Latino Population Rising in the South

latino flags

America is becoming more Latino these days, but no area is getting more of the Latino settlers than the good ole South.

 

According to data released last week by the Pew Hispanic Trends Project, Alabama was at the very top of the list out of a listing of 10 States with the fastest growing Hispanic Populations from 2000 to 2011.

 

Also, the gathered data showed that not one state amongst the list or research showed a significant decline of their Latino population. However, the data is not up-to-date regarding the time in-between 2011 and to the present.

 

While Alabama may be at the top having the most Latinos living in the state, the state just passed one of its strictest laws some are calling Draconian (Harsh). Aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration, the law follows in the footsteps of Arizona’s SB 1070 bill which permitted law enforcement to “question” any “suspected” illegal citizens.

 

According to the New York Times, the introduction of the law caused an exodus of Latinos residing in the state which may require a re-research on the findings.

 

Despite the immigration laws being passed that is upsetting the livelihood of Latinos, there is a booming growth in the south. The U.S. southwest remains the leading region of Latinos residing with states like New Mexico holding the highest population of 46.7% Latinos. Following after New Mexico is Texas, California, and Arizona.

 

While the data may not include 2012 and 2013, the surveys regarding the Latino population rising in the country since the result of the 2012 election showed Latinos being the powerhouse for votes is steadily coming true.

 

9 Power Questions that Will Help You Build Better Business Relationships

 

Just a few years ago, globalization was in full swing, and the world seemed to be bursting with an infinite supply of business. All this bounty lulled us into taking our customers for granted, maintains Andrew Sobel—until the economy tanked and shattered the illusion of endless prosperity. Suddenly, the old-fashioned “trusted relationship” started to look good again.

“In this post-Madoff era of unpredictability and suspicion, people are looking for deeper, more intimate, and more engaged relationships—the kind that reduce risk,” says Sobel, author (along with coauthor, Jerold Panas) of Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others (Wiley, February 2012, ISBN: 978-11181196-3-1, $22.95) and three other books on long-term business relationships.

“This is true of customers but also vendors, employees, and other business partners,” he adds. “The days of getting in, making money, and moving on to the next guy are over. When times are tough and the future is uncertain, people want to put down roots and partner with people they truly like and trust.”

Bottom line: In today’s markets, the most valuable commodity is the ability to connect with others and rapidly build trust. And that begins by asking the right questions.

“Asking questions and letting people come up with their own answers is far more effective than spouting facts or trying to talk someone into something,” Sobel explains. “Telling creates resistance. Asking creates relationships.”

In his book Sobel explores dozens of questions that light fires under people, challenge their assumptions, help them see problems in productive new ways, and inspire them to bare their souls (which, of course, strengthens the bonds in the relationship).

Here are nine ways questions can transform professional and personal relationships:

