Cover Girl and Disability Activist Jillian Mercado
As a teen, Jillian Mercado hoarded fashion magazines. She idolized designers and always looked stylish at school. Never did she imagine she’d one day grace those magazine covers, tower over New York fashion central as a billboard in Times Square, or sit among VIPs at Fashion Week. Now she’s a barrier-breaking model and disability activist showing the rest of us just what is possible when you stay true to your calling, no matter what others think or say.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Star Stephanie Beatriz
Here’s the thing about Stephanie: she doesn’t fall for traditional messages. Growing up in Texas, blond contest queens reigned, but she understood there was more to beauty. Catholic church told her being bisexual was a sin, but she knew there was nothing wrong with her. Hollywood tried to convince her there’s only ever room for one Latina, but she flatly ignored them. And now she’s living her dreams as a television star, newlywed, and outspoken LGBTQ advocate.
Superstar Beauty Vlogger Iris Beilin
With faith and hard work, Iris Beilin has gone from the MAC counter at the mall to makeup maven with a million YouTube subscribers. But her life hasn’t always been glamorous. Iris opens up about immigrating from Panama to the US, an eating disorder and addiction to diet pills that almost killed her, and what social media stardom really means when you “come from the struggle.”
Musical Shapeshifter Latasha
Latasha tells Alicia, “I’m in the most found place I’ve ever been.” And her sense of self, her deep connection to her work, and her artistic genius seem to radiate in waves around her. “I’m practical magic,” she says at one point. And it’s easy to believe it. But the lyricist, singer and self-described “energy worker” also knows the music game so she calls it like she sees it: she’s clear that Cardi B’s realness beat out Nicki Minaj’s invented self, that women rappers are still held back by the industry, and that she won’t change who she is to be famous.
The Multifaceted Aimee Carrero
She says growing up Latina in Miami gave her the cojones to face life in Hollywood. Her career so far, including roles in Elena of Avalor, The Americans and Young & Hungry is ample proof of that. Aimee tells Alicia that being Latina also gave her the confidence to know that she deserves to be in the room. She opens up about wrestling with imposter syndrome, learning to say no, and the “big trap” of feeling like you’ve made it.
VIDA’s Melissa Barrera
The Mexican actress’ crossover has been years in the making. Raised in Monterrey, Melissa attended NYU, then found fame back home as a telenovela star. But even as she built a career in Mexico, Melissa knew that her future was in the States. She reveals why she almost passed on auditioning for VIDA, shares how her immigration status nearly cost her the role, and explores the tension between being a “good Mexican” and the demands of playing a self-assured, sexually-liberated Latina.
Power Investor Nathalie Molina Niño
She launched her first startup at 20, and made lots of mistakes. Today, she runs Brava Investments, which only funds companies that have the potential to put money in the pockets of millions of women. Raised by an immigrant family with deep entrepreneurial roots, where money was always dinner conversation, Nathalie satisfied her “need for freedom” by launching companies that took on the abysmal state of venture capital investments in women of color, whom she calls “the single most entrepreneurial community in this country.” Oh, and she wrote a book about all of it: Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs. Her motto: “We cannot wait for people to give us what we’re entitled to. We have to build it ourselves.” We stan.
Style Expert Lilliana Vazquez
On The Today Show and while covering red carpet fashion for Access Hollywood, Lilliana Vazquez has become one of the most sought-after style experts. As a first-generation Latina growing up in Texas, she assumed she’d become “an accountant, a lawyer or a doctor.” Instead, with her blog, The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style, as a foundation, she built a fashion brand at “the intersection of aspiration and accessibility.” With the recent launch of her online boutique, Tesoro Collective, Lilliana is parlaying her love of fashion, her knowledge of e-commerce and her media training into much more: a sense of security and independence she’s never had before. Tips for editing your closet and secrets to the perfect influencer photo paved the way for her blueprint to “build something that belongs to you.”
Janel Martinez on Creating Space as a Black Latinx
This episode gets real quickly. Alicia talks to Janel Martinez, founder of Ain’t I Latina, about how forming her Afro-Latinx identity was an intentional act--often in defiance of the “resistance to black identity within the landscape of Latinidad.” From how blackness is erased from the foundations of our cultures, to “diaspora wars” that include “fighting over the colonizer’s language,” Janel does not hold back in her dismantling of myths and falsehoods Latinos tell ourselves about who we are. And she’s quick to tell white Latinos to check their privilege while being the top consumers of black Latinx culture.
Literary Writer Frances de Pontes Peebles
The Brazilian-American author says she never had to claim her Latina identity because “it embraced me” as she grew up bilingual, bicultural, and multinational. On tour for her latest novel, The Air You Breathe, de Pontes Peebles tells Alicia about wrestling with the tension between needing time and space to create while meeting the demands of being a dedicated mother. She also recounts difficult scenes from her postpartum depression and how the act of telling someone saved her. Writing continues to save her, and she guards her gift ritualistically, including her tradition to “let the wall be empty for a while.”
