Paving the way

Image courtesy of Laura Gómez

Image courtesy of Laura Gómez

Laura Gómez is a leading voice in the tech industry, she’s been called an influencer, an innovator and a pioneer. She’s worked for some of the most powerful companies in the tech world and has been given numerous recognitions for her achievements in the industry and for championing of diversity.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t unduly elated to speak to a Latina of this caliber, after all, I’ve been an admirer of Gómez’s work and journey for some time now. But to truly understand her success we have to understand her background and her upbringing.

Gómez and her family came to the U.S. from León in Guanajuato, located in central Mexico, when she was 10-years-old. She grew up in the tech industry’s epicenter, Silicon Valley. She first obtained an internship at age 17, with Hewlett-Packard, before attending college. Gómez lived a few miles away from Stanford, where she worked at the campus bookstore.  

But this #ChicaTech didn’t always want to be in technology. Gómez attended UC Berkeley where she studied Development Economics and Languages. It was this same place where she immersed herself in Computer Science.

“I wanted to work for the United Nations, specifically with Unicef because I wanted to work with children,” Gómez said.

At age 24, she went on to receive a Master’s degree from University of California, San Diego. It was after getting her graduate degree, that she found herself at home and without a job. Her mother worked as a nanny and cleaned houses for the higher-ups in tech industry and suggested for her to get a job in the tech field. “After all, that was practically the only thing around.” She said.

Gómez started working in the industry just a year after Google was founded. The tech influencer has held many important positions and has worked for some of the most innovative companies like Google, Twitter, and Youtube. Despite her success and support from her employers, Gómez saw discrepancies when it came to women and minorities working in the industry, this led her to launch her own startup. Combining her passions and industry knowledge, this savvy entrepreneurial founded Atipica. A is a service solution company looking to shape the future of diversity in the industry, by helping connect individuals with the tech sector.

Gómez says, “There’s a great conversation about diversity in the tech industry and everyone is talking about it but there’s no actual solution.” She continued, “With Atipica I want to address these discrepancies.”

The former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and the U.S. Department of State honored Gómez for her involvement in the TechWomen program. She’s been named Person of the Year: Social Pioneer by GQ México, and Most Influential Women in the Bay area by The Business Journals. The list of recognitions and awards goes on and on.

“I grew up as an outsider and now as an insider, I feel passionate about changing diversity in tech and helping others like me find success in this wonderful industry,” Gómez said.

Even the way she learned to drive was ironically symbolic, having done so on the parking lot of Napster, the online music service that revolutionized the music industry forever. The company no longer exists, but what I was getting at is that Gómez is shaking things up in the tech world, just like Napster did.

One of the most significant highlights in her career, she says, was being recognized as one of Forbes México’s 50 Most Powerful Women. Gómez was also invited by Forbes México to participate in a panel on the future of technology. She says, “I was named one of the most powerful women in my home country, a place where if I would've  stayed there, I don’t think I'd be given the same opportunities as I been given here, so it’s a bit ironic but very significant to me.”

Despite all the opportunities she’s been given in this country, and the opportunities she might’ve not had a chance to pursue in her home country, she says it all falls back to the type of person you are.

“My mom tells me I would’ve been successful no matter what, and moving here helped but my mom says I've always had that chispa,” Gómez said.

It’s that chispa (spark) that Gómez has had to help her push through the difficult times. Like anyone else, She’s also had her lows, but she accredits the ability to move forward to her personal strength and upbringing. She notes that most importantly is to define yourself by the person your and not by what you’ve done.

“I've gotten fired, laid off, I’ve applied to several jobs and not gotten a single callback. There is a lot that goes into life so I think in general, making sure I don’t define myself through those failures and definitely my successes.” She said.

Now Gómez is committed to giving back and helping others. She‘s a volunteer and mentor at Eastside Prep, a private school founded by the region and geared towards Latino and African American students.


Some of the advice she can give to young Latinas is the same advice she gives her mentees, “Don't victimize yourself because the rest of the world will.” She added, “We are in a state of connectivity, young women need to understand their personal brand around social media. Just make sure to be authentic and stay true to yourself and to others.”

the sport of empowerment

Image courtesy of L.A. Derby Dolls

Image courtesy of L.A. Derby Dolls

If you take a closer look Inside the rough-and-tumble, no-holds-brawling world of roller derby, you’ll see that there is much more that meets the eye. Sure, this full-body contact sport has a reputation for being hard-core and just plain aggressive, but roller derby is also a sport of empowerment and camaraderie.

