Entertainment

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

We all know by now that is no “one way” to be Latinx. Latinos come in a variety of forms, from Black to white, tall to short, descended from Indigenous, African, and European populations. And while Roman Catholicism may be the dominant religion in most of Latinidad, it goes without saying that Latino culture is not a monolith. Latinos practice a variety of religions, from Islam to Buddhism to, yes, Judaism. 

And while most people don’t necessarily think of Judaism when they think of Latin America, there is, in fact, a small but proud population of Jewish Latinos who keep their culture alive through tradition and a strong sense of community. But being a part of such a small community within an already-marginalized community can feel isolating at times. Especially when there are no public role models to see yourself reflected in.

That’s why Tuesday’s news that Disney is debuting a Jewish-Latinx princess sent shock-waves through the internet. 

Walt Disney Television Animation News announced via Twitter that an upcoming Elena of Avalon episode in December would be featuring a “visiting princess” from a “Latino Jewish kingdom”.The as-yet-unnamed princess will be voiced by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, the actress famous for her portrayal of Meadow Soprano on HBO’s seminal masterpiece, “The Sopranos”. 

The Tweet also revealed that the princess would also make an appearance in Elana’s “royal coronation special” next year. Although we do not know any further details of Sigler’s character or her storyline, “Elena of Avalor” writer Rachel Ruderman gave a small preview of what’s to come. “A little over a year ago, I had the honor of writing an Elena of Avalor episode featuring Disney’s first Jewish princess,” Ruderman said via Twitter. She continued: “Jamie Lynn Sigler knocks the role out of the park (wait ’till you hear her song!) Can’t wait to share this one”.

In a move of conscious-casting on Disney’s part, Jamie Lynn Sigler herself happens to be both Latina and Jewish–a giant step for a media giant that can sometimes miss the mark with casting.

Raised by a Jewish father and a Cuban mother, Sigler grew up in New York City as part of a multicultural family.In the past, Sigler has talked about being raised Jewish–attending Hebrew school, having a Bat Mitzvah, and even going on a Birth Right trip to Israel in 2008. 

This episode can serve as an educational experience for many people (including those of Latinx descent) who are unaware that Jewish Latinos even exist. In fact, what some people might not even know, is that the term “Sephardic” (a term used to describe Jewish people of European descent) literally means “of Spain or Portuguese descent” in old Hebrew. In other words, it’s not a stretch to imagine a character of both Latin and Jewish roots on our TV screens. In fact, it’s completely historically plausible!

Naturally, both the Latinx and Jewish Twitter population is super excited at this groundbreaking news.

As we mentioned before, the acknowledgment of Jewish Latinos in popular culture is such a rarity. When the media shines a spotlight on such a marginalized group of people, the advent is worth celebrating. And even though changes are slow in the making, any progress on the representation front is a step in the right direction.

Jamie Lynn Sigler herself expressed her excitement at the news, calling to attention the novelty of her position:

Yes, it’s exciting that the Jewish Latinx population has finally gotten some princess representation, but it’s still a little bit frustrating that we had to wait until 2019 for a Jewish princess. We have a long way to go.

This Latina Jew was incredibly excited at the prospect of having the chance to see her own unique lifestyle reflected onscreen:

The self-styled “Jewyorican” is one of many New York-based Puerto-Rican Jews who identify fully with both cultures. It’s not as rare as people think.

Some Latinx Jews took to Twitter to give some suggestions on how Disney could go about bringing the new character to life:

This Hispanic Linguistics Professor suggested incorporating the ancient Judeo-Spanish language of Ladino into the show. 

This multi-cultural woman celebrated the inclusion of multiple cultures in one character:

Families like hers are the way of the future–at least according to statistics. Although many media outlets still see American families in black and white, the rest of us living our lives know that our identities are increasingly a hodgepodge of cultures. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Goodbye To The 2010s: 11 Crazy Reality TV Moments You Didn’t Remember Actually Happened This Decade

Entertainment

Goodbye To The 2010s: 11 Crazy Reality TV Moments You Didn’t Remember Actually Happened This Decade

MTV

Reality is messy and unpredictable. So it’s only fitting that reality TV is just the same, messy and unpredictable —x1000. And these past 10 years have really seen a surge in reality programming. So we couldn’t say goodbye to the decade before revisiting some of the wildest reality TV moments of the past years. Some of these were so shocking that we thought they deserved their own shout out. So read along and enjoy. 

When Snooki got punched

Okay, okay, we know this isn’t technically part of the last decade but it was right at the very brink of it. In 2009 Jersey Shore cast member Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was enjoying herself with her squad at the bar and having a good time when she started arguing with a random guy who seemed drunk, and punched her. Ferro was not a cast member and the whole thing became a huge scandal. 

Caitlyn Jenner’s Transition

In a “KUWTK” special called “About Bruce,” Caitlyn Jenner revealed that she was a transgender woman publicly for the first time and was beginning her transition. 

Miss Universe 2015

Steve Harvey only had one job the night that he hosted Miss Universe and that was to announce the rightful winner to the crown. As you know by now, he messed it up and big time. Instead of announcing Miss Philippines, as the winner, he announced Miss Colombia as the winner when she was actually the runner-up. 

American Idol Charlotte Auditions

Be honest: How many of you watched American Idol just for to see the eye rolls and subtle (and not-so-subtle) digs between judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey? You can answer truthfully, this is a safe place. And you are definitely not alone.

Chrissy Lampkin Sucker Punched Kimbella

Chrissy Lampkin has always been super protective of her man and her friends and she proved this during season 2 of VH1’s Love And Hip-Hop. When Kimbella dropped the bomb on Emily B. that she was dating rapper Fabulous while Emily was pregnant with his child, Chrissy went straight into defense mode. 

