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EXPIRES 12/31/2013 • CODE: LATIN





Jolie R. Gonzalez

Publisher / Editor In Chief

Victor Padilla

VP/ Operations manager Misha Wong Creative Director nikko gonzalez Publishing assistant Editorial team Alexandra Posada Staff Writer – La Teen Knows HART Staff Writer – Ask El Transportation Professional Pastor David Murphy Staff Writer – Ask El Pastor

CENTRAL Florida Letter from La Editora in Chief By: Jolie Gonzalez

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Jaci Velasquez By: Victor and Jolie

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Health & Fitness: ObamaCare Pg 8,9 By: Jeffrey Mercado

SOUTH & SOUTH West Florida (Flip It

to find these features!)

Meet the South & South West Florida Team! Claribel Levinson, New Regional Marketing Director for South West, Florida Gabriela Guerrero, New Regional Marketing Director for South Florida

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Marketing & Advertising Consultants

Health & Fitness:

Claribel Levinson – South West Florida Regional Marketing Director

Where did I go?

Gabriela Guerrero – South Florida Regional Marketing Director

2013 Latino Movers N Shakers – Central Florida

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Pg 12, 13

Bochinche Blvd Pg

Susan Price – Tampa Bay Business Development Manager Carmen Santiago – Orange & Osceola Counties Business Development Specialist/Special Reporter Sergio Sodre – Tampa Bay Hispanic Liaison / Business Development Specialist Other Florida Counties: (813) 407-6866 Office or Photography / Video Juan Ruiz of Ziur Photography Special Events Reporter/Photographer

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La Teen Knows… By Alexandra Posada


On The Cover

Valery Ortiz – Central Florida

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Luigi Martinelli – Special Events Photographer / Videographer


4th Quarter 2013 Cover: Designed by Misha Wong

Diana Laura – South Florida Cover

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2013 Latino Movers N Shakers – Central Florida

Esperanza Road Pg

9 10, 11

Hispanic Jews…… who are they? Are you one?

Restaurant Section Pg 12,13 Restaurant Reviews, Restaurant Directory and Recipes

As you know Latin Times Magazine is now a print, web AND mobile friendly publication!

Latin Times Magazine QR Code Reference Directory. 4th Quarter 2013

That’s right… Latin Times is Green Friendly!

Main Office: (813) 407-6866 or (813) 407-7191 | Fax: (813) 489-2422 Latin Times Media Website: | Other Websites: or,, Proud Members of the following Organizations: • Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay • United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced without the expressed written consent from Latin Times Media, Inc., 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. For a one (1) year subscription (4 issues), please sign on to our website: to order! Special ThanX to God. Thank you to GOD for the many blessings you have placed in my life! Thank you to my church family, Shoresh David Messianic Jewish Synagogue. Thank you to Carmen Santiago for being a great mom, Orlando & Josefina Rodriguez for being great parents. To my big brother –I love you. Nikko Gonzalez for being the best son in the world, step forward your future awaits you. Thank you to my husband Victor, you are my hero, I love you! Thank you to Zion & Victoria you are the sweetest and most beautiful little girls in the world, and to all my wonderful friends.

DANAHY&MURRAY TRIAL LAWYERS TOLL FREE: 1-877-258-0999 Danahy & Murray, P.A. es un bufete de abogados que sólo representa los asegurados en contra su propia compañía de seguros. Nuestro Campo Profesional Incluye Reclamos Sobre: ●

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901 West Swann Avenue, Tampa, FL 33606 T (813) 258-3600 • F (813) 258-3321 * Hablamos Español

Hola Mi Gente Bonita de la Florida!

Welcome to the new and exciting edition of Latin Times Magazine! Amigos y amigas there is lots going on this time of year! Ya pasamos el mes de herencia hispana (Hispanic Heritage Month September 15th Thru October 15th) pero (but) we hispanos stretch that until the end of October, which of course brings us into Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays because it’s a time when we get to gather with loved ones and share with each other what we are most thankful for. (Although I do maintain that every day is a day for giving thanks!) Thanksgiving takes us into Las Navidades and to the fun Latino tradition of Parrandas, which takes us to New Years! Another favorite for me because it’s a day of reflection…again another day of being thankful, and of course it’s a day of planning…. Saying good bye to yesterday and to whatever you want to leave behind…and saying hello to

tomorrow, to the next year of your life, to the next opportunity and to the chance to improve. During this time of year you will find people saying goodbye to one vice or other…. For some it’s smoking, and for others it’s drinking and for others it’s overeating, etc… all of these are great things to say Good bye too! Every year during the last week of the year I think of how the New Year will be so much better, and for me 2014 will mean a NEW ME….. one that is more conscious of health and weight, one that strives to be a better daughter, mother, wife, friend, community leader and business person. I believe 2014 will be the best year of my life – I just know it! Why? Because in the last few months I have been finding myself again, losing the weight I had put on these last few years, and I have learned to value my health again. I am sure most of you can relate (at one point or other) to feeling like a stranger trapped inside of an overweight body and asking yourself where did I go? It had been years since I recognized myself in that mirror, but thanks to

my 90 Day Body By Vi Challenge and my Challenge Bootcamp weekly sessions, as of this issue going to press I have managed to lose over 20 Lbs. and Victor has lost over 25 Lbs! I still can’t recognize myself but at least now I know that I will be back soon and Christmas day is my goal! If you know someone that needs to lose weight, and get healthy... please encourage them to call me right away, I love the Body By Vi Challenge so much that Victor and I have decided to represent the product to the Hispanic/Latino community! Visit my website for more info: http:// or our new Latino Health Website: Don’t Miss the 3rd Annual Cuban Sanwich Festival is Saturday, March 22nd, 2014! Until the next time… May God Bless You ALL!

Jolie Gonzalez

Jaci Velasquez

Latin Times Media and Magazine recently had the incredible opportunity to interview, in an exclusive interview Jaci Velasquez. To the both of us (Victor and I) having the opportunity to meet this extremely anointed Christian singer and performer, was a dream come true because at one point or another, Jaci Velasquez’s music had deeply touched us and had helped us to get past those difficult and impossible moments by reminding us of that we are God’s children by encouraging us to have faith… by reminding us of God’s promises. From telling us to “Lay it down” at God’s feet, and by encouraging us to get on our knees before our father and to trust him. There’s nothing like life experience to take an award-winning artist to a whole new level of creativity. Just ask Jaci Velasquez. Much has happened since she first burst on the scene as a fresh-faced teenager possessing an emotionally-charged voice that breathed life into such hits as “Every Time I Fall” and “On My Knees.” Although still in her early 30’s, her career spans over a decade, her songs, and lyrics always saying exactly what we needed to hear –when we needed to hear it. With sixteen #1 radio hits, 17 albums, 7 Dove Awards, 3 RIAA Gold Records and 3 RIAA Platinum records under her belt, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the accredited recording artist, Jaci Velasquez.