Andrea Acosta, who goes by the alias of Vanna Fight, explains what she enjoys the most about being part of the L.A. Derby Dolls, “I love that we are all friends and get along very well. At one point we can be hanging and have fun, and on the other get serious and competitive. It’s really cool to experience that on and off switch.” 

The L.A. Derby Dolls is one of the most well-known all-female roller derby leagues in California. The volunteer-run organization was founded in 2003 by Rebecca Ninburg (a.k.a. Demolicious) and Wendy Templeton (a.k.a. Thora Zeen).  

Andrea, is a rookie player for Tough Cookies, one of five teams under the organization. Despite being an L.A. native, she first heard of this community of roller derby skaters after reading an article. After going to see an L.A. Derby Dolls’ match, Andrea described being hooked.

She says knowing nothing about skating, other than it looked fun, “It was something I had to check off my list, it was exciting and I love that empowerment aspect. Andrea added, “So I bought a $50 pair skates from BIG 5, and as soon as the next training session started I was there.”  

After three years of preparation, and training for three hours twice a week, Andrea officially joined the league in October 2014. 

“It was difficult and challenging but I love that is fun, it’s a lot of work but so much fun. I take off my gear at the end of the day and just knowing I was able to do something that I wasn’t able to do a few weeks ago, it’s rewarding.”
— Andrea

Though it's been around since the 1930s, roller derby has been catching on popularity in recent years. The contact sport is played by two teams, each team has about 14-18 players, five of those players are actively skating around the track. All the rough-and-tumble is created when a scoring player called the “jammer” passes other players of the opposing team. The more players the jammer laps, the more the points are earned. In essence the sport is played in offense and defense simultaneously.

Andrea says that the game has taught her about, managing time, being a leader, making an opinion and express that opinion effectively. It has also taught her about working with different personalities.    

Despite being involved with the sport for three years, Andrea hasn’t been seriously hurt. She said the key for this is, 

“to not overthink your next step, just go for it. By the time you think of what next step you’ll execute, it’s probably too late.”
— Andrea

 

It’s important to point out that every member of the the league has an alias, a unique alias. Actually as per league’s rules, every member has to come up with a name that not only describes them, but also that doesn’t overlap with other player’s name. To keep track of this, there is an online roster as a guide to what names have been used already.

In Andrea’s case, she says it was a bit difficult to come up with her alias. It was during work, when she was pointing firmly to something and her coworker mocked the way she used her hands as if she was showcasing something, just like Vanna White from Wheel of Fortune. Andrea changed the last name to Fight, to give a little aggression and intimidation to the entire name, she said.   

Like many of the Derby Dolls, Andrea not only competes but also volunteers her time to help run the organization. Every summer, the Doll Factory opens its doors to host a job and health fair. The L.A. Derby Dolls work with various entities to offer self defense classes, health awareness workshops, resume building, blood drives and they work with a mobile mammography unit to offer free screenings.

“...the L.A. Derby Dolls organization thrives because of the members who volunteer their time and skills. The organization is made up of current and former skaters, referees, and the derby doll army -- fans who volunteer for the league. L.A. Derby Dolls is diverse, and we are all passionate about the sport of roller derby.” Andrea said.

[This article was originally created and published for La Opinion]

The Techie that Leads DIY Girls

Image courtesy of Sylvia Aguiñaga

Image courtesy of Sylvia Aguiñaga

Nearly everything is achievable with a click or swipe of your smartphone. We watch our Netflix shows on our 4K televisions and even have our car parked itself. It’s indisputable that technology is deeply integrated in every aspect of our lives. Yet, with so much technological advancements, many are left behind. For Sylvia Aguiñaga, addressing the gap between minorities and technology has become her objective.

Our voice isn’t being heard and I feel if more Latino people from our communities come together, we can make things happen.
— Sylvia

 

Sylvia is a Program Coordinator for DIY Girls, a non-profit that provides hands-on tech experiences for girls in northern Los Angeles, an area predominantly Hispanic. There, she develops curriculums, runs after-school programs, and creates resources for kids and parents.

Underrepresentation of minorities in Silicon Valley and in the tech industry overall is truly a serious matter. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 10 percent of Hispanic and about 15 percent of women makeup the tech workforce.

People talk about the digital divide but I feel it’s more of a participation divide, people have computers and phone, so technology is there but its a matter of how people are using it.
— Sylvia

 

Sylvia took interest in teaching children about technology, specifically coding (computer languages), after spending a few years doing exactly just that in Japan. That’s where she also picked up on coding, she taught herself to code. She says that teaching children about technology at an early age, is the best way to address the need for minorities in the industry.

