How Gina Brillón Became a Comedy Junkie
“I was a comedy junkie at 14,” she admits. And now Gina Brillón is a rising comedy star, headlining tours with the likes of Gabriel Iglesias, premiering an HBO Latino special, “Easily Offended,” and hosting a comedy showcase. Gina tells us how comedy helped her process a toxic relationship, and how her #MeToo moments forced her to choose between her career and her dignity.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Is Not Done Fighting
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz emerged as one of the most recognizable critics of the Trump administration’s response to the island’s recovery. She tells Alicia how the grit she demonstrated in those moments was a lifetime in the making, what it will take to fully rebuild the island, and why she is throwing her political weight behind Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid.
Why Jessica González-Rojas Champions Reproductive Justice
The executive director of the Latina Institute for Reproductive Health talks about how legislative restrictions on abortion impact our health and our communities. Jessica recalls how a trip to a clinic to get birth control became her first act of political activism, what it means to reframe the abortion debate as a matter of reproductive justice, and how Latinas, often perceived as either “virginal” or “hyper-sexualized,” actually view sexual health.
Gina Torres Brings All Her Fierceness to Pearson, and We Are Here for It
Gina Torres is everything we’ve ever wanted to be: brilliant, strong, stylish, and funny. And now, with Pearson, we get to watch her stride into her greatness. In this episode, she opens up about the real and very personal reason she left Suits, how she spearheaded the creation of Pearson, and why life at fifty is simply fabulous. (This is also our 50th episode!! See what we did there?)
Daniela Pierre-Bravo Teaches Us How to 'Earn It'
Daniela Pierre-Bravo has never met an obstacle more formidable than her will. Disqualified from college scholarships due to her legal status, she built a thriving local Mary Kay business to pay for it. Invited to an interview for an unpaid internship in NYC, she took an 18-hour overnight bus from Ohio and showed up the next morning. And nailed it. Now And now she's the coauthor of the new book, Earn It: A Career Guide for Women in Their Twenties and Beyond with MSNBC Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski. Buy it here.
MSNBC’s Mariana Atencio Reveals How to be ‘Perfectly You’
After experiencing violence and media censorship in her native Venezuela, Mariana Atencio embarked on her journalist career in the United States. An early opportunity at Univision gave her the chance to hone her skills before making the leap to English-language television. But soon a personal tragedy tested ethics, faith, and her place in the world. She put it all in her new book, Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real. Buy it here.
What Vida’s Mishel Prada Has Learned about Identity
On Starz’s megahit Vida she plays a determined, smart and sensual woman. And Mishel Prada readily admits her character reflects part of who she is. She talks to Alicia about making it in showbiz as a Latina, growing up in a religious home, and refusing labels that limit with whom she can fall in love.
UN’s President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés is Making Room for Women
Fun fact: This was the first time we had to check protocol before interviewing someone. And Alicia had to call the current head of the United Nations’ General Assembly Madame President. It was amazing! And María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés deserves that accolade and so much more for her decades-long career in international affairs and diplomacy. Only the fourth woman to preside over the assembly, she is steadfast in her belief that women should lead at every level--and she’s working from within to make it so at the UN.
How Pinnacle Founder & CEO Nina Vaca Became a Corporate Titan
This captain of industry comes from a family of self-starters that has always banded together--from her father’s travel agency to her billion-dollar company. Did we mention she owns 100% of it? But her story is also one of unthinkable tragedy and immeasurable sacrifice--from her and her family. Today, Nina is among the most respected CEOs in the country, an advisor to presidents, and a tireless champion of Latinos and immigrants everywhere.
Gia Morón Wants More of Us in the Weed Business
Legal weed is among the fastest growing industries right now. And thanks to women like Gia Morón, from Women Grow, more people will have a chance to enter the business. For her, opening doors to legal weed is about inclusion and the potential for some redemption in an industry whose legal ramifications have long maligned black and brown people in the country.
For Chillhouse’s Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton, Putting Yourself First is Essential
By the time she was 26, Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton had worked her way from cocktail waitress to being a partner in a bar. She’s now applying her experience in hospitality and natural flare for branding and marketing to grow her new venture, Chillhouse, a day spa that serves signature cocktails and fashionable coffee in spaces designed to help us slow down and relax. And Cyndi has an even bigger ambition: to turn Chillhouse into a global brand for modern self-care.
