitate the access to its most exuberant destinations. To sum it up, Colombia is the best destination of the world! What brings you ALEGRIA?

Family, traveling and being able to design, plan and produce unforgettable experiences are the things that bring me more ALEGRIA. @getmarriedincolombia Photo provided by Get Married in Colombia

What keeps you inspired to create more unique experiences for people on one of the most special days of their lives?




At the heart of Gabriela’s hospitality philosophy is care: for both her guests, as well as her employees. At CALA, Cámara has encouraged second-chance employment to community members with a conviction history and implemented a service charge in lieu of tips, thus lessening the historic pay gap between kitchen workers and servers while providing full medical and dental coverage to all employees.


Mexico City superstar with the seafood-centric Contramar, executive chef Gabriela Cámara has brought her magic touch to this Civic Center hotspot, where she serves similar food. Nothing is lost in translation: filleted black cod with red chile adobo is silky and smoky after a wood grilling in collard leaves, while Cámara’s famed tuna tostadas get a Bay Area sustainability update with ocean trout. And you won’t want to miss the griddled black bean sopes, which seem simple but sing with flavor. Cala’s minimalist aesthetic matches that of Contramar, with vaulted, skylight-dotted ceilings, a planter box full of climbing vines and lots of light wood for a rustic-urban feel.

149 Fell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 HOURS Dinner Sunday - Wednesday: 5pm - 10pm Thursday - Saturday: 5pm - 11pm Tacos Cala Monday - Friday: 11am - 2pm Taqueria entrance is on Hickory Street and has standing room only









SÁNCHEZ With unique family recipes that have been passed down through generations, we take pride in providing an authentic and traditional experience

To accompany your wonderful dinner we offer our beautiful Mariachi and Folklorico Show. Home of the amazing Mariachi Voices de Mexico de Raul Sánchez, Casa Sánchez offers live music 7 nights a week. FINE MEXICAN CUISINE Casa Sánchez specializes in Fine Mexican Cuisine with an experience to remember. Casa Sánchez offers great specialty dishes like our Chamorro de Puerco and our Salmon al Tequila.

Casa Sánchez | 4500 S. Centinela Ave | Los Angeles | 310.397.9999



Making Music on His Own Terms


By Cultivating an Organic Following, Cuco Bypassed Industry Norms and Sidestepped the Major Label System By John Ochoa

“Ser hijo de padres inmigrantes te hace crecer rápido. Mientras crecía los veía trabajar duro y crear una vida desde cero hasta comprar su propia casa.”

“¡Me siento bendecido por todo lo que está pasando en mi vida!”


Recognized as “one of L.A.’s most exciting young stars” (Los Angeles Times) and hailed as the “king of Gen Z R&B” (NPR), Cuco is a 21-year-old indie pop producer, singer, songwriter and musician. Since exploding on the scene in 2016, Cuco, née Omar Banos, has been on a meteoric rise. As the undeniable breakout artist of 2018, Cuco leads a new class of self-taught, self-produced artists reaching worldwide acclaim. Reared in Hawthorne, a primarily Latino suburb in south Los Angeles, Banos grew up on a diverse diet of Latin music by way of his Mexico-born parents. His father schooled him in rock en español, while his mom introduced him to bolero music. As a teen, he developed an appetite for gansta and Chicano rap, care of his uncles, and psychedelic rock, via his high school friends.

In 2016, Cuco self-released his debut mixtape, Wannabewithu, which has had more than 72 million streams collectively on Spotify. In 2017, he released mixtape Songs4u (53MM+/Spotify). Cuco’s online fan base grew and he connected with followers as far as Asia, who sang his songs in Spanish at his international live shows. By cultivating an organic online and real-life following, Cuco bypassed music industry norms and sidestepped the major label system, gaining millions of streams and followers.

Banos began playing music at the age of eight, first teaching himself guitar via internet tutorials, then picking up bass, keys, drums, trumpet, French horn, and mellophone before age 15.

In May 2017, Cuco released “ Lo Que Siento ,” his first bilingual track and his ultimate breakthrough single. This oldies-inspired love song has garnered over 44 million Spotify streams, with an additional 9+ million streams on SoundCloud.

A DIY artist to the core, Banos has written, produced, recorded, and mixed all of his solo music, in addition to writing his own lyrics and playing every instrument on each of his songs as Cuco.

Cuco’s discography also includes Chiquito, his first proper EP, released May 2018. Led by the self-deprecating “CRww-V,” “a wry rap song with wholesome energy” (The FADER), Chiqui“There are sounds in my head to also includes the dreamy single “Sunnyside,” recognized as that only I could hear, so I like to one of the best songs of 2018 create my music in every step, by The New Yorker.

because only I can do it the way I wanna hear it,” he says. The artist’s skyrocketing trajectory is one made for the modern-day internet era. After unveiling his Cuco project in 2015, uploading rock covers and psychedelic-leaning, electronic-tinged originals to his SoundCloud page, Banos went viral in June 2016 when he posted a video clip of himself on Twitter playing a cover of the 1959 surf rock classic “Sleep Walk” from Santo & Johnny.

Cuco has collaborated with fellow breakout star Clairo on “Drown,” voted one of the best songs of 2018 by The New York Times; EDM giant Dillon Francis on “Fix Me” ; and Chicano rap legends MC Magic and Lil Rob on “Search.”


Cuco now enters his next chapter. Para Mi, his debut solo album and his first undertaking since signing with a major label earlier this year, was released on July 26 via Interscope Records. The album continues the artist’s DIY spirit—Cuco produced, wrote, and recorded the album inside his garage—yet reflects his evolved approach to production. Across 13 originals, Cuco experiments with new sounds. Lead single “Hydrocodone” was recorded during his post-surgery recovery following a car accident he and his band suffered while on tour in 2018.

As a live act, Cuco enlists his friends Esai Salas (bass), Fernando Carbajal (guitar), Gabriel “Breeze” Baltazar (guitar) and Julian Farias (drums). In one short year, Cuco went from a local act playing house shows in Southern California basements and backyards to a festival headliner by summer 2017. To date, Cuco has performed at major music festivals, including Coachella and Lollapalooza, and international shows in North America, Europe, Asia, and beyond. In 2019, he launched his first West Coast soldout tour of the year and a North American summer tour, prior to embarking on a festival circuit run in South America. “Being able to represent [the Latino community] in a more positive light [is a big deal], especially in this political climate, which is super fucked,” Cuco told Red Bulletin/Red Bull in his March 2019 cover story.