  1. • Questions turn one-dimensional, arms-length business relationships into personal relationships that endure for years. “When a relationship is all business and there is no real personal connection, it lacks heart and soul,” says Sobel. “And therefore you are a commodity—a kind of fungible expert-for-hire. A client—or your boss—can trade you out for a new model with no remorse or emotion. But when you’ve connected personally, the situation is transformed because clients stick with people they like. Bosses hold on to team members they feel passionately about. Your expertise and competence get you in the door, but it’s the personal connection that then builds deep loyalty.”Sobel tells the story of a senior partner in a top consulting firm who had to meet with the CEO of a major client. Other consultants were nipping at their heels to get more business from this company. This powerful, confident CEO, who was in his 60s and near retirement, had seen hundreds of consulting reports. At the end of a routine briefing, the senior partner paused and asked the CEO, “Before we break up, can I ask you a question?” The CEO nodded. The partner said, “You’ve had an extraordinary career. You have accomplished so much, starting at the very first rung of the ladder, on the manufacturing floor. As you look ahead—is there something else you’d like to accomplish? Is there a dream you’ve yet to fulfill?”The CEO was nearly stunned. He thought for a moment and replied, “No one has ever asked me that question. No one.” And then he began talking about a deeply held dream he had for his retirement. That question was the turning point in building a long-term, deeply personal relationship with an influential business leader.
  2. • They make the conversation about the other person—not about them. Most of us don’t care what other people think—we want to know first if they care about us. The need to be heard is one of the most powerful motivating forces in human nature. That’s why one of Sobel’s power questions is, What do you think? Another is, Can you tell me more? “There’s an anecdote I love about a woman who has dinner, in the same month, with two great rival British statesmen of the 19th century, Gladstone and Disraeli,” says Sobel. “When asked to compare the two men she says, ‘After my dinner with Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in the world.’ And then she adds, ‘After my dinner with Mr. Disraeli, I felt as though I were the cleverest woman in all of England!’ “When you make the conversation all about you, others may think you are clever,” he adds. “But you will not build their trust. You will not learn about them. You will squander the opportunity to build the foundations for a rich, long-term relationship.”
  3. • They cut through the “blah, blah, blah” and create more authentic conversations. No doubt you can relate to this scenario. A person says, “I want to bounce something off you.” Then, he proceeds to spend ten minutes telling you every detail of a very convoluted situation he is enmeshed in. You do yourself and the other person a favor by getting him to focus on the true kernel of his issue. Simply ask: What is your question? “This is a tough-love question,” admits Sobel. “People will resist it—often strenuously. But you must ask it. It forces them to take the first step toward clarifying what the issue is and what advice they really need from you. You’ll reduce the amount of posturing people do and will move faster toward an authentic conversation.”
  4. • They help people clarify their thinking and “get out of the cave.” The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said that we perceive reality as if we are chained inside a dark cave. In that cave, we see only the blurred shadows of life outside the cave as they are projected on a dark wall at the back. Our understanding of reality is filtered and distorted. By asking a series of questions, Socrates would engage his students’ minds in the learning process. In this way he uncovered assumptions and slowly but surely got to the heart of the issue. The “Socratic Method” is still used at Harvard Business School—and it can enable you to help others see the true reality instead of shadowy representations of it. Instead of saying, “We need to improve our customer service!” Sobel suggests asking: “How would you assess our customer service levels today?” Or, “How is our service impacting our customer retention?” If someone at work says, “We need more innovation,” ask, “Can you describe what innovation means to you? How would we know if we had more of it?” Or if there is a call for more teamwork, ask, “What do you mean when you say ‘teamwork’?”
  5. • They help you zero in on what matters most to the other person. The next time you’re talking to someone and realize you’ve “lost” her—she’s fidgeting, she’s stopped asking questions, maybe she’s sneaking glances at the clock—ask this question: What is the most important thing we should be discussing today? You will instantly connect with what really matters to her—and the conversation that ensues will help her see you as relevant and valuable. “Even if your agenda doesn’t get met, hers will,” asserts Sobel. “And then she will want to enthusiastically reciprocate. In business it’s critical to be seen as advancing the other person’s agenda of essential priorities and goals. When time is spent together on issues that are truly important to both parties, the relationship deepens and grows.”
  6. • They help others tap into their essential passion for their work. One of the highest-impact power questions you can ask is, Why do you do what you do? It grabs people by the heart and motivates them. When they seriously consider and answer this question, the room will light up with passion. Dull meetings will transform into sessions that pop with energy and generate ideas that vault over bureaucratic hurdles and create real impact. “We do things for many reasons,” writes Sobel. “But when you put ‘should’ in front of those reasons, you can be certain all the pleasure and excitement will soon be drained away. No one gets excited about should. In contrast, when you unveil the true why of someone’s work and actions—when you get them to start sentences with ‘I love to’ or ‘I get excited when’—you will find passion, energy, and motivation.”
  7. • They inspire people to work at a higher level. The late Steve Jobs was notorious for pushing employees. He asked people constantly, Is this the best you can do? It’s a question that infused Apple’s corporate culture from the beginning. It’s one that helped revolutionize the desktop computing, music, and cellular phone industries. And it’s one that you can use too—sparingly and carefully—when you need someone to stretch their limits and do their very best work. “Often, we settle for mediocrity when we need to do our best,” reflects Sobel. “Mediocrity is the enemy of greatness. Asking, Is this the best you can do? helps others achieve things they did not believe possible.”
  8. • They can save you from making a fool of yourself. Before responding to a request or answering someone’s question to you, it’s often wise to get more information about what the other person really wants. When a potential employer says, “Tell me about yourself,” you can bore them to tears by rambling on and on about your life—or you could respond by asking, “What would you like to know about me?” When a prospect asks, “Can you tell me about your firm?” the same dynamic applies. Most people go on and on about their company, but the client is usually interested in one particular aspect of your business, not how many offices you have in Europe. Ever seen someone answer the wrong question? It’s painful to watch. Asking a clarifying question can save you huge embarrassment. “A potential client asked me for the names of three references to call,” Sobel tells us. “Instead of running around and drumming up the names, I pushed back, and asked, ‘What particular information are you seeking? Any references I give you are only going to rave about me!’ It turned out the prospect had no interest in actual references. And in fact, had she called my past clients under that pretense, it could have been potentially embarrassing to me for them to make such a big deal about a small speaking engagement. What she really wanted to understand was how other clients of mine had tackled the organizational resistance she was expecting. This question—and the subsequent conversation—turned a small lead for a keynote speech into a major, year-long project.”
  9. • They can salvage a disastrous conversation. Sobel’s coauthor, Jerry Panas, recalls the time he asked a man named Allan for a million-dollar donation to his alma mater’s College of Engineering. Though he knew better, the author failed to gain rapport and explore Allan’s true motivations before jumping in with the big request. When Allan rebuked him for his presumptuousness, Panas realized he had made a serious error. He apologized, left the room, and twenty seconds later knocked on the door and asked the power question, Do you mind if we start over? Start over they did, and Panas ultimately discovered that Allan might indeed be interested in making a gift—but to the University’s theater program, not its engineering program!