The title track of her most recent solo collection, Diamond, is appropriate for Velasquez. Just as pressure, depth and intense heat lead to the formation of the world’s most precious gem, Velasquez’s artistry has been shaped by pressures of early success, the unrelenting glare of the spotlight and her unyielding desire to serve God even as He was shaping the young artist. “It’s interesting how things evolve,” Velasquez says. “You evolve as a person, and all the stories that happened when you were younger, you still could tell them, but you view them differently. I look at everything differently now.’ On Diamond, Velasquez reveals her considerable gifts as a songwriter, writing or co-writing on nine of the album’s 11 tracks. She found the songwriting process exhilarating. “It’s like a rebirth,” she sighs. “I don’t think I ever lived until now.” The title track encapsulates where Velasquez is at this point in her life. “I wrote that after my kids were born,” she says. “I look back at the past and I look at the future and I say, this is what life is about! God can make anything!” she says. “He can take a stone that nobody cares about, chip, chip, chip away and find something beautiful in all the rubble. Sometimes the flaws in the diamond are what make it sparkle the brightest.” This is a frantically busy, yet extremely sweet time in the life of a gifted artist that has grown up under the gaze of her audience.

“I’ve learned that I know absolutely nothing, and yet I’ve learned so much,” Velasquez smiles when thinking about the past few years. “I’ve learned that my marriage is key. . . and also the love that I have for my children. It bubbles up inside of me and it overflows like crazy, like a waterfall. I imagine if I love them this much, then how much does Jesus? And God? How much do they love us? We get a small picture of it on this earth. That’s really what I’ve learned from my family.” For Jaci Velasquez, it’s been an incredible journey that coalesces in the music on “Diamond”. Like that of most precious of stones, Velasquez continues to shine, reflecting God’s grace and mercy through her music and her life. Here is a taste of our one on one EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Jaci Velasquez! To get the full affect and listen or view our FULL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW –visit our website exclusive-interview-with-jaci-velasquez

Or use your QR Scanner to visit the page now!

Can Latinos be Sephardic Jews? By Victor Padilla

Ever since I was a child I was always drawn to Israel, the land, its people, and birthplace of my King and Savior Yeshua Hamashea (Jesus Christ). When I would hear Hebrew songs or Hebrew spoken from the Holy land as most people call it, a yearning would grow inside of me to know more about this land and her people.

In 1482, the King and Queen of Spain wanted the Jews to convert to the mother church that was in power. They commissioned a Spanish Monk named Torquemada to devise a way to convert the Jews. He designed and executed the Spanish inquisition, which led to our people to be murdered and butchered for a period of ten years.

It was not long ago that my wife and I began to research our lineage from the Island of Puerto Rico, back to Spain the mother land, and after several meetings with our friend, Sephardic Rabbi Gary Fernandez, it was to our surprise that we discovered we were in fact descendants of Sephardic Jews who are traced back to the lineage of King David, Joseph (Son of Jacob), and in the first Temple period. The original inhabitants of Jerusalem were the Sephardim which were the Holy Temple Keepers under King Solomon until the Babylonians came to conquer Israel, destroying the Temple and almost wiping out the Sephardic Jews who were being slaughtered.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus was set to take his famous journey to the Americas. Columbus tells the Queen that he can find no one who wants to join him on his voyage on the three ships she has built for him, because they believed the world was flat. The Queen assures him that she has plenty of people she can give him because the dungeons were full of “criminals.” They were the “criminals” of the state... the Sephardic Jews! The King then issued a decree to banish all the Jews from Spain for good.

Many escaped to Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Turkey and even Salonica, still others escaped to a place where King Solomon had created an import export business (in the shipping trade to finance the building of God’s Temple) a place called Tar-shish, a peninsula also called “Iveria” Ivri means “Hebrew.” Iveria means “the place of the Hebrews” thus also known as the “place of the Jews” which is better known as “the Iberian peninsula.” Many centuries later, this area became known as Spain – La Madre Patria of Latin America. The Jewish Settlers found the ground to be fertile and the climate perfect for them. Unfortunately while all of Israel was forced to serve to the will of the Babylonian King for 70 years, the Sephardic Jews continued to serve freely the Sephardim and were living freely as Jews, keeping the original covenant given at Mt. Sinai, in Sefarad.

The expulsion of the Jews from Spain gave Columbus the opportunity to fill his ships to the brim with Sephardic Jews. He arrived not in America, but in the Caribbean and South America first, where today the majority of the Latino/Hispanic people have Sephardic Jewish roots. Whether you choose to believe this or not, if you are a Latino, there is a very big possibility that you are a Sephardic Jew. This is an exciting revelation because, Jews are God’s chosen people, and if you read the Bible, in Obadiah 1:20 it says that in the end times before Messiah returns, the Sephardic Jews will return to their homeland Israel and this will fulfill the prophecy and our King can return to rule and reign. You can be a part of this great end time prophetic event, here is the web address to see if your surnames appear on the list and if it does then get ready for the real revelation of who you really are! Shalom and may Jehovah bless you!

My relationship with God…

By John Oliva President Oliva Tobacco

Recently, my friend, Victor Padilla, called to ask about a group of men he heard met at our building every week to study the word of God. He had spoken to Tim Paskert, the young man who leads and moderates our bible study and was impressed. He asked if I would write something for the Latin Times about my relationship with God. I initially turned him down and suggested that Tim was much more capable of this task but even before fully verbalizing this response I experienced the sensation one feels when consciously choosing the “easy” rather than the “right” course of action. I was coping out and knew it so I stopped mid-sentence, accepted his invitation and thanked him for the opportunity. My preference would be to demonstrate what I believe in by how I live, but I believe God wants it heard as well as demonstrated that I have no problem stating my relationship with Him to anyone, and I don’t. It is simple. He is my Creator. He is the Being that proved his love by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross for my wrongdoings so I can spend eternity with Him as I have chosen. He is the only Being to have resurrected Himself from the dead as prophesized. He is the Being that guides me on a daily basis to make the right choices. Admittedly, I have too often not followed His guidance but it was and remains always my decision. God is with me 24/7 from birth to eternal life and He is available to everyone who accepts Him as I have. That’s just about how my relationship with God has been since I can remember although there have been some subtle changes as I have aged. My prayers to and conversations with Him have taken a more direct form. The Holy Spirit is with me every day so I speak directly to Him in the same way I would speak to my best friend and, yes He speaks back, just not out loud yet. I mostly ask Him to remove the shadow from the cloud of doubt that seems to block his eternal light from time to time and He always complies. It’s so simple and it’s just like He says; all you have to do is ask.

