Jake T. Austin—A Jake of All Trades
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By Sarah Mosqueda

If you are familiar with Jake T. Austin at all, you probably recognize him as sandwich-loving Max Russo on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place.

As the family friendly wholesomeness of that role and subsequent roles suggests, Austin most certainly found a lane. But to say Austin is a “child actor” is a disservice to all the other things Austin is.

Austin is a voice actor, a television and film actor, and philanthropist who is dedicated to getting Latinos the representation they deserve in the entertainment industry and beyond.

If anything, he is a Jake of all trades.

“I started performing when I was really young,” Austin says. “I was in a skit when I was 4 years old…and it just so happened that skit was on The David Letterman Show.”

Austin was born Jake Austin Szymanski in New York to his Puerto Rican mother, Giny Rodriquez Toranzo, and his Polish/Irish father, Joe Szymanski.

Austin followed his debut on late-night television with a voice role of Diego on three episodes of Nickelodeon’s animated series, Dora the Explorer, which led to his breakthrough role of Diego on the subsequent spin-off series, Go Diego Go!

Austin was only 10 years old when he worked on the Go Diego Go! series, but the fact that he was playing a title character that was also a person of color isn’t lost on him.

“Thinking back to when the show premiered in 2005, conversations about race weren’t as pronounced in mainstream media like they are in 2021,” says Austin. “Now I understand that kids in the Hispanic community could see a person that ‘looked like them.’”

Austin says the visibility of a character like Diego is important for non-Spanish speaking viewers, too.

“To Anglo-European households, they could have their eyes opened

Ambassador Jake T. Austin poses with a patient at the Ronald McDonald House
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 01: Actor/Youth Ambassador Jake T. Austin (R) visits the Ronald McDonald House on March 1, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/WireImage)

to other ethnic groups that may not be prevalent in their own schools or neighborhoods,” he says.

Diego was a bilingual character, and the show borrowed from the Dora format by sprinkling Spanish words into the English-language TV show.

“In 2018, studies estimated that 20–27 percent of the U.S. population were bilingual. So, think about 2005 and how unusual it must have seemed to have the hero be a person who spoke English and Spanish,” says Austin. “Diego was such a positive character: rescuing animals and talking about environmental issues. It’s humbling to have been an instrumental part of that show.”

The work the show was doing didn’t go unnoticed.

The series was commended for its bilingual Latino lead character and earned four NAACP Image Award nominations for “Outstanding Children’s Program” from 2008 to 2012.

Austin didn’t go unnoticed either.

He earned nominations for the Imagen Award and Young Artist Award for his role.

“It was such a great experience, and the show is still on the air on streaming platforms and people tell me how much they’ve learned from watching it,” he says.

He followed his success in voice work with a role on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place, alongside a young Selena Gomez and David Henrie. The series, which followed three wizard siblings with magical powers, ran for four seasons and earned an Emmy in the category of “Outstanding Children’s Program” in 2009. When the show ended in 2012, an estimated 11.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the one-hour series finale, making it the most-watched finale for a Disney Channel Original Series.

Austin’s character, Max Russo, had a known Hispanic heritage and his mother (played by Maria Canals-Barrera) often tried to get the kids to learn about their Latino heritage.

Austin continued to juggle voice and acting work, and in 2009, he starred in the film, Hotel for Dogs opposite Emma Roberts. In 2011, Austin voiced Fernando, an orphaned Brazilian boy, in the animated feature films Rio and Rio 2 from 20th Century Fox. That same year, he was cast in the film New Year’s Eve, directed by rom-com veteran Garry Marshall. In 2017, Austin voiced the character of Alex in The Emoji Movie.

Balancing the two professions of actor and voice actor isn’t difficult for Austin. He sees both as forms of storytelling, which he takes very seriously.

Jake T. Austen poses with the cast of Wizards of Waverly Place
ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 13: (L-R) The Executive Producers and the cast of “Wizards of Waverly Place” Executive Producer Peter Murrieta, actors David Henrie, Maria Canals-Barrera, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Stone, Jake T. Austin and Executive Producer Todd J. Greenwald attend the D23 Expo presented by the Walt Disney Studios at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 13, 2009 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John M. Heller/Getty Images)

“Performing is an experience that, in some ways, is hard to articulate,” he says. “You’re taking words on a page and creating a walking, breathing character that the viewer experiences.”

