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Shakira Working on New Music?

Singer Shakira has not been on the airwaves much since having her second child, Sasha, with her partner the Spanish pro football player Gerard Pique, but that may all change soon.

Five days ago, the multilingual “Whenever, Wherever” songstress posted a video of herself dancing to music in a studio for her 23.9 million followers on Instagram to see.

Hard at work. Shak

A video posted by Shakira (@shakira) on

In the video, the natural beauty is joking that “she doesn’t have any cream on her face” as she shakes her hips to a beat being produced for a new song.

This will be her first full album being made under her new management team Roc Nation, which is owned by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. Her last studio album was the self-titled “Shakira,” which came out in 2014.

 

JESSICA ALBA PARTNERS WITH START-UPS

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Focusing on start-up companies that are working on new apps, Jessica Alba has thrown her hat along with other top celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, will.i.am, and Gary Vaynerchuk to serve as a mentor for new app companies as well as advisor for the unscripted series “Planet of the Apps.”

Alba, who started The Honest Company, to address needs and resolve problems with safer solutions, sees a similiar parallel with these emerging companies.

“I’m looking forward to meeting entrepreneurs and help them realize their vision,”

Alba explained.

Of course to get any project off the ground you need money. Enter Lightspeed Venture Partners, a venture firm based in Silicon Valley that were one of the first investors in Snapchat.

Alba will also serve as executive producer for the show which is produced by Propagate and Apple. Ben Silverman, one of the executive producers is looking forward to having Jessica join this venture.

“Her business insight and experience will be invaluable to the app developers selected for the series,”

Silverman proclaimed. The mutual benefits should create an environment that will make this program as executive producer Howard T. Owens described,

“Truly the first of its kind.”

Eva Longoria Directing “Jane the Virgin”

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The demise of “Telenovela” was not the end of the road for Eva Longoria. It was just the beginning of a new chapter.

While she will no longer be starring and executive producing the NBC show, she managed to bounce back by getting a gig to direct the third episode of the new season of “Jane the Virgin,” which is coming back this fall.

For season three Longoria will be helming “Chapter Forty-Seven.”

Longoria was so excited that she tweeted the news on her twitter account.

This is not her first foray into directing. She previously helmed the first episode of “Devious Maids‘”  (another show she executive produces) second season in 2014.

Longoria’s episode will debut on Oct. 31 on the CW on Monday at 9 p.m.

Fall Casting Updates

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Tony Plana, of “Ugly Betty” fame will be joining the cast of “Colony,” a sci-fi drama on the USA Network.

“Colony” takes place in a future dystopian Los Angeles that is occupied by extraterrestrials whose motives are unclear.

For its second season, Plana will be playing a politician that comes off as a person of the people, but is more a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Mariah Carey will be guest starring in her friend Lee Daniels’ hit show “Empire,” which is on 20th Century Fox.

The role for Carey won’t be too much of a stretch as she will be playing a diva going by the name of Kitty. The megastar will be collaborating with Jussie Smollett‘s character Jamal Lyon on a song produced by Taraji P. Henson’s industrious Cookie.

“Empire” will return for its third season on Sept. 21 on Fox, and “Colony” premiere date has yet to be released.

 

This Year Women Ruled the VMA’s, but the Guys were Good Too

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By having over 200 million records sold, eight studio albums to her name and 14 number one singles in just a little over a decade Rihanna became this year’s recipient of the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award at the Video Music Awards.

While she may not have beat out Michael Jackson in records sales (around 600 million), she did beat him out this year in the amount of number one hits she has (his is 13).

The Barbadian hitmaker opened the show to a slew of her biggest pop songs dancing in a bubble gum cutout outfit and killing it on the dance floor.  This was only the first of four medleys she had throughout the night.

Hyperactive comedy duo Key and Peele spent the show commentating on the presenters, winners and performers while trying to create meme-worthy catchphrases of the night’s most momentous occasions. Some of their jokes were spot on, the rest were simply flat and repetitive sexual innuendos.