According to economic and employment growth projections, more than 1.7 million programmer-specific job opportunities will be available in 2022, and these jobs are the fastest growing in the U.S. This is why she wants to teach and help the younger generation to get involved with coding and other types of technologies.

Sylvia believes the STEAM fields gives children a creative way of looking at the world.  

Sylvia was born in Santa Ana, California. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in Psychology and is currently working on her Masters degree in Library and Information Science.

In addition to working with DIY Girls, she’s a Special Projects Intern at Los Angeles Central Public Library, she helped create a coding curriculum that will be implemented at 9 schools and library branches in the L.A. area. As an ALSC Special Populations Committee member, her job is to make ensure programming remains inclusive—reaching all children and informing all parents.

Sylvia says the integration of parents to their children’s education is essential. She's created a brochures in Spanish and English to show parent’s what is coding, why its important and what other resources are available to help their children learn the skill.

We know the Latino community are makers, we have a long standing tradition of creators, we work really hard and we have so many skills.
— Sylvia

 

There is really nothing Sylvia can’t do. She is helping connect the uprising of the tech industry with the new generation. Who knows, she might be harvesting the interest in a child that might become the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.

[This article was originally created and published for ChicaFresh]

¡Sí se puede!

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 12.23.47 PM.png

 

Who said we can’t have it all or do it all for that matter…?

Well let me tell you who can do it all, Patty Rodriguez. She’s a producer, an author, a jewelry designer, and a mom. This entrepreneurial credits most of her success to her family, and a belief she’s had since her childhood. It’s a belief of magic which has allowed her to execute her most innervisions. But for her, to belief in magic goes beyond something whimsical and mythical, to her, it’s about being creative, having a dream and being absolutely passionate about it.

I’ve always believed in magic and in the impossible this brings. I’m a dreamer, I believe and think of stuff until it hurts, until the point that belief becomes passion.
— Patty Rodriguez

Before I move forward, and tell you how this incredible mujer from Lynwood, California, daughter of immigrant parents and mother has built her brand, I have to say that I was enchanted by Patty’s unconditional and contagious devotion for creativity. It’s really no surprise that Patty is now the founder and CEO of MALA, her jewelry line and the creator and co-founder of Lil’Libros, bilingual first concept book for children.

How did she make it all happen, you might ask? Simple, the ongoing theme for her anything she does. For one, it’s being proud of where you come from, and secondly, is to believe in the impossible as a possibility, as she puts it.

Patty was born in East L.A. and raised in Lynwood, just a few miles South of L.A. Her parents migrated from Jalisco Mexico. Patty says to be extremely grateful for what her parents had to sacrifice in order to provide their family a better future.

I could never imagine in billion years crossing the border and going to  country where I don’t know the language or anybody.   
— Patty Rodriguez

She described, living in a small apartment where at any given time, six, seven, even eight people lived at once. But throughout the difficulties, she said her mom never stopped smiling. She was always so positive and always looking forward to the future.

“Seeing that only encouraged me, but not everyone is able to see that courage to make sacrifices, feel lucky to have strong family foundation.” Patty said.

Patty La Producer

Patty works for KIIS FM's On Air With Ryan Seacrest as a producer. She always had an affinity for the entertainment industry, ever since she was little she wanted to be a writer, an actress, or something along the lines of art, she said. Radio always called on her attention, she remembers listening to KIIS FM everyday on her way to school.

“One day without a reason, I had my friend go with me to the station.” Patty describes meeting Rick Dees, the radio personality and star of the station at the time. “I was leaving and saw him in the elevator, he asked me what I was doing and I told him I had no idea why I liked what they did, but I did.” She said. At the time she was too young to be an intern so Dees took her contact information and after she graduated high school, she received a call from the producer. “I thought I was never going to hear from him, and graduation came and I was called and offered an internship.” Patty said.      

But this was only the start of a long journey for Patty. During this time, her parents divorce, and she lived with her mother. She says her mother played a huge role in her success. “We had one car, and my mother would take public transportation to work so I could drive the car from school, to work my internship, it was tough.”  

It hasn’t been easy road, at one time juggling school, two jobs, an internship and a heavy commute, but you know how the saying goes, hard work pays off, she said.  It was this experience and the unconditional support of her family that Patty saw as encouragement to continue working hard to see her projects become a reality.