And when he straddles the two occupations, Austin isn’t just working to establish himself as multifaceted. He is also hoping to help audiences see the Latino community as more than just one homogeneous group.

“I think the biggest stereotype about the Hispanic community would be the notion that we are a monolith,” says Austin. “People whose familial line is from Cuba are different than people with experiences from Peru, who is different from people in Argentina.”

Austin says pushing for more diversity in the storytelling we see in entertainment is critical.

“I’m a big believer in people sharing their stories and learning about other cultures, and the change I would like to see is more micro-communication of information about specific countries and regions, and not painting all Latinos with an overly broad and singular brush.”

And that can start with expanding the roles we see as “Latino characters.”

“I think about the movie New Years Eve,” he says, “I played the love interest of Abigail Breslin. She’s Caucasian and also a totally nice person and terrific actress. But the role I played wasn’t written as a ‘Latino’ boyfriend, per se.”

Just because a character isn’t defined as being a person of color doesn’t mean a person of color can’t play them.

“Across any realm, my message to the person in charge of casting in a movie, a hiring manager in an office or an authority figure in a medical building: Be conscious and go beyond your possible racial bias,” he says. “When there is a person in front of you, think about their skillset, enthusiasm and dedication. Freeing the candidate of the hiring person’s preconceived ethnic/racial assumptions would be the ultimate equalizer.”

During election season, many critics noted the way the Latino vote was courted by both parties, either by engaging with Latino voters as a stereotyped culture, or worse, not at all.

Austin worked to impart the importance of the Latino vote by working with Voto Latino, a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering young Latinx voters.

Jake T. Austen visits youth at the Boys and Girls Club wearing a mask
Jake T Austin discusses career/life planning with teens at the Boys & Girls Club. @MITCHDAO.PHOTOS

“Voting is a fundamental of our constitutional republic and people, especially young people, should learn about the issues and make their voice heard at the ballot box,” says Austin.

He chose to align with the non-partisan organization because of how they encourage Latinos to exercise their rights and promote election-related engagement, like volunteering at the polling place.

“Regardless of race, we are Americans. So I think it’s great that Voto Latino is increasing awareness about the importance and the process of voting.”

When it comes to philanthropy, Austin says it’s about deciding what you are passionate about and committing to being a part of the change you want to see.

“I encourage people to think about causes that are important to them and see how they can get involved,” he says.

As a young person himself, Austin says youth-based services are close to his heart.

“My Friend’s Place is a great organization in Hollywood whose

 Jake T. Austin poses with several actors at the Empire State Building
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 17: (L-R) Founder of World Emoji Day Jeremy Burge, Director Tony Leondis, Producer Michelle Raimo Kouyate, Actors Maya Rudolph, Patrick Stewart and Actor Jake T. Austin of The Emoji Movie celebrates the Empire State Building Lighting With Cast Of The Emoji Movie, Girls Who Code And Oath For Good For World Emoji Day at The Empire State Building on July 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Sony Pictures Entertainment )

mission is to end youth homelessness,” Austin says of the organization that serves 1,400 young people a year.

“I’ve also been active with the Boys & Girls Clubs, which operates over 4,000 clubs nationwide.”

At the start of the 20/21 school year, Austin paid a visit to the Boys and Girls Club Pasadena Slavik branch, which is located near Los Angeles.

“Many schools in Los Angeles County have been closed due to COVID and parents rely on those schools to provide child supervision while they’re at work,” Austin says. “BGC Pasadena has stepped up with a renovation to their facility that was funded by The Ahmanson Foundation, Helen and Will Webster Foundation, Pasadena Community Foundation, and Sahm Family Foundation.”

The updated Boys & Girls Club has structural improvements, computers for learning and homework assistance programs.

“COVID has disrupted many lives, and for kids, going to school is so central to learning and social interaction. It’s awesome that the Boys & Girls Clubs provides resources while we all get through this.”