The most anticipated act of the night was none other than Britney Spears. Nine years passed since her lackluster performance in 2007, in which she looked more like a deer in the headlights instead of a pop princess. On stage, she had a steamy musical number with rapper G-Eazy of her hit “Make Me,” which was a definite return to form for the singer-dancer. Later they both performed one of his hits, “Me, Myself and I” to a cheering crowd.

Presenter Alicia Keys highlighted that it was the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech and later gave a stirring poem, in which she said “that all women and men are created equal,” before she announced the nominees for Best Male Video.

Calvin Harris won for “This is What You Came For,” which was co-written by his former beau, Taylor Swift, who he definitely did not thank.

Kanye West was Kanye West as he made non-sequiturs about his music idols, his love for his wife and his feud with Taylor Swift, in which he addressed his controversial music video “Famous.”

It was an expression of our now, our fame right now, us on the inside of the TV. The audacity to put Anna Wintour next to Donald Trump. I put Ray J in it, bro. This is fame bro. I see you Amber…my wife is a [gangsta], not a lot of people’s wives would let them say that.

West later referenced the high level of crime in his native Chicago, shouted out Chance the Rapper and finally introduced his “Flashdance” inspired video “Fade.”

Not to be outdone, Beyonce took the stage for almost 20 minutes as she did an angelic rendition of “Pray You Catch Me,” which she followed up with a racy “Hold Up” where she smashed the camera with a baseball bat and topped it all off with an Olympic-like synchronized “Formation” dance that is worthy of a gold medal. She was later presented the Video of the Year Award by four of the Final Five od the USA women’s gymnastic team.

Jimmy Fallon shocked the audience by dressing up as Ryan Lochte and wisecracking about how he wrote “Sorry,” instead of Justin Bieber, which left the swimmer’s rival, Michael Phelps, in stitches.

Rihanna rounded out the night with medleys of her soul, dancehall and R&B songs showcasing some of her best vocals. Her performances were raw, powerful, sexy, emotional, and definitely unapologetic. In other words, truly her.

The sweetest moment of the night, however, was when Drake in a sharp tuxedo presented her the Vanguard Award and reminisced about first meeting Robyn Rihanna Fenty in 2005 as an extra in her first music video as she beamed at his congratulatory speech.

We loved the woman who hasn’t changed since day one. She’s someone I loved since I was 22-years-old.”

Rihanna would go on to remark on how her award was so much bigger than herself.

My success started as my dream. But now my success is not my own. It’s my family’s. It’s my fans. It’s my country’s. It’s the Caribbean as a whole. It’s women. It’s black women.

When she finished her speech she walked off the stage with Drake hand in hand. It was truly a remarkable night for women indeed.

ALICIA MACHADO, AS U.S. CITIZEN, READY TO VOTE AGAINST TRUMP

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The former 1996 Miss Universe Alicia Machado, has been many things. Now you can call her U.S. Citizen. Donald Trump, who knew Machado from those days as the man behind the pagaent, focused on her weight issues then and afterwards.

Machado has publicly discussed her depression which revolved largely because of her body image issues. Trump has had no problem body-shaming Alicia having called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” over the past twenty years.

The Venezuelan-born Machado responded to her former tormentor by receiving her citizen papers. She mentioned she was planning to exercise her citizenship muscles by backing Hillary Clinton.

“All my power and support with my next President, Hillary Clinton,”

Alicia proudly proclaimed as she waved a small United States flag.

‘Harvest of Empire’: Book to Documentary

Originally published in the May 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS magazine

By Clara Galvano-Rivera

From the beginning of time, groups of humans have migrated across this planet searching for adventure, food or opportunity. Unfortunately, some need to flee horrific circumstances. In his groundbreaking book Harvest of Empire, Juan González gives us a pretty clear picture of the conditions that create these crises. González, who has been a journalist for more than 30 years and former staff columnist for the New York Daily News, is also the co-host of the award winning daily radio and television news program “Democracy Now!”

