entertainment

This Is How Justina Machado Went From Being A Bank Teller To Penelope In ‘One Day At A Time’

justinamachado / Instagram

If you haven’t already fallen in love with Justina Machado, take a moment to learn about the Puerto Rican actress. We’ve seen her in guest roles in many a Shonda Rhimes’ shows, and her recent stardom on Netflix’s reboot of One Day at a Time has skyrocketed her career. Machado has been in the industry for decades now, and her new platform has expanded her voice.

Here’s where she comes from and what she has to say today.

Machado was born and raised in Chicago.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

The 46-year-old Virgo was raised on the Northwest Side of Chicago, and she didn’t really spend her childhood around the arts. She actually went to a tech high school.

Her parents moved from Puerto Rico to Chicago for a better life.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

She told The Chicago Tribune, “I am first-generation. My parents are from Puerto Rico. We were lower-middle class. … My family’s mentality was, go and get a good job and stay in Chicago and have a family and just be responsible and just have that real Midwestern kind of life. They just didn’t really think about anything else. Anything like (acting) was not something that was discussed in my house.”

She had a traditional quinceñeara 💃

CREDIT: @JustinaMachado / Twitter

In an interview with NPR, she confessed that her parents didn’t want to throw her a quince because of the expense, so she begged one tío to buy the cake, one prima to make the dress, and so on until it came together.

“I had no idea what the heck it was about,” she told NPR. “I didn’t even know there was a church ceremony to it. I was like, “Oh, I have to go to church?” I had no idea. To me, it was like this big party where you get to dress up and look like a child bride. … It’s so funny because I really wanted a quinceañera and then when I had one, I was like, “Man, this is so lame.”

Machado has three half-siblings.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

Her parents moved to Chicago, had two children and then split up. Then, her mom remarried and had three children.

She grew up taking dance lessons.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

Her parents put her through dance at the Franklin Fine Arts Center. She also liked to perform in school plays. Basically, she’s always been an entertainer.

Machado graduated from Lane Technical College Prep High School.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

Caption: “Happy Mother’s Day to all!! My 8th grade graduation with my 2 favorite women. I lost my Abuela in 2006 but I still feel her everyday it’s weird I know she’s physically gone and that always makes me sad but my God did she love me when she was here and I loved her my jibarita from Patillas Puerto Rico 🇵🇷 And I’m so proud of my Mother Alicia the mother of 5..had me at 18 she was a baby. She’s always been brave and beautiful I love you mom I love you abuela❤️❤️❤️”

Machado worked as a bank teller after high school.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life until an agent with The Latino Chicago Theater Company discovered her ‘X factor.” She ended up working in 20 productions with the company within five years before she realized she was a good actress.

Then, she decided to really go for it and moved to New York City.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

Caption: “#tbt 3 Chicago girls move to LA they live together in a one bedroom with only one bed and a tv one car shared between the 3 of them ..it was quite an adventure !! So much growing loving learning arguing and a whole lot of fun !! These 2 have been my GIRLS since I walked into the Latino Chicago theatre at 18 anybody who knew us back in the day knew we were never without each other and I’m so proud to say the love and codependency continues. To my Chitown loves #MargaritaOquendo@clearwaterceron well one of them is from

Elgin 😜😜love you ladies ❤️❤️❤️#whatajourney”

She attributes her experience with the Latino Chicago Theater Company during high school for her success.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

It immediately opened doors for her in NYC. She wasn’t in New York City long before she was offered professional acting roles in Los Angeles, and she hopped on a plane.

You might recognize her as love interests in a zillion shows i.e. Private Practice.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

When she first got to Los Angeles, she was cast as “Elsa” in NYPD Blue. Soon, she was taking on roles in No One Would Tell, ER, Arsenio, Malcolm & Eddie, and more. Remember, this is all in the late ’90s.

If you’re a Jane the Virgin fan, you’ll love/hate her as Darci.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

She plays the mother of Jane’s half brother that you low key loved to hate, but eventually softened around after the baby hormones left her body.

Oh, and if you watch JTV, then you should probably also watch the J-Lo produced The Fosters, where she plays a super Catholic mom named Sonia Rivera for a few episodes.