Master Communicator Maria Cristina Gonzalez Noguera
Maria Cristina Gonzalez Noguera was an executive at Estée Lauder when she became First Lady Michelle Obama’s communications director. The devoted mother of a one year-old, her mother, and her husband, headed to DC where Maria Cristina committed herself to a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” She talks with Alicia about the people who inspire her, turning down a future in finance, and juggling life in the East Wing during one of the most popular presidencies in recent history.
Money Guru Carmen Rita Wong
Let’s talk about money. The average Latina earns 54 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. To earn what he earned one year, we have to work an extra 10 months into the next year--until November 1st. That’s recognized nationally as Latina Equal Pay Day. To mark this important date, Alicia wanted to have a bigger conversation with personal finance expert, author and podcast host Carmen Rita Wong about what drives the wage gap, the attitudes about money and self-worth that hold Latinas back, and what it takes to make real money moves. We’re proud to bring you this episode as a special collaboration with our friends at Phenomenal Woman.
Hollywood Showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett
Gloria Calderón Kellett runs the show. Literally. She’s the co-showrunner and executive producer of Netflix’s One Day at a Time, and with each season, she’s adding more credits to that list: writer, director and actor. She talks with Alicia about her rise through Hollywood’s writers’ rooms (How I Met Your Mother, Devious Maids, and Drunk History), and argues for letting good things be good. And reveals her plans to take her storytelling to the next level.
Singular Sensation Amara La Negra
Singer and television personality Amara La Negra knew she was destined to be a star at five years old. And she started putting in the work then. From her first big break on Univision’s Sabado Gigante, to her scene-stealing role on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Miami, Amara’s larger-than-life personality catapulted her into the spotlight. She tells Alicia about how racism and colorism sometimes limit her career, why she can’t shake her “poor girl mentality” and reveals the real price of pursuing her dreams.
Legendary Journalist Maria Elena Salinas
After decades of beaming into our homes from her perch on the anchor desk, Maria Elena Salinas is enjoying finally speaking for herself and pursuing her own ideas and work. She jokes that she didn’t want her legacy to be that “I worked at Univision and then I died,” but Alicia also gets her to open up about that lingering doubt we all feel, the hard choices of being a working mom, and the freedom that comes with stepping boldly into your destiny.
Media Mastermind Christy Haubegger
As a child, Christy Haubegger knew what she wanted to be when she grew up: a boss. As the founder of the iconic Latina Magazine, a film producer, and now an agent at one of the most powerful talent agencies in Hollywood, Christy is more than a boss; she's a force to be reckoned with. Born to a Mexican-American mother, and then adopted and raised by non-Latino parents, Christy talks about her unique take on the shared struggle of existing between cultures. the merits of a white sense of entitlement, and why impact is more important than money or titles.
Artist and Activist Paola Mendoza
Artist and activist Paola Mendoza embodies today's political resistance. As Creative Director of the Women's March, her visionary work helped galvanize millions around the world, and continues with the "I Am a Child" campaign and efforts to stop the latest Supreme Court nominee. Paola was raised by a single mother, and, as a rebellious teen, found salvation in the arts. She talks with Alicia about gaining strength from her mother's difficult choices and why for her joy is an act of resistance.
Orange Is the New Black's Diane Guerrero
A rising star in Orange is the New Black, Jane the Virgin, and Superior Donuts, Diane Guerrero embodies quintessential Latina powers. She's grounded in her strong family roots but still shaped by the trauma that ripped them apart when she was a teenager. Somehow she harnessed the loss and pain into unmatched self-determination and drive. She opens up in this intimate convo with Alicia.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto
US Senator. Mentor. Deal-maker. How Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto drives Washington D.C. into the next era of politics
Viacom VP Daisy Auger-Dominguez
Strategist. Connector. Talent magnet. How Daisy Auger-Dominguez creates a space in corporate America for the rest of us.
Hamilton’s Mandy Gonzalez
Singer. Broadway star. Revolutionary. How Mandy Gonzalez commands — and captivates — on stage and in person.
Pipeline Angels' Natalia Oberti Noguera
CEO. Coach. Boundary breaker. How Natalia Oberti Noguera disrupts the world of angel investing.
Comedian Cristela Alonzo
Writer. Actor. Trailblazer. How Cristela Alonzo makes room for stories like hers in every medium.
The View’s Sunny Hostin
The View host. Former federal prosecutor. Future politician. How Sunny Hostin takes on today’s most controversial topics — on live TV.
Orange Is The New Black’s Jackie Cruz
Actor. Musician. Activist. How Jackie Cruz creates her own path (in and out of the spotlight).