Like most human relationships, little by little I started to take the one I had with God for granted and believed I was in control of just about everything in my life so about six years ago I got a real spiritual wakeup call that let me know unequivocally that I was in control of nothing. I accepted this fact immediately and asked for His forgiveness. Again, He complied. At this point I decided to read the bible. Although I had attended Catholic school for 12 years I had never really read nor consciously studied the world’s number one bestseller. About six months later, The Holy Spirit, enlisted the services of my close friend, Mondy Flores, to start a bible study with only one simple rule: It was to be strictly non-denominational. We would focus only on the Word. Our first meetings consisted of four regular attendees: John Reaves, Wade Entzminger, Mondy, and myself. We met at John Reaves’s office and welcomed all who wanted to come. We began to grow and moved to our cigar factory in West Tampa a couple of years ago. Everything fell into place perfectly. Tim Paskert, fresh out of Theology school, took over as our moderator/ referee (we have some energized discussions and tend to go off in tangents more often than not). One of our most loyal attendees, Dave Brewer, named our group “The Cigar City Bible Study” and the name stuck. The study has grown to an average of about 25 to 30 guys ranging in age from the mid 20’s to the mid 70’s. We definitely have more serious fun than any group I have ever been a part of and, from every indication; this study has had a positive influence on every single participant in one form or another. For me it is my time to learn, open my mind and give serious thought on why I’m here, where I’m going, where my priorities are, where they should be and why. It’s just a happy time where I have seen what I would define as miracles and where I strengthen my personal relationship with God and I am filled with the sincere desire to have everyone experience the same happiness and peace this relationship has given me.

Health & Fitness

Obamacare finally underway! federal governments’ way of directly helping you pay for your private insurance) and the companies offering Qualified Health Plans (QHP). To be considered a QHP the policy must include the ten essential benefits the complete list can be found at but the most important is preventative office visits, lab tests, X-rays, child immunizations, flu and more are included without any copays or deductibles. The bottom line is Obamacare really does help millions of Americans who previously couldn’t qualify or couldn’t afford health coverage. As your local insurance agent we strive to deliver the highest quality, unbiased information 100% free of charge. With services in English and Spanish and access to over 113 companies nationwide we’re sure to have an affordable product that fits your unique needs.

By: Jeffrey Mercado The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare is finally underway despite a lengthy government shutdown and over 40 attempts to stop the new law from going into effect it’s here to stay. What Obamacare does is it gives millions of Americans access to Affordable Health Care millions of doctors, hospitals and some urgent care clinics nationwide. Some of the highlights in the new law that many people don’t know about is you can choose from over ten private health insurance companies here in Florida that are offering an average of 15 plans each on the Healthcare Exchange. The main objective the exchange is to provide a one stop resource for consumers to apply for a subsidy (the

En Español: La Ley de Protección al Paciente y Cuidado de Salud Asequible u OBAMACARE está finalmente en marcha a pesar de un largo cierre del gobierno y más de 40 intentos de detenerla, pero ya está aquí para quedarse. Obamacare da el acceso a millones de estadounidenses a poseer protección a nivel de cuidado de la salud y atención de urgencias en todo el país. Algunos de los aspectos más destacados que mucha gente no sabe, es que usted puede elegir entre más de 10 compañías privadas de seguros de salud en Florida, ofreciendo un promedio de 15 planes en el intercambio de cuidados de la salud con OBAMACARE. El principal objetivo del intercambio es proporcionar un subsidio para los consumidores (El gobierno le ayudará pagando un porcentaje de su seguro

privado) y para las empresas que ofrecen planes de salud Calificados (PLC). Para ser considerado en un PLC, la póliza debe incluir los 10 beneficios esenciales que ofrece el programa (véalos en www.  adicional de las visitas preventivas, exámenes de laboratorio, rayos X, vacunas para los niños, gripe, etc., esto y más están incluidos sin ningún copago o deducibles. Lo más importante de OBAMACARE es que realmente ayuda a millones de estadounidenses que antes no podían calificar o no podían pagar la cobertura de salud. Como “Su Agente Local de Seguros” nos esforzamos por ofrecer la más alta calidad, información imparcial 100% gratuita, con los servicios en inglés y español, y el acceso a más de 113 empresas a nivel nacional. Estamos seguros de tener la mejor opción que mejor se adapte a usted y su familia. To contact Your Local Insurance Agent in English call Jeff direct 727-417-5534 or For Spanish call Jurany Andrea direct 407-221-1622 or For information and to apply online visit para espanol

Health & Fitness


did I go?

By Jolie Gonzalez-Padilla I looked in the mirror every day, and there she was, this stranger that was always staring back at me, she looked a little like me – in a distorted way, but it wasn’t me, of that I was sure of.   I never questioned who she was, or why she was there, or how long she intended to stay--- I just let her stay.  The longer she stayed, the further away I felt, until one day –I realized that she was more real than I was!    I had been gone for years before I suddenly began to snap out of it, every morning when I saw her staring back at me, it made me mad!   I began to get angry, she had been here long enough, it was time for her to go.  I was sick of missing me… and sick of not being able to wear my nice cloths, sick of her getting bigger and bigger, and sick of me being gone.    

It had been years since I recognized myself in that mirror, but this time I was determined to change that. It’s been a few weeks since I made that decision and in that time I had managed to lose 15 Lbs., I still can’t recognize myself, still have such a long way to go, but at least now I know that I am on the way back and that I will be back soon, my goal is to be brand new by New Years… I don’t want to make a resolution to lose weight AFTER the new year, as I had done the year before…. NO this years New Years’ will be celebrated with me looking fabulosooooo!    The Diet: The Body By Vi (Visalus) 90 Day Challenge! My husband and I are currently using the Transformation Kit, which is their best weight loss package! We have a group of team mates and friends, who are also trying to lose weight and who have joined us on this journey. My husband Victor and I joined the 90 Day Challenge by Visalus. We love the diet so much and even though we admit to cheating a little (lot) we are thrilled to report that the diet is working.

I want to encourage you, if you need to lose weight, join us on our diet! Visit my diet Body Bi Vi – I am now officially a Rising Star Director, and I can help you get on the diet. Visit my site: joliegonzalezpadilla.

About Visalus: ViSalus, is a company that has helped millions of people in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom transform their health and fitness through the Body By Vi Challenge™. The Latino community is more likely to be overweight or obese. Visalus is improving and expanding its reach to the more than 50 million U.S. citizens of Hispanic descent in a crucial step in ViSalus’s global expansion and, most importantly, in its mission to help people lose weight. “Hispanics are 1.2 times more likely to become obese than non-Hispanics,” said Nick Sarnicola, Co-Founder and Global Ambassador of ViSalus. “This is an important constituency for us and we are excited to bring the Body By Vi Challenge to them to change more lives that are truly at-risk.” There are more than 5,000 independent ViSalus promoters of Latino heritage.