MALA

Her jewelry line started from the absence a necklace with the name of her city, Lynwood, the place grew up and is extremely proud of.  She was unable to find it. So she decided to make it. This caught the attention of a co-worker at the station, who wanted necklace that read “818”, the area code for the San Fernando Valley, the place on the other side of the Hollywood Hills.

If you seen the Miley Cyrus cover of Rolling Stone where she’s posing with her infamous tongue, you probably noticed the “818” necklace. Apparently, during one of Cyrus’ visits to the station, she saw the necklace on Patty’s coworker, Cyrus loved the necklace so much that she asked where it was bought, Patty’s coworker just decided to give it her.

Weeks later, Miley Cyrus was rocking it on the cover of the iconic magazine, setting off the momentum for Patty  to build her jewelry line. She described seeing her necklace on the magazine's cover as unbelievable. “I couldn't  believe it, this doesn't happen to people like me.” Patty said.

To her, the jewelry line MALA (which stands for Mischief,  Amor, Los Angeles), embodies what it means to be powerful, mysterious, a-go-getter, tough and very proud of the culture.  

During the inception of MALA, she gave birth to her first child. It was also during this time when she started to venture into publishing. She described how being a mother gave her that extra strength to pursue her goals.

It was after my son was born that I was able to understand my career path that we probably had bottled inside me.
— Patty said.

Lil'l Libros

Patty like many children of immigrant parents, had difficulties learning English and adjusting. This brought many insecurities but also gave her a love for reading which eventually evolved into a love for writing.

During our conversation, she recalled the time when her second grade teacher acknowledge her ability for writing well. She encouraged her to participate in an essay writing contest describing what she loved the most of her city, Lynwood. This meant the world to her, because It was through writing that she could express herself creatively, without being judged by her voice and pronunciation of words.     

“I won 2nd prize but this pushed me to be creative, I don’t know I’ve always gravitated to this type of thing.” Patty said.

Now that she has a children of her own, like many parents she wanted to provide the best possible opportunities for her children and avoid enduring the same hardships as she did. Teaching her children about the her culture and her mother language Spanish, was just a way for Patty to provide that well being for her children.   

In her quest for finding tools to facilitate her job as a parent, she found herself in a desert of non existing bilingual books that teach about her culture. Patty decided she could nourish the desert landscapes with her literature and write these books herself . She ended up writing a manuscript. After sending it off to many publishing houses, she got many call backs but the publishers weren’t entirely sold on the idea. The reasoned, Patty said, Hispanic parents simply don’t read to their children.

“It really hurt but this was true, but there are many reasons why Latino parents don’t read to their children.” She continued, “For one, there aren’t many resources and also, how intimidating is it to go to a bookstore and looking for something that’s not even in your language?” After this, Patty was discouraged from continuing the project.

It was after a tragedy, when her home was destroyed after a fire, where everything she’s worked for had immediately vanished. She decided to continue with the creation of Lil’Libros, even if it meant she had to do it alone. Luckily, she was able to enlist the help of her friend, Ariana Stein, who also happens to be the godmother of Patty’s son.

“The publishers don't know about me, about my struggle and my culture. They don’t know that every Friday, I play loteria with my family. I am doing this for other Latina moms” Patty said.

Patty’s unconditional believe in magic along with her strong sense of pride for her culture and who she is, allowed her to unleash her vision as a creative business woman that she is. For this any many reasons, Patty Rodriguez is a mujer Poderosa.

[This article was originally created and published for ChicaFresh]

The Turning Point

Image courtesy of Tamara Mena

Image courtesy of Tamara Mena

 

If adversity is the building blocks for success, then Tamara Mena has built a village. To overcome the type of adversity that Mena has come across, one needs an exuberant amount of drive.

Tamara lost the ability to walk after an automobile accident, she suffered a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed mid-chest down, leaving her bound to a wheelchair, losing the ability to talk temporarily at age 19. She and her boyfriend were on a taxi when the accident occurred. He did not survive the accident. Tamara describes the experience as excruciating. “Losing him was worse than to lose my ability to walk… without a doubt there is no comparison.”

Despite this life-changing experience, she sees herself as a survivor not a victim.

Tamara was born in León Guanajuato, México, and moved to Modesto, California, at the age 13. She gives credit to the way she handles adversity to her upbringing, and she says most of all, to her mother,she added, “My mother has been a huge support and has always believed in me, she is a great example to me.” Tamara said.  