Justice Democrats’ Alexandra Rojas Wants to Rewrite Politics
There’s no denying Latinas are making serious moves across the political map. But the real power players are not always in the spotlight. Alexandra Rojas is one Latina working to change the face of politics thanks to her role as executive director of Justice Democrats, which helped elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other history-making women to Congress. Rojas talks about her political awakening, how she stays centered amid the chaos, and why she believes the future of the country depends on electing a new wave of leaders.
Univision’s Ilia Calderón is Grounded by the People She Covers
She came to Miami on vacation from her television job in Colombia and, while visiting Telemundo with a friend, walked herself into an opportunity of a lifetime. Then Ilia Calderón really went to work, leading the country’s premier Spanish-language news program on Univision and making headlines for her intrepid reporting and intelligent disaster coverage. She talks with Alicia about confronting a KKK leader, reporting on the family separation crisis as a mother, and navigating life as a hyphenated Latina.
Life in Pieces’ Angelique Cabral First Sees It, Then Goes After It
Some of us daydream about what we want in our lives. Some of us pray about it. Actress Angelique Cabral writes it down as literally as she can and puts it where she can see it every day. Then she goes to work making it happen. Her beautiful home, her artistic development, and her hit CBS show all resulted from laser-focused manifestations. She breaks down how this practice has made her life fuller and her work more rewarding.
Dr. Laura Scott is Building a Self-Care Brand One Post at a Time
Becoming a doctor is a huge accomplishment unto itself, requiring years of study, sacrifice and discipline. But if you’re a smart, driven, black Latina it can often feel like a Herculean feat. Dermatologist Dr. Laura Scott and her close cohort of friends created a bond that strengthened and protected them as they navigated and excelled at Harvard University and beyond. Today, under her Instagram handle LauraLacquer, she has a large and growing audience that look to her for inspiration and a little bit of lacquer.
How Birchbox CEO Katia Beauchamp Upended the Beauty Industry for Good
Knowing that “beauty is hard to sell on the internet,” this subscription box CEO still pursued a breakthrough company model that would eventually redefine beauty buying habits. But it was not a straight line from a business-school idea to a multi-million dollar annual revenue. Potential investors didn’t get it. Makeup purveyors didn’t see the vision. And customers had to be found. Katia tells Alicia the full riveting story.
Fitness Entrepreneur Melissa Alcantara is Always in Beast Mode
Before you follow her on social media or try out her tailored fitness routine, there’s one thing you need to know about Melissa Alcantara: “I approach everything in beast mode.” And why shouldn’t she? She went from being in the worst shape of her life and feeling hopeless after years of yo-yo dieting to training her body and mind to achieve olympian fitness levels. And did we mention Kim Kardashian asked her to be her personal trainer. Melissa tells Alicia how she made it all happen by sheer will and determination.
Novelist Lilliam Rivera Builds Worlds for All of Us
As a young reader, she didn’t realize people who looked and lived like her were missing from some of her favorite books. “It felt to me like I was reading science fiction in a lot of ways because it was so outside of my own childhood….And I was accepting of it like, okay, cool this is a different life,” Lilliam Rivera tells Alicia in this emotive episode. But her perspective quickly changed after reading award-winning Latino writers in college. She soon became so empowered she came to see herself as an author of books for young adult readers.
Buy her book, Dealing in Dreams.
How HeyFranHey’s Francheska Medina Healed Herself
Her body was really sick and giving up on her--fast. Indifferent doctors recommended unthinkable treatments. But her natural instincts were pushing her in a different direction. In a way, by taking charge of her health, Fran Medina took her life into her own hands. She studied, she learned, she listened to people who knew more, and to her own body. Some years later, she’s crafted a lifestyle model that emphasizes physical, mental, and spiritual health.
How Jess Morales Rocketto Became a Political Ninja
"What I'm trying to do is motivate people into their purpose." Easy, right? It is if you're Jess Morales Rocketto, a digital political organizer who helped orchestrate historic runs by Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams. Now she's mobilizing millions in the fight against family separation and the movement to bring the masses to the ballot.
Why Climate Scientist Nicole Hernández Hammer Takes the Fight to the Streets
There's a direct connection between climate scientist Nicole Hernández Hammer’s childhood in rural Guatemala and her tireless work to teach the rest of us how to adjust our lives so we can preserve the planet for our grandchildren. And the life that unfolded between those two points is remarkable, including that time she stepped on Michelle Obama's foot.