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Luis Enrique, Emmy-winning singer and composer, wrote a song for the film about his experience in Nicaragua during the bloody war between the Sandinistas and the Contras. He says that there are two 15-year-old in him: The 15-year-old from before the war and the 15-year old from after. His song is very moving. Listen carefully, and you will hear sadness, pain, broken dreams, and, yes, anger. One woman, María, talks about being tortured. It takes a certain amount of courage and valor to share such unspeakable experiences, and the director’s lens is as kind as it can be in those circumstances. Juan González also shared his family’s migration to New York, as did Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz.

Although the book is being brought into schools and study guides to start a conversation between teachers and students, as well as their families and friends, a 90-minute documentary has now been created. Gonzalez shared, “When I was approached about this project, I was very interested because—although ‘Harvest of Empire’ is more comprehensive and carries a wealth of information that would be impossible to fit into a documentary—a film can capture the feelings, emotions and the visceral ways in which people relate to one another much better than a book can. You know, most people don’t really know why the explosion in the Latino population has been happening for the past 50 years. They don’t really understand it wasn’t an accident or freak of nature. I wanted them to understand what the forces were that made these people leave their homes, their families, and come here. I wanted people to see that the U.S. benefited from these migrations. These migrations were fundamental to our country’s development. The documentary will be able to open many eyes.” There are some strong scenes from Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, and Guatemala.

Speaking with Gonzalez, he explains that migrations are not haphazard; they all have a reason. He mentioned that he was recently speaking at a function in Arkansas and that, in the past 10-15 years, many Guatemalans have taken root in the community. I asked him why. “Tyson Foods is there, and they needed labor to work in the chicken processing plant. Arkansas has not taken an anti-migration stance. They have been very welcoming to the Guatemalan population, and are very happy to have them in the community. This is not the case in states like Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama. The Guatemalan laborers,like all migrants, are risk-takers, and it’s worked out really well for them.”

Gonzalez goes on to say that many industries in the early days of U.S. expansion depended on cheap labor. Mexicans in the Southwest, for instance, were the reason that the 19th century King Ranch was so successful. At one point in time, there were 500 field hands on one ranch alone, all Mexican laborers. Mexicans were involved in the copper, sheep herding, cattle and gold industries, and made many companies rich by the sweat of their brow.

In 1820, the U.S. started to keep immigration data. Since that time,records show that Mexicans, not the Germans, French or Irish, are the largest group entering the United States. They were after all, close by. Mexico at that time was huge, and California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and parts of Utah belonged to Mexico.There is a saying in the film that some people in Texas still use: “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us!”

We also spoke with Maria Hinojosa, executive producer of the long-running NPR show, “Latino USA” and anchor of the Emmy Award-winning talk-show “Maria Hinojosa.”  Dr. Hinojosa has known Gonzalez since the late 1980’s. “As a young Latina journalist trying to make her way, I respected him and his work. Juan has become the People’s historian. He has helped us to understand who we are and where we come from. How did we get here? Most people don’t realize that the very first European colony was St. Augustine. St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by the Spanish, way before the English arrived. Central America and North America are deeply connected. Always have been. The history books that our kids are reading will reflect this true and honest history of the Latinos in the U.S.A. 2016 is clearly a year of change and transition. The center of any conversation is now about demographics. Any piece that can help uncover the complexities of how the cultures can co-exist and can clarify why Latinos are coming here is welcome. I hope people will see this documentary, step back and say: ‘I never knew that,’ and realize how intertwined our countries are. Media can have a good influence.

Dr. Hinojosa thinks there has been too much division between genders, ethnicity, and people in general. And it certainly seems to be so at “the wall” that divides Mexico and the United States. According to Enrique Morones, Founder of Border Angels, more than 10,000 people have died trying to cross. He and volunteers take gallons of water into the desert to help those in need. Many migrants have died just from crossing the desert without enough water.