Sharing viewpoints By ALEGRIA Magazine

He was offered food from a Mexican restaurant and politely requested huevos rancheros. He kept to himself as the ALEGRIA staff sorted through a personal collection of cool sneakers he had brought along. Cuco breathes authenticity. He is a man of few words, at least to the outer world. His adoring fans can’t get enough of him. He is an enigma, a local hero, an everyman’s dream from Hawthorne, California, and the proud son of Mexican immigrants.

“When you grow up with immigrant parents, you grow up faster. Seeing my parents starting from zero and then becoming homeowners, that’s what I witnessed growing up. I just turned 21 and I just got my first home,” he shares with pride.

Unassuming and always true to himself, Cuco is often surrounded by his team, which is sort of a familia, a true tribe. He arrived at the Downtown Los Angeles studio where his ALEGRIA photoshoot and interview took place.

During our interview, I ask him if he prefers our conversation to be in English or Spanish. He replied: “cualquiera de los dos; either one is fine,” but we ended up speaking Spanish mostly. This is what he said about specific topics. Hard work: I’m under pressure because I am always touring, so my work is hard, but it is what I love and I am very grateful for it. Es una bendición. When you want to unplug: I sleep a lot. Challenges: It’s easy to get depressed when you are touring because you are away from your family, so sometimes I buy them plane tickets. After my accident, I don’t want to take my parents on the bus with me. Lessons learned: La vida es muy frágil (life is very fragile), uno aprende a valorar (one learns to appreciate), yo valoro todo ahora (I appreciate everything now). His ALEGRIA: Estar en casa con mis perros. La música y ¡estar vivo! (To be home with my dogs. Music, and to be alive!) Sadness or happiness?: Every state of mind is good for creativity.

Photography Fidel Gonzalez with Look Artists Makeup Fidel Gonzalez with Opus Beauty Hair Carlos Ortiz with Cloutier Remix Producer Joshua McIntyre

Collaborations: I just like to work with people I like, artists que me caen bien. Following one’s dream: You got to love what you do. Even if you don’t have much, you can still create with that. Everything counts.



Throughout 2016 and into this year, LegalShield has focused on several digital initiatives. Through their new and enhanced technology-based products and services. LegalShield offers the convenience of do-it-yourself technology with the assurance of a dedicated Law firm in the palm of your hand.


“Everyone should have an attorney to advise them how to navigate the legal system, which is complex and byzantine,” Jesse says. “Who would want to go through that without someone who’s experienced and educated in law.”

Protecting Small Businesses


Today, LegalShield provides legal services to 1.6 million members and 47,000 small businesses across North America. LegalShield has individual and family plans for as little as $20 a month and $39 monthly for a small business. According to “ The Legal Needs of Small Business,” a research study commissioned by LegalShield, nearly 60 percent of small-business owners who said they experienced a legal event in the past two years reported not hiring an attorney to help them. The most sought-after reasons for seeking legal help by small businesses were debt collection and review of contracts and other business documents-two prominent services covered under LegalShield’s small-business membership plan. Thanks to LegalShield, small-business owners have ready access to the quality legal advise and counsel they need so that they can focus on properly managing and growing their business. Don’t let the intimidating and expensive legal system stop you from getting legal counsel when you need it. Bridge the justice gap by becoming a LegalShield member today. (Contact Jesse) LegalShield is considered the original disrupter in the legal industry. 45 Years ago, it pulled together a community of consumers-average American-and matched them to accountable and responsible law firms. LegalShield is the only legal service provider that has a dedicated network of law firms and lawyers supporting its members. This unique attorney network provides a dedicated law firm in every state-except Alaska, which will be available by end of 2017-to direct service each LegalShield member.

Jesse expresses the importance of Protection with the growing epidemic of the 5 Types of Identity Theft.

JESSE RAMOS Legal Shield Business Solutions Small Business Expert CTRMS Identity Theft Benefits Advisor Jesse. /contact 909-413-2266

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“THE MILLENNIAL MOVEMENT IS FLOCKINNG TO LEGALSHIELD AS IT IS LEADING THROUGH INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY” According to data from Millennial Branding nearly 60% of millennials surveyed consider themselves entrepreneurs, with ideas, capital, and plans laid out for ventures. Jesse Ramos is a sought out expert and speaker on Identity Theft and is extremely passionate about serving the Small Business Communities Nation wide the Bilingual Small Business space is poised for 10 fold growth in the next 5 years. Having a Law Firm in the Palm of your hands will become the norm.





Nos enorgullece representar cada cliente como si fuera nuestro propio padre o madre.”

LUCHANDO EN MANTENER FAMILIAS INMIGRANTES UNIDAS “Somos abogados de confianza, contáctenos para programar su consulta.”

213 200 1505 /

“El mayor reto para quienes están abriendo un negocio es que tienen la idea correcta y el concepto correcto, pero les falla la parte administrativa”.

How do you manage to stay successful in business while also enjoying your family like?

Balancing is overrated— the whole time management thing is overrated. My number one priority is my family; my kids, my husband. I’m very ambitious, but I’m not in it for the money. I’m ambitious in the sense that I love to be on top of my game, making sure my house looks good, making sure my business looks good, making sure I look good. I am always driven to do more, because the more I do, the more I find different things I like. I think when we were children or teenagers, all of us were creative and explored, and that defined our personalities. However, as adults and parents we may start drifting away from that; our responsibilities get in the way of our creativity. To me, entrepreneurship means being staying creative. It’s not just in the tech world and the fashion industry. Even in the mortgage industry, which sounds old-fashioned, people are now looking at real estate and lending in a whole new perspective.


What legacy do you want to leave behind for your children?

Photos by: Adam Bialik

ENTREPRENEUR LUZ LLUNCOR EXPLAINS HOW SHE SEAMLESSLY MANAGES WORK ACTIVITIES AND FAMILY LIFE Luz Lluncor currently heads an incubator in Montebello, and is a mortgage expert. She is also a mom, and shares some words of wisdom in regard to juggling responsibilities.

Follow me at:


Opportunities. Leaving a lot of doors open for my children is my biggest motivation. That’s what drives me, leaving doors open, or at least halfway open so they can finish opening them themselves. Yet I tell them it doesn’t matter how much money you make, it doesn’t matter how many homes you have. It’s more about who you are and what you want to become. Being rich isn’t about having millions of dollars in the bank, it’s always about finding joy in life. Please tell us about the incubator.

We educate people so that they can become entrepreneurs and build a business. We are creating social impact. We create opportunities and in the future, these businesses are going to grow, our money is going to grow, and the community will benefit. This project was planned with the city of Montebello. When I was asked to be a part of it, I jumped on the opportunity without thinking twice.


It’s a great platform. It allows anyone who has done catering out of their own kitchen to turn this into a real business. You can be a master as a cook but that doesn’t mean you are a master when it comes to economics.