“Things like this happen all the time in business—and at home,” reflects Sobel. “Interactions get off on the wrong foot, and someone gets angry or offended or just shuts down. But people are forgiving. They want to have a great conversation with you. Asking, Do you mind if we start over? will disarm the other person and make him smile. That smile will ease the way to a new beginning.”

One of the greatest benefits of becoming a master questioner is that it takes a lot of pressure off us, notes Sobel. It’s a huge relief to know that you don’t have to be quick, clever, or witty—that you don’t have to have all the answers.

“All business interactions are human interactions,” he says. “And part of being human is acknowledging that you don’t know everything about everything—and that you certainly don’t know everything about the other person and her needs. Questions help you understand these things more deeply.

“The right questions unleash a cascade of innermost feelings and vibrant conversations,” he adds. “They help you bypass what’s irrelevant and get straight to what’s truly meaningful. They make people like you, trust you, and want to work with you—and once you’ve achieved that, the battle is already won.”

Kim Kardashian look-alike leads a cartel killing squad

claudia-ochoa-felix1

When you look at Claudia Ochoa Felix you may think ‘wow, she kinda looks like the Latina version of Kim Kardashian’ and you wouldn’t be alone in that thought. However, when you look at Ochoa Fox would you ever think that she could be the leader of an elite murdering squad used regularly by a Mexican drug cartel?

If you said no, well you’re not alone in that thought either.

With long sleek brown hair, intense eyes, and a curvy body, Ochoa Fox has become somewhat of a media sensation. Apart from being described as the doppelganger of Kim Kardashian, Ochoa Fox recent popularity stems from allegations that she is the new ruler of a known Mexican killing squad known as, Los Ántrax .

Reports have been circulating that Ochoa Fox, aged 27 and mother of three, is now the leader of Los Ántrax which has been reported as being under the employ of the Sinaloa Cartel, a coldblooded drug cartel, in Mexico to do their murderous bidding.

Listed as one of Mexico’s most powerful drug-trafficking organizations in the world, by the U.S. authorities, The Sinaloa Cartel has protected and have hired members of the killer squad Los Ántrax to carry out their assignments and to ensure their reign remains.

Allegedly, Ochoa Fox—also known as La Emperatriz—acquired the leadership of Los Ántrax after her well-known hit-man boyfriend, Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa was arrested and taken to prison. After Gamboa’s arrest, Ochoa Fox is said to have taken over Los Ántrax despite the Latina vehement denial that she has any affiliation to the cartel.

Photo of Claudia Ochoa Felix, or La Emperatriz, the alleged new leader of Los Ántrax surrounded by armed men.

Photo of Claudia Ochoa Felix, or La Emperatriz, the alleged new leader of Los Ántrax surrounded by armed men.

Despite making claims that she and Gamboa are nothing more than friends, Ochoa Fox’s word has been questioned due to an incident and photos of the Latina.