Hinojosa continues, “I was really surprised when I was asked to participate in this wonderful documentary. My part is pretty small and it happens at the end of the film. I was given the closing thoughts. That was really special. An important life lesson for me was when I met Elie Wiesel, who said to me that no human being can be‘illegal’, that we are all one, and that we have to see our common humanity.” Mr. Wiesel is a Romanian-born Jewish American writer, professor, political activist, Holocaust survivor, and Nobel Laureate.

 

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Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America by Juan González is a Penguin book available in bookstores and online. Get this book. It is a game-changer. Watch the Harvest of Empire 90-minute documentary based on the ground-breaking book by Juan González, which includes special cameos by Junot Díaz, Geraldo Rivera and more: www.linktv.org/shows/episodes/harvest-of-empire-full-film

Aarón Sánchez : No Longer in his Mother’s Shadow

Photo by Naeisha Rose

Photos by Naeisha Rose

Chef Aarón Sánchez, of “Iron Chef” fame, may be one of the most celebrated Mexican-American culinary experts around the world, but it wasn’t until about a year ago that he decided to make dishes celebrating his Mexican roots.

Like many cooks, the Iron Chef’s love for cooking came from his family.

“My story is not so strange from many Latin families,” says Sánchez. “I grew up in a household where food is central. That is the way we commune,” says Sánchez.

Guests anticipating third course.

Guests anticipating the third course.

As a child, Sánchez’s family lived off the land and spent time taking care of animals on the isolated parts of Chihuahua, Mexico, and cooking became the pastime for his family.

“I had three aunts and they rode horses every day and they took care of cattle and my grandmother would cook. That is where the love of cooking was born, with my mom and my aunts,” says the television personality.

For the budding food connoisseur, home life in Chihuahua didn’t always remain idyllic, but things did change for the better.

As I grew up we moved from Mexico to Texas and I really started to grasp how important food was for us as a family. My mom became a caterer and social worker, divorced my daddy when I was three and took me and my twin brother in the catering van to El Paso. With just an opportunity and a job, she ended up becoming the most recognized Mexican chef in the country, all through hard work and recreating the food she grew up eating as a child.”

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Despite being inspired by his mom, Zarela Martinez, as she transitioned from a caterer to a chef and then restaurateur of the famous Café Marimba in New York, Sánchez knew he had to fly the coup to seek out his own path in the food world.

As a young man, I felt the absolute need to separate myself from my mom’s shadow. That is why I started to embrace other Latin foods like Peruvian, South American, and Caribbean dishes. That became a lot of my focus so I could establish my own identity culinarily. I remember that being an early motivation early on in my career, and that is why I worked in the kitchen at Patria with Douglas Rodriguez right here in New York. It was the first Latin restaurant to ever get three stars and I was a part of that.”

After traveling throughout the United States and abroad Sánchez felt that he was finally ready to make food from his home country of Mexico.

“I guess when I moved to New Orleans a year ago…and studied enough, I felt it suffice for me to tackle Mexican food as a genre. I didn’t want to tackle that food unless I was prepared, and now that I’m in my 40s I felt like it was time,” says Sánchez.

quail on table2- Naeisha Rose

As a chef, trying out new and different ingredients to put a spin on an old recipe have been one of Sánchez’s favorite things to do, and that is why his collaboration with Grapes from California, a community of grape growers, remains a fruitful one.

This is the second year that Grapes from California worked with chef Aarón. It is always our mission that we find chefs that not only have a passion for cooking but a passion for grapes. It’s very evident whenever we work with chef Aarón, that it is more than just a dish that he is creating, he is creating a meal,” says Jeff Klitz, a representative with the California Table Grape Commission.

Jeff Klitz, California Table Grape Commission

Jeff Klitz, California Table Grape Commission

It is not only Sánchez’s mission to make great meals but to use food picked according to proper labor laws.