If you want to lose weight, and get healthy... join us on our challenge TODAY! Visit my site: joliegonzalezpadilla. Attend our NEXT Challenge Party and try it for yourself! Email me at for more information!

Spot Light on Local Latinos have high insurance copays or some don’t want certain tests on their insurance. We get children testing for allergies all the way to senior citizens testing their arthritis or glucose levels. Latin Times: What is your favorite Latin Dish? Carlos: That’s a tough one. I love peruvian ceviche, but being Colombian, I have to have bandeja paisa and sancocho.

Carlos Roldan Name: Carlos Roldan What is your Profession? Phlebotomist Your Pais: Colombia Hometown: Cali Latin Times: How did you get started in your career? Carlos: After going through years of immigration red tape, I really wanted a career to further myself for my family. I took some classes and got certified and was lucky enough to find a job in my career path very quickly as an intern first, then grew to run the office within 2 years.

Latin Times: Tell us about your family Carlos: My mother and brother are here with me in Tampa. They are my lifeline. I am also now lucky enough to have the most incredible son imaginable. He is my heart. Latin Times: Who is a hero/role model that you admire (Living or deceased) and why do you admire them? Carlos: Stephen Hawkins. I could sit and watch, read or listen to his ideas on the universe and life every day. I admire him for not just accepting what he’s told, but pushing the limits and deciding for himself to investigate what most are afraid to question.

Latin Times: What type of people can you help with the services you offer in your job? Carlos: Anyone really. Most of the people that come to me do not have insurance or

Latin Times: How did you get started in your career? Patricia: As a 16 year-old high school graduate, in Colombia, I had to decide what career to pursue. I really wanted to become an artist but this was not an option. Thus, I opted for law school not really knowing what I was getting into. Luckily, I truly enjoyed studying and then practicing law. Upon relocating to Tampa I had to make a career choice once more. This time, however, I went back to school and became a US lawyer without thinking about it twice. Latin Times: Please tell us about your biggest obstacles, and how you have overcome them. Patricia:. As an immigrant I quickly learned that I had to reinvent myself in the U.S. Back home I was a “doctora” while here my Colombian law degree was useless. At the age of 40, with English as a second language and young children at home, going back to law school was a daunting idea. However, with my kids and husband’s support I was able to do it. I encourage all foreign lawyers to do the same. Studying hard paid off. I graduated with honors from Stetson College of Law and passed the Florida Bar on the first try. I got my professional life back! Latin Times: Tell us about your family Patricia: When we got married, my husband of 15 years, Mark, had 4 children. I had 2. Our house is like an accordion that can stretch to fit them all and shrink back when the two of us are alone. Right now we have 4 living out of state, one back with us temporarily between schools, and the youngest still in high school. With these many kids there’s a lot of cooking and cleaning and life is never boring. I love it!

Latin Times: What do you enjoy most about you what you do? Carlos: The people. I love just interacting with people. I make them laugh in an environment that most find scary (getting their blood drawn). Latin Times: Please tell us about your biggest obstacles, and how you have overcome them. Carlos: Getting my green card 5 years ago after being here since I was a child. That was a big one. I grew from that experience though and it gave me focus to get me where I am today.

Name: Patricia Gomez What is your Profession? Attorney at Law Your Pais: Colombia Hometown: Barranquilla

Patricia gomez

Latin Times: Who is a hero/role model that you admire (Living or deceased) and why do you admire them? Patricia: My parents, both deceased, continue to inspire me because of the coherence with which they lived their lives. They were not perfect but they had clear values and were true to them. They were loving and respectful to everybody. They were unpretentious, grateful people, with big hearts. They taught by their actions and not just their words. The older I get the more I value the wonderful example they gave us and hope that I may also live a fruitful life and give back to others as much as they did.

Spot Light on Local Latinos Gretchien G. Pujals Station in Tampa, FL has given me the opportunity to represent our Hispanic Community, the fastest growing segment of the US Population.

Diane Agudelo-Vega & Hector Vega Name: Diane Agudelo-Vega and Hector Vega What is your Profession? Owners of Dulce Cafe Your Pais: Colombia and Puerto Rico Hometown: Tampa, FL

Latin Times: How did you get started in your career/business? Diane and Hector: We have always been fans of good food and pleasant dining experiences. One day we started talking about a bakery/cafe concept, where you could go read a book while drinking cafe con leche or enjoy a good Latin pastry in a relaxing atmosphere and realized there was no place like that around. A few months passed and we decided to take on the task of bringing our idea to life. After 7 long months of actively working on getting started, Dulce Cafe Bakery opened its doors in South Tampa. Latin Times: Please tell us about your biggest obstacles, and how you have overcome them. Diane and Hector: Being new in the industry was a big obstacle. We had to learn everything through trial and error. Things like purchasing equipment to hiring the right team of people to work with were very difficult. We are still working through this on a daily basis, but we have learned many things by being patient and persistent. Latin Times: Who is a hero/role model that you admire (Living or deceased) and why do you admire them? Diane and Hector: Diane-somebody that I admire greatly is my father. He has taught me a lot about being business minded, hardworking and persistent. Not only is he a role model for my entrepreneurial skills, but more for his kind and generous personality. The number one thing he has taught me overall is to always put God first and thrust him with everything. Hector-My mother. She was a single mother of 3 and always worked very hard for us to have everything.

Name: Gretchien G. Pujals What is your Profession? Local Sales Manager @ WYUU-92.5 MAXIMA FM / CBS Radio Tampa Bay Your Pais: Puerto Rico Hometown: Guaynabo Latin Times: What do you enjoy most about you what you do? Gretchien: I enjoy everything about what I do! It is one of my passions! I enjoy meeting people and helping them! Working in Media/Radio allows me to reach/meet a lot of people from different Cultures, interests, Professional and social levels, from different Companies and help them promote their business’, events and their growth. We offer plenty of opportunities, WYUU-92.5 MAXIMA FM and CBS Radio also offers Digital opportunities such as streaming spots, hyperlinked banners, audio/ video pre-rolls, home page takeovers and e-marketing among others; and events such as our “MAXIMA Concierto Herencia Hispana” which has been successful for eight years in a row since 2006. Also, being a Latin Woman (“Puertorriqueña”) working in Hispanic Media/Radio, leading the strongest Latin FM Radio