Austin’s new film, Adverse, was pushed back from a September 2020 theater release to January 2021. Adverse will also be on Digital, On Demand and DVD on March 9.

Adverse is set in current day Los Angeles and tells the story of a rideshare gone wrong, and also stars Mickey Rourke, Lou Diamond Phillips and Sean Astin.

“It was great to work and learn from such experienced actors,” says Austin.

The film also addresses the effects of the opioid epidemic, another health crisis gripping America today.

“For me, the takeaway from the movie is that drug addiction affects the user and also their loved ones,” says Austin. “Prior to doing this movie, I didn’t especially think about the ripple effect that addiction has on the people around the addict. And with the opioids epidemic sweeping across the US, I think it’s the familial facet of that struggle that should be brought more into the light.”

Demi Lovato says it’s OK ‘if you misgender’ them: ‘It’s a huge transition to change the pronouns I’ve used for my entire life’
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demi lovato came our as nonbinary. Understands they can experience misgender while people get used to the pronouns

By  Yahoo! Life

Demi Lovato is sorry not sorry to be breaking the mold for nonbinary representation in music. The singer, who uses they/them pronouns, commemorated International Nonbinary People’s Day on Tuesday, a day early, by giving followers a heartfelt lesson on pronouns and the importance of respecting people’s true expression.

In a repost from activist Matt Bernstein, Lovato shared a carousel of slides defining the term nonbinary, explaining that it is not an aesthetic nor a trend and that just because someone identifies as nonbinary doesn’t mean they use “them/them” pronouns. “Non-binary people deserve the right to exist without constantly explaining, justifying, and proving that they are real to people who refuse to accept that gender as we know it is changing,” the last slide reads.

Lovato followed up the post with a personal note about their own experience with being misgendered — including with themself.

“If you misgender me — that’s okay,” the singer wrote. “I accidentally misgender myself sometimes! It’s a huge transition to change the pronouns I’ve used for myself my entire life. And it’s difficult to remember sometimes!”

They continued, “As long as you keep trying to respect my truth, and as long as I remember my truth, that shift will come naturally. I’m just grateful for your effort in trying to remember what means so much to my healing process.”

“I felt the need to post this because I often find that the change in pronouns can be confusing for some, and difficult to remember for others,” they captioned the post. “It’s all about your intention. It’s important to me that you try, but if you make a mistake, it’s okay. Remember that I love you, and to keep going.”

Last month, Lizzo, 33, went viral for correcting a paparazzo who had misgendered Lovato.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Life.

Gina Rodriguez Sets Film Directorial Debut With Sports Drama Inspired by Boxer Ryan Garcia
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Gina Rodriguez is teaming up with professional boxer Ryan Garcia to develop a sports drama about the athlete’s experiences as a Mexican American lightweight champion.

By Rebecca Rubin, Variety

Gina Rodriguez is teaming up with professional boxer Ryan Garcia to develop a sports drama about the athlete’s experiences as a Mexican American lightweight champion. Rodriguez, best known for The CW’s take on a telenovela “Jane the Virgin,” is directing, co-starring and producing the film. She’s previously helmed episodes of “Jane the Virgin,” but the upcoming, still-untitled movie marks her feature filmmaking debut.

Rodriguez will also co-write the screenplay with actor and playwright Bernardo Cubria (“The Giant Void in My Soul”). Alongside Rodriguez, the 22-year-old Garcia is starring in the film as a fictional version of himself. Due to Garcia’s fighting schedule, the movie won’t begin shooting until summer of 2022.

Inspired by movies like “Rocky” and “Creed,” the sports drama mirrors Garcia’s own journey and follows a Mexican American boxer named Alex Guerrero (Garcia) whose struggles with mental health rival his toughest bouts in the ring. After a chance encounter with a world champion propels him into the spotlight, he must prove to himself and the world that he has what it takes to come out on top.

“I grew up in a boxing family and loved watching sports dramas with my dad,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “The philosophies of fighting — working hard, staying focused, being honest, fighting fair but to win — have stayed with me.”

