being mary jane

On Being Lisa Vidal – Her career, family balance and staying young

lisa vidal_repurpose

By Deyanira Martinez

The career of Lisa Vidal has not stopped and has been full of important characters and incredible performances in the past 30 years. This beautiful Nuyorican is the second lead character in the popular BET series “Being Mary Jane,” a drama television series, alongside the also popular actress Gabrielle Union.

Vidal plays Kara Lynch, a mother recently divorced who is Mary Jane’s boss and friend, “I think each one of our characters kind of represent women today, trying to have careers, to be self-sufficient, trying to have it all by showing the struggles of our characters as a Latina and a Black woman,” says Lisa.

The Hollywood industry is definitely taking note of seeing Latinas in a different light as professional and powerful women, pushing aside negative stereotypes. Lisa Vidal refuses to portray maids or prostitutes, knowing that Latinas can also play doctors, teachers, mothers, and provide an example and role models for the next generation.

Lisa started in the world of acting at the age of 14, when she was accepted to the prestigious High School of Performing Arts in New York. During her career, she has had the privilege of working with actors of the importance of Robert De Niro, Jessica Lange and Julia Roberts. Born in New York of Puerto Rican parents, the actress defines the status of a Nuyorican as “the perfect blend of Latinaness and Americanness so to speak. I love my people, my culture and I get the best of both worlds.

The road of securing a career in Hollywood requires dedication and sacrifice, and when a woman is also a mother of 3, a wife and a role model for thousands of Latinas she needs a lot of support, focus and a true passion. “I am a very good juggler. Women are such amazing multitaskers,” but she attributes her success to being surrounded by good friends and having a family and a husband that support her unconditionally. “You know, I have my moments of guilt, but I always try to be at my best, to do my best, and my best needs to be enough.” “My children know I love them but I have to work and create a balance,” the actress explains, “but you also need goals for yourself, it makes you a better person, mother, wife and friend.

An Unexpectedly Long Interview with Daniella Alonso

daniela alonso - magazine

[Originally published in the May 2015 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine. Subscribe today!]

Because She’s Freakin’ Awesome

By Giovanna Acosta

Hard working, animal loving, 100% honest and the star of the new movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” in theaters now. We sat with the beautiful Daniella Alonso, and this is what she told us…

Can you tell us a little about the movie and your character Divina?

The movie takes place in the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, there is a mall cop convention and Paul Blart ends up going. All the mall cops show up. So you get to meet different kinds of mall cops from all over the Unites States, which is just even funnier! My character, Divina Martinez, she’s the manager of the Wynn Hotel. She’s very put together and everything runs smoothly under her command, until she meets Paul and…

And then madness ensues.

Yes… yes!

What’s your favorite memory from working on the set of this film?

You know, there are so many because I have to say, this is one of the most amazing sets I have EVER been on. Not only is almost everyone in the entire cast comedians, which is amazing because you’re laughing nonstop… Kevin [James], Gary Valentine, Andy Fickman, who’s the director, these guys are so generous with their talent and their time and every time you do any scene with them, it’s like nothing’s ever wrong. You were just having fun and doing the work. So it was just… I can’t pick a favorite moment, because they were all pretty amazing.

I’m glad that you had such a great experience! You’ve been quite busy lately, in addition to “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” you are also playing the titular role in “Isolated Victim,” produced by Zoe and Cisely Saldana. Can you tell us a little bit about that film?

That was a very special movie, in a different way. We shot in the Dominican Republic. It’s loosely based on a true story of this woman who came to Haiti after the earthquake to help out for a few days. She saw that a lot of the kids there lost their parents and they were sold as slaves and the government turned a blind eye. She couldn’t believe what was going on, so she started to fight for these kids and founded two orphanages. It’s a beautiful story about a hero. A normal everyday woman who saw something wrong and decided to do something about it.

How is your character, Liliana Santana, different from your other roles?

I’ve never played a real person, so that was kind of a little added pressure. And it’s somebody who is, like I said, a hero, a real modern day hero—you want to do her justice. When I got the script, I was working on a TV show and I literally had three days to prepare. I worked on it and worked on it, and the day before shooting, the director was like ‘The whole movie is in Spanish, English and Creole’ and I had no idea! So I had a little mini nervous breakdown.

You had to learn Creole?

Yes! I had a coach who came on set every day during lunch and we would work on my Creole.

That’s amazing

It was one of the best experiences of my life. We worked with a lot of Haitian children, actors and non-actors. It was just something that, as an American, you’re not really exposed to. They are just the sweetest people, the most generous; they have nothing but will offer you everything they have. It was really life-changing. And I got to work with one of my favorite actors, Algenis Perez Soto, he’s like one of my best friends.

Another Latino! The past couple of years have seen a rise in Latinos/as in film and television. What do you think about the growing numbers of Latinas in entertainment?

I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction. A lot of people that have come before us have fought for this and I’m thankful and always grateful. At the same time, it’s still just a step in the right direction. We are still just “the girlfriends of ” and “the best friends of.” We are still supporting, as opposed to leading. Once we have leading roles and a full Latino cast without just being the one Latino to fill the quota, I think that’s when real change would have taken place. Again, I’m grateful because I have been given so many opportunities and I’m so thankful for them. I just still see the road ahead and see that there’s still work to be done.

Who is your favorite Latina/o actor or entertainer right now?

