Dany Garcia Businesswoman. Bodybuilder & Manager of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson


By- Shelley Mendoza

Dany Garcia, powerhouse manager to the box-office heavyweight Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and co-founder of their production company, 7 Bucks Productions, gave LatinTRENDS an exclusive look into her life as a business woman, producer, bodybuilder, philanthropist and mother.

rock 2


The first-generation Cubana is keeping busy with 21 film projects and 10 television projects. I was curious to find out how Garcia manages to balance all these projects with her family life. In March, she tied the knot for the second time to strength and conditioning coach and business owner, Dave Rienzi (her first husband was Johnson) and is raising her teenage daughter Simone. “It comes from a commitment to do what makes me happy. It is much easier to be balanced when you start first with that commitment. Saying, ‘okay, where are the things that make my life happy and make me feel complete? And do I have those things in my life? Am I concentrating in that way?’ Because if you’re unhappy you can’t take the steps toward balance,” she explains.


Photo Credit: John Hawley

Photo Credit: John Hawley


Another key to success for the IFBB Pro champ was abandoning the conventional. Managing her ex-husband Dwayne Johnson was one of them. “What appeared as ‘this is the way you’re supposed to do it, it should look like this, you should spend this amount of time, and you should be here, you can’t do this, you cannot divorce your husband and then turn around and manage him and build a 1.6 billion dollar empire, you can’t do that,’ those things luckily I’ve always run away from. And the more I embraced looking and creating rules and processes that worked for me, that’s how I could do this.”

Garcia was born to very traditional Cuban immigrant parents and was raised in New Jersey along with her brother and sister. She shared a comical story about growing up when having to serve her father dinner after his shift at the auto body shop. He would tell his daughters they needed to learn to cook for their husbands. “I said ‘Dad, I’m going to be a millionaire. I don’t need to learn how to cook,” joked Garcia. Who would have known those words would stay true? “On the other hand, I have everything my family taught me which is indicative to my life. It was a blessing growing up being different. I have comfort that I come from a strong family background,” she added, “We grew up with great lessons and values learned – family first, discipline, tradition, music, language – all very powerful.”

And watching what my parents did and accomplished, really instilled going after the American Dream.

Eventually, Garcia left New Jersey to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in International Marketing and Finance from the University of Miami School of Business. She began her career in the world of finance, and was a Vice President at Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith, before founding her own private wealth management firm, JDM Partners LLC and most recently a talent and media management firm, The Garcia Companies. When discussing managing multitalented star, “The Rock” I wondered how difficult it must have been after the divorce, especially since they knew each other since they were very young, “Even throughout personal problems, we were always locked in the business because we just had so much fun. It was so easy to talk about him and work in that space because the truth was, he was great. Whether
our marriage was working or not, he was fantastic. That was the easy part
.” The difficult parts, as one would imagine, were working through communication issues as well as the disappointments and expectations that weren’t met.

With their focus and drive leading them to a billion dollar enterprise, Garcia shared some of their upcoming projects. “Wake Up Call,” premiering December 12, 2014 on TNT, follows the success of the TNT action reality show “The Hero” (2013). Garcia serves as an Executive Producer along with Dwayne Johnson, Ben Silverman, Chris Grant, Craig Armstrong, Rick Ringbakk, and Charles Wachter. The show is produced by Electus, 5×5 Media and 7 Bucks Productions.

The Rock will give everyday people a lending hand and empower those who are facing challenges in life. “I wanted to use our influence to make a difference and hopefully have the audience say ‘I can relate to that person, that situation’ and walk away while still being very entertained,” explains Garcia.

In addition, Garcia is working on other television projects such as the Peter Berg-directed “Ballers,” a half-hour series on HBO which centers on a group of former and current football players and will star Dwayne Johnson (Spencer Strasmore), marking his first major foray into TV series acting. Garcia executive produces alongside Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Steve Levinson, and Evan Reilly. Other projects in development include “Rock & a Hard Place,” where Johnson mentors local youths at a one-of-a-kind juvenile detention center in Miami / Dade county and Comeback Kids, (working title), that focuses on anti-bullying. A longtime dream of the athlete was to one day compete on the Olympia stage.