On her social media accounts, particularly Instagram, Ochoa Fox there are photos of Ochoa Fox posed in ways similar to Kardashian while wielding AKA-47 that has been personalized colored pink. Also, on such sites Ochoa Fox has posted updates discussing her luxurious yet reportedly dangerous lifestyle.

But sites like Facebook and apps like Instagram aren’t the only things linking Ochoa Fox to being the new leader of Los Ántrax. Another reason as to why Ochoa Fox may be connected to Los Ántrax is due to a murder-gone-wrong incident.

Recently, there was an alleged hit made on Ochoa Fox’s life when gunmen grabbed a young woman who looked similar to Ochoa Fox. The young woman hooded gunmen snatched was named, Yuriana Castillo.The woman’s body was later found behind a school body; she had been tortured before her death.

But for Ochoa Fox the claims regarding her link to Gamboa and reports that she is the new leader of Los Ántrax is simply false.

According to Ríodoce, a Mexican newspaper that focuses on the Drug War in Sinaloa, Mexico and based in Sinola’s city of Culiacán, a press conference was held by Ochoa Fox and her attorney in response to the recent attention she has received in the media.

During the press conference, Ochoa Fox and her lawyer stated that Ochoa Fox’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts had been cloned and were being used to defame her.

According to Ochoa Fox, the photos in questions are a discredit to her life since she does not live a life of luxury and does not have armed men surrounding her; the latter statement refers to a photo of Ochoa Fox posed in a chair surrounded by hooded men wearing bulletproof vests. Also, Ochoa Fox has stated that many photos on the cloned accounts are not photos of hers at all.

Since the released statement at the press conference the social media accounts where these photos were once posted have been deleted. Ochoa Fox’s lawyer has also stated in the press conference that Ochoa Fox will be working with Mexican authorities to uncover the true culprit who created the accounts and published the false photos.

Now, in the matter of Yuriana Castillo there are reports that Castillo, much like Ochoa Fox, was a close associate of Gamboa. But the true nature of their relationship is yet unknown.

Whether Ochoa Fox is the new leader of Los Ántrax or merely an innocent Instagram users who likes talking selfies with guns, time will tell since it seems like Ochoa Fox will not be going anywhere any time soon much like her overnight sensation counterpart Kim Kardashian.

Alpo Martinez: Where is the Infamous Harlem Drug Kingpin?

alpo-img

Alberto “Alpo” Martinez is a name that most will not know, however if you happen to be a New York City resident or are a history enthusiast with a preference on the War on Drugs plight within the United States of America then you may have heard of his name as the legend, the myth, as one of the Drug Kingpins of Harlem.

However, like all popular Drug Kingpins–like El Chapo–who earn themselves a recognizable legacy the empire they’ve built tends to fall as does the legend who sits upon it.

But whatever became of Alpo?

For the last 25 years, Alpo has been believed to have been a resident of ADX Florence which is a federal supermax prison located in Fremont County, Colorado serving a 35-year sentence for 14 counts of homicide. However, according to those who are connected to Alpo that is no longer the case.

It is rumored that for the past few years Alpo has been out of prison, but the last place you may ever see him is back in New York City.

Back in the mid-1980s, during the early days of when the USA began its quest to combat drug-trafficking into the country in what has become known as the War on Drugs13-year-old Puerto Rican boy named Alberto Martinez—Alpo to those on the streets—rose in prominence within Harlem as a Drug Kingpin.

With a drug trade that consisted of transporting hundreds of kilos of crack-cocaine through various parts of New York City, other Northeast cities, and most noticeably Washington D.C.—where he lived during the last few days of his drug empire—Alpo became somewhat a street legend due to his dangerous lifestyle. Alpo’s life was eventually adapted into a 2002 movie entitled Paid in Full that starred rapper Cam’ron as Alpo.

 

 

He brought attention to himself. He was charismatic and outgoing. He had a party always going on around him and people gravitated to him,” remembers Kevin Chiles, a former Harlem drug dealer who knew Alpo, in a recent interview with Vice magazine back in 2015 where he disclosed that Alpo is no longer in prison.

While he was a legend for flashing his millionaire wealth with expensive cars, clothes, and jewelry, Alpo was also widely known for committing several murders during his drug kingpin reign.