Master Chef Lorena Garcia Says it Takes More than Sharp Knives
She handed her law degree to her mother to thank her, and quit an elite Miami law firm on her first day. Then she headed to culinary school--in France. Might be easy to say the rest is history, but that’s not the case with this Venezuelan powerhouse. From being told her accent would hold her back, to being discouraged from having her own television show, Lorena has never allowed other people’s limitations to hold her back. Now, as the head of a growing culinary empire, she looks back at the unconventional way she made it to the top.
How Mend App Founder Elle Huerta Comforts Broken Hearts
After getting her heart broken, and finding zero advice that was actually useful, Elle Huerta decided to build her own “personal trainer for heartbreak.” Her app, Mend, guides users on how to handle and move on from a breakup, a divorce, the loss of a loved one, even being fired. She’s grown the company from a website she built after teaching herself to code to a category-defying digital platform on the leading edge of hand-held emotional assistance.
In the Heights Playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes Writes So People Remember Us
She has written about Latinos in Washington Heights, about her close cousins and extended family, about what it means to be Latina. And now she’s writing about herself in her first memoir. The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner is not only a gifted storyteller, she also masters the art of reflection. She talks about the intersections in her life that led her down this path: her santera mother, Jewish paternal family, love of music, and deep devotion to writing.
Gina Rodriguez Is Making Boss Moves
Gina Rodriguez will always be associated with her star-making and award-winning portrayal of the titular character on Jane the Virgin. And she's so grateful. But she's also ready to move from in front of the camera to behind it as a producer and director of shows and films that reflect the many ways of being Latina today. On this episode, she talks about the setbacks, the family support, and the toll of being an outspoken public figure.
Michelle Poler Inspires Fearlessly
Growing up the descendant of Holocaust survivors, Michelle Poler says fear is practically in her DNA. And that being raised in Venezuela during turbulent times only made things worse. While in grad school in the US, she set out to conquer 100 fears and live a life free from worry. In the process, she has inspired thousands to face up to their greatest challenges.
Cover Girl and Disability Activist Jillian Mercado Takes on Her Dreams
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.
Why Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz Bends the Rules
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.
That Time Superstar Beauty Vlogger Iris Beilin Saved Her Own Life
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.”
How Artist Latashá is Mindshifting Music
Latashá 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.
Actress Aimee Carrero Embraces Her Weird, and We Love Her for It
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 Embraces All Her Identities
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.
Investor Nathalie Molina Niño Boldly Speaks Truth to Powerful Men
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.
Buy her book, Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Entrepreneurs.
Fashion Entrepreneur Lilliana Vazquez: “Build Something for Yourself”
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.”
Ain’t I Latina Founder 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.
How Author Frances de Pontes Peebles Finds Power in Writing
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.”
Buy her book, The Air You Breathe.
Why Estée Lauder’s María Cristina González Noguera Isn’t Afraid to Leap
María Cristina González 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 María 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.
Financial Expert Carmen Rita Wong: “Be Preoccupied about Our Money”
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.
ODAAT’s Gloria Calderón Kellett Is a Boss in Any Room
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.
Amara La Negra Outshines Any Spotlight
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.
This is Why María Elena Salinas is a Legend
After decades of beaming into our homes from her perch on the anchor desk, María 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.
How Christy Haubegger Became a Media Mastermind
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.
Paola Mendoza Teaches Us that Joy is an Act of Resistance
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 is Fearless and She Knows It
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.
Buy her book, In the Country We Love.
How Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto Made Room for Herself in Politics
US Senator. Mentor. Deal-maker. How Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto drives Washington D.C. into the next era of politics
Daisy Auger-Dominguez on Making It in Corporate America
Strategist. Connector. Talent magnet. How Daisy Auger-Dominguez creates a space in corporate America for the rest of us.
Hamilton’s Mandy Gonzalez is Intentional about Personal Growth
Singer. Broadway star. Revolutionary. How Mandy Gonzalez commands — and captivates — on stage and in person.
Pipeline Angels' Natalia Oberti Noguera Wants Investors to Show Us the Money
CEO. Coach. Boundary breaker. How Natalia Oberti Noguera disrupts the world of angel investing.
Why Comedian Cristela Alonzo Sometimes Laughs at Herself
Writer. Actor. Trailblazer. How Cristela Alonzo makes room for stories like hers in every medium.
The View’s Sunny Hostin Likes Taking a Stand
The View host. Former federal prosecutor. Future politician. How Sunny Hostin takes on today’s most controversial topics — on live TV.
How Orange Is The New Black’s Jackie Cruz Gets it Done
Actor. Musician. Activist. How Jackie Cruz creates her own path (in and out of the spotlight).