Her break out role was as Vanessa Diaz in Six Feet Under.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

At first, she started out as a supporting character and quickly became loved by fans. She was elevated to the main cast for 42 episodes.

Machado never left her love for theatre.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

Caption: “#fbf this is where I first met @thisiscarlajimenez this is us performing in #blackbutterfly written by the great #LuisAlfaro I fell in love with her immediately ❤️❤️”

She even performed in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first play In the Heights in 2010.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

Caption: “#tbt that time I played Daniela in #intheheights on Broadway. What a dream come true❤️❤️❤️ I loved sharing the stage with the beautiful talented generous @janetdacal Happy Thursday Mi Gente”

ODAAT has given Machado a Latina character worthy of her talents.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

She told PopSugar that the thing she loves most about playing Penelope on One Day at a Time is, “The layered woman that she is. A real person, you know? They didn’t have me coming out with a piñata, or dancing to some salsa. [laughs] Not that I mind, I love it all. But it’s a real person who is layered, and flawed, and she’s lovely, and she’s just a woman that I am so proud to portray. As I read the script I was like, “This is good, this is real good.”

Machado relates to her role as Penelope in that she also grew up Catholic.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

She told PopSugar, “Growing up, my parents raised me Catholic. I’m not someone who really goes to church anymore, but that was the way I was raised and it was really important. In the episode, it’s kind of a thing with my mom and I. We have pictures of the Pope everywhere, and stuff like that. That’s the way I grew up, except for the pictures of the Pope. We didn’t have that. My cousins had that. I was like what the hell is this?”

Machado is so close with icon Rita Moreno, she’s seen her six pack.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

Yup. Eighty-seven-year-old Rita Moreno. Machado gushed to NPR about how Moreno is 150 percent in life and, well, this: “The woman has a six pack, you know that, right? … I’m talking about her abs, OK? … She’s 85 and looks amazing. I have never been in her kind of shape my whole life. And she is just — she defies everything.”

Machado is fiercely Boricua and helped raise money for Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

She’s helped with regular old non-celebrity sponsored donation drives, participated in “Voices for Puerto Rico” and is constantly telling her followers to vote their beliefs. Vote for people who care about your people.

Machado is hugely politically outspoken putting Latinos first in her political work and engagement.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

Machado has slammed Trump over and over again for his ‘love’ for Puerto Rico. In an interview with Buzzfeed, she said “I have an uncle who’s a veteran from the Vietnam War — unlike this president who dodged the draft 5 times.”

You can catch Machado on Netflix’s One Day at a Time.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

Which just announced it’s Season 3 air date for February 8!! The trailer teases conversations about they/them inclusive terms, vaping marijuana, and eating from the hotel minibar “like I’m made of money.” 🤑


READ: Here’s A Quick Glimpse Into Rita Moreno’s Rise From A Little Girl In Puerto Rico To America’s Abuela

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The First Picture From Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Is Finally Here And I’m Already In Love With Tony

Entertainment

The First Picture From Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Is Finally Here And I’m Already In Love With Tony

West Side Story: First Image From Steven Spielberg's Musical

The first photo of the new Steven Spielberg adaptation of “West Side Story” is finally here! Variety has officially released the photo featuring Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as Tony and Maria and we cannot get enough.

Colombian-American Zegler, 17, and 28-year-old Puerto Rican Broadway star Ariana DeBose, playing Anita, are two Latinas intentionally cast in the lead roles after Spielberg and his team put out a call for Latinx actors.

The cast also features David Alvarez, a Canadian born to Cuban parents as  Bernardo, Maria’s brother and the leader of the Sharks and theater actor Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino. The Broadway classic tells the story of two young lovers from rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, set in New York in 1957 in the midst of racial tensions.

The photo has Elgort and Zegler front and center, lovingly looking into each other’s eyes while flanked by the Jets and Sharks.

The image teaser features (from left to right) Jets members Anybodys (Ezra Menas), Mouthpiece (Ben Cook), Action (Sean Harrison Jones); Jets leader Riff (Mike Faist); Baby John (Patrick Higgins); Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler); Maria’s brother and Sharks leader Bernardo (David Alvarez); and Sharks members Quique (Julius Anthony Rubio), Chago (Ricardo Zayas), Chino (Josh Andrés Rivera), Braulio (Sebastian Serra) and Pipo (Carlos Sánchez Falú).

