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Dominican Designer EMILIO SOSA Reimagines Rockettes Costumes For New Era

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Originally published in LatinTRENDS magazine

By Christine Stoddard

When Emilio Sosa was three years old, his family made the great pilgrimage from Santo Domingo to The Bronx—and stayed. Their exodus was, as Sosa puts it, an effort to chase after the “American Dream.”“But we struggled,” he told LatinTRENDS at a recent press event.

Now Sosa, 43, who you may recognize from Season 7 of “Project Runway,” is designing for the iconic Rockettes—or,as he tells it, achieving that American Dream.Despite his early struggles,the young Dominican-American began studying art early and eventually become a TONY Award-nominated costume and fashion designer.

“My mother, bless her,never let me  go without,” he said. “I always had art supplies.” Sosa added that though it wasn’t easy for his father to accept this artistic dreams, he did.This year, the Rockettes New York Spectacular will open June 15 and run through August 7. In 2015, the show sold nearly 300,000 tickets over the course of its eight-week run. Previously,the show was called the New York Spring Spectacular, but has been rescheduled for the summer to accommodate the tourists that flock to the city then.

During the summer months, New York City sees a significant increase in tourism and shifting the production will provide an opportunity for even more people to experience this dazzling musical celebration starring the Rockettes,” said David O’Connor, president and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, in a press release.Sosa joins a long legacy of costume designers and other theatre artists whose work has made the Rockettes an American stage classic.But even though the precision dance company has performed at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan since 1932, nothing about the show feels old.The Rockettes have gotten a major makeover. The show has been modernized for a contemporary American audience that loves today’s pop music and threads from a fashion-forward thinker.But Sosa isn’t giving anything away about the new looks.

“Come to Manhattan,” he said. “You have to see this show.”

 

 

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Relationship Trends in America!

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Relationship Trends in America!

 

  • 48% of men are most likely to fall in love at first sight than woman who rated in at 28% ( makes sense verdad?)
  • 33% more men than woman are bothered if their partners aren’t more romantic (this is surprising, isn’t it?)
  • Couples who earn $20,000 or less argue less frequently compared to those who earn $250,000 to $500,000 ( hum…)
  • 57% of those in an unhappy relationship still finds partner attractive
  • Successful marriages center their relationship with God (Amen!)
  • 33% Considered breaking-up after watching a TV show or movie (choose what you watch carefully!)

 

We would like to hear your thoughts on this matter. Feel free to share your opinion below.

Remembering The Great Oscar de la Renta

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Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died on Monday at age 82, according to multiple reports.

The Dominican Republic born fashion designer made the most exquisite dresses for first ladies, movie stars and high profile brides. George Clooney’s wife, Amal Alamuddin, was de la Renta’s most recent bride to dress.

Oscar de la Renta has been battling cancer since 2006, but the cause of his death has not been revealed.

De la Renta has dressed first ladies since Jaqueline Kennedy wore his designs during the 60s, which propelled him to start his own brand in 1965. He continued to design beautiful gowns for Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and Hilary Clinton. Earlier this year an exhibit showcased Oscar de la Renta’s “Five Decades of Style” demonstrating “the First Lady as our country’s official hostess to world leaders and diplomats and as a trendsetter in style [and] fashion,” stated the museum, the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Texas.

Red carpet events that were adorned by movie stars that wore Oscar de la Renta designs will still experience the New York based brand with Peter Copping as the new creative director, who was just appointed last week.

Street Art & The Latinos That Influenced The Culture of Writers

By Ottoniel Campos
Originally published in LatinTRENDS Magazine

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Before hipsters scattered around urban areas like organic roaches. Before Bansky. Before 3-D images, bubble, boxed and futuristic typography sprayed on subway cars were called street art by mainstream art collectors and gallery curators, the 1970s spurred an army of devoted graffiti artists called “writers” who just wanted to showcase their art, talent and bomb their names all over New York City.

OK, so bomb and New York City is not the thing to say, especially after September 2011. But during the ‘70s and ‘80s the term “bombing” meant that your tag, name or artwork was spray-painted on one of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s subways that traveled all over the concrete jungle of New York City. Along with break dancing, DJing and rapping, writers no older than 19, considered this unlawful, risky and dangerous act as one of the four elements of hiphop.
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One of the pioneers who paved the way in creative expression while using his name as a tool to capture the attention of haters, fanatics and subway riders oblivious to the incoming artistry arriving at their station is Lee Quiñones. The Puerto Rican-born and Lower East Side-raised Quiñones debuted his unsolicited artistry in 1974. His underground fame became mainstream once “Wild Style,” a 1984 film that followed a group of New York graffiti writers and hip-hop artists, hit theaters. By the late ‘80s he was already selling urban style art pieces in galleries all over New York City. The graffiti icon is not only immortalized by films and documentaries but also by the art book “Subway Art,” which is one of the top selling art books to date.

