Entertainment

Jeimy Osorio, Reflects On The “Amazing Journey” It’s Been To Play Celia Cruz In The Hit Series

Jeimy Osorio is the Puerto Rican and proud Afro-Latina actress you should have on your radar. With lead roles in “Betty en New York” and “Celia,” Osorio has taken the entertainment industry by storm and reminds the world the importance of highlighting Afro-Latinx stories, and casting Afro-Latinx talent for Afro-Latinx roles. mitú caught up with the talented actress about what these experiences were like for her, the significance of portraying her characters on screen, and how they have impacted her acting and singing career.

So good to meet you, Jeimy! I hope quarantine has been treating you well, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. You play a young Celia Cruz in the series, “Celia.” Can you tell us about that journey? Was this your first major role?

Yes! Actually it was my first major role back in 2014 when we started filming. It was, if I’m not mistaken, one of the first Afro-Latina TV shows led by an Afro-Latina. It has been an honor because ever since I have been representing the Afro-Latina community even more so than before. It has been an honor for me to play this role as well because I have, in a way, kept with me the values and the tools that this character taught me about how to take care of my career and how to be as kind and understanding as Celia was when she was growing up, all of which led to her success, I would say.

You touched on this a little, but what does it mean to you to get to play such an iconic woman? I mean, we’re talking about Celia Cruz! 

It’s an amazing journey, I mean in the beginning, I knew that they were giant shoes to fill. I was thinking, “I don’t know how I am going to do this, I don’t even know if people are going to like this, I’m just going to enjoy each moment the best I can and I’m going to try to portray that joy in the camera.” And I think that worked. For me, it has still been a gift, a dream, and also like I said before, continuing the legacy of good music, message of self-love, of self-respect, of respect for others, loving your country, speaking up, using your voice, helping others through music, creating joyful music! I think that, for me, that’s the biggest one. As artists, performers, we are on the radio, we are inevitable to your ears. So whatever comes into your ears that comes from me, I want it to be joyful. I want it to be something that helps you grow, or at least touch your emotions, or helps you connect or helps you feel better. So for me to grab on to these values and tools that I would say that she left me, it’s an honor to just keep bringing these things to life with this new generation.

You’re also in “Betty en New York.” For anyone who isn’t familiar with the show, how would you describe it?

“Betty en New York” is definitely a show that you need to watch. At some point in our lives, we have all been Betty. It’s a beautiful story and it is so refreshing because it touches on the subjects that we are experiencing right now about racism, about bullying, and what social media is really doing with the minds of our kids and our teenagers. Also, the theme of self love is the most important. We’re touching all these subjects that are so deep, but the fact that we’re connecting it with comedy and that we’re going to bring this to you in your face as you laugh, it’s a magical combination. You can’t miss it and you can’t not love it. 

“Betty en New York” is a comedic series. Were there any funny moments from the set?

There were so many funny moments! Sometimes we had to stop filming because we couldn’t go on with the scene because it was so funny. We would have laugh attacks for 5-10 minutes and then you start laughing and then when you stop, I start laughing, and there was a moment where everyone started laughing and then no one could stop laughing. It was amazing. We would also sing, too, and perform in between scenes. We would make fun of each other, basically, but mainly with love. A lot of love.

Going back to “Celia,” can you tell me about one of your favorite moments on that show?

I think one of my favorite moments was when I was recording the talent show when she sang for the first time in front of her mother. When we were recording it, that sequence was so surreal for me because ten years before I was winning a singing contest at a university in front of my parents for the first time. It was just so parallel. I remember my friends were screaming my name, I was in second year and I didn’t tell my parents what the show was about, I just told them I was going to sing. They always knew I wanted to become a singer but they didn’t know my passion because I was shy! I would sing so low in my room, I didn’t want anyone to hear me. I kind of felt ashamed of it. I was still trying to figure out what was wrong with my voice, like, I felt that there was something wrong with my voice until that day. For me to play Celia singing, having her mother there and to look at the wood floor was exactly my same memory, and I was thinking  “wait a minute, I’ve lived this before.” I started crying in front of everyone. So the tears that you see in the beginning when they’re throwing her flowers in the opening of the show, that’s really me trying to stop the tears. And I remember I couldn’t stop crying for the next 15 minutes. They cut the scene, I was like “oh my god, this was me 10 years ago,” I was in shock. I couldn’t stop the tears.

A very full-circle moment, I’m sure. 