I think the biggest challenge for those that are opening up a business is that they have the right idea and the right concept, but they’re missing the administration part, the accounting part, the money part.

Of course, it’s not easy to balance it all. Some days I carry a weight on my shoulders and I have a big lump in my throat, and I blame it on the keyboard. At that point, taking time off is important.

Juggling Responsibilities

It’s an incubator for startups. For instance, people who have experience running a food truck but have never had the resources or funds to open their own restaurant get access to location consultants, kitchen consultants, Certified Public Accountants and even funding. Banks and institutions are already lined up to help them build their business once they’re out of the incubator system following a two-year period.

People who have done it can share their experiences with you and tell you what could go wrong. It’s important for an entrepreneur, and you can learn very quickly. What can people who are at the top of their game do to stay emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy?

You are the foundation of everything you have created. It’s scary, because if you were to disappear or if something happened to you, the tower starts breaking. My health is a priority. It’s okay to take a break. I’ve had a great support group around me: my friends, my family, just everyone around me. Physically, habits like eating well, sleeping well, and walking can be quickly forgotten. But I remind myself to stay hydrated and especially to sleep better. When I sleep, I recover my energy. Lately, I’ve also been listening to a lot of music.

Surviving and Healing Photos by David Jr. Martin


Judy Stella is a powerful woman who has been running a business for many years and recently decided to launch her personal brand. She is also a survivor of child abuse, and this is her story.

Growing up, you went through some challenging situations. What happened?

My mom was single for many years, as she separated from my dad when I was two. I don’t have any recollection of my biological father. My mom suffered from mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and that led her to treat her children a certain way. I remember the angry outbursts, the yelling, the name-calling, the physical abuse. I remember that I was five or six years old, and I went to a conference with my mom and my first-grade teacher. I was a social butterfly then, and I would talk a lot in the classroom. At the conference my teacher shared that with my mom. My mom got upset and as soon as I walked out of the classroom she pulled my ear and started scolding me. A teacher’s assistant, or maybe my teacher herself, might have witnessed this, because I was later asked what happened at home when I did something wrong. Since I wanted to protect my mom, I said she just made me wash dishes as punishment. Although back then I wasn’t aware of the existence of Child Protective Services or foster homes, I didn’t tell the truth because I wanted to protect our family unit.

“Mi rol como madre no se correlaciona directamente con lo limpia que está mi casa, sino con lo conectada y presente que estoy allí”.

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As a parent, if my child feels I have not been kind, I’ll kneel down, make eye contact, give him a gentle touch on the shoulder, and hold his hand. I say, “You know, I’m having a hard day today. I’m feeling very stressed and overwhelmed. I’m going to take some deep breaths and drink some water. I’m sorry I wasn’t being kind to you.” But the truth is, ​even children have moments when they feel overwhelmed. There will be meltdowns or tantrums. My husband and I try to embrace that. Of course, we set appropriate boundaries; it’s not okay to hurt someone or call them names. What would you say to someone who is experiencing some form of abuse?

An abuser can be very critical or passive-aggressive. It could be a parent, or a spouse. There are many different dynamics where abuse can occur. Get in touch with what you’re experiencing, if something doesn’t feel good. Read books, talk to people that have experienced something similar, listen to podcast information, research articles. It’s okay to get help. My children are six and four right now, and our family therapist sees them for play therapy. There’s nothing wrong with my kids; they go for emotional support. It really does take a village to raise a family, so my husband and I both see the same family therapist. My husband is a huge mental health advocate.

How did you manage to become a successful woman despite your difficult childhood?

Success has come to me in many ways: financial security, stability, getting my basic needs met, having a family, having a professional career that I enjoy. Success has come from allowing myself to feel the past pain. This year, a big highlight was being able to reconnect with my mom after showing my childhood story on Telemundo a few months ago. That spurred open communication with my mom and I expressed that I understand where she’s coming from and that I don’t judge her. I worked through my own anger and resentment, and understand that she was also a victim of that vicious cycle of violence. We are actually working right now with a Latina therapist that speaks Spanish. She’s also going to start her own therapy soon. 2019 has been challenging but rewarding. I will continue redefining what success means to me. I’m a huge fan of author John C. Maxwell, who wants his wife and his children —the people closest to him— to think highly of him. I think that’s the new definition of success I’m adopting for myself. We tend to give the best to everyone outside the home, but because we’re spread thin, we give scraps to our children and our spouses and whoever we live with. We should be bringing the best to them. That’s my focus.


As a mom and an entrepreneur, how do you deal with your many responsibilities?

I’ve learned to delegate. I’ve learned to communicate better with my husband and ask for a true partnership. We’re both equally responsible for the well-being of our children. He’s made adjustments as to his availability and how present and engaged he is when he’s home after work. When I’m home, I minimize the use of my phone and I don’t worry about cleaning. I grew up in a home where you tied your sense of purpose to the cleanliness of your house, and I made a choice for myself to eliminate that.

My self-worth and how I parent do not correlate directly with how clean my home is, but with how connected and present I am.

LEER es Follow our journey as we share the beauty of our culture! 46

We will curate a unique cultural programming with bilingual authors and poets for both children and adults. We will be updating our weekly locations via and instagram f @alegriamagazine




LatinX in Literature

Family First

“In the case of the writer, most times the phenomena of influence is accidental.”

Matt de la Peña, Known for His Bestsellers, States What Brings Him Joy




Matt de la Peña is the #1 New York Times bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of five picture books (including “Love,” “Last Stop on Market Street,” and “Carmela Full of Wishes”), as well as six critically acclaimed young adult novels. In 2016, he was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. He received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. He currently lives in San Diego with his family.

What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

I suppose some folks, like politicians, seek influence. But for a writer it’s different. I just write the stories that are interesting or important to me, featuring characters who are also interesting or important to me. And I consider it an honor each and every time someone reads one of my stories, whether it be a YA novel or a picture book. So in the case of the writer, most times the phenomena of influence is accidental. And confusing. But I do hope my stories are an opportunity for young readers to see and be seen. And to be entertained.

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

@mattdelapena /matt.delapena.5

This one is easy. It’s my mom. She grew up without a mom and dad, and then had her own children as a teenager. And she never let her family break apart. She held onto it so tightly her knuckles turned white. But she succeeded. I always tell people my mom is the reason I try hard at


life. Coming from our background, nothing was expected of me and my sisters. But we were fortunate enough to have a mom who looked at us with love and absolute belief. That is what I call true influence. It wasn’t anything she said to us. It was the way she looked at us. Is there a sentence or quote that defines you?

