Entertainment

Erika Jayne Of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Has Been Low-Key Serving Up Latina Realness Right Under Our Noses

@theprettymess | Instagram

Since the reality show boom in the late 1990s, we have been fascinated by watching seemingly normal people doing outrageous stuff on television or being put in extreme situations. We have also found a not so guilty pleasure in seeing the rich and famous in their everyday, mundane lives. Producers try hard to sell an illusion of reality, but in fact, much of what you see on television is at least partly scripted. Companies like the Dutch powerhouse Endemol and the US channel Bravo have tried it all. Titles like “Big Brother,” “A Simple Life “(that sensational show in which Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie were “forced” to work in a farm), “Survivor” and “The Osbournes” permeated popular culture and redefined what celebrity is.

But perhaps one of the most endurable formats is the “Real Housewives of…” formula. It is simple: you choose a set of women who are uber rich and who have the potential to produce the most amount of pan y circo (in short, dramarama) for audiences who are hungry for extravagant personalities and near-fistfight, as well as plenty of chisme with the occasional tear-jerker of a reconciliation. Besides some clear issues in terms of gender representation (women are housewives by nature, really? Pardon our French pero no mamen) and the sense of privilege that the cast seems to have, there are some pretty inspirational stories of women who embrace just causes and have worked really hard for what they have. One of these women is Erika Jaymes, the already established singer who has become an Insta sensation and an all-around estrella due to her honest and exorbitante personalidad. Here’s what you need to know about this güeraza who has gotten a second round at fame!

1. Her full name is Erika Nay Girardi (her maiden last name is Chahoy)

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

And she was born on July 110, 1971. She is a proud daughter of Atlanta, Georgia.

2. She is a bestselling author

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Yes, her autobiography, Pretty Mess, has been on the top of the lists of The New York Times bestsellers. The publisher describes it as follows: “In Pretty Mess, Erika spills on every aspect of her life: from her rise to fame as a daring and fiery pop/dance performer and singer; to her decision to accept a role on reality television; to the ups and downs of family life (including her marriage to famed lawyer Tom Girardi, thirty-three years her senior)”. Wow, what a rollercoaster of a life!

3. For years she has had to tell haters to F-off! 

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Leave Erika alone! No, seriously, if you are one of those individuals who goes online to trash other people’s lives, just stop. Erika has been brave enough not only to remain classy in the onslaught of online hate but also on making it public, which is a way to put herself out there. Bien.

4. From high school talent to a billboard on Times Square!

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She first got in touch with her ample talents during her stay in North Atlanta High School. She joined the musical theater group and did roles such as Val from “A Chorus Line.” She also did great versions of “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton and Madonna’s “Into The Groove”. And, to be honest, she has kept that Dolly Parton vibe, hasn’t she?

5. She moved to New York when she was 18, in search of a musical career

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Hundreds of young people move to New York and Los Angeles each year hoping to break into the music industry, but only a few are successful. Our girl moved to the Big Apple and soon became part of several girl groups such as the I-Dolls.

6. She married her first husband in 1991

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While starting her career in the entertainment industry she met Thomas Zizzo, a DJ. They got married at St Patrick’s Cathedral and had a son, Thomas Zizzo Jr. The couple divorced in 1996 and she moved to Los Angeles to reignite her career.

7. She married her second and current husband in 1999

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She met a powerful attorney, Thomas Girardi, and they married in 1999. He is 33 years her senior. During the first years of her second marriage, she played the role of what she describes as “a lawyer’s wife”. She went to dinners, met powerful people and basically learn how the upper echelons of power work.

8. But being a housewife wasn’t enough: 2007 is the year of Erika Jayne

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Erika decided that marriage was not going to stop her from having a musical career. She launched her first dance music single, “Roller Coaster”, in 2007. Her rise to the top of the Billboard charts was explosive: she reached number one at the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. Her second single, “Stars”, held the same position in the Billboard Dance Play chart. And, as they say, a star was born.

9. She has her own record label: Pretty Mess Records

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Under this label, she has released collaborations with some of the biggest names in the music industry, such as rapper Flo Rida, with whom she released “Get It Tonight” in 2013.

10. 2015: The year of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

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Erika joined the cast of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” for the show’s sixth season. She soon became one of the favorite drama queens on television!

11. She has had roles in film and television ever since! 

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She had some minor roles on television early in her career (before her first marriage), but the huge fame that Real Housewives brought to her life has lead her to roles in the telenovela gringa “The Young and the Restless” (she appeared with her “Housewives” co-star Eileen Davidson) and in the B-movie sensation “Sharnado: The 4th Awakens,” She also appeared in Animal Planet’s show “Tanked.”

12. After the Real Housewives comes “XXpens$ive”!

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Her experience in the reality show she released this single on January 4, 2017, during the show “Watch What Happens with Andy Cohen.” The song is a hymn to materialism and entertainment.