The film “Wild Style” also featured Sandra Fabara, better known as Lady Pink. This Ecuadorian writer, who was raised in Queens and graduated from the High School of Art & Design in New York City, made her mark in the male dominated graffiti world from 1979 to 1985. Like most writers, Lady Pink traveled and entered the darkest and most dangerous subway tunnels to display her artistry. Quickly, the graffiti community recognized her creativity and fearlessness. Now, more than 30 years later, the respected, beloved and admired Lady Pink is still a highly sought-after painter, muralist and graffiti writer with works featured in art galleries, museums and sponsored building walls all over the U.S.

Most associate the history of graffiti with only New York. But Philadelphia, D.C. and Los Angeles also had writers showcasing their talents on billboards and vacant buildings. During the early ‘70s Mexican-American Chaz Bojórquez brought his style of Asian calligraphy and the Chicano graffiti style of the ‘50s to the streets of East Los Angeles. Bojórquez is now considered the godfather of The “Cholo”-style letters seen on the hoods of pimped-out rides, motorcycle jackets and tattoos that usually goes along with an image of a skull or a red rose placed next to them.

Ask Judy: Am I TOO Latina For My Co-Workers?

Judy Torres

Ask Judy

 

Dear Judy,

I have recently begun a new job at a fashion house that is pretty recognizable. It’s a European fashion corporation and I am one of the VERY few Latinas here. I am a natural woman with curly hair, makeup limited to mascara and lip-gloss, and a curvy figure. I feel confident in my abilities but I would like to connect with my co-workers.

The problem is that we have nothing in common. I grew up in “the hood” and they grew up in cozy cul de sacs. I am proud of my curves and they eat edamame for lunch. I just don’t have anything in common with these Barbie doll co-workers.

What can I do to connect? I feel like failing to connect will hinder my progress in the company and I don’t want to seem antisocial.

Sola en este cubicle,
Yolanda

 

Hola, Yolanda!!

Congratulations on your new job!! You go, girl! Believe it or not, I know how you feel..I too am a natural woman with curly hair, and I always say I may be chunky, but I’m funky! I read your letter today, and shortly after, I went to a zumba class, where I found myself the only Latina there as well. I looked around: Caucasian, African-American, Indian and Asian…what a mixture!! I could tell all the ladies were regulars, but it was my first time there. So, I decided to do all the things I suggest you do.

Instead of feeling uncomfortable that I was the only Latina, I was happy. In my mind, I told myself, “I’m going to show these women how much fun I can be!” So there I was, shaking my booty, and yelling out, “Wepaaaa!” And in a few minutes some of the ladies were hooting and hollering with me. Some looked at me as if I was a strange alien, but I didn’t care. And that’s what you need to do.

Yolanda, you were hired because you are obviously very talented and the right person for the job. Perhaps your company felt it was time to bring in someone new, someone Latina. This is your chance to show them…to represent us. Be yourself. If you try to be anything else so you can “fit in,” you are going to find yourself disliked. People can see through fakeness.

I bet as time passes, they will appreciate your uniqueness. And remember if you don’t love yourself first, no one else will love you. So flaunt that curly hair and curvy figure!! I can tell already you are absolutely beautiful! Wepaaaa!!!

Love,
Judy

How to Flirt, According to Science

 

By Kimberly Moffit

USE FLIRTATIOUS BODY LANGUAGE

Most of the lasting impression we make on others is related to our body language, while only 7% is related to what we actually SAY! If you want to be approached in a bar, sit up straight with your shoulders back. Studies show that this way you’re more likely to be viewed as approachable. Be sure to not close yourself off physically, making you appear standoffish. Mirroring your partner’s body language also signals interest and intimacy. If you’re interested in someone, whether on the train, at Starbucks or at the gym, cross your legs toward as opposed to away. Lean in. And don’t be afraid to let your hands do the talking!

USE GENTLE TOUCH

Touch is important to effective flirting, because while words are processed through the “thinking” part of our brains, touch goes directly to our emotional centers. Touch can immediately heighten arousal, so touching your date/partner’s hand, arm, hair or hip initiates physical contact which immediately ups the ante leading to passion. The right time to lightly brush your crush’s arm or shoulder is when they are giving you physical indicators of interest, such as smiling and prolonged eye contact.

USE YOUR EYES

Eyes are historically known as the most magnetic part of one’s personality. Large eyes signal high fertility from a biological perspective and this may explain why study after study shows that women with larger eyes are seen as more attractive. This is why batting the eyelashes has been used for centuries to get attention as well as make the eyes stand out. You can also try looking your crush in the eye for a few seconds to get their attention.

USE YOUR LIPS!