In the 1990s, Alpo was involved in several murders that made him notorious. However, there was one murder that would begin the dismantling of both his drug empire and his legacy.

On January 3, 1990, Alpo and an accomplice murdered Rich Porter who was Alpo’s one time friend and actually sold drugs with when teenagers. It was Alpo murdering Porter that led those who once revered him to turn their backs on him.

Rich’s death had a huge impact on Harlem. The timing couldn’t have been worse,” said Chiles, “Richard was in the middle of negotiating the release of his 12-year-old brother, Donnell, who had been kidnapped and was being held for $500,000 ransom. Rich was killed, and then a few days later the body of his little brother was found in the same vicinity.”

While the death of Porter dented Alpo’s reputation, the silver bullet that would destroy his legacy would come after Alpo choose to testify against his former enforcer. Before an open court, Alpo turned on his former Washington D.C. enforcer in order to avoid serving a life sentence for the murders he had been arrested for committing.

After breaking the street law of snitching, Alpo was to serve as reduce sentence of 35 years for 14 counts of murder. However back in September of 2015, according to Don Diva magazine—a magazine developed by Chiles in prison that is devoted to the drug underworld and New York City street life—Alpo has been out of prison for the last few years.

Despite being rumored to being out of prison, the chances of Alpo returning to New York City is very slim.

I am most certain that Alpo won’t come back to New York. He knows he has a bullseye on him. That situation with Rich left Harlem scarred and people have strong feelings about it,” said Chiles, talking about the possibility of Alpo returning to NYC. “I could see a younger dude, on the come-up, try to make a name for themselves by taking Alpo out. They would be instantly infamous. I’m sure these are things he should be considering.”

So, where is Alpo Martinez? That is a question that may not be answered.

Eva Longoria – “Latinos in America Must Unite”

longoria_a

What do Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Colombians, and Peruvians all have in common?

The answer is simple: they are all Latino. The only thing that truly makes anyone from the above group different from each other is the cultural background associated to each group. For those who aren’t Latino may not think we are different and few Latinos as being a united group.

However, that idea is not exactly true.

While there is a strong sense of Latino pride for many Latinos, when it comes to being or feeling a sense of unity to others who are not of the same national background it seems non-existent. It is this sense of division among Latinos which has some Latino stars are suggesting that if we remove, Latinos could only benefit and progress forward as a united people.

Since becoming a superstar in her own right, Eva Longoria has used her fame earned by her stint as a Housewife on ABC’s Desperate Housewives into becoming a philanthropist to aid the Latino community within the country. And one way that Longoria has aided Latinos is through her very own foundation.

Since its establishment back in 2010, the intention of the Eva Longoria Foundation is to encourage and help Latinas across the country succeed through either educational and/or entrepreneurial pursuits. According to Longoria, the foundations mostly focuses on Latinas because she sees the growing demographic of Latinos in this country and believes that women in the community need more of a push because they “make the world go round.”

I grew up with a family of strong, accomplished, and educated women. I believe, as they say, that you can’t be what you don’t see, and since I saw a lot of smart women in my life, education being at the center, I just mimicked that behavior. There was never a question that I’d go to college. In fact, I was the last person in my family to get a master’s degree, so that tells you I’m actually the underachiever!

Although her foundation may be devoted to aiding the growth of Latinas, Longoria strongly feels that both women and men could both benefit in progressing upward if only we as a community come together to help one another out.

We have to support and lift each other up. Latinos have not historically been a culture that unites easily. We’re very factioned—you have your Mexican Americans, your Puerto Ricans, your Cuban Americans, your Central Americans—and sometimes we focus on the differences more than the commonalities.

And Longoria is not alone in this ideology. At the recent PaleyFest held this weekend, Gina Rodriguez the star of Jane The Virgin took part of a panel that discussed Latinos on Television and the actress gave advice to other Latino actors.

We need to unite,” said Rodriguez, suggesting one way to do so is by Latino actors opting to portray characters of different Latino nationalities beside their own to show this unity. “They see us as one community—we need to be one community. Let’s do that, use our power as Latinos, whatever culture you identify with and celebrate.

Being of Latino origin I have experienced, and seen, that there are fractions that exist within the Latino community. There are some Latinos, mostly Latinos of South America, who are being stereotyped or persecuted for being immigrants due to the country’s heated debate regarding how immigration—for some—harms the country or—for others—betters it. With this issue and others that are race-related and plagues the Latino community, the unifying of Latinos could aid in eliminating this issue.