13. So how has she accomplished so much? Well, she got her resilience and her talent from her santa madre

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Her mom is Renne Chahoy, who was an 18-year-old classically trained pianist and actress when she had her daughter, suddenly became single when Erika wasn’t even one year old.

14. So she didn’t meet her biological father until she was 25 years old

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Erika was adopted by her stepfather, but she never really met her biological dad while growing up. The first encounter happened when she was a young independent 25-year-old woman. She describes the encounter as “meeting a stranger”.

15. She also appeared in “Dancing with the Stars”

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The 24th season of the show (yes, 24th!) had her as one of the main competitors, and she was paired with pro dancer Gleb Savchenko.

16. She has collaborated with make up brands

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Her ultra famous public persona and her fierce femininity has led her to collaborate with brands BeautyBlender and Too Faced Cosmetics. From Atlanta to Sephora!

17. She has also collaborated with shoe brand ShoeDazzle!

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Remember that epic Times Square billboard? Well, it was part of her campaign with the famous shoe brand. She released a collection of 12 of her favorite shoes. We want them all.

18. She is a fashion trendsetter 

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What Erika Jayne does is replicated in dozens of dance clubs around the country. We are not sure about this Tigresa del Oriente outfit, though!

19. She is a philanthropist 

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Erika and her husband contribute to the betterment of their community through charity work, particularly towards the empowerment of young girls.

20. She is a queer icon

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Jayne is vastly popular in queer culture due to her fierceness and all around extravagant awesomeness! Yasssss!

He’s Been Open With His Struggles And Comes Through For His Community When They Need Him

Entertainment

He’s Been Open With His Struggles And Comes Through For His Community When They Need Him

officialdannytrejo / Instagram

Danny Trejo is one of the most recognizable Latino faces in the world. He is a common feature in Hollywood films, where he often portrays antiheroes. Among his films, we can think of the classic Heat, Con Air, and Machete, the last with frequent collaborator Robert Rodriguez, the Texan director he considers a sort of creative brother. Trejo was born in Echo Park (doesn’t get more L.A. than that!) on May 16, 1944. He is a true example of the American Dream: he survived a rough upbringing and life in prison to become a successful and reformed individual who dedicates big chunks of his time to helping others. He creates jobs through his multiple business ventures and often speaks to youth about the importance of staying out of trouble, particularly if you belong to an ethnic minority.

He is the face of tender “bad hombres” (we just can’t get over this terrible moniker POTUS placed on Mexican men!)

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As Daily Breeze recalls, he got a second chance in life after being to prison and suffering from addiction early in life: “Influenced by a young uncle, Trejo was off to a life of crime from an early age and did time in juvenile camps before eventually landing in Soledad and San Quentin state prisons for drugs and other crimes”. Rehabilitation is possible! You can’t judge a book by its cover (hear that, gringos racistas?) and the tough-looking Trejo is proof of that. 

He is an entrepreneur at heart, the symbol of Latino hardworking individuals.

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Trejo has opened a taco shop, a doughnut shop, and many other business ventures. The Daily Breeze says about Trejo’s many talents: “He’s a successful restaurateur with a growing taco and doughnut empire that shows no signs of cooling down. And even though he doesn’t drink, he’s got a beer out, too, a Mexican lager of course”. 

He even has a new beer brand even though he is not a drinker.

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This is what Daily Breeze said about Trejo’s cerveza: “Because even though he doesn’t drink alcohol, there really is nothing Trejo can’t do. But surprisingly, while Trejo is pretty much the toughest looking man in all of Los Angeles, his 4.7% ABV straw-colored beer is really smooth with an almost sweet taste, which means you can drink a few and still be able to take Machete in a fight. No, who are we kidding — Machete would destroy any of us”. A rave review in our books! Can you imagine sipping this brew with good old cevichito as you look at the Californian sunset?

He talks about men’s health in an open, frank way.

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As The Sun reported, Trejo is on a mission to get dudes talking about their health, including erectile dysfunction. He is quoted as saying: “Every man on earth has experienced this, and if you say no, you’re lying and I’m calling you a liar. So there you go, Danny Trejo, called you a liar and now you don’t have to hide it.” He is even a bit funny talking about the trials and tribulations of not being able to rise to the occasion: “You can be 25-years-old and if you’re tired, you’ve been working all night, it’s late – sometimes it’s not going to happen. But especially in the Latino community where I’m from, men don’t talk about these things – because we’re supposed to be the hunter-gatherer or some sh*t. Well, I hate hunting”. Preach, Danny! 

He is funny as hell on social media.

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Really, he is like any Latino dad, uploading every single meme or viral trend he finds in a very dad joke kinda way. 