Smiling, puckering, pursing, licking, and biting are all subtle but VERY effective ways to draw attention to your lips and get your date thinking about kissing them. RED lips also go a long way. Ovulating women have redder lips than when they’re not ovulating; making red lips an evolutionary preferable trait!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST – WEAR RED

People who wear red on first dates are statistically more likely to get into a relationship. The color red actually stimulates the heart to beat faster and has a tendency to evoke confidence in the person wearing it. Our brains are also conditioned to think ‘sexy’ when we see someone wearing red.

Kimberly Moffit is often recognized for her E! News and VH1 appearances. She has become one of the most sought after relationship experts. Additionally, Moffit shares her expert advice through the Huffington Post and Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger’s blog.

 

[Originally published in LatinTRENDS Magazine]

Colombia Brazil & Dominican Republic Leading in Vanity Tourism

 

The universal idea of beauty has been definitely changed. Now, the most beautiful and most desired women are curvy. For many, the ideal woman is a combination of Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara and Beyonce 


A new interest for female appearance places Latinas among the most attractive and desired women on the planet, which in turn fuels the existing cult of beauty and the women’s obsession with looking beautiful, young and fabulous.

It is no coincidence that countries such as Brazil, The Dominican Republic and Colombia have become the preferred destination for the so-called “beauty-tourism,” a new and innovative trend that has people traveling to other countries a part of promotional packages that include accommodation, medical expenses and cosmetic surgery ranging from breast augmentation to chin liposuction for a fraction of the cost they would have in the U.S.

The business of vanity or plastic surgery is a growing billion-dollar industry in Latin America, where professional success and social acceptance largely depend on physical appearance. This, despite the myriad of terrifying cases of deaths during surgery and of procedures performed in clinics operated by unscrupulous doctors or by people lacking proper credentials.

Back in the homelands, the social pressure some Latinas feel regarding their beauty drives even the ones with the most limited resources to resort to desperate methods that may include a subtle form of prostitution called “chapeo.”

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the most popular types of surgery are buttock augmentation, liposuction and breast augmentation. Botox continues to top the list of most common non-invasive cosmetic procedures worldwide.

A CULTURAL MATTER

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Latinas habitually worry about their appearance and the perception others may have of them, including their financial and social status. Looking good is equated to wellness and to doing well financially. We Latinas were raised admiring and wanting to be “just like” the leading actresses in telenovelas.

For most, going under the knife is considered more as psychological healing than a physical change. It boosts the self-esteem of women who were raised to be beautiful, even if that idea of beauty -which follows a European standard – fails to match the features of most of our countries’ population. It only takes a quick look at the most popular Hispanic TV networks or the famous Mexican telenovelas to see this.

From an early age, girls seem to covet having a full behind, voluptuous hips and stroke-inducing breasts, disregarding the effort required or even considering the risk of ending up being part of the terrifying statistics.

It is an emotional and physical balance. It is an mental attitude. It takes strongly believing that you accept yourself and love yourself exactly the way you are, and no letting advertising affect you and make no pursue and artificial idea of perfection.

We Latinas are more than our beauty. We are warriors who have fought for generations for the right to pursue our dreams in our countries of origin and in this new nation that opened its doors to us. And, of course, we also have curves.

 (Originally published in Latin Trends magazine)

Using Technology to Earn Money While Getting Fit!

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Many of us are probably done with our typical New Year’s resolution: to lose excess weight and get healthy…most likely we did not follow through. Many lose more momentum instead of weight by the time Día de los Reyes rolls around. Emerging technologies, such as various diet-tracking apps and Fitbit, have helped; sometimes more motivation is needed – how about earning money for every pound lost?!

HealthyWage, for example, provides cash incentives to address our nation’s obesity epidemic and improve America’s collective health. The company was founded in response to academic research that proves even small cash rewards triple the effectiveness of weight-loss programs, finding that people are more effective at losing weight when their own money is at risk. Since social networks play a large role in many lives, this will likely play a large role in reversing obesity. The company couples its popular individual and team-based weight loss contests and challenges that proffer substantial cash prizes (upwards of $10,000) with social and expert-based support, tools and resources, and goal-setting and tracking technologies to further bolster the success rate of its participants. On the HealthyWage website, a potential user just has to enter the amount of weight they wish to lose to get started and a “wager” estimate will appear. Social and expert-based support is also offered.

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In addition, there are also a number of mobile apps that help to motivate and track your progress while earning rewards! Step-counting apps Pact and Charity Miles help you set up and keep various activity goals. Pact features food goals, as well, where the user also wagers their money in meeting/failing those goals; earn when goals are succeeded and lose when they aren’t. Charity Miles give you the chance to earn money for charity for all those walking and running workouts. Just choose a charity and go for a jog or a hike but not on the treadmill or stationary bike as the app tracks your phone’s GPS to record mileage. An app that can save you some money is Health4Me, which helps users find various health care providers and facilities in their area as well as comparing for common medical services.