Rodriguez called Garcia “not only an outstanding athlete and champion, but a true advocate of normalizing and furthering conversations on mental health.” She adds, “His bravery has inspired me, and I am honored to have his trust to direct this film and guide his first foray into the arts.”

Click here to read the full article on Variety.

Jennifer Lopez Will Battle a Killer AI in a New Netflix Movie
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Jlo dressed as character in new netflix film

By Germain Lussier, Gizmodo

A person doesn’t get to be as famous as Jennifer Lopez without having a wide-ranging career. Music, movies, television—she’s basically done it all, with a few small exceptions. One of those is science fiction. Oh sure, she was in The Cell and Anaconda, but those came out decades ago. Now, Lopez getting back into sci-fi in a big, big way with the biggest streamer there is.

Deadline reports she’s set to star and produce a new film called Atlas, which is being made for Netflix. Brad Peyton (Rampage, San Andreas) is attached to direct from an original script by Leo Sardarian (Crackle’s StartUp), which is being polished by Aron Eli Coleite (Heroes, Star Trek Discovery, Locke & Key).

The premise is intriguing but oddly familiar. Apparently Lopez plays “a woman fighting for humanity in a future where an AI soldier has determined the only way to end war is to end humanity. To outthink this rogue AI, [she] must work with the one thing she fears most—another AI.” Wait. Is Atlas…Terminator 2? It sure sounds similar, what with the whole “two artificially intelligent beings, one of which is teaming up with a powerful woman to save the world” thing and all.

Click here to read the full article on Gizmodo.

Salma Hayek Once Thought Being Called a Bombshell in a Review Meant She “Destroyed the Movie”
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By Tessa Petak, InStyle

Salma Hayek has been dreaming large and shooting for the stars ever since she was a little kid. But acting wasn’t always her passion – actually, it hasn’t really ever been her passion.On this week’s episode of Ladies First with Laura Brown the actress is opening up about things that shaped her life. Not all of them are what you’d expect. For example, one critical moment in her self growth came from gymnastics. At just 9 years old, the Oscar-nominated actress was told she had a chance of making it to the Olympics. “A man approach my father and said, ‘Your daughter has the potential to go to the Olympics and actually even maybe win,'” she tells InStyle’s editor in chief.

That would’ve required Hayek shipping off to a boarding school away from home, and ultimately her father said no. She continues, “I was devastated. He said that he didn’t want to take away my childhood, but I didn’t want a childhood. I just wanted to do that. So I think that really marked me. I decided to get out of my town and do something with my life and dream big, you know?”

While acting was the avenue that eventually fulfilled her drive, she admits it’s peripheral to her passion in the industry. “When I went into acting – which I love acting – I figured it out many years later, my passion was movies. It was not acting.”

It’s safe to say her dreams of making it “big” have been surpassed over and over again. But her journey there wasn’t without difficulty. Being a Latina woman in ’90s Hollywood certainly came with its share of difficulties and discrimination.

“I think that at the time, people were not ready to acknowledge or give credit to a Latin woman, even if they saw it, even if they knew it, even if it was indisputable,” she says. “I felt a little bit like we were all missing out, not just me. Not just because they were not hiring me, but they care a lot about money, and they were missing out on a huge market.”

She continued, “I’m really proud of what I did, because if I had gotten angry, if I had given up, if I had gotten bitter, then maybe what’s happening today, maybe it wouldn’t have happened.” What’s happening today is a major career renaissance for Hayek, who talks in her cover shoot for the July 2021 issue of InStyle about returning to her action-heroine roots, now, in her 50s.

Luckily she had a few Latina friends and peers in the industry to act as allies and go through it together, like Penélope Cruz and Jennifer Lopez. “Jennifer, Penélope, and I were allies from the beginning,” she explains. “Jennifer is a different kind of personality, but she’s an incredibly hard worker, but it’s just a different type of personality. Penelope and I still have the club.”

The two stars have fostered a strong relationship that has stood the test of time (and Hollywood pressures) and remain friends to this day.

“She calls any given moment,” she says. “I don’t think there’s anyone in the entire world that can understand what I’ve gone through professionally as an immigrant in another country. No one in the world can understand me like Penélope.”