“As parents, we always struggle to find fresh food in the cold months…Grapes from California are actually available from May to January,” says Sánchez. “I’ve seen how these grapes are grown and the practices behind how they are harvested, which is important to me, so they are just doing it the right way, you know,” he adds.

In Soho, Chef Sánchez made scallop ceviche with red grapes, Yucatan-styled red snapper with green grapes and grilled quail with black grapes for guests.

Ceviche and Red Snapper

 

“He is finding nuances with every ingredient. It is a great pairing because Grapes from California are very versatile and you can use them as snacks, in salads, in meals, but he finds ways that we haven’t even thought of because he is chef Aarón,” says Klitz.

When asked which meal was his favorite, Klitz responded, “that’s like what do you like better, winning the lottery or having immortality.”

To get the recipes to Chef Sánchez’s three meals you can go to www.grapesfromcalifornia.com.

Struggling with Mental Illness and Learning to Overcome it

Originally published in the May 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS magazine

By Alfredo Madrid

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The various manners in which mental illnesses can develop and affect individuals are almost as diverse as the types of disorders that exist. Some are more serious than others. One particular individual, Aaron Harvey, partner at a successful digital marketing agency, broke his silence regarding a 20-year battle with an extreme form of obsessive compulsive disorder known as Pure O.

 

After realizing that there is a general lack of information available to the public on the disorder, he launched a website to humanize the experience of living with OCD named, Intrusive Thoughts.org. With videos and input from experts on meditation, diet, art and medicine, the site—which offers all of its content in Spanish as well—helps put sufferers on the path to treatment.

“It’s been life-threatening at times and humorous at other times,” said Harvey when describing his experience with OCD. “I’ve battled with it since I was a kid. I was even suicidal at times. It shaped my character. Twenty years I have battled with it. But the last few years have been very empowering.”

Such realizations and feelings of hopelessness led Harvey to want to create a site in which he could address others dealing with not just OCD, but mental disorders in general. He also touched upon why he feel sit is important to directly target the Latino population in this country.

“I wanted to humanize the symptoms,”said Harvey. “Instead of researching the side effects, I wanted to lead people to an understanding of what other people might be going through. Today’s audience is multicultural. It would be a missed opportunity to not offer it in Spanish. There is a mental health stigma in the U.S., and overseas there is even more stigma. People write to me from as far as Italy and Russia. I hope to reach Latin America as well.”

Harvey offers interesting advice for those afflicted with mental disorders. “My advice is to get as educated as you can about what you’re feeling,” said Harvey. “My stance is to practice mindfulness and meditation. It’s the idea that you witness your thoughts, but they don’t mean anything. Practice Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) which forces you to expose yourself to what you’re afraid of.

At times throughout his life long struggle, Harvey questioned whether he could have healthy, long-standing relationships or even be around children without having negative thoughts of harming them. But Harvey remains optimistic, and his position could be inspiring to those still battling mental disorders on their own.

Just talk about it,” said Harvey. “Don’t live in secrecy. Get as educated as you can. Empower yourself.

 

THOSE LIVING WITH OCD

  • Approximately 2.3% of the population between ages 18 – 54 suffers from OCD, which out-ranks mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and panic disorder.
  • 1 in 200 adults has OCD, and 1 in 100 has had OCD at one point or another in their life.
  • OCD is found in all ethnic groups,and both men and women are equally struck by the disorder.
  • Between 1/3 to ½ of all sufferers will find that their OCD has its roots in childhood.
  • Less than 10% of those suffering are currently in treatment.

 

INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS

  • 4 out of 5 people experience intrusive thoughts.
  • Up to 60% of sufferers of OCD will have no overt compulsions, known as “Pure O.”
  • Approximately 78% of all people suffering from with OCD have intrusive images.

A.J. LEE: WHAT WE LEARN ABOUT HER IN “EVOLUTION OF PUNK” DOCUMENTARY

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The four-part documentary “Evolution of Punk” which details the story of CM Punk and his UFC journey after leaving the WWE in January of 2014 has another star. She is mostly supporting cast but is as essential to the man who will be making his UFC debut on September 10th against Mickey Gall as anyone.