With all that is out there to help us get healthy, and stay healthy, for the rest 2017 and beyond,  let’s choose wisely and stick to it!

Work out while You Work

Chances are you’ve heard several reports throughout the years that discuss the health risks associated with sitting down for long periods. One way to combat that problem and get some exercise in the process is to use a Walkstation. Basically, the Walkstation is a walking speed treadmill that’s integrated into a desk — allowing you to work and keep your body moving at the same time. Like a traditional treadmill, it also shows your progress on a console with the distance traveled, time, speed and calories burned. No suits please, we recomend throwing on some gym clothes. $4,199 — Steelcase

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The Gamercize PC-Sport works like a little elliptical machine that you place under your desk, only it will hijack your mouse and keyboard when hooked up to a PC or laptop if it detects you are slowing down to unacceptable levels and lets you know that you need to keep moving to stay productive. Additional software can be included to help you keep track of your workouts. If you are anti multitasking, this may no be for you. $187 — Gamercize

 

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The Struggles of Young Lords Community Activism…a story continues

Pa'Lante

Originally published in LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Eddie Olmo

The mid ‘60s and early ‘70s was the height of the civil rights movement, and many people today remember the names of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party. But ask anybody today if they ever heard of the Young Lords Party. “The young who?” Is what most people will say except for Jennica Carmona, who is the writer/director of the movie “Millie and the Lords.” Jennica, along with her twin sister Jessica, have gone back into the archives to bring us a fictional story about a girl named “Millie,” performed by Jessica, who discovers herself while learning about the very real Young Lords.

Jennica uses original Young Lords members Felipe Luciano and José “Cha Cha” Jiménez and the fictitious character of “Mateo” to tell the plight of the Young Lords Party. Jessica’s character “Millie” joins community center “El Puente” where “Mateo,” portrayed by Mateo Gómez, is teaching a class about the Young Lords. This is where Jennica connects the modern day struggles to the struggles of the Young Lords. LatinTRENDS was able to sit with Jennica and Jessica to talk about this movie.

Millie and The Lords

Tell me about the movie “Millie and the Lords”

Jen – “Millie and the Lords” is a coming of-age story about a Latina woman living a mediocre life in Spanish Harlem, NYC. Her life begins to change for the better when she takes a daring step of enrolling in a Latino History Class, taught by a former Young Lords Party member named Mateo. The film blends the past with the present, by showing how a young person of today can grow when they from people from the past. It is a beautiful story of courage and self-empowerment.

Why the Young Lords?

The Young Lords was a very important activist group that fought for social change, and fought for the rights of Latinos. Many Puerto Rican and Latino people today don’t know about this important part of Latino History. We don’t learn about the Young Lords in school. It is a part of our history that is hidden from us. We want this film to pay tribute to this group of people that sacrificed their lives for a better world.

How did the Young Lords change your life?

The Young Lords changed my life by showing me how a group of people can come together to fight for a common goal and achieve it.

Do you think the Young Lords are still relevant in today’s society?

We are witnessing a new social justice movement, and the movement of today is struggling against some of the same issues that the Young Lords were fighting. Today, we are fighting police brutality and racism in Ferguson, MO, Wisconsin and here in NYC. We are also witnessing a fight for the rights of immigrants to have a future here in the US, without being separated from their families. We can learn from the way the Young Lords organized themselves, educated themselves, educated others and stood up for their rights.

What are your plans for this movie?

Our plans for this movie is to get it as widely distributed as possible. We especially want young Latinos of today to see the film, to inspire them to fight and work for a better world. We want teachers to show it in their classrooms, we want it screened at theatres across the country and across the world. I would love to see the film endorsed and promoted by well-known Latino artists such as Marc Anthony, JLo, Luis Guzmán, Jimmy Smits, Chayanne or Calle 13.

How did it feel to play Millie?

Playing the part of Millie was a challenge. She was very different from who I am in real life. The one thing I had in common with Millie was my love of reading and writing. And of course, as a Puerto Rican I dealt with strong Latino male family members who tended to be controlling. Millie’s character is tough, rude, mean with a bad attitude. Growing up, I was more like the shy nerdy one, but I did have a lot of anger about the world around me. I did question things a lot. I think I expressed it differently. When I was working with young Latinos in upstate NY and The Bronx, I did see these types of young women, though. And I was able to hear them and understand them. They were tough, really tough and hard to relate to. But over time, I began to understand them.

What did you learn from this experience?

I learned that indie film making is hard work! But I learned what a good feeling it is to work so hard on something and see the fruits of your labor.

How did it feel to win the Viva Latino Film Festival?

It was such a surprise and such an honor to win at Viva Latino Film Festival!! We were so excited when we got that news. It feels good. I see us as “the little engine that could” because we faced so many obstacles along the way. So it was a good feeling to get that news.