When the opportunity arrived and a new division opened up called Physique, Garcia was enamored. In her first competition she ranked seventh against 48 other competitors. In 2013, Garcia competed again earning a third place win. In the recent 2014 North American Championships, Garcia won first place as well as Overall in the Women’s
Physique Division to earn her IFBB Pro Card. She plans to compete at the Olympia in 2015.




Garcia has served as a trustee for both the University of Miami and FIU. She currently serves as Post-President of the UM Alumni Association and along with Johnson established The Rock Foundation. Garcia wanted to focus on something that would take a long-term investment impact for at-risk youth and in 2008 she founded The Beacon Experience, a foundation that works with at-risk children to empower them to break economic and social barriers and extend their education beyond high school. “We adopted 60 at-risk youth when they were in 2nd grade and my daughter was also in 2nd grade at the time. Now they’re in 8th grade. We have been providing educational support, emotional support, social education and exposing them to cultural opportunities so they can see and do more.” Their commitment to the foundation is to not get in trouble, not do drugs, do the right thing and graduate. When they graduate, The Beacon Experience pays for their tuition and board.

Our goal is to make a huge impact on kids who wouldn’t have this opportunity if not for the The Beacon Experience.

It’s so, so rewarding to see when they were Simone’s age to where they are now. They’ll be gone in a few years and then we’ll get a second class,” expressed Garcia. “It’s a big part of why I do everything that I do.” It was an inspirational conversation that left me motivated and ready to take on the world. I’m sure it will be for those reading this article as well.



Is it really that popular a tradition for Latino parents to recycle names when thinking of what to call their children? In the case of Eva Mendes, it’s quite natural. Mendes, 42, who just gave birth to her and husband Ryan Gosling’s second child, did just that.

“It’s not unusual to reuse names in Latin culture,”

Eva pointed out,

“I used to know five sisters that were all Maria.”

Eva’s first child’s name is Esmeralda Amada. She liked the name Amada so much that she ended up incorporating it into her second daughter’s name. Enter Amada Lee Gosling.

“We had a few names picked out for our new baby,”

Mendes explained,

“We didn’t feel like those names were her.”

Mendes, of Cuban heritage, is looking to enjoy her time with her daughters while connecting them with their heritage. All Eva has to do is research her grandmother, who also was called Amada. It appears that culture truly can be sustained through a name.

Elena of Avalor: The Top 7 Things You Should Know


Photo by Disney Junior

Photo by Disney Junior

  1. The voice cast for the Disney princess animated show “Elena of Avalor,” will mostly have voice and guest actors that are of Latin/Hispanic descent and from Latin America. It stars Aimee Carrero, from the Dominican Republic, whose previously had roles in “The American”, “Baby Daddy”, and “Hannah Montana.” The other voice actors are either from Latin America or of Dominican, Mexican, Cuban, Spanish and Puerto Rican descent. They include Jorge Diaz, Ana Ortiz, Danny Trejo, Lou Diamond Philips, Hector Elizondo, Jaime Camil and Anthony Mendez.
  2.  The music is as diverse as the cast. Latin pop, salsa, banda, merengue, cumbia, reggaeton, mariachi music, and Chilean hip-hop will be the soundtrack for the show. According to Billboard.com, Latin-Grammy winning, Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno is responsible for the show’s theme song. Carrero also sings a song for the show, called “My Time,” which can be found on Youtube.
  3. The fictional kingdom of Avalor features Mexican, Caribbean and Spanish colonial architecture. The nearby kingdom, Cordoba, is inspired by Argentine designs.
  4. The culture draws from Chilean and pre-Columbian lore. The wizard-in-training, Mateo plays the tamborita while using Mayan glyphs to cast spells. Elean fights Noblins, shapeshifting ghost creatures, which are similar to those found in Chilean peuchen mythology.
  5. Her furry pets are a combination of animals found in Latin America. Jaquins, are representative of jaguars and macaws, indigenous animals found in Latin America.
  6. Elena’s ball gowns is a culmination of Incan and Peruvian fashion and is designed by former “Project Runway All Stars,” contestant, and Brazilian-born designer Layana Aguilar. Aguilar has dressed the likes of Dascha Polanco and Beyonce from her eponymous collection.
  7. The show will debut on Disney Junior and Disney Channel on July 22nd. Following its debut in the U.S., it will be available in 163 other countries.


Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, accompanied by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, right, express their frustration after the Senate passed a bill to fund the government, but stripped it of the defund "Obamacare" language as crafted by House Republicans, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate are at an impasse as Congress continues to struggle over how to prevent a possible shutdown of the federal government when it runs out of money in three days.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, accompanied by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, right, express their frustration after the Senate passed a bill to fund the government, but stripped it of the defund “Obamacare” language as crafted by House Republicans, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate are at an impasse as Congress continues to struggle over how to prevent a possible shutdown of the federal government when it runs out of money in three days. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The question is valid. The possibility is now as close to reality as its ever been in the history of the United States most coveted political position, The Presidency. If you look at the Republican party side you have a very loud runner in Donald Trump. But running against him is a Texas Latino named Ted Cruz and Florida Cubano in Marco Rubio whose cultural demographic makes up a quarter of a nation that shares their Hispanic Heritage.

The reign of President Barack Obama technically cannot run for a third consecutive term. So the door is open for something different but whose time may have come. It appears on the Republican ticket that the contenders will be an all-Cuban affair with Cruz and Rubio going for the ticket.

US Senator from Florida Marco Rubio addresses the audience at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, on August 30, 2012 on the final day of the Republican National Convention (RNC). The RNC will culminate later today with the formal nomination of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as the GOP presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the US presidential election.   AFP PHOTO Stan HONDA        (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

US Senator from Florida Marco Rubio addresses the audience at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, on August 30, 2012 on the final day of the Republican National Convention (RNC). The RNC will culminate later today with the formal nomination of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as the GOP presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the US presidential election. AFP PHOTO Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

Rubio, 44, has been serving in political office for 15 years to only two for Cruz. Both men have been senators, but Rubio has held more positions which gives him the edge minus the fact that Cruz, 45, was the domestic policy advisor to Bush’s presidential campaign in 1999-2000. Rubio, with a BS from University of Florida and a JD from the University of Miami has parleyed that to a Political Analyst position for

His looks and son of hard-working immigrants speaks to many who can relate to that.

“My dad was a bartender. My mom was a cashier, a maid and stock clerk at K-Mart.”

Rubio recalled.

But the deciding factor could be Cruz traditional political road which is recognized by those who bankroll and support Presidents. Cruz has worked in Law positions reflecting his JD from Harvard Law School, which followed his time in Princeton University.

“In both law and politics, I think the essential battle is the meta-battle of framing the narrative.”

Cruz explained.

Strangely they share the same views as far as individual rights, domestic and economic, and defense issues. But despite the perception of Cruz as a rebel and one to follow his own path, he has raised more money than Rubio and that says alot in the long run. Either way, they relate to America on two fronts while Trump is prince of one group and that had never won an election.

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Year of the Pitbull


Pitbull is having an amazing 2015. The Cuban-American helped ring in the New Year as host for Fox Networks in Miami. The Florida born son of Cuban immigrants performed at the Calibash urban music festival in January and concluded a joint tour with Enrique Iglesias in February. By March, he sold out a show to a crowd of 75,000 peoople in Houston. This past Thursday at the Premios Juventud Awards, he won best urban artist and also got a chance to burn Donald Trump all in the same night.