Click here to read the full article on InStyle.

Tim Burton’s Wednesday will be a Latina, played by Jenna Ortega
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Tim Burton's Wednesday will be a Latina, played by Jenna Ortega

By Tatiana Tenreyro, AV Club

When Raúl Juliá was cast as Gomez Addams in 1991’s The Addams Family and its sequel, Addams Family Values, it turned the Addams into a half-Latinx family. The late Puerto Rican actor was the only Hispanic member of the cast, but many Latinx fans still felt represented knowing the patriarch is Latino. Back in February, it was announced that Tim Burton is working on a live-action Addams Family spin-off focused on Wednesday for Netflix, named after the character. And thankfully, us Latinxs are finally getting the Latina Wednesday we deserve. YOU’s Jenna Ortega announced she will play the iconic young misfit in an Instagram post. “New chapter. Hope I can do Wednesday Addams justice. *snaps twice*,” she wrote. Ortega’s casting confirms that The Addams are supposed to be Latinx, and we can’t wait to see who’ll play Gomez, Morticia, Pugsley, and the rest of the family.

Netflix also shared the official logline, which reads, “The series is a sleuthing, supernaturally infused mystery charting Wednesday Addams’ years as a student at Nevermore Academy. Wednesday’s attempts to master her emerging psychic ability, thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town, and solve the supernatural mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago — all while navigating her new and very tangled relationships at Nevermore.”

Click here to read the full article on AV Club.

ANDREA MORA: THE LATINA ENTREPRENEUR HELPING BRANDS WITH THEIR MARKETING ONE TIKTOK AT A TIME
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Andrea Mora, who has over 92K TikTok followers, has taken advantage of social media to expand her business. Andrea is seated in a white lace top with her hand under her chin while she smirks at the camera

By , Influencive

One way or another, social media is a huge part of our lives. We use it to access the news, be in touch with people in different parts of the world, share memes, post our photos, and allow others to see a glimpse into our lives. However, there is more to social media than pretty influencers posting their holiday pictures. Andrea Mora, who has over 92K TikTok followers, has taken advantage of social media to expand her business. She is the Latina entrepreneur helping brands with their marketing one TikTok at a time.

If you took a look at Andrea Mora’s TikTok account, you would think she has always led a life of success in front of the cameras. But that is not the reality. That is the life she was able to build for herself thanks to her parents’ hard work and her dedication and desire to make her dreams come true. When she was young, her family was forced to flee Venezuela due to the unsafety.

They spent time in Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Panama. This experience led her to learn new languages, immerse herself in different cultures, and gain the strength she needed to face any obstacles.

Growing up, she taught herself how to use social media and became an expert at it. From growing fandom accounts and reselling them, producing content for micro, macro, and mega influencers to working for Fortune 500 companies and delivering millions of views per week.

She graduated from Full Sail University with a Bachelor of Science in Media Communications and a job that allowed her to meet all her business idols. By the age of 22, Mora was Head of Global Trends at a marketing agency and spearheaded massive social media campaigns for world-renowned brands.

But last year, facing a global pandemic, Mora realized she wanted to take a different direction. So, she quit her job and started her own company to help other brands manage their marketing and create great strategies to draw attention to their products and services.

The best proof this Latina entrepreneur can give her clients is the growth of her own brand. After two months of sending out cold emails, Mora stopped as most of her clients found her through TikTok and started conversations with her. Her social media platform allowed her to grow her business into a successful one.

Aside from coaching personal brands and businesses on how to utilize vertical video content to increase brand awareness, sales, lead generation, and income, Mora works extremely hard creating content for her own accounts. She creates videos of all sorts for her TikTok account to share daily marketing and business tips.

Some of her best tips include how to make money on social media without a large number of followers, how to create a social media strategy, debunking social media marketing myths, and how businesses can create on TikTok.

Click here to read the full article on Influencive.

Camila Cabello Is “Cinderella” — First Photos From the Amazon Prime Remake
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Camelia Cab dressed as cinderella onset of her new film

Cinderella is about to get another happily ever after.