Latin Times: Tell us about your family Gretchien: God has blessed me with a beautiful Family!! My Family is my Life, my everything!! My gorgeous daughter is studying Special Education at USF St. Pete, FL and it is part of the National Dean’s list. She’s doing her internship and just got certified/started working as a Substitute Teacher in Hillsborough County Public Schools; My handsome son in eighth Grade, is a Scout, football player, plays the Tuba, loves to workout, play video games; and my handsome Husband/Father of my “Kids” who just opened his owned Co., loves Sports is a Scout Master and is being very supportive with my career. Latin Times: Who is a hero/role model that you admire (Living or deceased) and why do you admire them? Gretchien: My Heroes and Role Models are My Parents! They raised me and my three Sisters with a lot of love, respect and values. They taught us to be strong, humbles, honest, believe in ourselves, to have courage, to always be ourselves, to always respect and help others and to never give up as we could accomplish everything we wanted in life. They’ve been married for 47 years, are retired now but they were both admirable professionals, are wonderful Human beings and they’re both Cancer Survivors. They are the reason I am who I am. I love them and admire them with all my heart!! God bless my Family!!


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“ He visto el proceso democrático en acción.”

Patrick Brathwaite, estudiante del Instituto de Honores de HCC e interino del Centro Washington

A través de la asociación académica de Hillsborough Community College con el Centro Washington, Patrick hizo un internado con CNN en ambas convenciones nacionales de los republicanos y demócratas. HCC ha sido el único colegio comunitario seleccionado para esta prestigiosa asociación— esta es una de las tantas oportunidades que ofrecemos a nuestros estudiantes con una atractiva experiencia de aprendizaje. Con clases pequeñas, matrícula factible y transferibilidad garantizada a las universidades estatales, es fácil ver por qué más de 47,000 estudiantes eligen HCC. Hillsborough Community College favorece la igualdad de acceso y oportunidad de empleo.

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LUZ URBAEZWEINBERG I derived great experience that made me who I am today and got me started on where I am today.

What is your Profession? 1. Commissioner, City of Aventura, Florida 2. Director of Communications, Bouygues Construction’s Port Miami tunnel and Brickell City Centre projects 3. Gubernatorial Appointee, MiamiDade Expressway Authority Your Pais--Hometown: I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1972 to Dominican parents and I was raised between both islands until we moved to Miami in 1985. Latin Times: How did you get started in your career? Luz: Which one? (Laughs!) – My first real, “adult” job was at age 20 as case manager for Dr. Leonard Haber, a respected forensic Psychologist (and former Miami Beach Mayor) who taught me all about effective writing, public speaking, managing the media and people! From those 11 years working on some of the best highprofile criminal cases in South Florida,

Latin Times: Please tell us about some of your biggest obstacles, and how you have overcome them. Luz: There are many who look at me and see a Woman, a Hispanic and an Afro-Latina at that, but I have never viewed those as an obstacle or perceived myself to have had obstacles in my career, and I believe that is the first step to overcoming those. I see any situation I encounter, positive or negative, as an opportunity, and I believe that attitude has served me very well. Latin Times: What organizations are you involved with? Luz: I am Vice President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) and sit on the Vice Provost Executive Council of my alma matter, Florida International University Biscayne Bay Campus. I am a member of the CASEnergy Coalition, the Aventura Marketing Council, the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce and the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Latin Times: Describe a “Big” moment that happened for/to you……. Luz: I have been fortunate to have many “big” moments throughout the last twenty years of my career, but

I have to pick my favorite “Career Maker” to be going on stage with the future president of the United States in 2008 to ask a question on Foreign Trade during the NALEO Presidential Forum in Washington, D.C. We were live on national TV and in front of hundreds of elected officials and members of the media. I ignored the specific directions given relative to our time on stage and before asking my question of Senator Obama, stated, “It is an honor to stand beside you as a Puerto-Rican born Jewish mother of three with Afro-Dominican blood in her.” The crowd went wild with laughter and applause, and I spent about an hour after the forum ended doing media interviews on my perspective of the election as a representative of all the minorities and communities I described myself to be. It was definitely a defining moment for me and identified me as a leader in the organization. Latin Times: Tell us about your family Luz: I have three amazing children that I couldn’t be prouder of: Jonathan is 20 and Jessica is almost 19, both attend Miami-Dade College on a scholarship. And my baby, Justin is 12 years old and is in the 7th grade. My mother lives near me, and I have four siblings all living here in Florida. My baby brother lives in Tampa and I visit him as often as possible. We are an extremely close knit, loving and supportive family.

Sef Gonzalez to be able connect folks to their new “Favorite” restaurants & food trucks. When I get a Tweet, Facebook comment or Email thanking me for suggesting a particular joint, it makes me feel great. And helping to get the word about some great local mom & pop shop is great too. Remember to #EatLocal

What is your Profession? Food Blogger & Event Curator Your Pais: 1st Generation American, my parents are Cuban. Hometown: Westchester, Florida Latin Times: How did you get started in your career? Sef Gonzalez: After fifteen years in retail management I was burned out. One day I was just stressed out over the whole thing and my wife Marcela suggested I write a blog about my favorite Burgers in Miami. She also suggested the name and so the Burger Beast blog was born. Latin Times: What do you enjoy most about you what you do? Sef Gonzalez: It’s a great feeling weight loss success D!

Latin Times: What is in the future for your Food Truck events? Sef Gonzalez: I can’t reveal my secrets about the Food Truck Events but I have a new found focus on Food Events that feature restaurants like my recent Frita Showdown, and the upcoming South Beach Wine & Food Festival event Medianoches & Martinis which I’m curating. Latin Times: Tell us about your family Sef Gonzalez: I grew up with my maternal Grandparents (Gollo & Maruca), my Mom (Cary), Dad (Serafin) and younger sister (Michelle). A typical Cuban in Miami upbringing ala the classic show ¿Que Pasa USA?. We used to sit together at the dining room table as a family every night, enjoy dinner and one another’s company. My late grandparents were very supportive of


“I wanted to fit into an amazing costume that I wore when I was 18…

weight loss success


Marie Osmond lost

50 LBS.*

whatever I threw myself into whether it was learning Guitar in my teens to my little independent film store in the heart of our neighborhood, Westchester. Both of them were not around to see the great success of the Burger Beast blog unfortunately. And....although she prefer I never speak of her, my wife is an integral and important part of the success I have received. It was her idea after all.

Latin Times: Who is a hero/role model that you admire (Living or deceased) and why do you admire them? Sef Gonzalez: My late Grandfather was the voice & palate of my family. He had Cafe con Leche & Tostadas for breakfast every day. He loved Caldo Gallego and Pastelitos de Carne. He always knew where the best spots were, which kept us driving all around town to eat from restaurants he had “heard” about. It was always Thursday night cause that was my Mom’s half day at work. I can still hear his voice when I eat at some those places today like Rio Cristal where we shared many meals as a family. Man, I miss that dude.