Watch out for El Chapo,” said Pitbull.

Just recently he was added to the roster for Megaton at Madison Square Garden. His second Spanish-language album in five years, “Dale“,  was released on July 17,  and has 3 1/2 stars from Rolling Stone already.

It was time. We had a bunch of records we were sitting on. DJ Chino and Georgie basically produced pretty much all the album and we had amazing features. I said, why not? And our first record, ‘Piensas,’ went No. 1 with Gente De Zona. Bottom line it was just time,” said Pitbull.

On Sunday, July 26 he will also get a chance to help close out the Pan Am games. Dale, lets go!

Can Levy & Lopez play that love game?

jlo and william levy

when it comes to hot and sexy Latinos, many yummy men come to mind. Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Derek Jeter, I can go on and on and on. But when it comes to steamy and sweaty only one man can put you in a trance. Can you guess? He has dirty blonde hair, piercing eyes, perky pecks, and Oh-So toned up thighs! WILLIAM LEVY! “YUMMMM!”

When rumors spread of the break up between William Levy and Elizabeth Gutierrez, all I could say is “AGAIN?” What is it with these celebrity couples? How did it go from being their love-at-first-sight to becoming their guest-over-night? What burns out their fire of endless desire? Many celebrity break ups occur by only two reasons. One, their contractual commitments. Filming, producing, and performing all play a big part when it comes to building a strong trust foundation in a relationship. And two, depending on the status of the celebrity, ie.. A-Lister w/ a C-lister, the insecurities are a nightmare. That optimistic climb up the ladder, not necessarily moving at the pace they projected or their partner had hoped for. Leaving them all the way back there when they are all the way up here.. “HEELLOO DOWN THERE!” (Echo)

Whatever it may be, these couples are made aware clearly by their family,friends and of course their annoying publicists of the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’ when it comes to dating in the industry. Passing judgment of it being portrayed the real deal, a ‘red carpet romance’ or a ‘pow in the face’ publicity stunt.

All this dramatization doesn’t apply to everyone. See, as I mentioned before, the Ricky’s, and Enrique’s and the Levy’s of the world don’t fall into that publicity stunt to stay afloat. They don’t need it. Truth is, no matter who they date we at one time or another, have been caught kissing the TV or smooching the Iphone for one of them.

Well, it seems like we aren’t the only ones sending love sparks through technology. There is a rumor that Cuban Casanova, William Levy has been caught cuddling with the infamous for her ‘Big Booty’ Jennifer Lopez. Seems, that Casper has really just become her friendly ghost.

JLo and Levy met shooting her music video “I’m Into You.” Their chemistry was definitely noticeable on and off the set. Both with a track record of mixing business with pleasure, do you think this is a match made in heaven or a race for the red carpet to kick off the new year?


NYC Launch Party Held in Times Square

The distinguished Cuban style craft beer, HATUEY® was launched in New York’s famous Times Square last Monday Dec. 1st, where approximately 200 guests gathered to taste and enjoy the refreshing, Cuban style, pale ale. Representatives from Oak Beverages, distributors of the brew in the northeast, multiple members of the media, and celebrities such as Anna Demidova of WABC-TV’s smash hit show “Dancing with the Stars,” Carlos Gerardo Izzo of the Mexican Consulate and multi-award winning playwright Marco Antonio Rodriguez, were in attendance, attesting to the eclectic group gathered that evening to learn firsthand about HATUEY’s distinctive flavor and heritage.

“For many years, inhabitants of the Greater New York area have been sipping beers from all over the globe but there was always one that’s been missing from the scene,” said Anler Morejon, brand manager for HATUEY. “Now the 100 year old famous ale, first brewed in Santiago de Cuba in 1914, can be enjoyed by not only the millions of people who live and work in the capital of the world but by the millions of travelers who come from all over the planet to experience the multi-cultural and vibrant city that is New York.”