The upcoming retelling of the fairytale classic from writer-director Kay Cannon recently released photos of Camila Cabello in the title role, and the first-look is all kinds of dreamy. In one photo, we see Camila in Cinderella’s dress shop wearing her pre-ball attire: a corset-like top with flowing sleeves and a textured skirt.Her hair is gathered in a messy side-braid, and it looks like she’s hard at work making a dress to hopefully wear to the ball (assuming she’s got some mouse helpers somewhere).

In the second photo, we get a glimpse at Cinderella’s ballgown when Camila poses with actor Nicholas Galitzine, who is playing Prince Charming. Not much of the dress is shown, but we can see a strapless style with a sweetheart neckline, along with plenty of delicate rhinestones to add that magical shimmer.

Slated for release on Amazon Prime Video in September 2021, Cannon’s Cinderella will also star Billy Porter as the Fairy Godmother, James Corden and John Mulaney as mice/footmen, and Idina Menzel as Cinderella’s Stepmother. Entertainment Tonight reports that the film will contain a soundtrack filled with pop covers, along with original songs from both Camila and Idina.

While the fairy tale has been reimagined many times before, this version will put forth a Cinderella who is “vocal and active,” according to Cannon in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Click here to read the full article on Teen Vogue.

Miss Mexico Andrea Meza Crowned Miss Universe 2021
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Miss Mexico Andrea Meza is crowned Miss Universe 2021 onstage at the Miss Universe 2021 Pageant at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

By Kaitlin Reilly, NBC Los Angeles

And we have a new Miss Universe.

After more than a year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Miss Universe competition was finally held Sunday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Mario Lopez and former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, who won the crown in 2012, co-hosted the show, which featured a special performance by Luis Fonsi.

Taking home the ultimate crown this year was Miss Mexico Andrea Meza, who wowed the selection community with her beauty and brains.

During the final statement round, Miss Mexico was asked to address the topic of changing beauty standards.

“We live in a society that more and more is more advanced and as we have advanced as a society, we have advanced with stereotypes,” she shared via translator. “Nowadays, beauty is not only the way we look. For me, beauty radiates not only in our spirits, but in our hearts and the way we conduct ourselves. Never permit someone to tell you that you are not valuable.”

And just minutes before, Miss Mexico also faced the final question round where she was asked to share how she would have handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I believe there is not a perfect way to handle this hard situation such as COVID-19,” she said. “However, I believe that what I would have done, was create the lockdown even before everything was that big because we lost so many lives and we cannot afford that. We have to take care of our people. That’s why I would have taken care of them since the beginning.”

Before the show, Paula M. Shugart, who serves as the president of the Miss Universe Organization, addressed the pandemic and how the pageant was staying safe.

“We have spent months planning and preparing safety precautions to develop this edition of Miss Universe – one that will be memorable, special and totally innovative,” she said in a statement.

Beauty queens from 74 countries and territories competed in the pageant, however just 21 contestants advanced to the final round. After first competing in the swimsuit contest, which you can see photos from here, 10 moved on to the evening gown competition. Five contestants were selected to participate in the question and answer round.

The last time the Miss Universe pageant was held was in 2019, when Miss South Africa, aka Zozibini Tunzi, took home the ultimate prize. Miss Puerto Rico Madison Anderson was the first runner-up and Miss Mexico Sofa Aragn was the second runner-up.

Click here to read the full article on NBC Log Angeles.

Eva Longoria’s Flamin’ Hot Cheetos movie is finally a go
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Eva Longoria poses on the red carpet

By Lillian Stone, Yahoo! Life

The world’s been waiting with bated breath since 2018, when Fox Searchlight announced a biopic about Richard Montañez, the creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Now, Flamin’ Hot is moving forward with Eva Longoria set to direct and actors Jesse Garcia and Annie Gonzalez slated for the lead roles.

Longoria is an experienced TV director, with credits including Devious Maids, Black-ish, The Mick, and Telenovela. Now, she’s entering a feature directorial era with the Searchlight project, focusing on the story of Richard Montañez. Variety explains that Montañez, the son of Mexican immigrant farm workers, started as a janitor at the Frito-Lay factory in Rancho Cucamonga, California, before inventing the wildly popular snack food.