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†Offer good on new 28-Day Auto-Delivery programs only. Savings vary based on plan purchased. Free shipping Continental US only. With this offer you receive an additional discount off the Full Retail Value with each consecutive 28-Day Auto-Delivery order. Additional 5% discount applied to each of the first five consecutive 28-Day plan deliveries up to 50% total savings. With Auto-Delivery, you are automatically charged and shipped your 28-Day program once every 4 weeks unless you cancel. You can cancel Auto-Delivery at any time by calling 1-800-727-8046. Other restrictions apply. Call or see website for details. The Nutrisystem Select program is available to Continental U.S. residents only and cannot be shipped to PO Boxes, APO Boxes or military addresses. Cannot be combined with any prior or current discount or offer. Limit one offer per customer. ©2013 Nutrisystem, Inc. All rights reserved. ††If you’re not 100% satisfied, call within 14 days of receiving your first 28-Day order and return the remaining non-frozen food to us for a full refund. We’ll even cover return shipping. Limit one guarantee per customer. On Nutrisystem you add in fresh grocery items.

Frank nieves What is your Profession? Community Leader Your Pais: Puerto Rico Latin Times: Please tell us about your biggest obstacles, and how you have overcome them. Frank Nieves: Being a minority is a huge obstacle but you can overcome it by winning people’s respect, being a professional, a man of words and convictions, standing proud and looking people in their eyes showing security, falling and standing up to come back stronger and admit when you are wrong and others are right. Latin Times: Tell us about how the Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce got started Frank Nieves: A big cultural celebration, showing what we were all about, Business, Community and Culture, it came to be because there was a need a change in what was happening in Broward County Hispanic community Latin Times: Tell us about your big annual event Frank Nieves: Fiestas Patronales is going on its 13 year and it is the most complete family event in Florida. It has Culture going back to whom colonized us, tradition, culture, entertainment for the entire family, education, community services, rides, music, arts and craft, authentic Hispanic food, and the world most danced and listen to music, SALSA! Latin Times: Tell us about your family Frank Nieves: I am married to a devoted special education teacher, Hilda Ortega. I have two sons from a previous marriage Frank Nieves Jr. and Sherida F Nieves, Sherida has given me two great grand children Franchesca (Down Syndrome 17 years old) and Nicolas 16 years old and now we just adopted a 9 years old Down Syndrome with Autism and I am very happy and proud of him, it is what God wanted so let it be. Latin Times: Who is a hero/role model that you admire (Living or deceased) and why do you admire them? Frank Nieves: My Parents both with only 7th grade they raised 4 boys during a very hard time but taught us the right values and the other person I admire is God and all three of them live inside of me.

Julio Altuna

What is your Profession? Currently Retired from Active duty Navy and small business owner Your Pais: Dominican Republic Hometown: Janico, Santiago Latin Times: How did you get started in your career? Julio Altuna: Upon eligibility for retirement form the armed forces I began to contemplate where to enter the regular work force or to follow my dreams of being a small business owner. Soon I made of my mind to combine my passion for home cooking and family atmosphere so with the help of those that always support me in everything that I do, I opened a small family restaurant in Ft. Myers called Quisqueya Restaurant! Latin Times: What do you enjoy most about you what you do? Julio Altuna: The sense of a family atmosphere when the Latin community comes together. Latin Times: Please tell us about your biggest obstacles, and how you have overcome them. Julio Altuna: While many signs tell the public that Florida is opened for business it was very challenging to navigate through the bureaucracy of licensing, inspections, and requirements in place. While I am very savvy in regards to finding solutions to problems, based on the length of my time as an immigrant, I can only imagine the amount of citizens the process deters. Latin Times: What is your favorite Latin Food Dish? Julio Altuna: I am proud to be a white rice and red beans kind of guy Latin Times: Tell us about your family Julio Altuna: We are a group that is living life as a single unit. We are rooted in our beliefs of blood is thicker than water and people will always come and go, but family are the ones that are here for support. Latin Times: Who is a hero/role model that you admire (Living or deceased) and why do you admire them? Julio Altuna: My mother, Maria. Since I can recall, she has always been there for me and others. There is nothing that she would not do for any of us, and to my jealousy, for others. She is an amazing human being who is always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Bochinche Blvd

Jolie Gonzalez-Padilla receives NFL / Hispanic Heritage Foundation Award for Hispanic Leadership – serves as guest Captain of the team during their Hispanic Heritage Game and performs the Game Coin Toss! The NFL, Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and Courtyard by Marriott have partnered for the third annual NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Awards Presented by Courtyard by Marriott during the 2013 celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The awards recognize the contributions of Hispanic leaders in each NFL market. Each award recipient was recognized instadiums at their annual Hispanic Heritage game in their local market. In Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recognized Jolie Gonzalez-Padilla, President of Latin Times Media, Inc., President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay and creator of the world famous annual Cuban Sandwich Festival (along with her husband Victor Padilla). The Hispanic Heritage celebration was held on Sunday, September 29th at Raymond James Stadium. With the support from Courtyard by Marriott, each award recipient selected an organization of their choice that serves the local Hispanic community to receive a $2,000 donation. Jolie Gonzalez-Padilla will be donating the money to Judeo Christian Health Clinic.

Si Te Llamo – Hit single wins Golden Mic Latin Awards! Congratulations to CUQUI Gonzalez, recording artist, entertainer and business woman, on her award song of the year for best pop ballad of 2013 by the Golden Mic Latin Awards for her single “Si Te Llamo” –check her on iTunes.

@ Mi Quisqueya Restaurant located at 3420 Cleveland Avenue in Fort Myers, Florida. A Special thanks to Maria and her beautiful familia for their warm hospitality and welcome! Each Month at a NEW and Exciting LOCATION!!!! Each month, Latin Times Media will take you to a NEW and Exciting location throughout Florida to connect YOU “Florida’s Business community” with other great business professionals. Expect these events to be FUN. Expect to make new friends, and GREAT new business connections, while enjoying GREAT food and friendly conversations. Events take place on the 1st Friday of every month at a new and exciting location! To attend the next 1st Friday in SW Florida contact our Regional Marketing Director Claribel Levinson for more info at (239) 204-9344 or email:

The RETURN of 1st Friday, Latin ConneXions! Dinner with the Governor and First Lady!

Tampa Bay’s longest running monthly Hispanic/ Latino Networking is back!

Jolie Gonzalez and Victor Padilla were recently invited to the Governor’s mansion for dinner, right before dinner Jolie snuck into the Governor’s office and tested out the desk and chair to see how it fit….. you never know!!!!