The festivities began with a tasting of the pale ale, which was paired with traditional Cuban cuisine, and winded down – or up actually – with a Latin band filling the dance floor with partygoers. A Cuban cigar roller was also on hand, adding to the authenticity of the Cuban experience.
Staying true to its roots and heritage by always including the community, HATUEY used this opportunity to run a holiday toy drive for the Hispanic Counseling Center, who will distribute the games, dolls, teddy bears, sports gear and musical instruments donated by the attendees to struggling families with children ages 3 to 13.

Brand manager, Morejon concluded, “The label is proud to be celebrating its centennial and is excited about its expansion into the northeast. HATUEY has undoubtedly left a lasting impression on the Big Apple, which now has its superb craft beer flavor available for all New Yorkers and its tourist industry to enjoy for years to come.”

PHOTOS ATTACHED: The Hatuey team includes Maria Morales-Prieto of THN Public Relations for Hatuey, Anler Morejon of Bacardi and brand manager for Hatuey, Camila Arroyo, brand ambassador for Hatuey and Barbara Pernaris of Empress & CO., marketing director for Hatuey.

Fashion Starlette brings Eye Candy Sass to Sabado Gigante

Yas Gonzalez Experta de Moda

This Cuban American fashionista has a keen eye for colors and contrasts. She is what I would call the ‘Latina Fashion Police.’ So move over, Kathy Griffen here comes Yas Gonzalez. Don’t let her sweetheart appearance fool you! On Sabado Gigante, Yas made her debut illustrating the importance of self confidence with sass, politely emphasizing the importance of “Do’s” and the “Do not even think about it, of being in-style.”

Let’s be real, Miami is the heart of viewing bodacious buff men and babies with the Jlo booty. But its not all about the shape, its about the colors. Yas new collection of swimwear ” Black and White”, focuses on the use of colors that make you want to say “YUMMM!” Colors that bring out that twinkle to your eye, like when you see your favorite pair of stilettos through a window on 5th Ave, or when you devour your favorite piece of chocolate. Where you can’t have just one. Her designs makes you want to say “Yes! Give me one of everything!”

“During my studies in fashion design, I started to launch my own line of swimwear. I did four collections that captivated the attention of buyers and large chain stores purchasers. That’s when I decided to look into how to go about massively producing , distributing and selling my swimwear. My brand has been embraced the biggest fashion buyers in the industry. ” Yas said.

Before becoming one herself, Yas became inspired by the most prominent stylists in the world. Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Alexander McQueen and Christian Louboutin. Entertainers also played a big role in creating her eccentric designs. Who wouldn’t want to see these icons in some sexy swimwear? Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez with her new rumored arm-candy, William Levy. Uh! Yeah, that’s a topic for another day.

Yanela Brooks born A Child Prodigy


Yanela started her piano career at the” Samuel Manuel’s Music Conservatory” when she was only 7 years old, and continued receiving her classical training at Cuba’s top musical academies. At 15 Yanela formed her first band called “Yanela y las chicas del sabor” performing in numerous prestigious events sharing the stage with legendary bands such as “Van Van”, “La Charanga Habanera”, “NG la Banda”, Manolito Simonet y Pablo Milanés and many more.

Yanela was invited to perform in “Madrid” representing Latin music in Spain with “La Comercial Cubana” and “Sabor Havana” for 3 years. She was the protagonist of the Musical “Bolero” with Rafael Basurto leader of Los Panchos performing thru out Spain. She was featured as musical composer of the soundtrack “Tú no eres nada” in the Spanish feature film “Tangier” alongside actors Antonio Resines, Ana Fernández and Jorge Perrugorria among others.