It’s a well-known pick-up basketball phrase: “Don’t talk about it. Be about it.” What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

The first thing that comes to mind is family. It’s obviously the privilege of a lifetime to write stories for a living, and to have people read them, but the most important stories in the world are the ones shared inside families. Inside jokes. Stories about ancestors. Traditions. Nothing brings me more joy than the stories my family and I shared when I was a kid and the stories I’m now sharing with my own children as a parent.


The_ Strength of_ Empathy_ Alex Temblador Suggests Using Influence in a Way That Benefits Society

“ Being influential isn’t an inherently positive trait; it can be used to do bad things.”

What sentence or quote defines you?

“Believe in yourself and all that you are, know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” -Christian D. Larson

By Susie Plascencia - Photos provided by talent


Alex Temblador is the Dallas-based author of the award-winning “Secrets of the Casa Rosada” and a freelance travel, arts, and culture writer. “Secrets of the Casa Rosada” was awarded the NACCS 2019 Tejas Foco Young Adult Award, Kirkus Reviews’ Best of YA Books 2018, and the Texas Library Association’s TAYSHA’s nomination. Alex’s short stories have been published in journals like PALABRITAS and her freelance work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Architectural Digest, Dame Magazine, Bustle, Elite Daily, Fodors and Huffington Post, among many other top media outlets.

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why? What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

Someone once told me that I’m an influential person and that my actions and words influence others, whether I was conscious of it or not, and that I should always keep this in mind. From that piece of advice, I learned that being influential isn’t an inherently positive trait; it can be used to do bad things– just look at infamous men of influence in the present and throughout history who convinced people that atrocities like concentration camps, slavery, and hate crimes were or are justified. To “be influential” is to be aware that what you say and do can affect others. It’s a gift and we should strive to be conscious of it. We should use it to the betterment, and not the detriment, of society.

My sister grew up without the ability to walk or talk. She was born with mental and physical disabilities, and yet she’s been the most influential person in my life. She taught me how to be strong and listen. She made me the empathetic person I am today. Because of her, I’m a good person and an insightful writer, and I try to live in a way that would make her proud. What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

There is happiness, and then there is ALEGRIA... ALEGRIA is that feeling that bubbles up from the center of your core and is released as a gleeful shout, a happy dance, or your fist pumping into the air as you yell, “yes!” To me, ALEGRIA includes those overwhelming moments of joy brought on by tiny successes, exciting news, and love. I’ve collected many moments of ALEGRIA and I hope to collect more.


LatinX in Literature

Art as a_ Responsibility_

“Being influential means using your voice, presence, and privilege to share a message.”

Kim Guerra Is the Creator of a Revolutionary Brand and Movement

K Kim Guerra is an artist, writer, and entrepreneur. She is the creator of Brown Badass Bonita, a brand and movement she considers a revolutionary act of selflove and love for our Latinx community. She wants people to wear her shirts as a statement and shield. She wants people to feel like a walking and living revolution when they wear a Brown Badass Bonita tee. She creates apparel that celebrates our culture and empowers mujeres. She also writes pieces and creates art that celebrate and explore the complexities of being Latinx, mujer, PoC, survivor, and guerrera. She considers her art and work to be responsibility to her community of Latinx and mujeres.

brownbadassboni @brownbadassbonita


What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

Being influential means using your voice, presence, and privilege to share a message, bring light, and catalyze change.

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

I let myself be influenced by badass mujeres throughout history and in my present life. I look up to mujeres breaking societal norms meant to oppress us. I look up to mujeres who bring other mujeres up. Some of these mujeres include artists, writers, scientists, engineers, mothers, tías, abuelitas, primas, and the mujer I see in the mirror each day. I believe in the power of juntas somos mejores, and I look up to mujeres who shine and share their light generously.


Is there a sentence or quote that defines you?

“We are in this together, mujer.” “Keep rising, mujer mariposa.” “Mi privilege pa’ mi raza, mi voz pa’ mi raza, mi vida pa’ mi raza.” - Kim Guerra What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

ALEGRIA is so powerful. It is something we cultivate and share with this world, no matter our external circumstances. It is our power and our outlook in life.

Dispelling the Myth of Publishing Writer and A Novelist Lilliam Rivera Helps New Talents

L Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of the young adult novels “Dealing in Dreams” and “The Education of Margot Sanchez,” available in bookstores everywhere. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, and Los Angeles Times, to name a few publications. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?


Influence means using whatever platform you may have, however big or small, to elevate and celebrate voices. As a writer and author, my job is to shine a spotlight on emerging writers and to bring to light the injustices being inflicted on our community and the community of other people of color. I want to always be lending a hand to those in need of it, and to dispel the myth surrounding publishing.

Who is the most influential person in your life and why?

The most influential person in my life right now is Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. I am not much for politicians but I am in awe of how outspoken she is in speaking out against injustices. AOC is also from the Bronx and is Puerto Rican, like me. She is fearless and I look on her as a reminder to be fearless too.


Is there a sentence or quote that defines you?

Because I’m obsessed with Bad Bunny, the phrase that currently defines me is from his song “Soy Caro.” “Yo sé cuánto valgo, yo sé que soy caro.” I know my worth.

“As a writer and author, my job is to shine a spotlight on emerging writers.”

What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

ALEGRIA means unapologetic joy. It means laughing until your stomach hurts. It means entering a room taking up as much space as possible while also welcoming others to join you. ALEGRIA is revolutionary, to still be full of happiness in spite of obstacles thrown your way.

By Susie Plascencia - Photos provided by talent


LATINX in literature

True to Herself

“Influence doesn’t mean imagining yourself into the straitjacket of the ‘role model.’”

Carmen Maria Machado Reshapes Literature by Writing from Her Own Unique Perspective



Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short story collection, “Her Body and Other Parties,” was a finalist for the National Book Award and the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, the Brooklyn Public Library Literature Prize, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. In 2018, the New York Times listed “Her Body and Other Parties” as a member of “The New Vanguard,” one of “15 remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century.” Her essays, fiction, and criticism have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Granta, Harper’s Bazaar, Tin House, VQR, Conjunctions, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, The Believer, Guernica, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, Michener-Copernicus Foundation, Elizabeth George Foundation, CINTAS Foundation, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She is the Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia with her wife.


What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

Maybe it’s easier to say what it doesn’t mean? Influence doesn’t mean imagining yourself into the straitjacket of the “role model,” but rather showing people what is possible in a life. (Being openly and joyfully queer! Living as an unapologetically fat person! Being a woman in the world! Having a career and a practice and writing what I love! Doing what I want to do and not doing what I don’t want to do!)

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

My late grandfather, Reinaldo. He defined ALEGRIA completely, and lived an exciting, fulfilling, beautiful, and accomplished life.