He has been able to get meatier roles as the years have gone by: a true underdog story.

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Trejo’s acting career has gone from being an extra to having better roles that sometimes play with his badass persona. He told The Guardian: “They Would Always Say, ‘Get That Mexican Guy With The Big Tattoo. I’d Show Up And Have One Line, Like, ‘Kill ’em All!’ Or Somethin’.”

He has one of those faces that just sparks creativity.

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Just look at this wonderful piece of street art in Brazil. Trejo’s wrinkled face tells a thousand stories, it is a roadmap of a life that has encapsulated so many experiences that it could fill a hundred lives. Trejo us a symbol of second chances and of the many forms that Latino masculinity can take. 

At 75 years of age, he shows that elderly doesn’t mean you can’t work out.

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Any 20-year-old flojo would envy Trejo’s sculpted body. He told NY Daily News back in 2007: “I look at the script. If I see a part that says shirt-off, then I go to the gym”. Well, he hasn’t stopped working out by the looks of it (by “it” we mean his badass muscles). 

He is a living example of how you can kick ass fighting addiction.

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Trejo is now clean, but there was a time when he didn’t know if he would live a long life. He certainly didn’t expect to reach 70. The Guardian conversed with Trejo in 2018: “I didn’t even think I’d make it out of the 1960s. I picked the wrong role model. I picked my uncle, who was a drug addict and an armed robber. But he was the greatest guy in the world as far as I was concerned”. He experienced heroin for the first time when he was just 12-years-old, so the road to redemption was steep.

He is a caring Latino dad.

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He has two children: Danielle and Gilbert. He often shares messages for them on social media. He has also helped his son on his own path towards rehabilitation from addiction.

Getting clean is something he did with his son.

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He has travelled the path of staying clean with his son and has even collaborated with him in a film project where the young Trejo directs him. 

He is super approachable for fans.

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Don’t think twice: if you ever see him on the street or a fan convention, ask for a selfie. 

He participates in most Latino projects, including the new movie version of Dora la exploradora!

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Can you think of a better actor to give voice to Dora’s monkey, Boots? Neither can we. 

He supports young female boxers and aspiring musicians. Did you know that? 

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Trejo Music is his new passion project! As he told Daily Breeze: “Everything good that has happened to me has happened from helping people, and I started this record label to help people. Let’s hear you and if you can fit, you’re on”.  The label’s first album: Danny Trejo Presents Chicano Soul Shop Vol. 1. Can we please get it, like tomorrow. He is also a boxing manager and promoter and supports champion Seniesa Estrada. 

And, of course, he gave us Machete, an icon of resistance against inhumane border policies.

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Before the Trump era kicked in, Trejo was already kicking ass at the border by embodying Mexican ire against racist politicians and gringo vigilantes. 

READ: People Are Freaking Out About The High-Pitched Character Danny Trejo, AKA Machete, Voices In The New “Dora The Explorer” Movie

Latin America Has Its Own Amazing Comic Book Tradition And These Iconic Titles Prove It

Entertainment

Latin America Has Its Own Amazing Comic Book Tradition And These Iconic Titles Prove It

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Even though Marvel and DC Comics superhero comics are obviously very popular in Latin America (as they are in the rest of the world), the region has developed its own comic book industry. This industry has given birth to iconic characters. These characters and stories speak directly to Latin American reality and identity. They deal with challenges such as economic crisis, class division, racism, and State repression. Of course, they do this in an often funny way. Other comics have achieved cult status even if their quality is, well, not of the highest standards. These are ten titles that speak of the depth and breathe of Latin American creativity. 

Title: Condorito
Country of origin: Chile
So when was it first published? It has been published since 1949
Created by: René Ríos, known as Pepo

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The adventures of a Chilean condor that lives among humans is told in short vignettes that always end with a character passing out and the iconic word PLOP. Simple stories deal, however, with issues such as unemployment, the military dictatorship in Chile and class division. Condorito is a working-class everyman who faces class discrimination. Before Pinochet took power the comic was a bit conservative, mocking hippies and left-wing politicians, but after the coup, it changed and silently denounced the dictatorship. A 3D animated movie was released in 2017, with iconic characters such as Cabeza de Huevo, Garganta de Lata and Pepe Cortisona. 

Title: La familia Burrón
Country of origin: Mexico
So when was it first published? 1948
Created by: Gabriel Vargas

Credit: peltre.cuina.mexicana / Instagram

It was published for 60 years and told half a million copies, a huge number by Mexican publishing standards. Cuevas got into the hearts and minds of a lower-class Mexico City family. It is a linguistic jewel: it used slang, Prehispanic words and invented words that appealed to the creativity of chilango vernacular. Vargas’s main influence was American comics, but he soon developed a style that was unique and influences generations of Latin American comic book artists. 