The iconic Rita Moreno played Anita in the 1961 film version of the 1957 Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim musical for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

The 87-year-old Puerto Rican actress is an executive producer on the film and will also return in a new role as Valentina, a revamped version of Doc, the candy store owner.

The production has already began filming in Harlem, the New York Post reported.

The film marks the first time Spielberg directs a musical and it’s set to be released in theaters Dec. 18, 2020.

The Chicago Baby Ripped From His Mother’s Womb Has Lost His Battle To Survive And This Heartbreaking Story Just Hit Rock Bottom

Things That Matter

The Chicago Baby Ripped From His Mother’s Womb Has Lost His Battle To Survive And This Heartbreaking Story Just Hit Rock Bottom

So many were rooting for little Yovanny and his father, Yovani Lopez.

The infant, whose life started with tragedy, drew national attention after news of his mother’s horrific death made headlines. Yovanny and his mother became victims of fetal-abduction in early April of this year when his mother was lured to a house to collect free baby clothes and was ultimately strangled to death. Still, images of the father and son, with papa holding little Yovanny in his arms as the baby opened his eyes for the very first time gave those following their story hope.

Unfortunately. this heartbreaking situation has become even more tragic as it’s confirmed that the little boy has lost his fight to survive.

The devastating update comes nearly two months after his mother was found murdered.

The two-month-old infant who was cut from the womb of his mother, murder victim Marlen Ochoa-Lopez in Chicago, has died.

“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of baby Yovanny Jadiel Lopez,” family spokeswoman Julie Contreras said in a statement published by NBC Chicago. “He passed away this morning Friday, June 14, 2019, from his severe brain injury.” 

The baby boy’s father, Yovani, had been praying for his recovery and was hopeful that he would survive.

Credit: YovaniLopez / Facebook

Despite weeks of promising false starts, like when the baby opened his eyes, he never regained full brain function and was pronounced dead in the hospital on Friday.

The boy’s death is a devastating blow to a family who has already lost so much.

Credit: @nypost / Twitter

Yovanny is survived by his father Yovani, who was Marlen’s husband. The little boy will be laid to rest at a private funeral at a later date. The boy had been on life support since being brought to Advocate Christ Medical Center by his mother’s alleged killer in April.

The boy’s mother was brutally murdered after chatting with her alleged murder about free baby clothes.

Credit: @HijadeMiMadre3 / Twitter

Yovanny’s mother Marlen, 19, was brutally strangled before her stomach was cut open and Yovanny was snatched from her womb.

Marlen’s alleged killer Clarisa Figueroa, 46, is then said to have gone to the hospital with the baby and passed it off as her own, after dumping Marlen in a trash can around the side of her house.

Figueroa, whose adult son died in 2017, reportedly tricked Marlen into coming to her house after offering her free clothes for her unborn baby on a local Facebook forum.

After snatching the baby and going to the hospital, she even set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for ‘her’ infant’s hospital care, it is alleged.

The baby’s death comes just days after police announced murder charges against Clarisa and Desiree Figueroa.

Credit: @13abc / Twitter

Figueroa and daughter Desiree, 24, were formally charged with Marlen’s first-degree murder earlier this week.

Police have yet to say whether they will now face further charges over baby Yovanny’s death.

Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend Piotr Bobak is charged with concealing Marlen’s murder. The teen’s body was not found for three weeks after she disappeared. Hospital staff faced questions about why they did not alert police over Figueroa’s admission, with medics saying there were no signs she had given birth to Yovanny.

Reactions on Twitter have been filled with shock, heartbreak, and anger.

Credit: @people / Twitter

Many pointed out how they had been glued to the news of this case since it first broke. And the death of the little boy was the last thing they had expected.

Many had the father in their thoughts and prayers.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Other’s sent all their sympathy, prayers, and thoughts to the father, who has lost his entire world. First, his wife was brutally murdered and now his son passes away in his arms after months battling for his life. Truly heartbreaking.

While others could only find comfort knowing that perhaps the baby and his mama are finally together.

Credit: @people / Twitter

This is a heartbreaking story that touched the hearts of people everywhere.

All of us are sending our thoughts to little Yovanny’s surviving family so that they have the strength to power through this tragedy.

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