Yes, it was!

Congratulations again, on both of these shows! Are these shows available to stream anywhere? How can we watch “Celia” and “Betty en New York?”

Definitely! You can all go to Peacock.com, you’ll find more information there. You can [also] download it to your smart TV. It’s going to be under free programming and premium programming, for those that want a little extra. You can watch live programming from Telemundo and from different networks, content in both Spanish and English. I’m really happy we’re going to be representing the Latino community through Telemundo programming on the Peacock TV app.

Well, there you have it! Brb, going to binge-watch all seasons of “Betty en New York” and “Celia” on Peacock.

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9 Films, Docs and Series About Latinas to Watch Before Women’s History Month Comes to an End

Fierce

9 Films, Docs and Series About Latinas to Watch Before Women’s History Month Comes to an End

Whether you want to celebrate Women’s History Month with a movie night or appreciate media about powerful mujeres year-round, you’re probably looking for a few films, documentaries or TV series to add to your streaming queue right now. Regrettably (and shamefully), most of the lists cropping on entertainment news sites don’t feature projects made for, by or about Latinas. With that in mind, we’ve put together some titles centering narratives about Latina trailblazers and heroines from Latin American and U.S. history. So clear your weekend cal and purchase all of your fave movie theater snacks, because you can watch (most of) these films, documentaries and series right from your computer screen.

1. Dolores

If you’re looking for documentaries about Latina heroines, start with Dolores, the 2017 film about the life and activism of Chicana labor union activist Dolores Huerta. The doc, executive produced by Carlos Santana and Benjamin Bratt, and directed by Bratt’s brother, Peter, delves into how the 90-year-old co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later named the United Farm Workers), her famous “Sí se puede” rallying cry and her role in the women’s rights movement. Including interviews with Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and more, Dolores celebrates the history and ongoing activism of one of the country’s most critical civil rights leaders. Watch Dolores on Amazon Prime.

2. Isabel: The Intimate Story Of Isabel Allende

Isabel: The Intimate Story Of Isabel Allende, a three-part docuseries about the famed Chilean author and feminist, is one of the most exciting new drops. The HBO Max series, directed by Rodrigo Bazaes, premiered on March 12, just in time for Women’s History Month. Like all good biopics, Isabel reveals the person behind the icon, portraying Allende’s path from a young woman fighting her way into a male-dominated industry to the most-read Spanish-language author of all time. As the niece of assassinated Chilean President Salvador Allende, the series also gets political, bringing light to her life under the regime of General Augusto Pinochet as well as her own feminist activism. Watch Isabel on HBO Max.

3. Knock Down the House

Knock Down the House portrays the political rise of a Latina icon in the making: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. While the 2019 documentary by Rachel Lears revolves around the 2018 congressional primary campaigns of four progressive women, Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin, the Puerto Rican now-congresswoman is the only one who wins her race (though Bush won in the next election cycle) and thus much of the film focuses on her story. A first-time candidate with a passion for social justice, a degree in international relations and economics, and a job in bartending, the doc shows how a regular, degular, shmegular girl from the Bronx unseated one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress with a progressive platform and a focus on community. Watch Knock Down the House on Netflix.

4. Lorena: Light-Footed Woman

In 2017, María Lorena Ramírez’s name made international headlines when the young woman defeated 500 other runners from 12 different countries at the Ultra Trail Cerro Rojo in Puebla, Mexico. Ramírez didn’t just stand out because of her speed but also because she ran without professional gear. Instead, she donned the traditional clothes of the Tarahumara, Indigenous people in Chihuahua, Mexico, including a floral skirt and a pair of huaraches. Capturing the world’s attention, Ramírez became the focus of the 2019 documentary Lorena: Light-Footed Woman, which was directed by Juan Carlos Rulfo. The short doc beautifully tells the tale of a young woman’s athletic training in the mountains where she grew up to become a celebrated long-distance runner while staying true to her culture and traditions. Lorena: Light-Footed Woman is streaming on Netflix.

5. Berta Didn’t Die, She Multiplied!

In Honduras, the most dangerous country in the world for land defenders, Berta Cáceres’ life was taken because of her commitment to the environmental justice struggle. Back in the Central American country, Berta’s assassination hasn’t been forgotten and neither has her fight. The 2017 short doc Berta Didn’t Die, She Multiplied!, directed by Sam Vinal, shows how her work lives on among Indigenous Lenca and Afro-Indigenous Garifuna people of Honduras, who continue to struggle against capitalism, patriarchy, racism and homophobia, for our land and our water. Watch Berta Didn’t Die, She Multiplied! on Vimeo.