When Aviva Drescher slammed her prosthetic leg on the table

https://media.giphy.com/media/59GQzYkUjxxGE/giphy.gif

Aviva, from The Real Housewives of New York City, announced there was only one thing fake about her, and proceeded to slam her prosthetic leg onto the table.

Mystique Summers Madison reminded Morgan McMichaels where she’s from.

When things got tense on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Mystique Summers Madison reminded Morgan McMichaels where she’s from; “B*tch I will whoop yo a*s I’m from Chicago!” …things escalated pretty quickly from there. 

Tristan Khloe and Jordyn Woods’ cheating scandal

In season 15 fans got to watch the family learn about Tristan’s cheating scandal just days before Khloe gave birth to True Thompson. Unsurprisingly, Khloe’s sisters were angry, but Khloe tried to keep her cool for her daughter’s arrival.

When Kelly and Abby got into a physical fight on Dance Moms.

Kelly brought up that Abby said Kelly’s daughter looks miserable, Abby denied saying that…cue the fighting.

Kenya using a megaphone to call Porsha a “Dumb ho”

When Kenya used a megaphone to call Porsha a dumb ho, at the reunion episode of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”, Porsha lost her shit —and was subsequently arrested.

Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy reveal

When rumors about Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy were at their height, she stopped appearing on the show altogether. But then, she showed up pregnant on “KUWTK” in season 15, proving that she had actually been filming for the show in secret.

Latina Actress At the Center of the Viral Peloton Ad Says She is Finding “Humor” In The Situation

Entertainment

Latina Actress At the Center of the Viral Peloton Ad Says She is Finding “Humor” In The Situation

Peloton / Youtube

It’s not every day that you see an ad for an exercise bike taking the world by storm, but this viral commercial for Peloton did just that.

Three weeks ago Peloton, the company that is well known for being an fitness empire and a media juggernaut that was being touted as the “Apple of Fitness”, posted a Holiday ad for the cult-favorite bike to Youtube. The ad seemed innocuous enough: the 30-second spot followed the fitness journey of a young wife and mother who is gifted a Peloton bike for Christmas by her husband.

As the woman’s fitness journey continues, we see her documenting her daily workouts for her husband to watch. She congratulates herself for working out “five days in a row”, asking her husband if he’s “surprised”. We see her getting up at 6am to hop on the bike, lamenting her early wake-up call. At the end of the spot, we see the young mom watching the footage with her husband in the present. “A year ago, I didn’t know how much this would change me”, she says to the camera. In the present, we see the wife looking looking nervous and fidgety as she watches her husband watch the footage. Some viewers interpreted her behavior as if she were working out for her husband’s for approval.

A few weeks after the commercial was posted to Youtube, the ad went viral–and not for the brand’s intended purpose. 

Critics immediately called out the ad for what they perceived as its sexist messaging. Not only that, some viewers interpreted Ruiz’s face throughout the advertisement as “terrified”. As one Twitter user put it, the ad tells the tone-deaf story of a “thin, gorgeous woman transforming into a still-thin, still-gorgeous woman who’s terrified her husband won’t think she’s grateful”.

Credit: @amyhoy/Twitter

After the ad seemed to take over the internet over the weekend, the identity of the “Peloton Wife” actress was finally revealed to be Monica Ruiz, a California-based actress of Latina descent. Ruiz, for her part, seems to be rather rattled by all of the negative attention aimed at the ad. 

In a statement to People magazine, she called the Peloton team “lovely to work with” and said she was “grateful” for the job opportunity. As for the the backlash, she seems to be surprised by it. “Although I’m an actress, I am not quite comfortable being in spotlight,” she said to People. “So to say I was shocked and overwhelmed by the attention this week (especially the negative) is an understatement”.

In a hilarious turn of events, Ryan Reynolds recruited Ruiz to star in a commercial for his company, Aviation Gin. The catch? She’s playing the same character as in the Peloton commercial.

In a spot titled “The Gift that Doesn’t Give Back”, Ruiz is seen at a bar surrounded by two girlfriends. They look at her warily as she stares off into the distance, nursing a martini. They tell her she’s “safe here” and that she “looks great”. Ruiz, ostensibly traumatized by her husband’s controlling behavior, can only say that the gin is “really smooth” before chugging her cocktail as well as her friend’s. 

Naturally, the Aviation Gin ad went over like gangbusters on social media, with viewers calling it “genius” and “brilliant”. As for Ruiz, she seems to be much more at peace with the entire Peloton debacle. “When Ryan and his production team called about Aviation Gin, they helped me find some humor in the situation,” she told People. “I am grateful to both Peloton and now Aviation Gin for the work and giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do”.

Of course, since the ad originally went viral on Twitter, there are no shortage of Tweets riffing on the bizarre saga of the Peloton commercial.

Honestly, you could spend hours scrolling through hilarious memes and #hottakes centered around this one 30-second commercial. Something tells us Peloton didn’t intend this sort of reaction when they were brainstorming this ad.

This person summed up the weird vibe of the commercial perfectly:

There’s something off-putting about how she seems to be embarking on this year-long fitness journey to please her husband. 

This Twitter user had to explain why people were so irritated at the tone-deaf commercial:

It’s definitely the subtext of the ad that rubs people the wrong way. 

This Latina didn’t really understand the outrage

It’s definitely true that a lot of people workout to feel strong and healthy–their appearance has nothing to do with it.

This person was highly complimentary of Ruiz’s acting skills

We definitely agree. If commercials had their own Oscars, we think there’d be no contest.