@carmenmmachado FALL

What phrase or quote defines you?

“The unendurable is the beginning of the curve of joy.” - Djuna Barnes What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

ALEGRIA means existing in your body fully and without regret or self-hatred; allowing yourself pleasure; and being a force of goodness in the world.

The_ Importance_ of Honesty_

“Other individuals are looking to what you create for insight into themselves.”

Poet Analicia Sotelo Considers the Influential Should Seek to Be Upstanding

A Analicia Sotelo is the author of “Virgin,” the inaugural winner of the Jake Adam York Prize, selected by Ross Gay for Milkweed Editions, 2018. She is also the author of the chapbook “Nonstop Godhead,” selected by Rigoberto González for a 2016 Poetry Society of America National Chapbook Fellowship. Analicia’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the New Yorker, Boston Review, FIELD, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and The Nation. Her poem “I’m Trying to Write a Poem about a Virgin and It’s Awful” was selected for Best New Poets 2015 by Tracy K. Smith. This young and successful writer is the recipient of the 2016 DISQUIET International Literary Prize, a Canto Mundo fellowship, and scholarships from the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Image Text Ithaca Symposium. Analicia holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Houston.


What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

I think influence means you have to hold yourself with great care and to a high standard of integrity, because other individuals are looking to what you create for insight into themselves.

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

My mom is the most powerfully influential person in my life because she is a true creative. Everything she does is about art and beauty. She honors our culture and history, and the women that have given that history its strength.

What sentence or quote defines you?

“Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto,” from the song “Gracias a la Vida.” My favorite version is by Mercedes Sosa. What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

ALEGRIA means soft white butterflies on a hot evening, fresh herbs, family and friends that are there for you, and beaches.


LatinX in Literature

“The act of moving someone is humbling”

Speaking_ the Truth_ Author Natalia Sylvester hopes to makes others feel seen

N Natalia Sylvester is the award-winning author of riveting novels “Chasing the Sun” and “Everyone Knows You Go Home.” Born in Lima, Peru, she came to the U.S. at the age of four and grew up in South Florida and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Catapult, Electric Literature, Latina magazine, McSweeney’s Publishing, and the Austin American-Statesman. Her debut YA novel, “Running,” will be published in May 2020.

NataliaSylv |

LOGRAR QUE ALGUIEN SE SIENTA CONMOVIDO ES UN HONOR”. By Susie Plascencia - Photos provided by talent What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

It means speaking the truth in hopes that your honesty and vulnerability resonate. Maybe this helps someone feel seen, or it inspires them to tell their story. The act of moving someone is humbling.

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

I grew up the youngest of many cousins and one sister, so I always wanted to be like them. I learned self-discipline and smarts from my sister Ursula. I learned to dream daringly from my cousin Franca, embraced my self-worth thanks to Flavia, and saw what true kindness looks like in Bianca. Aldo, my primo closest in age, taught me the meaning of loyalty.




What sentence or quote defines you?

There’s a Post-it in my office on which I wrote a piece of advice once shared with me by the writer Lindsey Donner: “Balance hard work and simple joy.” What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

Every day I’m becoming more aware of the fact that ALEGRIA isn’t just about joy, but about an underlying peace and the knowledge that when we’re the creators of our own joy, no one can take it away from us. This is something my mom has always said: lo que es tuyo, nadie te lo quita.

“I like the idea of inspiring versus influencing.”

Delighting Young Readers Celia C. Pérez Creates Fascinating Characters for Children and Teenagers

C Celia C. Pérez is the author of “The First Rule of Punk,” a 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book, a 2018 Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award Winner, and a 2018 Boston GlobeHorn Book Fiction and Poetry Honor Book. Her latest book for young readers is “Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers,” which was deemed “thought-provoking, timely, and laugh-outloud funny” by New York Times bestselling author Aisha Saeed. Celia lives in Chicago with her family where, in addition to writing books about lovable weirdos and outsiders, she works as a librarian. She is originally from Miami, Florida, where roosters and peacocks really do wander the streets.

55 SEGUIR MIS INSTINTOS Y ESCUCHAR MI VOZ INTERNA HA SIDO UN RETO”. By Susie Plascencia - Photos provided by talent

What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

The writer in me is overthinking the use of words, and I like the idea of inspiring versus influencing. To influence feels a little too much like an external force having an effect on someone. I hope that, if anything, my books and my story can inspire at least one reader to find their own way.

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

This is tough. Certainly, different people play important roles in different parts of my life. But for most of my life it’s been a challenge to follow my instinct and listen to my inner voice and do what feels right for me. I’m trying to be better about that, so right now, I am the most influential person in my life.

What sentence or quote defines you?

I don’t have any one phrase or quote that defines me, but here’s one I think of often. It’s from a poem in Pablo Neruda’s “Libro de las preguntas.” “¿A quién le puedo preguntar qué vine a hacer en este mundo?” What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

ALEGRIA means a celebration of Latino culture and life in all its diversity, complexity, and beauty


“I take very seriously how I cultivate nonhierarchical ethics for mentorship”

No to Social Inequity Editor, Writer and Teacher J. Michael Martinez Encourages the Community to Take a Stand



J. Michael Martinez is the author of “Museum of the Americas (Penguin, 2018)”, winner of the National Poetry Series and longlisted for the National Book Award. Another one of his books, “Heredities (LSU Press, 2009)”, made him the winner of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. He is also a visiting assistant professor of poetry at St. Lawrence University and lives in Canton, New York.

LA POBREZA, LA OPRESIÓN Y EL PESAR SON REALES Y, COMO COMUNIDAD, DEBEMOS ESTAR UNIDOS”. By Susie Plascencia - Photos provided by talent What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

The etymology of the word “influence” relates to “flow,” the free movement of destiny. I prefer this elemental understanding vs. the more recent comprehension of “influence,” as it’s been co-opted by finance capital. The latter is about representational power over others in a “market,” the power of branding/“visibility” (note, a market is not necessarily a community); the former is more about a participatory dynamic that one is immersed in with others. As an editor for a small press, as a writer, as a teacher, I take very seriously how I cultivate nonhierarchical ethics for mentorship; that is to say, to keep egos in check, to remember we’re all the same— that poverty, oppression, sorrow are real and, as a community, we need to stand together against social inequity.

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

JMMartinezPoet @j.michaelmartinez

One of the earliest memories of my mother: I was four or five, I’m holding her hand and we’re standing on a picket line, she is fighting for equal pay for Latinas and Latinos at a meat packing plant. My mother is, by far, the biggest influence on my life; her life is rooted in justice, family, loyalty, and acting honorably (to self and other), no matter the financial or social cost.