6. Celia

Celia reveals the story of one of the most powerful voices and greatest icons of Latin music, Afro-Cubana salsera Celia Cruz. The Spanish-language novela, produced by Fox Telecolombia for RCN Televisión and Telemundo, starts at the beginning, when Cruz was an aspiring singer in Havana, and takes viewers through to her time joining La Sonora Matancera, leaving her homeland with her would-be husband Pedro Knight and gaining massive superstardom as the “Queen of Salsa.” Watch Celia on AppleTV+.

7. Beauties of the Night

In the first half of the 20th century, showgirls dominated the entertainment scene in Latin America. Their glamorous looks and luxe performances were enjoyed by audiences of all ages and genders. But around the 1970s, as VHS pornos took off, these scantily clad talents started to lose work and, as a result, their lucrative incomes. Oftentimes, these women came from low-income backgrounds and didn’t have a formal education, forcing many of the vedettes to also feel like they’ve lost their sense of purpose and impelling some to take on work they didn’t feel good about in order to stay afloat in the industry. In Beauties of the Night, directed by María José Cuevas, we see some of Mexico and South America’s leading showgirls, Olga Breeskin, Lyn May, Rossy Mendoza, Wanda Seux and Princesa Yamal, and how their lives transformed as the work they were once famous for lost its reverence. Watch Beauties of the Night on Netflix.

8. Frida

The 2002 biographical drama film Frida shares the professional and private life of one of the most famous woman artists of all time, Frida Kahlo. Directed by Julie Taymor and starring Salma Hayek, the Academy Award-nominated film touches on many aspects of the late Mexican artist and feminist’s life, from her life-altering accident in 1922 and her tumultuous relationship with muralist Diego Rivera to her bisexual identity, political affiliations and, of course, her time-defying art and self portraits. Watch Frida on Amazon Prime.

9. Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It


With a career spanning 70 years, Rita Moreno is one of the most famous and beloved actresses of all time. The only Latina to have won all four major annual U.S. entertainment awards, an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony, her own life is certainly worthy of a film; and in 2021, director Mariem Pérez Riera gave the Puerto Rican star what she deserves with Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It. The documentary, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on January 29, 2021, features interviews with Moreno, Eva Longoria, Gloria Estefan, Normal Lear, Whoopi Goldberg and more. More than just a celebration of all the barriers Moreno broke, the film also delves into her personal life, including the racism she endured on her road to stardom, the sexual violence she experienced in Hollywood, her struggle with mental health and suicidal ideation and her fight for multidimensional roles for people of color. While Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It isn’t streaming yet, it is set to air on PBS’ American Masters later this year.

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9 Bios About Latinas Poderosas To Read This Women’s History Month

Fierce

9 Bios About Latinas Poderosas To Read This Women’s History Month

While we should be reading narratives by and about women year-round, March, which has been designated Women’s History Month in the United States since 1987, is an ideal time to start or double down. Through literary biographies, written by or about female change-makers and barrier-breakers, we can educate ourselves on the historic women who fought to bring about progress or the personal battles they overcame to live inspiring and purposeful lives. 

Considering the contributions of powerful Latinas have been minimized or erased from public consciousness, it’s no surprise that their narratives are also often missing from curated books lists. That’s why one of the best ways to celebrate women this month is by picking up and reading the tales of our trailblazing foremothers or the badasses who are shaking things up today. 

Here, peruse through a list of autobiographies and biographies about Latina powerhouses in politics, social justice and entertainment, and choose one (or more) to read this month. If you really want to be inspired, try to get through the entire list by the end of the year.

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Published in 2014, nine years after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor became the first-ever Latina to sit on the highest court of the land, My Beloved World is a memoir that recounts Sotomayor’s life from the housing projects in the Bronx, New York, to the federal bench. The bestseller reveals the groundbreaking Puerto Rican’s challenging upbringing, including an alcoholic father and her personal struggle with juvenile diabetes, and how she envisioned a different life for herself through entertainment role models that allowed her dream up a career in law.