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

VANITY3

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)

What You Didn’t Know about Christina Aguilera

paH8MAsP

Christina Aguilera isn’t your average singer, she is a strong woman that has overcome almost anything that has stepped in her path. After her drastic weight loss, she has managed to stay humble and not lose herself after the dramatic transformation. She is a role model for all women looking to improve themselves. She is a woman of family values that rather spend quality time with her son than go work out. Aguilera is a confident woman who embraces her sexuality, body, and everything about herself which truly defines her. Shes wants women to love their bodies and ultimately find happiness just like she has.

“I think that whatever size or shape body you have, it’s important to embrace it and get down! The female body is something that’s so beautiful. I wish women would be proud of their bodies and not diss other women for being proud of theirs.”

“I don’t weigh myself — it’s all about how I feel in my clothes. What looks good on one person might not look good on another body type. I happen to be very confident in my own skin. It takes time to get to that place, but it’s all about embracing yourself and your body.”

Way before her singing career really started Aguilera had a hard time at home as child. Her mother was a victim of domestic abuse during Christina’s upbringing and it didn’t sit well with with Christina. She also was a target of abuse,

“I decided to step in between and said: “Don’t hurt my mommy.” He then threw me across the room because I had stood up for my mom,” Aguilera said.

As she got older her father got more and more physical and eventually her mother decided it was time to leave. Aguilera believes that surviving an abusive childhood is a mark of honor. She showed how strong she was throughout her toughest times and persevered to overcome her biggest obstacles in life thus far. Even with the abuse in her home, she never let it get in the way of pursuing her dream of becoming a singer.

Christina suffered from depression, but like everything else in her life she overcame it and became a healthier person knowing that she was not alone in her childhood abuse experience.

“I’m not the only person that’s been through growing up in a place of chaos or sadness or yelling and fighting and seeing horrific things at a young age,” she said. “I do battle with depression. It’s something that is always right below the surface. And it’s almost seductive to go to a place of sadness and darkness. It can be overload to feel all of your pain from the time you were six, on.”

Above all, Christina Aguilera is truly thankful for the darkest times in her life and realizes she is the person she is today because of having triumphed over her experiences. A powerful woman like her is truly an inspirational role model to us all and has shown us that we can persevere in spite of lifes challenges.

 

>Fun Facts< 

In September 2007 it was revealed that Christina had been blacklisted by famed celebrity photographer David LaChappelle, after he declared her too difficult to work with

She’s happily married to music executive Jordan Brateman, about whom she once said: “Jordan is a balanced, strong and solid man. He is my pride, my backbone. He is my best friend. All my lyrics are inspired by Jordie. I didn’t want to write sugar sweet love songs, but it’s important to me that people know what a positive influence they got on me ”

She’s a proud mother. On January 12, 2008 Christina gave birth to son Max Liron at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles. He weighed 6 lbs., 2 oz. and 20.5 inches. “It is the best thing you will ever do in your life. It just lights up my whole world when Max laughs” she gushed. “Being a mother just gives you a whole new sense of purpose, and it’s just the most amazing thing. I was in awe of the entire experience of pregnancy – the entire journey was just incredible”

Christina sought comfort in soul music to help her cope with the pain of living in an abusive household while she was growing up

Christina Aguilera wears bright blue contact lenses, even though her eyes are already naturally blue

She has a duet with Ricky Martin called, Nobody Wants to be Lonely

Her favorite sports are baseball and volleyball

Christina Aguilera is of Irish and Ecuadorian roots

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Dany+Garcia+Premiere+Racing+Dreams+2009+Tribeca+eIDOTK_7sZ7l

 

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.

 

FullSizeRender

 

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.

Video Recap of 14th Annual Latino Trendsetter Awards

The Latino Trendsetter Awards is one of various event-marketing opportunities presented by LatinTRENDS, LatinTRENDS is the source that helps shape, guide and tell the stories of those influencing pop culture with a Latin twist. It is the leading platform for acculturated Latinos in New York, producing content that informs, entertains and inspires the forward thinking.

And did we mention…

The Awards was mentioned on the 11pm news! Kristie Gonzales was one of the honorees.