That woman is AJ Lee, real name April Brooks, formerly April Mendez, the Puerto Rican girl from New Jersey who went on to become a 3-time WWE Women’s Champion and married CM Punk after following him out of the WWE.

In the first episode of “Evolution of Punk” we see a woman of few words, easy with the laughter. But when she speaks its witty and you can sense the chemistry of the couple immediately. Punk even admits one of the reasons he left WWE was to focus on his marriage and remove a major stumbling block in his past relationships.

She is supportive but is not a fan of MMA and understands very little of it except that her husband’s dream is wrapped around it.

In episode two we get more of her. We find she doesn’t like watching him fight and admitted that even in WWE she could not watch for fear of seeing him get hurt. She observes his second sparring session and mentioned

“I dont think I freaked out once,”

AJ proudly explained,

“I think my nails went all the way through my arm.”

But her support knows no bounds. She can recognize how much he loves this. At dinner she points out that Punk’s stand up game was impressive knowing he doesn’t agree and professed how proud she was which makes a difference in a man’s psyche.

AJ has to be credited with allowing Punk’s decision to move to Milwaukee to get closer to training to not become an issue allowing him peace of mind though he would spend additional time from them to pursue the dream harder.

At the end of episode two, the shoulder injury that stopped his first training run would be explored in the third episode but seeing the results now you get a sense that they enjoy each other immensely and even when their pet dog pees a trail in their new apartment her giggle to his comment about living the “glamourous life” is a picture perfect example that though CM Punk is the focus of the documentary, AJ Brooks is the column that supports this whole building.

What’s hotter than a scorching July in Miami? Miami Swim Week!

 

Originally published in the Jul/Aug 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS magazine

By, Daisy Cabrera

Latinas love to make a fashion statement. It’s part of our cultura. Whether wearing a “barely there” bikini, sharp business suit or over-the-top ball gown – we dress to impress. At. All. Times. You know how we do! Now combine that deep-rooted love of fashion with extraordinary talent, and you’ve got yourself some powerful Latina designers making their mark in the industry. 

The annual “Miami Swim Week” was proof that Latinas are running this motha! The event took place from July 13-19 in the nation’s year-round bikini capital – South Beach!

The “Instagrammable” festivities included fashion shows in state-of-art tents, cool pop-up stores, swank satellite venues, exclusive trade shows and luxurious pool soirees. Droves of fashionistas, stylists, socialites and blogueras scored front row seats – snagging coveted swag, basking in the latest trends and dancing the night away at the after parties. 

It was quite the fashion fête, and Latina designers were front and center of it all. Time to suit up!

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Colombian designer, Andrea Gaviria, brought her OMG Swimwear collection (cover-ups, monokinis, bikinis) infused in striking fuchsia, sunflower, turquoise and emerald green. She shared, “I design pieces that create an illusion and highlight a woman’s curves, making her feel unique, sophisticated, and glamorous.” Celebrities who sport her sweltering designs include Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara and Selena Gomez!

Sisters Manuela and Amalia Sierra created their artistic swimwear line, Maaji, inspired by the charm, beauty and diversity of Colombia. Proceeds of the fashion-forward collection (cover-ups, swimsuits, resort wear, accessories) help plant native trees in their country.

Lumé, by Colombian designer Paula Daza, thoughtfully combines artist paintings with design. “You don’t have to sacrifice style for sustainability,” she said. The line supports the Cartagena-based Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar Foundation, helping pregnant youth with much-needed resources.

Argentina was in the house! Mariana Cortes presented her Juana de Arco line – an easy-to-wear, colorful collection of relaxed styles that combines movement and comfort. She creates her own patterns to design A-line tanks, slip dresses, harem pants, leggings and more. 

Mariana Lopez Osornio’s line, MLO Jewelry, is simply majestic! The Argentinean designer draws inspiration from eco-friendly, natural materials. She showcased her innovative “resort” jewelry collection filled with cow horn, brass, quartz, amazonite, turquoise and magnecite. 