After her accident and regaining the ability to speak, she decided to go back to school.  She graduated with a major in communications receiving top honors from California State University Stanislaus. Before the accident, she had set her sights in studying for international business. Tamara explains the change in the field of study,

I definitely took a different route, I just wanted to do something I felt passionate about.
— Tamara Mena

 

Never losing sight of her goals, Tamara continues to work to accomplish anything she set herself to do. She’s now a motivational speaker, ambassador to various organizations and a mentor. She’s the founder of Young Women’s Peer Support, where she mentors other young women with spinal cord injuries at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

Did I also mentioned she models? She first started to model before her accident and continues to do so. Tamara has modeled internationally. Her first breakthrough modeling gig was with Modelle & Rotelle in Rome, Italy. She was the only U.S. and first Latina representative at the show.  

I don't let the situation define me. Sure there are plenty of things I can't do, but there other things I can, like modeling. It’s something I don’t think I would’ve been able to do because of my height. Tamara said. 

To add to her ongoing efforts to promote awareness she most recently modeled during New York’s Fashion Week 2015. Working with the Vertical Foundation, she walked the runway with her fellow handicapped peers in the FTL Moda 2015 runway show to raise money to help find a cure for spinal cord injuries. She says her experience modeling at the show gives her a sense of pride, 

I’m just so grateful to have been there, I never stopped believing in myself and fighting for my dreams and it was just a huge sense of accomplishment.
— Tamara Mena

Tamara also competed on Nuestra Belleza Latina 2013, a television reality show/beauty pageant. She says, while she wowed the judges and the audience, she felt the organization wasn’t ready   for a representative like herself. She says there were a few instances where she felt like the organization didn’t make an effort to include her for some activities. “I don’t need to be given special treatment, I was hoping they would be open to including me. It’s all about inclusion.” Tamara said.

Regardless of whether people are ready to embrace diversity, she says her commitment to break barriers is a continuous effort.

Now, she focuses on working on meaningful projects and events with a greater purpose. She represents organizations, and currently acts as an ambassador for Ekso Bionics and Red Bull’s Wings for Life Foundation.


Tamara will be running for Red Bull’s Wings for Life Foundation on May 3rd in Santa Clarita, California to raise funds to help people with spinal cord injuries.

[This article was originally created and published for ChicaFresh]

this latina found The key for sucess

Image courtesy of Nataly Valenzuela

Image courtesy of Nataly Valenzuela

Life has a funny way of making you pay attention to the things that truly matter.
— Nataly Valenzuela said after recalling the time when life took a pivotal turn.

It was about five years ago that Nataly, social media reporter, television host, and radio personality, found herself at a stagnant point in her life. She was working a job that was nowhere near what she intended to do, and she was in a relationship that had long run its course. But her wake-up call came after a routine checkup when she was diagnosed with mild cervical dysplasia, (this is when cells change in the cervix and could potentially lead to cervical cancer if left untreated).    

“I knew I had to do something, I needed to change things up in my life.”

Fearing the removal of the abnormal cells would damage her reproductive organs, Valenzuela rejected her doctors procedural recommendation and decided to take a more natural approach to a path of wellness. She embarked on a holistic lifestyle, a lifestyle that pushed and helped her turn the wheels of her life again. She began working out, and completely changed her diet. She started the raw diet regimen, and she eventually became vegan. Valenzuela also began meditating, and became a Buddhist practitioner.

I did everything in a year to heal mentally, physically, and emotionally because at the time, I realized my emotional and mental health were contributing to my physical health.
— Nataly Valenzuela

At the six-month marked her condition hadn’t gotten worse but it hadn’t improved either. This did not deterred her, she continued with her new lifestyle. Her relationship with her boyfriend at the time became strained and eventually ended. A little after the break-up she decided to quit her unsatisfactory job.

“I realized that it is not just about what you eat but it’s also about everything else in your life… My job and the relationship I had with this guy was the very thing that catapulted me into being unhappy.”

Her lifestyle changed, coupled with fitness, it improved her health and outlook to life. A year the cervical dysplasia had vanished. She says this was the result of, “Combining physical, mental emotional, and nutritional health.”

Nataly decided to take a program to become certified as a holistic health coach. She also created a blog, where she blogs about living well. “It’s about putting yourself in the rhythm of the universe… and helping others.”

Taking on this type of lifestyle was uncharted territory for Nataly. The T.V. host and radio personality battled with self esteem and body image issues most of her life, something that dates back to her teen years. “I remember feeling sad and being depressed because I was picked on because of my weight.”