Now that I’m older and can reflect back with a bit more objectivity, I see how deep my mother’s influence has been, even despite my rebelliousness (or, it’s the foundation of my own punk/nonconformist ethic). Is there a sentence or quote that defines you?

“Every day is the beginning of life, Every life is the Beginning of Eternity,” from the early 20th century German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

When I hear “ALEGRIA,” I see the laughing faces of my mother, father, brothers, uncles and aunts, my cousins, at a BBQ at my grandma’s old adobe home in la colonia just outside my hometown of Greeley, Colorado; I feel my wife as we hold each other wherever in the world we may be; I hear the purr of my kittens as they climb over the blankets in the morning; I hear my friends talking poetry, as we write together, or watch bad (that is, amazing) 80’s action films. I don’t see MAGA hats, I don’t hear someone yelling at me to “go back to Mexico.” When I think of ALEGRIA, I see the Latinx community standing together, fighting injustice at all the invented borders trying to categorize and separate people from love and joy.

Defying_ the Dark_ “I believe in defying the dark in our lives with ALEGRIA”

Ingrid Rojas Contreras Uses Happiness as a Tool against Tragedies

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?


I Ingrid Rojas Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her first novel, “Fruit of the Drunken Tree,” was a Silver Medal winner in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Her writing has been described as impressive and thrilling, and has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Paris Review, BuzzFeed, Nylon, Guernica, and elsewhere. She is now working on a family memoir about her grandfather, a curandero from Colombia who was said to have the power to move clouds.

By Susie Plascencia - Photos provided by talent What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

I don’t think about being an influence as much as I think about showing up to all the territories of my work—on the page, on stage, in an interview—as authentic, unapologetic, and generous as I can be. I think there is power when artists from underrepresented groups do this, and I strive to do that.

The most influential person in my life is my mother. She’s a force of nature. She’s everything I want to grow up to be—she lives her truth a los cuatro vientos, as we say. She has also seen so much strife and violence in her life, but you would not be able to tell. That’s how much joy she projects into her daily life.

Is there a sentence or quote that defines you?

“That we find freedom, aliveness, and power not from what contains, locates, or protects us, but from what dissolves, reveals, and expands us.” —Eve Ensler. What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

I think a lot about joy. It’s our most powerful tool against the big and small tragedies of our lives. I believe in defying the dark in our lives with joy, our capability of having it and our right to it, no matter what is happening.

ingrid_rojas_c @i__rojascontreras

Most Influential LATINX

I appreciate everyone who has crossed paths with me, since everyone has shaped who I am today.


“Quienes influyen en los demás no tienen miedo de hablar sobre sus adversidades o metas”.

By Kelly Landaverde - Photos provided by talent

Boxer, Coach and Speaker Dalia Gomez Empowers Urban Youth


Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

Each and every person we have encountered in our lives has made us who we are. So, with gratitude, I appreciate everyone who has crossed paths with me, since everyone has shaped who I am today. But if I can speak of only one person, the queen that comes to mind right away is my mom, who is my grandma Josie Valenzuela, because of her compassion for everyone in her community, and especially toward small Latino businesses. She has been someone I love dearly, simply for being there.

Professional boxer Dalia “La Pantera” Gomez holds the 2015 California Golden Glove Championship title, the 2015 Puerto Rico vs. California Champion title, and is the 2016 Beautiful Brawler Champion. Gomez received a basketball scholarship to attend college and became the first to graduate in her family. She is also a coach, trainer, motivational speaker, and former Oakland Unified School district teacher, as well as the founder and executive director of a nonprofit, Vertical Skillz Outreach. Vertical Skillz empowers urban youth of color through outreach opportunities, mentorship, life skills training, and international travel experiences. The nonprofit’s mission is to build physical, mental, and character strength in students who often find themselves without access to resources. This July, “Coach G” took ten middle and high schoolers on an international exchange trip to Cuba.

@dalialapantera @verticalskillz /Dalia “La Pantera” Gomez /verticalskillz

As a matter of fact, she was the first person I saw when I was born. Before I was born, my papa was in Guadalajara, working, and my mother got hit by a truck while 7 months pregnant with me. Since she got sick, she came to the U.S.A. to stay with my grandma and I was born 5 weeks early.

What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

When I think of influence or being influential, I think of transparency and vulnerability. By this, I mean that those who are influential to others are not embarrassed to talk about their adversities or goals. Then, they are about action. People will connect with them and get inspired because now the queen or king of adversity becomes a motivator/ mentor/hero to them. It demands great responsibility, being a leader along with showing compassion and empathy. But it is the only way to build a bridge to others and to our community.


My abuela was also the first one to buy me a basketball. In fact, it was a yellow and purple one that cost 20 dollars in 1991, which was a lot of money to me, but she saw how happy I was when I saw it in the window and, well, she got it for me. Growing up, I would get in fights with boys who wouldn’t let me play basketball, so to have my own ball was a blessing. What sentence or quote defines you?

Be you, for you. Do good, feel good. GO VERTICAL! What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

The understanding that you are rich. Realizing - I - Create - Happiness.

HELPING ATHLETES SHINE By Kelly Landaverde - Photos provided by talent

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

An influential person in my life is my mom. Her kindness and love for her calling as a preschool teacher influence me to pursue a job I enjoy in a field I love. She is a person who finds happiness in simple things, such as helping a kid read. I find this influential, because a lot of times people have everything, and yet they are not happy. She not only inspires me to follow my dreams, but she also helps thousands of children to better themselves.

Sports Science Expert Carlos Santiago Gomez Promotes Proper Nutrition and Training

What sentence or quote defines you?

“Experience doesn’t come with age; it comes with preparation.” What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

Being influential is a gift, and people can use it for good or evil. Being influential is inspiring others with your actions, as well as motivating others to achieve their goals by being a supportive leader. What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

ALEGRIA, to me, is feeling fulfilled with the lifestyle you have.

Carlos Santiago Gomez is a recent college grad from California State University Northridge. He was born and raised in Mexico City and came to Los Angeles in 2015 to pursue a career in the field of Sports Science.


He started of working for The Mid Valley YMCA in Van Nuys, California during his freshman year of college. During his time at The YMCA, he developed and delivered nutrition and exercise programs for Hispanic families in hopes of educating families on the importance of these two things, particularly during the childhood stage. The experience he gained and the accomplishments he achieved while at The YMCA opened doors for him. He received an internship at EXOS, a leading company specializing in human performance. At EXOS, he worked with world-class coaches and assisted them in training professional and elite athletes, including the 2019 NFL Combine training group. The knowledge acquired and the efforts he made during his time at EXOS opened yet another door. Carlos became a performance intern for the LA Galaxy strength and conditioning department. Here, he helps professional soccer players maximize their training and game day performance. At the same time, he is head trainer for an upscale fitness center called S-Club, in Manhattan Beach, California.