Liliana Villalobos is the dynamic Peruvian force behind Aguaclara. Think custom-made, ultra exotic swimwear pieces rooted in Amazon and Andean influences. The sophisticated silhouettes (monokinis, flowing dresses, cover-ups) in exclusively designed prints are to die for.

Raffaella Raffo Porcari’s poolside line, Capittana, is delightfully fresh, spirited and youthful. The Peruvian’s resortwear (bikinis, one pieces, bags, accessories, shorts) is all made in Peru.

Accessories anchor an outfit. Just ask the talented Dominican designer Erika Peña. She creates magnificent tribal necklaces, and it’s no wonder Jessica Alba wears her signature pieces! “I was put on earth to enhance a woman’s beauty,” she said, sharing her passion for the elements of the earth – volcanic and semi-precious stones, sea glass, wood, brass, onyx and more. 

Puerto Rico, ho-oooooo! Former Miss Universe, actress, and TV host Zuleyka Rivera introduced her super playful, tropics-inspired line – ZK Swimwear, mesmerizing with its bright colors, romantic mesh embroidery and flirty silhouettes.

Lila Nikole’s self-titled collection, drawing inspiration from the aesthetic of native warriors, rocked the runaway with trend-setting monokinis, tangas, cover-ups and resortwear. The Boricua showcased custom prints in traditional African color palettes, and rich hues of red, orange, blue and purple.

On to Brazil! KRUZIN, the brainchild of Alessandra Gold, was all about sleek, street-inspired cool kicks. The ‘Sneaker Queen of Miami’ enjoys a celebrity following: Trina, Lil Wayne and Flo Rida.

Watching Brazilian designer Paula Hermanny’s line, ViX, luxuriating down the catwalk was a dream come true. Think St. Tropez meets Morocco meets Southeast Asia. The modern, warm hued resort wear – linens, cotton, silks wrapped in brass and gold accents – was a feast for the eyes. Count Gisele Bündchen and Jessica Alba among the charmed fans.

Sinesia Karol’s sparkling couture collection stole the spotlight! The Brazilian’s line, which celebrates women with impeccable designs, includes cover-ups made with luxe silk and chiffon. The fabrics feature the art of Brazilian talent Ana Paula Castro. 

Spanish actress Penélope Cruz and her sister Monica co-designed the L’Agent by Agent Provocateur collection of chic, edgy and seductive pieces with carefully placed zippers, colorful lace and intricate embroidery. 

And, what’s fashion without a little sabrosura? Vikina Lopez, born to Cuban and Ecuadorian parents, is a force to be reckoned with! The talented singer performed a rich fusion of reggaeton, urban bachata and Latin pop onstage. The show was LIT! 

Until next time, Miami Swim Week! And, bravo!

Lin-Manuel Miranda Under the Sea

Photo by lowelsun.com

Straight off of composing lyrics for the 3D computer-animated film “Moana,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, the poet, playwright, and actor will now be teaming up to write new music for the live-action version of the “The Little Mermaid.”

The multi-talented hitmaker of plays such as “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” will also be a producer on his favorite Disney film (he named his son with wife, Vanessa Nadal, Sebastian).

The co-writer of the film is none other than Disney juggernaut Alan Menken, writer of some songs you might have heard of like “Under the Sea,” “Colors of the Wind” and “A Whole New World.”

This year couldn’t get any better for Manuel. After winning 11 Tony Awards, it was also announced that he will star in another Disney classic, “Mary Poppins,” with “Sicario” star Emily Blunt.

Despite being a classic animated staple for Disney, their live-action version will face stiff competition from another studio, Universal, which already cast Chloe Grace Moretz of “Kickass” fame to star in the film. Universal‘s script for the film is nearly complete and the studio is only moments away from clinching a director to helm the project.

Either way, expect to be hearing Miranda’s name even more next year.