Lupe Velez: The Life and Career of Hollywood’s “Mexican Spitfire” by Michelle Vogel

McFarland and Company

Old Hollywood actress Lupe Velez lived a life that the press loved to gossip about. Not only was the Mexican talent cast for sexy and fierce-tempered roles, spawning the nickname “The Mexican Spitfire,” but the myths about her life beyond the cameras also spurred rumors and scandal. Ugly fables about her death in 1944 left the trailblazing Latina actress with a notorious legacy. But in Michelle Vogel’s 2012 biography of Vélez, she finally puts damaging untruths to rest and tells the honest tale of the life and career of one of the most important Latinx figures in entertainment. 

Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon by Vanessa Perez Rosario

University of Illinois Press

Few poets have captured a nation, symbolized an era and bloomed into a cultural icon like Julia de Burgos. The Afro-Puerto Rican writer, who spoke in poetry and prose about her homeland’s colonial status, her relationship with land, her experience of migration and her plight as a woman of color, impacted culture and politics both in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. In this first full-length English-language biography of de Burgos, Perez examines the late writer’s life as a poet and a political activist and bridges her contribution to nationalist literature as well as Nuyorican art and culture. 

Azucar! The New Biography of Celia Cruz by Eduardo Marceles

Reed Press

If you’ve already watched Celia, the 80-part novela about the Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz, and are looking to dive deeper into the life of the late Cuban icon, you’ll want to devour Eduardo Marceles’ Azucar! the Celia Cruz Biography. Like the series, the book delves into Cruz’s life as a political exile and a successful singer but includes unpublished personal interviews and conversations between the talent and the author, including bits about her popular relationship with Pedro Knight, her sometimes overlooked humanitarian work and her fatal illness.

To Selena, With Love by Chris Perez

Penguin Publishing Group

The gifts, story and beauty of Selena Quintanilla has captivated audiences young and old for three decades. But even those who have watched the 1997 classic film hundreds of times, know her songs by heart and have participated in online fandom communities will learn a lot about the late Queen of Tejano by reading To Selena, with Love, a memoir written by her widower Chris Perez. In the book, published in 2013, Perez shares intimate details about the superstar and their relationship, including how it grew from friendship to forbidden romance to a lovely marriage that ended too soon.

Maria Montez: Su Vida by Margarita Vicens de Morales

Cayena Press

If you’re looking for an illuminating Spanish-language read about a Latina icon who doesn’t get the respect she deserves, you need – like have to! – pick up Margarita Vicens de Morales’ Maria Montez: Su Vida. The book, published in 2004, reveals the story of Maria Montez, the Dominican Old Hollywood actress who was hailed “The Queen of Technicolor,” detailing the superstar’s rise to fame, the times her life mirrored the roles she played, her relationships and motherhood as well as her early and sudden death. 

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero and Michelle Burford

Henry Holt and Co.

While most of the biographies and memoirs on this list so far have centered on rise-to-fame stories, Diane Guerrero’s In the Country We Love: My Family Divided focuses primarily on how our country’s broken immigration system tore her family apart in her youth. In the book, published in 2016, the Colombian-American actress shares how her parents were detained and deported when she was just 14 years and how she was forced to live with family friends in order to continue her education in the United States and build her career. In sharing her nightmare-turned-to-life story, Guerrero highlights a fear and struggle of millions of undocumented people living in the country.

The Meaning of Mariah Carey

Andy Cohen Books

A global icon and one of the most talented artists of all time, Mariah Carey’s personal life, much like her reserve of chart-topping songs and albums, has been dissected in the press for decades. But with 2020’s The Meaning of Mariah Carey, a memoir the Venezuelan-American megastar co-authored with Michaela Angela Davis, she is speaking her truth in her own words. The book shares the “triumphs and traumas” as well as the “dreams and debacles” that helped form Mariah Carey, the person and the artist in the spotlight, touching on childhood trauma, racism, songs, relationships, motherhood and more.

Rita Moreno: A Memoir by Rita Moreno

Celebra


Before Rita Moreno became everyone’s favorite actress, the Hollywood legend was a simple Puerto Rican girl who, like many in the 1930s, was making her way from the archipelago to the Bronx, New York, with her family for greater opportunity. In Rita Moreno: A Memoir, the now 89-year-old shares how music and performance helped her cope with her tumultuous childhood and how her talent brought her to Broadway, then Hollywood and, of course, to becoming the only Latinx talent to win an Oscar, Grammy, Tony and two Emmys. Throughout it all, Moreno is frank about the racialized sexism she experienced in the entertainment industry, the passionate romances that injured and supported her, and creating an equally dazzling life and career.

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