As Newsweek explains, Montañez invented the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto after a broken machine on the Cheetos assembly line produced a batch of plain, undusted Cheeto puffs. Montañez took the Cheetos home and dusted them with chili powder, an idea inspired by elotes street vendors. He then pitched the recipe to Roger Enrico, the company’s CEO at the time. Now, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are a junk food staple.

Longoria told Variety that it was her “biggest priority to make sure we are telling Richard Montañez’s story authentically.” She went on to comment on the actors, saying: “I am so happy to have two extremely talented and fellow Mexican Americans on board in these pivotal roles. Jesse and Annie have a deep understanding of our community and will be able to help tell this story of great importance for our culture.”

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Life.

Latin music star Prince Royce on early roots and returning to the Bronx for a show highlighting Hispanic culture
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Prince Royce pictures holding a six pack of Presidente beet in front of a brewery bar

By , BX Times

Latin pop superstar Prince Royce recently returned to his native Bronx for a live (and live streamed) show.

Born and raised in the Bronx, Royce says that he got his start by singing in the shower. Both of Royce’s parents were born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and growing up Royce became no stranger to the music of his cultural background.

“My mom would encourage me a lot in my singing,” said Royce. “In the Bronx and Washington Heights, we’d listen to a lot of bachata, merengue, especially in my household. That drew me into getting into the rhythm, giving it my own little New York American Dominican style into the genre.”

Royce started to record his own music when he was 16 years old out of a friend’s studio in the Bronx. He started to develop his own style of music based off of what he heard growing up but put his own New York City twist to the performance.

“When I go to school or am talking to friends or brothers and sisters, we talk Spanglish. In my concerts, I sing in Spanish and talk to them in English. That was really how my music is, sometimes I sprinkle a little English in,” said Royce. “That’s who I sing for, I sing for people kind of like me that grew up in the states and love Latin music. I love Latin music but I also listen to hip hop, stuff like Usher and Jay Z. I think that’s what my music is. I’m singing mostly in Spanish but I sprinkle in a little New York flavor, and I think that with the Dominican style works.”

Now, with six albums under his belt and multiple #1 hits, Royce has certainly made a name for himself in the genre. However, Royce admits that it didn’t click for him that music was going to be sustainable for him until he was well into his career.

“I think it was late in because in the beginning when I was on the radio and making money from music, there’s still an uncertainty. You start to think, one if this is a one-hit-wonder kind of thing? What if after 2-3 years I’m still not here?” said Royce. “I think like 7 years in, I was like, ‘Man i’m still here!’ I’m still connecting with the people, it’s another #1 hit, 14-15 platinum hits. I think, ‘Man, this is dope, I could do this another 10 years.’ That’s when I felt really good about myself and really confident and solid.”

Royce recently partnered with Presidente beer to participate in Reventón de Verano (hosted by Anheuser-Busch), a one-day music festival that took place over livestream with artists across the globe. For the first time in over a year and a half, Royce hit the stage for an intimate show in the Bronx to celebrate Hispanic culture.

For Royce, the partnership with Presidente was a no-brainer — in addition to having worked with the brand in the past, Presidente is something that Royce says is very close to his Dominican culture.

“El Presidente is a Dominican beer that kind of was there in my upbringing and when I go to the Dominican Republic,” said Royce. “When they approached me about doing this show, I liked it because it’s something that culturally, every Dominican knows about this beer, growing up it’s a brand that we know always look for. It’s close to my family and upbringing.”

More importantly to Royce, he wanted to do something for his fans, and Presidente was the perfect partner for him to get it done.

“It’s about the fans as well. I haven’t sung in front of a small audience in a year and a half since my tour got canceled,” said Royce. “I think that there’s a bunch of stuff that’s all for the people, and this beer has always felt like it was for the people.”

Royce is currently working on new music, but he looks forward to the days when the pandemic is finally behind us and can perform and hang out with his family without risk.

Click here to read the full article on BX Times.

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