2016 Motto: If You Want To Make It On Screen, Then You Gotta Do It Yourself!

I won’t start this blog post by name dropping, but a good friend of mine (and big time producer) gave me this advice years ago, even before moving to New York City: Produce Your Own Content. I had HALF listened to him and instead made a 2-3 minute demo reel of indie films, commercials, and sexy shows that I participated in while living in Miami. Rookie move, BUT we live and we learn.

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I recently LOCKED my reel, because I am working on a new one.     So, you won’t be able to find it on youtube

At the time, I was barely getting my feet wet into the industry NYC style and was relying heavily on my manager, Terry Schnuck, which I acquired quickly because of my background experience, my look, my headshot, demo reel, business cards, etc. within the first 6 months of moving into New York City. It was easy for him to get me into NBC, MTV, and many other major television network auditions because of all of my marketing material was ready – after all, other than being an entertainer, I’m also a professional graphic designer, so marketing myself is the easiest part for me to execute. However, to nail the audition and convince the casting director that you are THE ONE they need is a whole other story.

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Never get cheap with your head shots! This photograph got me in to tons of auditions + castings. Shot by Bob Lasky

I got a lot of gigs thru Terry, and met a ton of important people, but I quit acting a year or two after due to the recession. I actually had no other choice! Graphic design is always the first aspect of any business that gets cut out when recessions happen, so nobody was hiring me for logos or websites. I wasn’t able to sustain myself by freelancing, so instead I had to work many hours at a CRAZY boutique, Variazione, leaving me with no time to train, cast, or audition. To make matters worse, I got involved in a romantic relationship where my boyfriend at the time had ZERO HOPE in the acting business, so I had ZERO support for what to me is therapy: performing.  The worst part was, that I thought I was going to marry him and ~POOF ~ live happily ever after! NOT! Truth is, I have never felt so frustrated and unhappy in my life! Not that he is to blame, but more so that we simply need to do what we want to do with out caring so much what people around us think – ESPECIALLY when fully decided that you want to be an actress aka gypsy.

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Get used to your gypsy heart if you decide you want to be an artist, more so an actor. We truly walk alone to share and inspire creatively and artistically our experiences on screen or on stage. 

As of today, I am what I am because of all these experiences that have taken part in my life and I want to creatively share my stories the way I see them. Therefore, I recently became a certified producer by taking field and studio production classes at MNN.org (Manhattan Neighborhood Network) aka Manhattan public television. Most people don’t know about this center that teaches all these free classes and allows certified producers to rent out equipment for free to produce their own show and actually have it air live on public television, but with past hardships come resourcefulness.

It’s quite easy to join, but there are orientations and rules you have to follow in order to become a member, for example, you have to be a Manhattan resident in order to become certified. So, if you are a Manhattan resident, now there are no excuses to produce your own content because there are centers and equipment that cost you nothing but your time.

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Watch Video on MNN.org to get an idea of what it does. Most people can’t even believe it. 

So, if you want to make it happen, create your own content, produce your own films, clips, shows etc. then simply make it happen SOMEHOW. I am. Stayed tuned!

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Cuba’s COME BACK & Where I Come In Telling Part Of It’s Mysterious History

Did you know that Cuba recently opened an embassy in Washington D.C. after not having one in the USA for 50+ years?! This is very important history, especially for Latin American people.

My parents and older siblings were immigrants in Miami, Florida once upon a time due to communism in Nicaragua. Cuba had a great influence in our country since Fidel Castro and our president of that time,Daniel Ortega were really good friends (Daniel Ortega is also our current president. How?! I ask myself the same question!) Due to the revolution & dictatorship of these two countries in the 80’s, I ended up being born in Miami, so I feel really connected to the history of Cuba. I also made a lot of Cuban friends and family while living in Florida through out college.

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It’s a BIG DEAL for Cubans because before the Castro revolution, Havana was living the high life from 1920’s – 1950’s.

It was during the presidency of Gerardo Machado in the ’20s that Cuba’s tourist trade really took off. Hotels, restaurants, night clubs, golf clubs and casinos sprung up in Havana catering to the rich jet-setters seeking luxury. Socialites, debutantes, celebrities like Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra, and American mobsters came to play in the Cuban paradise.