In her blog, she talks about trying every diet pill, starving herself and even making herself throw up after meals. She said it only happened once or twice because, “I was so grossed out by it that I never did it again.”  

While in high school, she worked at the dean’s office, one day the dean asked her what she wanted to do when she grew-up. Nataly replied, she wanted to be an actress, something she wanted to do since she could remember. You know you have to lose 20 pounds or more, and actresses smoke to reduce appetite, her dean told her. She remembers feeling devastated hearing those words from the dean, but she this did not deterred from her dream and she was determined to make it happen.

Nataly studied communications and theater, but she soon realized, she didn’t want to pursue acting anymore after a friend introduced her to the world of radio.

She’s currently a social media reporter for Time Warner Cable, where she covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the L.A. Galaxy. She’s also a T.V. host for Unimas’ Lanzate and a radio personality for K-Love. But how does she managed her holistic lifestyle and the superficiality side of her job?

She says there have been instances where she’s had producers suggested her to lose weight and former coworkers commenting on what type of shoes she should wear and the type of car she should drive.

She says, “I just don't let it affect me. I stay grounded, and try to stay true to myself. I still have an issue with food but this is something I constantly work on.”

As a social media reporter, she sees how social media can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Nataly added, “There is a subculture of young girls being half naked and telling other younger girls how they should look like.”

This lead Nataly to start a social media campaign, #lovebeyond. She says the entire idea behind the campaign is to promote empowerment and encourage women, especially young women to 

love themselves beyond anything else.
— Nataly Valenzuela

[This article was originally created and published for ChicaFresh]


Be ambitious.be successful.It’s okay.

Image courtesy of Griselda Flores

Image courtesy of Griselda Flores

 

If you’ve read Variety Latino, one of the most entertainment known Latino-based media organizations, you've probably have come across the name Griselda Flores. The entertainment writer who has produced hundreds of articles for the publication.

In just her short amount of time in Hollywood, her dedication has lead her to be named one of the Top 40 Latinos in U.S. Media by the Huffington Post.

Griselda has interviewed countless celebrities and she cover all the major entertainment events like Latin Grammys, Oscars, Golden Globes. Always highlighting the contribution by Latinos in the industry. He job has taken her to all the right places with the right people, but she attributes every single opportunity to hard work. For Griselda, work ethic is uncompromisable.

“It’s okay to dream big, it’s okay to be ambitious and it’s okay to be successful. Aim high, you can have it all but having it all means sacrificing, prioritizing, working very very hard and staying humble along the way.
— Griselda Flores

But to understand Griselda’s success, we need to understand her past and what led her to where she is now.  

Griselda was born in Illinois and shortly after, the family moved to Zacatecas Mexico, her mother's home state. Her mother was the sole provider for the family. Here the family of six, made a life for three years. Soon after, the family returned to the States, but Griselda says she had a difficult time adjusting.

Griselda, the youngest of four, aside from growing up in a home with little means, she recalls her childhood memories filled with happiness. Of these memories, she remembers her mother cooking meals everyday, the family strictly speaking Spanish at home and their love of listening to Mexican music, “we were very, very Mexican,” she said.

After a summer internship in Los Angeles, the Chicagoan native moved to Hollywood after graduation from Columbia College. “I knew I had to come back,” she said. So Griselda packed her bags and moved to the city of angels. “[I] came to L.A., with no job offer or anything.” Griselda said.

She has interviewed an array of celebrities and despite working in the entertainment industry, says she’s just a humble person, and doesn't play into the stereotypical role of the “Latina Reporter”.

“I'm not into the whole wearing tight mini dresses and being just a pretty face on television...

I want my name to be known because I’m a hardworking journalist and for people to remember my name because of something I wrote or create.
— Griselda said.

When ask about the story she’s most proud of, Griselda said it was interviewing Gael Garcia Bernal, about his film, Rosewater. Where she not only was able to speak to the actor about the film but also about the political state of Mexico, and the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, a topic of significance to her.

One of Griselda’s passion is fútbol. Her love for the sport stems from her father, a soccer coach. “The memories I have from my childhood, is going to soccer matches every weekend.” Griselda said. She even participated on an ESPN Deportes contest to go to the 2010 World Cup held in South Africa, and was the only female finalist.


Griselda says is most inspired by hard working people, like the DREAMers, the undocumented individuals who were brought to the U.S. by their parents. She has high hopes for them to achieve every single dream they have.

 

[This article was originally created and published for ChicaFresh]