Latin Times Media cordially invites you the premier of the ALL NEW 1st Friday, Latin ConneXions Networking Social which took place on Friday, October 4th, 2013!

1st Friday – Fort Myers a BIG HIT! The “first” 1st Friday in SW Florida took place in Fort Myers in September of 2013

What you can expect at 1st Fridays! Expect these events to be FUN. Expect to make new friends, and GREAT new business connections, while enjoying GREAT food, cultural and business exhibits and great music and dancing. If in Tampa Bay on the 1st Friday of the month, join us at Jackson’s On The Harbor @ 601 S Harbour Island Blvd, Tampa, FL 33602. Event Details: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Enjoy a DELICIOUS Complimentary Buffet / Appetizers compliments of Jackson’s. This event is FREE to attend. Bring Business Cards and your dancing shoes! Music and Entertainment by: Delite Entertainment. Participation Opportunities: (813) 407-6866 or (813) 407-7191.

LaTeen Knows Youth Perspective: Immigration reform and The Dream Act By Alexandra Posada I was stunned and frankly I had chills racing through me when I received the news that immigration reform had passed in senate, real change is on the horizon. For many of our fellow Latinos this comes after many years of struggling to see this legislation finally come to fulfillment. Thanks to the bipartisan “gang of eight” consisting of Marco Rubio (R-FL) , Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Bob Mendez (D-NJ), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) and Michael Bennet (D-CO). Their immigration reform calls for the use of e-verify, a program that allows

employers to verify that they are promoting a legal workforce. Moreover, the reform also calls for tighter border security. Don’t fret; there is an upside to all of this. As a result of the legislation being passed this shows that there is in fact a bipartisan effort being put forth on the Hill, potentially serving as the springboard for a stronger bipartisan effort on the issues rather than the differences. Okay, so what does this mean for us? You know the “Kids”. Well youngsters let’s all gather around the article and learn something.

What this means for us (and others like us) is that we’ll be climbing the ladder alongside a strong immigrant workforce. This workforce will serve as the backbone and truthfully the engine of the blood, sweat and tears machine that will revive our country from its economic rut. We will be the ones to step up and fill the “shoes” aka jobs, homes, and ever expanding tax dollars needed to fund the aging generation. In the words of a Christina Matos “It’s all about tweaking the legislation to work for the working class, not the other way around.”

Latin-Restaurants El Rey De Las Fritas! Although I had lived in Tampa Bay for over 13 years, my first experience with this Cuban treasure was quite recently at El Rey de las Fritas in Hialeah while visiting South Florida! Named appropriately, El Rey de Las Fritas was recently crowned winner of the annual Burger Beast Frita Show Down in South Florida! We stopped by to see (and taste) what all the fuss was about, and owner Mercedes Gonzalez served us a delicious Frita Cubana/ Cuban Burger (Frita). For those of you that do not know what a Frita is, allow us to introduce you to this delicious and very popular Cuban dish. A Frita is a Cuban burger with a seasoned ground beef patty (sometimes mixed with chorizo) on Cuban bread topped with shoestring potatoes, lettuce, onions, and a spiced ketchup sauce. If you are Frita lover, we highly recommend trying El Rey de Las Fritas, and if you haven’t tried them yet, what are you waiting for!? You don’t know what you have been missing!

El Rey De Las Fritas 421 West 29 Street in Hialeah, FL 305-863-0880

Piquant In case you haven’t heard about it, Piquant is all the rage in Tampa’s Hyde Park area! Delicious, Delicious, Deliciso!!!!!!!!!!! There is just no other way to accurately describe Piquant’s menu! LTM recently had the pleasure of visiting this French treasure! I (Jolie) ordered the Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwich which is an all-natural Chicken Salad, Apple, Brie, Avocado on a Croissant. The combination of Chicken salad with the apple and brie was sweet to the taste and held a bit of tanginess that was mouth-watering. The Avocado made it perfection. Of course, while at Piquant – since we are the creators of the World famous Cuban Sandwich Festival, so Victor tried the “French Cuban” – did it pass the Cuban Sandwich test? Absolutely, the sandwich was a creative creation made up of Roast Pork, North Country Black Forest Ham, Gruyere, Pickled Onions, Chardonnay Mustard and Grilled Garlic Bread! It was Yummmmy – this will make an excellent entry for the nontraditional Cuban Sandwich Festival! Café con leche completed our exploration of French Cuisine and it too was perfection! About the Chefs: They are not French, but Puerto Rican! Piquant 1633 West Snow Avenue. Tampa, FL 3360 813-251-1777

Grill 116 Don’t let the out fool you, it’s plain on the outside, but very appealing on the inside! The perfect place for a romantic dinner, the inside of the restaurant had a very dim interior that took a moment for our eyes to adjust to the lighting, we loved how the menu would light up when you opened it. The service was great, by far one of the best “VIP Treatment” we have ever received! We loved everything we tried! What we tried! KONA STEAK 30 Oak Grilled Sliced Steak, Lightly Marinated in a Ginger Ale Soy Reduction, w/ Caramelized Pineapple, Sticky Rice & Steamed Broccoli (served w/ House or Caesar Salad) FRESH CHILEAN SEA BASS Mkt w/ Steamed Broccoli & Mango Relish (Chef recommends w/ Spinach & Crab topping) 4 Hot Now! House made Donuts 8 w/ Caramel, Raspberry, & Chocolate Sauces (OVER 100,000 Donuts Served!!!) Grill 116 612 N Dale Mabry, Tampa, FL 33609

Ingredients: 1 can evaporated milk 1 can coconut milk 1/2 cup sugar 2 tsp. vanilla 2 egg yolks Cinnamon to taste

Limbers de Coco!

Directions: Mix evaporated milk, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, egg yolks and Cinnamon in a bowl. Add additional sugar and Cinnamon to taste. Pour in plastic glasses or ice trays.

Freeze and Enjoy!!

Mofongo Crabmeat Stew Should serve: 4 people Ingredients: 1 gallon water 4 green plantains Oil, for sautĂŠing 1 white onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice 1 large, round tomato, cut into 1/4-inch dice 2 chipotles, chopped 1/2 cup white wine 1 pound crabmeat, cleaned 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro Salt and pepper Canola or corn oil, for frying 1 cup chicken stock What to do! In a large pot, bring water to a boil and blanch plantains. Peel plantains and cut into 2-inch segments. In a sautĂŠ pan, heat oil and sautĂŠ onions peppers and tomatoes. When soft, add the chipotles and white wine. Cook until liquid is almost evaporated. Add crabmeat and cook for 3 minutes. Add cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil to 350 degrees F. Fry plantains for 5 minutes, then drain and divide into 4 equal portions. Place each portion individually in a mortar, and mash plantains, adding chicken stock as needed. Coat sides of mortar with plantain and fill with crab stuffing. Fold over the edges to form a dumpling and flip onto a plate.