In 2012 this Cuban diva participated on “The Voice” Spain’s version “La Voz” where her performance of “Proud Mary” (Tina Turner) became one of the most talked about thru out Europe. She has worked with producers like “Brian Cross, Fruity Nelly, Inna and Monica Naranjo. Her latest collaboration has been with Composer Peter Bostrom winner of Eurovision 2012 with his theme Euphoria, he composed her first single entitled “MONDAYS” a song that went to the top ten of iTunes and Spotify in just one day. Following this success Alejandro Sanz and Pepe Barroso will be initiating her European tour as well as being invited by (Romeo Santos) to Spain’s top venues like “Las Ventas” Madrid and “Palau San Jordi” Barcelona.

MTV Latino, 40 TV, Kiss TV, Sun Music and Divinity Channel have singled out this song, which has already become one of the summer’s favorite videos. Notably Yanela has been selected to be part of the 40 National (Spain) Tour, traveling across geography in summer – autumn-winter 2013 and 2014.

On December 5, 2012 this Cuban artist was chosen to sing Spain’s national anthem with lyrics by Jon Juaristi in front of more than 30,000 people located on Plaza de Colon (Madrid) the Spanish capital.

Yanela performed her second single, titled “MI GENTE ARRIBA” on Miami’s Telemundo program “A new day”, followed by appearances on Univision, Mega TV (El show de Fernando, Happy hour), CNN (Cala Program, Life, Showbiz) as well as radio interviews.

Following up her two previous singles Yanela came out with her third hit single “HIGHER”, with lyrics and music composed by Yanela Brooks with collaboration from Thaddeus Jones who produced the song in Disney’s Gru villain movie.

Yanela was truly born a star!

With her versatile talents she has performed across the globe as well in front of European royalty and other international figures such as Producer “Quincy Jones”, “Amaya Zwaroski”, “Chris Tucker”, “Isabel Presley”, “Beatrice de Orleans” and others.

Collaborating with Jesus Quintero, she distributed her first Television DVD, highlighting her top performances on Spanish TV. In addition, she has participated in various musicals.

Her second DVD recorded at the Hotel Puente Romano is the official tribute from Marbella to the King of Pop “Michael Jackson” where Yanela delights us with Classical Soul, Disco, Rock and Latin Music. She recently composed the Spanish lyrics of Marbella Town.

Between Me & You, let’s Get It Poppin’ @ the Resorts World Casino in NYC!


When you think about casinos what comes to mind? Multi-deck Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, and Slot machines, right? Well, at the Resorts World Casino in NYC they bring more then just roulette wheels spinning and dices rollin’. Resort World Casino along with their parent Genting Americas, Inc., “BRING IT!” They are not all about money and momentum they are about involving the community through a common ground. Who doesn’t like music, money and a Mojito moment once and while?

Resorts World Casino wants to ‘Make it Rain’ on you with the presence of Fat Joe and Ja Rule next Saturday on December 13th.

For those of you who are not familiar with the infamous Fat Joe this NYRican was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. Born and raised around the hip hop music he became a true legacy not only in Hop Hop market but in the Latino world as well. His recent release “Stressin” featuring Jennifer Lopez is a hit. And I am not surprised when everything single he has released has broken records. I know you remember “Lean Back” What’s Luv”, “Make It Rain”, “Get it Poppin” and many more. And let’s not forget his family, Terror Squad.

We most definitely cannot forget, Grammy-nominated artist, Ja Rule growing up in Queens, Ja knew how to treat a lady. Recording with the hottest female Pop, R&B and Hip Hop Divas, releasing hit after hit after hit and making Billboard Top 10. “I’m Real” featuring Jlo “Always on Time” with Miss Ashanti and “Between Me and You” with Cuban mami, Christina Milian. What great times! Ja Rule’s talent was definitely taking him places. His raspy voice and urban swag had him casted in The Fast and the Furious and Assault on Precinct 13.

There is so much to look forward to at this Resort. This Hip Hop event will surely make me ‘lean back’ and remanence when these songs were on my Ipod Nano.