Family, education and a commitment to your goals can take you anywhere you want.

“Muchas veces, la gente lo tiene todo, y sin embargo no está feliz”.


Most Influential LATINX

You can accomplish whatever you want, because only you set your own limits.

What sentence or quote defines you?

Success has been, and continues to be defined, as getting up one more time than you been knocked down. What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

Having the opportunity to show people around the world my story is ALEGRIA to me. I want others to know that it doesn’t matter if you come from a third world country. You can accomplish whatever you want, because only you set your own limits. ALEGRIA Magazine is a great way to show the example I want to set, and the examples of many other people who are also very influential in their fields.

GIVING IT HIS ALL By Kelly Landaverde - Photos provided by talent

Swimmer Marcelo Acosta Encourages Others to Never Give Up “Vi a mis hermanos nadar a diario y convertirse en mejores atletas y personas durante ese proceso”.


Marcelo Acosta is a professional swimmer from El Salvador who has made quite an impact in the world of sports and is currently training at the University of Louisville, in Kentucky. One of his many achievements was winning the men’s 400-meter freestyle swimming competition at the Central American and Caribbean Games 2018 in Colombia. His was the first gold medal for El Salvador at the games, held in Barranquilla. Acosta won in 3 minutes 50.61 seconds, beating out Mexican Ricardo David Vargas and Venezuelan Rafael Davila, who took home silver and bronze medals. Acosta also won a silver medal for his country in the 1,500-meter freestyle event in Colombia.

What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

He has broken records in different countries and, back in 2016, he made history by becoming the first swimmer from El Salvador to qualify for the Olympic Games with an “A” cut.

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

@mar2chelo /marceloacosta

It means showing leadership to a group of people by setting the tone, being an example and letting my actions do the talking.

My brothers. I grew up watching my brothers swim every day, becoming better athletes and people during the process. They had to retire early, start college and work due to lack of support from my country’s federation. Still, they taught me to never give up and keep working. This is something you must do until you achieve whatever is you want to achieve.



Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

There is not only one person that had an impact on my life so far, because I have had tremendous support from my entire family. They supported and trusted in my process throughout the years and believed in me even during the worst of times. For that, I will be forever grateful to them.

By Kelly Landaverde - Photos provided by talent

What sentence or quote defines you?

Tennis Player Marcelo Arevalo Strives to Inspire People from El Salvador

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

ALEGRIA truly means everything to me. I believe that in order to be able to do things with passion, love, and determination, you need to have that feeling of inner happiness.

Marcelo Rafael Arevalo Gonzalez, born on October 17th, 1990 in Sonsonate, El Salvador, currently lives in Fort Lauderdale. As a very successful tennis player, he truly is one of the most influential Latinx at this time. Known professionally as Marcelo Arevalo, the athlete started playing tennis when he was only eight years of age. His best ATP world ranking was #45 for doubles, #139 for singles. Roger Federer is one of Marcelo’s idols in the world of sports, and at the same time Marcelo is an idol to many people, especially in El Salvador. He has become a role model for younger players as well as a popular figure among tennis enthusiasts. When he’s not participating in matches or training, he enjoys listening to Latin music and watching movies such as his favorite,“Gladiator.” He also loves cars and motorcycles and considers them to be fascinating hobbies.

“Para hacer las cosas con pasión y amor, de manera decidida, necesitas tener esa sensación de dicha interna”.

What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

It means responsibility towards my country, especially towards those who follow tennis and sports. Furthermore, it motivates me to keep following my goals, because I see the positive impact it has on kids in El Salvador and on the Salvadorian tennis community in general. My example shows them that since I have been able to compete internationally at a high level, someday they could follow my footsteps and achieve their goals too.

To do things with passion, love, and determination, you need to have that feeling of inner happiness.

@marceloarevaloatp cheloarevaloatp / Marcelo Arevalo ATP


Most Influential LATINX

BEYOND SOCCER By Kelly Landaverde - Photos provided by talent

Athlete Janelly Farias Trusts Every Accomplishment Is Attainable

I BELIEVE MY PURPOSE IN THIS WORLD IS A LOT BIGGER THAN ME JUST PLAYING SOCCER. I want to exude self-confidence and help others believe in themselves. I am so open with my life because I want people to see that everything is possible if you have the right character traits, drive, passion, and love. I am simply me, and I know that by being myself, I can help others be themselves, too. My daily goal is to live a life that inspires others by doing what I love. I PRIDE MYSELF IN THE FACT THAT MY ACTIONS ALWAYS REFLECT MY BELIEFS AND MY CORE VALUES.

“Me enorgullece el hecho de que mis acciones siempre reflejen mis creencias y mis valores principales”.

Janelly Farias is 29 years old, an Orange County Native, and a professional athlete. As an astoundingly talented soccer player, she has represented the Women’s Mexico National Team since 2006. 62

Her hard work has extended beyond the soccer field. She graduated from UC Irvine and holds a B.A. in Criminology, Law and Society. She also graduated from Durham University, in England, where she received her M.A. in Youth Work Management. Additionally, Janelly has been a Harper for Kids Ambassador. Harper for Kids is a character development program aiming to teach young people essential traits that can help them achieve their personal best in life.

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

My mom. Because of her, I truly know what unconditional love is. Because of her, I know that anything is possible. No matter how difficult something may be, or if you feel trapped in a deep hole, there’s always a way out. My mom is the strongest, most loving person in my world.

The athlete took part in a televised competition, Exatlón Estados Unidos, which was on Telemundo in 2018. In June 2019, she was commentator and analyst for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, also on Telemundo.

What phrase or quote defines you?

“Everything I do, I do with love.”

She currently plays for Chivas, a popular team from Guadalajara, Mexico.


janellyfarias @janellyfarias




FREEING OTHERS FROM JUDGEMENT Ana Pompa Alarcón Rawls Wants Women to Share Their Stories without Fear

“Espero poder influir en las personas para que repartan amor y se protejan unas a otras”.

I hope to influence people to spread love and have each other’s back, regardless of where they come from, their income, their opportunities or their lack of opportunities.

What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

Influence to me means something that has an impact on how I act and think.

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?


My family. I grew up watching everyone trying to do better for us kids, finding creative solutions, exploring the world. My parents provided me and my siblings the opportunity to grow up bilingual and travel the world. Being multicultural has shaped me in so many ways. I can be every stereotype of an Austrian person that works hard and shows up on time and likes lots of planning. But I am also a fierce Latina that is passionate, loud and opinionated, and loves Selena. The influence my family and especially my parents provided for me is priceless and I am so grateful. For my children, I want the same. They make me want to be a more patient person that listens more, slows down and reads endless goodnight stories.