Coquito/ Spanish Eggnog Ingredients: 1 can of condensed milk (Eagle brand) 1 can of evaporated milk (carnation brand) 1 can of cream of coconut (Coco Lopez) 1 can of coconut milk (Goya brand) Cinnamon to taste Directions: Mix all ingredients in a blender for 5 minutes add white rum to taste (1 cup) this make 2 bottles of wine


Latin Times Media Exclusive Interview with

Actress Valery Ortiz

Latin Times Media: Valery, please tell us about your family history and background? Valery Ortiz: Soy 100% Puertorriqueña! Mami, Papi, my brother and I were all born en nuestra isla del encanto. A lot of my family is still in Puerto Rico and the rest reside on the East Coast of the United States! Latin Times Media: What made you decide to become an actress? Valery Ortiz: My first dream was to be a ballerina. But really, my big brother Hector was my inspiration.  He always had our home video camera and we’d do little mini movies and fun shows growing up. It’s just him and I, so we really kept ourselves entertained. My mom had a huge part in getting us involved in things too. She found a place in Orlando, FL called Extras Express where Hector, my cousins and I got our first taste of real movie magic on the Universal Studios back lot. We also have a childhood family friend, Rodney, to thank for telling us about the Dr. Phillips High School Theatre Magnet Program. And again, Hector auditioned and got in so I was inspired (and a big fan of their productions) so I followed in his

footsteps! Latin Times Media: Coming from a Latino household have you ever struggled with weight and being fit? How does being healthy play a part in your life now? Valery Ortiz: Yes and yes! You know what and how much Latinos LOVE to eat! I’ll just speak for myself. There’s something about our traditional foods and celebrating around the dinner table or just straight up standing around the kitchen that just feels like ‘home’. It was hard moving to L.A. and being called “chunky”. It took me a bit to find who I was outside of my cultural traditions and who “Hollywood” accepted. More importantly who I accepted. And honestly, I look at some pictures of back in the day and although I wouldn’t say I was ‘chunky’ by any means, I could’ve had fewer plates of arroz con salchichas! Ha Ha! Being healthy plays a HUGE part in my life now. I have found what works for my body type and even blood type (from a book called: Eat Right for your Blood Type)! I eat a lot less meat than I used to and I LOVE to work out! I love

Jillian Michaels (a huge fan of ‘The Biggest Loser’), hiking, taking Zumba, and I just FEEL better when I am active! The difference is crazy! Now, it’s REALLY hard to say no to my dad’s bistec encebollado but everything in moderation, right?! Latin Times Media: Who past or present has been an inspiration and hero in your life? Valery Ortiz: There are a lot of people who have and still inspire me every single day. My husband (he’s an amazing singer and performer!) is a reminder every day of what a fighter and dreamer truly is. My dad has always inspired me to take big risks and do things that scare me and my mom, my hero, has always dared me to dream really, REALLY big. She’s inspired a lot of my creativity and has taught me a lot about true love and forgiveness.  Honestly, I can write a whole book about the close people in my life (family AND friends) and how they each inspire me. I like to keep people close to me that inspire and challenge me (and themselves!) to keep dreaming. 

Latin Times Media Exclusive Interview withDiana Laura Noris

Name: Diana Laura Noris My Profession: Artist, Actress, Model, Spokesperson, Animal Activist, President of Women in the Arts Miami and a very active Philanthropist. Pais: I was born in Puerto Rico and raised between Argentina and Puerto Rico. My parents are from Mendoza, Argentina and Germany. Hometown: Santurce, Puerto Rico. Latin Times: How did you get started in your career? Diana Laura: Diana Laura discovered a keen interest in performance dance and began her training at the prestigious Ballet of San Juan in Puerto Rico where she was a Prima ballerina, Not only did her training provide an excellent outlet for the enthusiastic and energetic person, it would also prove to be a fortunate precursor for the start of her professional acting career. After receiving an offer to become a part of the “Mendoza National Ballet” in Argentina which she rejected, Diana Laura landed a role in the Spanish soap opera “Tiempo de Vivir” in Puerto Rico. This took her career to another level and she began performing in many Soap Operas, talk shows and Game shows in her native Puerto Rico. In 1996 she finally did the crossover and Debut to American TV she moved to New York where she began her studies at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology

and completed her major in Fine Arts. She decided short after graduating to pursue her passion and enrolled herself at the “Stella Adler Acting Studio” in NYC. Latin Times: What have been some of your biggest obstacles and how have you overcome them? Diana Laura: “What makes this Industry frustrating is when a director or a studio head doesn’t see me for the same part that they’ll see, let’s say, an American actress for,” she said. It’s like, ‘No, we want more of an American type of girl.’ And it’s like, America has opened up. I’m an American girl, born and raised.” I can play with my accent and make it work and my looks are not the typical Latina looks but still, being Puertorrican/Argentinean is “not as difficult as it is being an Asian girl.” Basically the biggest obstacle is dealing with my industry in Florida and Los Angeles which are completely different markets, it’s hard to separate the latina from me and get ready for an American role. How do i overcome all the obstacles: I never give up. I don’t listen to negativity and i don’t envy anybody. I send everyone great and positive vibes and if one door closes, trust me the next will open! My latest films: All my Films and interviews can be seen at www.

Latest films: Por el Corazon – Lorena -Tuscany One Moment - Series Dotty Repulsive – Alexandria The Ticket Box – Sofia Runner Runner –Detective Sandra Leon Krissy Belle – Celina Pain and Gain Holiday Spin Rogue Space: The Adventures of Saber Raine –Louise Caught in the Middle- Dianna The Client List – Deidra (Episode 8 )”Games People Play”2012) Spilt – Susana Martinez Iron Sky- Katrina La Noche Anuncia la Aurora – Leonor Many more can be seen on IMDB Latin Times: Who is your role model? Diana Laura: My role Model is Sophia Loren. I consider her an amazing actress and the epitome of sexiness. She is stylish, elegant, classy and sophisticated. She is so respected in the industry, she is a true lady! But my biggest role model is any strong woman and life itself. I grew up in a very lonely household with just a mother and no family other than her so I was always admiring actresses, models, politicians and it was my escape. I believe women can do anything they want. We are strong and we can do it all! What better inspiration than that?

Latin Times Magazine - Central Florida  
Latin Times Magazine - Central Florida  

Latin Times Magazine Central Florida 4th Quarter 2013 Volume 12 No. 2