And this family is a true icon of Mexico City

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Up until today, this family is venerated by Mexicans. There are multiple murals, toys and museum exhibitions dedicated to the Burrones. A true representation of 20th century Mexican idiosyncrasy. 

Title: Las aventuras de Capulina
Country of origin: Mexico
So when was it first published? 1970s
Created by: Oscar González Guerrero on a character created by Gaspar Henaine Pérez

Comic books in the U.S. are an internationally known community of superheroes but Latin America boasts its own impressive rooster of comic superheroes.
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Gaspar Henaine Pérez, better known as Capulina, was a comedian that became iconic on the 1970s and 1980s. He had a television show and a very successful duo with Marco Antonio Campos, better known as Viruta. The character of Capulina gained huge popularity in a comic book series with stories by comic artist Oscar González Guerrero and art by his son Oscar Gonzalez Loyo. 

Title: El libro vaquero
Country of origin: Mexico
So when was it first published? 1978
Created by: Mario de la Torre Barrón, c

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A classic of Mexican kitsch! NSFW content that has plenty of blood and plenty of sex. It was considered mass entertainment for the lower classes but is now being reinterpreted as an important cultural icon that deals with gender, sex and national identity. As the title suggests, it all happens in a microcosm of cowboys and saloons. This comic book has enrolled some famous writers, such as Jordi Soler, to write stories, as it is now a cultural icon, popular among hipsters. 

Title: Memín Pinguín (yes, this one is quite problematic)
Country of origin: Mexico
So when was it first published? 1962-2010
Created by: Yolanda Vargas Dulché

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First things first: this is a very controversial title because of how the Afro-Mexican main character is drawn, and because of the ways in which other characters refer to him. There are plenty of stereotypes here, but also a denouncement of racism. The class division in Mexico is also referred to when a rich student is enrolled in a public school and faces the wrath of the proletariat. An interesting object of study that makes us think of how representations of race that might have been seen as innocent at the time gain new dimensions as the effects of stereotypes are better understood. 

Title: Kaliman
Country of origin: Mexico
So when was it first published? 1965 (previously a radio show from 1963)
Created by: Modesto Vázquez González (radio show), Hector González Dueñas (Víctor Fox) y Clemente Uribe Ugarte (comic book)

Credit: valenzrc / Instagram

During the 1960s Mexico was a cultural powerhouse in the continent and Kaliman is good proof of this. The superhero was originally just a voice on the radio, but then became a comic book that was published for 26 uninterrupted years, which spanned 1351 issues. Kaliman is a superhero of unknown origin who was raised in India and fights alongside an Egyptian kid named Solin. Kaliman practices multiple martial arts and goes to mystical places like Tibet! A true transnational creation generated in Latin America

Title: Mafalda (but of course we couldn’t possibly forget her!)
Country of origin: Argentina
So when was it first published? 1964-1973
Created by: Quino

Credit: Giphy

More of a comic strip rather than a comic book, Mafalda is a young girl who hates soup, loves her family and despairs at the state of the world. Argentina’s answer to Charlie Brown and the Peanuts series is a funny, nostalgic and thought-provoking universe in which childhood’s point of view reveals the idiocy of the adult world. Mafalda is a symbol of pacifism and a true icon of Argentina. 

Title: Love and Rockets
Country of origin: United States
So when was it first published? 1981
Created by:the Hernandez brothers: Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario.

Credit: Love and Rockets / Fantagraphics Books

Perhaps the most daring and iconic comic book to come out of the Latino community in the United States. This universe of interrelated storylines have traits that make it uniquely Latino: some stories take place in the Central American fictional village of Palomar, while others have magical realism elements. The Locas series focuses on Maggie and Hopey, one of the first queer couples in the American comic book tradition. 

Title: Turey El Taíno
Country of origin: Puerto Rico
So when was it first published? 1989
Created by: Ricardo Álvarez-Rivón

Credit: n-14515802384n8gk. Digital image. Ilustra.org

A unique comic book in that it shows how an indigenous community, the Tainos of what is now Puerto Rico, lived before colonization by the Spanish. It shows the cultural richness of the island in pre-Columbus days and brings back indigenous words and tools. A real standout! 

Title: Elpidio Valdés
Country of origin: Cuba
So when was it first published? 1970
Created by: Juan Padrón

Credit: elpidio4(1). Digital image. Cuba Literaria

A true Cuban classic and perhaps the most famous comic book to come out of the island. In a truly nationalistic spirit (some might argue that these comic books are in fact propaganda), the story takes place in the nineteenth-century war of independence that Cubans waged against Spain. Elpidio Valdés is a multiplatform narrative, as there are movies and cartoons about this historical character.

READ: ‘La Borinqueña’ Is The Afro-Latina Superhero The Comic Book World Has Been Missing

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