They shape the kind of person I want to be for them, I want to become and I want them to grow up watching. I don’t have it all figured out but they make me want to do my best at any given day and in any situation. This is an impact nothing else in my life has ever had on me.


For my business, impact means that we can touch women’s lives. Whether that is because they can share their story for the first time without fear, or because they finally feel heard, or because it gives them a tool to share kindness and support one another.


na Pompa Alarcón Rawls is the founder and CEO of findSisterhood, a company creating safe spaces for women to come together and support each other. She is half-Austrian, half-Mexican and lives with her two children, Leila, who is five, and Ezra, who is three, in Los Angeles. Ana started working on the findSisterhood app, meant for females to ask questions and share stories anonymously and without fearing judgement, in 2018. She has since launched a new product, featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine and many other publications. Her company has users in over 32 different countries and is the first 100% untraceable app for women.

What sentence or quote defines you?

“I can promise you that women working together – linked, informed and educated – can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet.” Isabel Allende. What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

ALEGRIA is doing so much amazing and important work for the Latinx community. It highlights wonderful leaders, events and things happening within our own community. Especially during a time like this, we need more stories, visibility & support. As a Latina, it makes me very proud to see how many jefas are out there rocking their businesses and taking over the world!








Abigail Harrison, Known as Astronaut Abby, Is an Advocate for STEM Education


bigail Harrison’s journey began at the young age of 13, when she set up a Twitter account under “AstronautAbby” in search of a quote from a NASA employee for a school project. This simple action eventually led Abby to where she is now. The school project research led to Abby meeting European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano, who offered to mentor her. Two years later, she attended his first launch to the International Space Station in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, and served as his Earth Liaison during his sixmonth mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

The Mars Generation (TMG) is Abby’s nonprofit. Now in its fourth year, it encompasses more than 1,800 students worldwide who participate in an innovative Student Space Ambassador Leadership program, which provides resources and mentorship to allow young people to share their love of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and space with their local communities. Through the funds raised, Abigail and TMG have sent 44 youths experiencing poverty on full scholarship, including transportation, to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Her leadership and community-building efforts have motivated others to pursue education and careers in STEM. Maybe more importantly, she supports and encourages those young people and their families who are the most underrepresented in the areas of science and space. Abby has received numerous awards and accolades for her work and continued dedication to the field. These includes Forbes 30 Under 30, 2019 Glamour’s College Woman of the Year, 2018 TIAA Difference Maker 100 Award Recipient, 2017 Eureka! Innovation Award Winner for Innovation in Education, 2017 Global Connections for Women Top 100 Women in the World, 2016’s 20 Under 20 Pioneers in STEAM presented by Huffington Post and Ford Motor Company, and Seventeen Magazine’s 17 Power Teens for 2016 Award.

She graduated from Wellesley College this year with degrees in Astrobiology and Russian, and plans to pursue a PhD. She continues her work as an active astrobiology researcher. What does “influence” or “being influential” mean to you?

To me, being influential means that you have a goal and a voice and you are willing to share both. Whether you share with one person or millions, influential people work to make meaningful differences in the world and in the lives of others by sharing their passion and knowledge.


“Para mí ser influyente significa que tienes una meta y una voz y estás dispuesto aA compartir ambas”.

Who is the most influential person in your life, and why?

My mentor, astronaut Luca Parmitano, has been one of the most influential people in my life. I met Luca when I was 13 years old and have been continually inspired by his excitement for space and his eagerness to support the next generation of explorers. When we met, he was willing to invest some of his time in advising me as to my own astronaut dreams, and that advice continues to guide me.


What sentence or quote defines you?

“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” - Erin Hanson What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

ALEGRIA represents embracing life and all it has to offer, and making sure to bring this life excitement to others whenever possible.



PASSIONATE ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY Cindy Montañez strives to protect land, water and especially trees


Her parents ignited a passion for the environment in Cindy at an early age when they pointed out environmental injustices in their neighborhood. At the age of 25, Cindy was elected as the youngest mayor and councilmember of her hometown of San Fernando. At 28, she made history by becoming the youngest woman elected to the California State Legislature, where she became a champion for the environment, sustainable urban planning and social justice.

puede hablar ni pelear por sí solo”.

What does being influential mean to you?

To me, influence means the ability to make an impact through change. It can be big or small. For example, you can influence a government bill or agency to protect the environment, or you can influence your friends and neighbors to become better guardians of our planet. At TreePeople, we try to do both. We work with state or city legislators and large corporations to create an urban forest management plan, and we team up with volunteers every week to plant and care for the trees in our area.


indy Montanez, CEO of environmental advocacy group TreePeople, is a lifelong Angeleno raised in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. She began volunteering with local community organizations at the age of 12. Her love for the environment began with her family. Cindy’s mother was raised in a remote, mountainous region of Veracruz, Mexico and her father in the dry border state of Chihuahua.

“El medio ambiente no

Cindy then moved on to serve as Assistant General Manager at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. She was a core part of the team transitioning the nation’s largest publicly-owned utility to cleaner energy and a more sustainable local water supply. She is currently a Board Member for the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and a Legislator-In-Residence at the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, exploring California and giving back to Los Angeles. She is inspired by the magic of her state’s ancient 2,000-yearold giant sequoia trees, the delectable taste of the fruit from her mother’s trees, and the ability to live and work inside oak woodlands within a major metropolis.


In fact, we are celebrating several individuals and partners this fall for our annual “An Evening under the Harvest Moon” event. Boeing has been a TreePeople partner for over 40 years, and they are committed to supporting our nature-based solutions to mitigating the spread of wildfires, which have plagued our region, and to restoring fire-scarred lands to their natural and native state. Save Our Canyon is a community-based organization which has mobilized a community to protect the Santa Monica mountains from largescale and destructive development, which will threaten the dwindling wildlife corridor in our area. Lastly, we will celebrate the influence that Beth Burnam has had in her community to promote wildfire resilience and home hardening. As the threat of wildfires grows worse every year, she has made it her life’s mission to educate everyone to be better prepared for wildfires and to be resilient. What does ALEGRIA mean to you?

Being in TreePeople’s Coldwater Canyon park gives me ALEGRIA every day. Our yurt offices are nestled in a 45-acre park and it’s a dream come true. Being among the trees and wildlife energizes me to continue doing the work that I do. I invite others to visit this public park or to attend our Once upon a Canyon Night summer performance series. These events under the stars are magical, and something that everyone should experience.



Profile for ALEGRIA Bilingual Magazine

ALEGRIA Local Heroes a Sign of Hope (FALL)