Tourism, and the growing and selling of sugar, was making some Cubans rich, but not all Cubans.  What the tourists didn’t see, or didn’t want to, was the underclass, people of poverty like the macheteros — sugarcane cutters — who worked only during the four month season, and the rest of the year were unemployed, and angry.

That degree of income inequality as well as accusations of corruption within the government of President Fulgencio Batista laid the groundwork for the Cuban Revolution, prompting an enduring economic embargo by the United States and the rapid end of Havana’s high-life. ” – via @Mashable

Below are images of Cuba’s luxurious lifestyle before Castro took over Cuba.

Subject: Cuban Socialite party where the Mothers chaperone their unmarried daughters. Party of socialite La Condesa de Comargo. Havana, Cuba 1950 Photographer- Eliot Elisofon Time Inc Owned Merlin-1199928
Subject: Cuban Socialite party where the Mothers chaperone their unmarried daughters. Party of socialite La Condesa de Comargo. Havana, Cuba 1950
Photographer- Eliot Elisofon
Time Inc Owned
Merlin-1199928
Subject: Socialite (debutante) Aileen Johnson Menocal eating breakfast in bed. Painting above her is supposedly her Mother painted as Madonna? Havana, Cuba 1946 Photographer- Nina Leen Time Inc Owned Merlin-1153830
Subject: Socialite (debutante) Aileen Johnson Menocal eating breakfast in bed. Painting above her is supposedly her Mother painted as Madonna? Havana, Cuba 1946
Photographer- Nina Leen
Time Inc Owned
Merlin-1153830
Subject: Outdoor party with silk canopies for socialites attending parties of Cuba's first lady La condesa de Comargo. Havan, Cuba 1950 Photographer- Eliot Elisofon Time Inc Owned merlin- 1199920
Subject: Outdoor party with silk canopies for socialites attending parties of Cuba’s first lady La condesa de Comargo. Havan, Cuba 1950
Photographer- Eliot Elisofon
Time Inc Owned
merlin- 1199920
HAVANA CUBA - 1946: A bartender mixes an exotic tropical cocktail at a bar in 1946 in Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Earl leaf/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)
HAVANA CUBA – 1946: A bartender mixes an exotic tropical cocktail at a bar in 1946 in Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Earl leaf/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)
Subject: Cuban Socialite Aline Johnson and friend Nina Gomez de Freyre receiving manicures. Havana, Cuba 1946 Photographer- Nina Leen Time Inc Owned Merlin-1153824
Subject: Cuban Socialite Aline Johnson and friend Nina Gomez de Freyre receiving manicures. Havana, Cuba 1946
Photographer- Nina Leen
Time Inc Owned
Merlin-1153824
All forms of gambling such as: roulette,
All forms of gambling such as: roulette,
Three women perched on the bar at the Cabaret Kursal nightclub in Havana, Cuba, circa 1950. (Photo by Herbert C. Lanks/FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Three women perched on the bar at the Cabaret Kursal nightclub in Havana, Cuba, circa 1950. (Photo by Herbert C. Lanks/FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
September 1958: American cars parked in front of President Batista's palace at Havana. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
September 1958: American cars parked in front of President Batista’s palace at Havana. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
A Cuban rhumba dancer named Zulema performs on stage with a band at the Zombie Club on Zulueta Street, Havana, Cuba, February 16, 1946. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A Cuban rhumba dancer named Zulema performs on stage with a band at the Zombie Club on Zulueta Street, Havana, Cuba, February 16, 1946. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

So what does Cuba have to do with MY BIG BREAK? Well because I just shot for Travel Channel’s Mysteries at The Museum for a Cuban special episode with Optomen Productions. I got to play Evangelina Cisneros, an incarcerated young Cuban woman that hit headlines in NY newspapers as a damsel-in-distress story that happened in Victorian times. In the same episode, there will be a secret story of Fidel Castro,  interesting stories of Ernest Hemingway while visiting Cuba, and about the chocolatier, Mr. Hersey. It should air in 2-3 months, but here are behind the scenes photos.

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Cuban Prisoners

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Why am I dressed like a boy? Watch to find out!

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We shot at Bailey’s Farm. Same place we shot for my episode of Scorned:Love Kills

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Shooting Ernest Hemingway story as I watch from the 2nd floor window

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Director, Production & Their Latin Actresses
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