I love Jennifer Lopez for everything that she’s done, across the board. Her, Eva Longoria, actresses like that, who really fight for Latinos to be seen and represented. I really respect them, and would love to one day be able to do the same. I definitely respect them so much.

If you could work alongside anyone in the future (Latina or not), who would it be?

Right now, my favorite actress is Cate Blanchett. To me she can do no wrong. The way that she transforms from role to role, she looks amazing, and she takes risks, not only in fashion but in her roles, they’re so different! I’m obsessed with her right now.

Talking about fashion, what is your favorite item in your closet right now?

Probably my jeans. My black jeans. You can never go wrong with skinny black jeans. You can dress it up, dress it down, you can do anything.

Obviously you are very beautiful. Can you share some of your beauty secrets with us?

I have eczema on my face. So I can’t use anything like peels or any of that stuff, but what I really try to do is to moisturize like crazy. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize all day long. And stay out of the sun. Sunblock, stay out of the sun, moisturize and drink water. Water is the best.

You grew up in NYC and have a mix of Puerto Rican and Peruvian origins, how has this affected your cultural identity?

I definitely am closer to the Puerto Rican side of my family, my mom’s side of the family, because I grew up with them. I grew up with a very large extended family, my grandmother, her sisters, all in the same building and had 5 or 6 kids, my great grandmother, my grandpa. So I grew up with this really enhanced sense of family. I had friends, but I didn’t need friends because I had my cousins, and those were my friends. And those are the people that I grew up with and that I love and I trust 100%. I was very lucky in that. I grew up in this Puerto Rican household with Latinas that were opinionated and loud and strong women that took care of the household. And that just really molded me. I am very honest, 100% honest.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

How much I love animals. I love all kinds of animals. Every single animal alive. It came from my grandfather, he loves animals and I’ve just grown up with them.

What is next for Daniella Alonso?

I don’t know what the future has in store, but right now I’m working on a show called “Being Mary Jane.” It’s so much fun. I’m such a fan of the show. I just started a few weeks ago. I’ll be playing the new Latina telecaster.

A show called “Being Mary Jane”? Um, yea. We’ve heard of it. It’s a huge hit show! Congratulations Daniella Alonso! Muy bien hecho!

Miss Universe Paulina Vega Graces Cover of LatinTRENDS Magazine

ISSUE 117 April Cover
Miss Universe Paulina Vega, is on the cover of LatinTRENDS Magazine. She presently resides in New York City, and she tells LatinTRENDS all about her transition from her cushy lifestyle back in Colombia to owning her new role as Miss Universe. This Colombian is not only beautiful, she is feisty and talented. She confesses what makes Colombians so beautiful and responds to her haters.

Pageant Trends
Beauty Pageants and Latinas go well together. Latin American beauty queens have been consistently crowned since the Miss Universe pageant began in 1952. In fact, over one-third of the total Miss Universe winners come from the region.

Venezuela is especially known for its seven titles, second only to the U.S. who has a total of eight. Puerto Rico follows close behind with five crowns while Mexico, Brazil and now Colombia each have two. Here is the complete list below, ordered chronologically: 1957 Gladys Zender (Peru); 1958 Luz Marina Zuluaga (Colombia); 1962 Norma Beatriz Nolan (Argentina); 1963 Iêda Maria Vargas (Brazil); 1968 Martha Vasconcellos (Brazil); 1970 Marisol Malaret (Puerto Rico); 1979 Maritza Sayalero (Venezuela); 1981 Irene Sáez (Venezuela); 1985 Deborah Carthy Deu (Puerto Rico); 1986 Bárbara Palacios Teyde (Venezuela); 1987 Cecilia Bolocco (Chile); 1991 Lupita Jones (Mexico); 1993 Dayanara Torres (Puerto Rico); 1996 Alicia Machado (Venezuela); 2001 Denise Quiñones (Puerto Rico); 2002 Justine Pasek (Panama); 2003 Amelia Vega (Dominican Republic); 2006 Zuleyka Rivera (Puerto Rico); 2008 Dayana Mendoza (Venezuela); 2009 Stefanía Fernández (Venezuela); 2010 Ximena Navarrete (Mexico); 2013 María Gabriela Isler (Venezuela).

They are trending on television right now—see our interviews with Maria Canals-Barrera from the hit ABC show, “Cristela” and from BET’s “Being Mary Jane,” the stellar beauty Lisa Vidal. LatinTRENDS also talks to rising star, Raini Rodriguez from Disney’s “Austin & Ally” about her role in “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.”

In music news, just as music duo Zion and Lennox’ contract with Pina Records expired, Zion y Lennox sued Pina Record for $2.6 million citing financial discrepancies. Find out what they did next and how they manage to come out on top.

The April issue includes more on music including a special feature on the state of Latin music today plus interviews with New York’s top DJs for a playlist tune up.

LatinTRENDS’ very own publisher interviews the co-founder and CEO of MiTú, a multi-channel network on YouTube, which exclusively targets Latino audiences in English and Spanish. This is the first, of a series of interviews in which, he will interview, innovative entrepreneurs, men & woman that are pushing the envelope to move the community and America forward.

The April issue also features guides for “The Key to Doing What You Love,” “5 Career Habits to Incorporate Today” and money-saving tips.

What is multiple myeloma and what are the signs of this dangerous condition? More on this cancer plus a look back at Ryan White and the present state of AIDS in the Latino community.

The April issue also contains places to go and people to see in NYC, plus New Orleans travel and trending topics.

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