Entertainment

Karla Souza Is A Trilingual Entertainer Who Never Ceases To Amaze Us

karlasouza / Instagram

You might recognize Karla Souza as either your favorite Mexican telenovela star or as Laurel Castillo on “How to Get Away with Murder.” The actress is one of many Latinos who has crossed over from telenovela stardom to American markets.

If you had no idea that the actress has an entire, wildly successful career in Mexico, you’re going to want to sit down to truly meet Karla Souza and her ancestors who gave us Souza in all her trilingual glory.

Her full name is Karla Susana Olivares Souza.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

The actress is only 33 years old and has been working as an actress since she was 22 years old, in both Spanish and English language works.

Souza was born in Mexico City on December 11, 1985.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

That’s right. Our girl is a fierce, assertive and heart-open Sagittarius Mexicana. She lived in Mexico City until she was two years old and her family moved to Aspen, Colorado.

Souza attributes her blessings to her paternal abuelita, Elba Silva.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

Elba moved to New York City from Chile in search of a better life. She became a U.S. citizen, which gave Souza’s own father a path to citizenship when he eventually decided to move to the U.S. years later.

Elba was revered for her courage and her “killer Chilean empanadas.”

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

In an op-ed for PopSugar, Souza writes that, “She made killer Chilean empanadas and was stubborn as all get out.” Elba worked as an assistant cook with the Rockefeller family for over 20 years. Elba’s husband became the Rockefellers’ gardener.

Souza’s Chilean father met her Mexicana madre in Mexico City.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

Souza’s father ran his Mexican shoe business from Colorado for five years. Then, as Souza recalls, “I vaguely remember receiving the letter from then President, Bill Clinton, saying something like: “Congratulations! You are now a citizen of the United States of America.” Which to me meant nothing at the time.”

Souza lived in Europe for 8 years and returned to Mexico for another ten years.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

She is proud to be Mexican and proud to be Latina. She first studied acting at Centro de Educación Artística in Mexico city and then went to France to tour with a professional theatre company.

Souza speaks three languages fluently.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

She speaks English, Spanish and French so fluently, that she was offered a role in the French reality TV show “Star Academy.” She turned it down after receiving an invitation to study at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama. She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in acting.

She even studied acting in Moscow, Russia for a minute.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

Souza has been tapped for numerous prestigious awards and invitations, including an acting intensive with Anatoly Smilianski at the end of her college career.

Her television debut was on Mexican telenovela “Verano de amor.”

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

She later scored starring roles in Mexican sitcoms “Los Héroes del Norte” and “La Clinica.” You might also recognize her from Mexican box office hits “Nosotros los Nobles,” “From Prada to Nada,” and “Instructions Not Included.”

She moved to Los Angeles in 2014 to be told she was not “Latina enough” for Latina roles.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

In an op-ed with Pop Sugar, Souza recounts how she would enter an audition for a character only described as “The Latina,” and be questioned. In her own words:

“I’m sorry . . . How exactly are you Latin?” asks the casting director before doing the scene.

“I’m Mexican,” Karla replies.

Still some doubt and skepticism on the casting director’s face prompts Karla to respond:

“My mother is Mexican and my dad is from Chile. I was born in Mexico City. I just moved to Los Angeles two weeks ago.”

Needless to say I didn’t book that job. I wasn’t “Latina enough.”

When she was cast for Shonda Rhimes’ legal drama series How to Get Away with Murder, they wrote her own background into her character’s story.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

Why? Because if you’re Latina, you’re Latina enough, and your story is the story of a Latina. We love that Shonda Rhimes’ team included that her character, Laurel Castillo, was born in Mexico City, just like Souza.

Souza is teasing a project in which she seems to be playing an astronaut and we have questions.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

Caption: “Space jam. 😉”

Stop teasing us, Souza! Are you playing first ever Latina astronaut, Ellen Ochoa? Quien es?

What we do know is she’s using her influence to elevate life for Mexicans and Latinxs in the U.S.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

Caption: “TBT: Earlier this month magic happened when over 100 fierce Latinas gathered in LA. We talked about how we will use our collective influence & power to improve conditions for the Latinx community & everyone in the US. We made a commitment to ourselves and to each other. We are not sitting on the sidelines. Stay tuned for more information about what we are working on for the betterment of all. #LatinasLead #LatinaPower

Souza also co-founded the Los Angeles En México non-profit with Kate del Castillo, Ana De La Reguera and Olga Segura.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

Her organization is focusing on the families in San Miguel Tecuanipa and how to rebuild their homes, livelihoods and security after the devastating earthquake in 2017.

Her TEDx talk is the most seen Spanish language talk in history.

CREDIT: TEDx / YouTube

Titled “Sweet are the Fruits of Adversity,” Souza’s talk has more than 3.7 million views to date. If you’re looking for Spanish-language inspo, you know where to go.

In May 2014, Souza married Marshall Trenkmann.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

Trenkmann is a Texan banker, and the two had been together for awhile before tying the knot. They married just four months after their engagement.

The two have a daughter, Gianna, together.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

Four years into their marriage, they welcomed this sweet baby girl. You might have noticed if you keep up with How to Get Away with Murder.

She became an on-screen and IRL mom at the same time.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

How to Get Away with Murder adapted Karla’s real life pregnancy to her character, Laurel Castillo. Her character realized she was pregnant after the baby’s father died in a suspicious fire. :'(

“The one thing people don’t tell you about motherhood is that your life isn’t over.”

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

On Katie Lowes’ podcast “Katie’s Crib,” Souza talks about how she integrates motherhood into her existing, very busy schedule on set. You can tell she gets creative.

Souza is still making time during motherhood, acting and advocating for Latinxs to be part of the #TimesUp movement.

CREDIT: @karlasouza / Instagram

She revealed in February 2018 that she was raped by the director of a TV show she was in when she was 22 years old. She didn’t name her attacker but continues to link to the www.timesupnow.com in her Instagram profile.

We are shipping her, Gianna, everything she stands for and hopefully her role as Ellen Ochoa. 😍

READ: Chicharito, Karla Souza, Wilmer Valderrama And Others Show Their Support For Canelo Alvarez

Yalitza Aparicio’s Appearance Alongside Hollywood Veterans In Rodarte’s Spring 2020 Lookbook Proves She’s Still Rising

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Yalitza Aparicio’s Appearance Alongside Hollywood Veterans In Rodarte’s Spring 2020 Lookbook Proves She’s Still Rising

Back in February of this year, “Roma” actress Yalitza Aparicio dominated fashion headlines after her appearance on the red carpet of the Oscars. The actress made her first appearance at the 91st Academy Awards as a Best Actress nominee for her breakout role as Cleo a maid of Mixteco heritage working for a family in Mexico City during the early 1970s. Aparicio had already had a big night, not only had she nailed a coveted nominee slot, she’d done so for her first role ever in a movie. And while awe over her talent was much talked about, it was the mint-green and silver metallic tulle gown she wore by Rodarte that caught so much attention.

The fashion brand has long been an established designer on red carpets but there’s no denying the actress has helped raise interest in its designers. The red carpet match of the designers and the actress proved not only to be a success at the Oscars, but it also proved worthy of a lasting partnership.

For the fashion brand’s latest lookbook, Aparicio was selected as a model.

The rising star wowed in the brand’s dreamy fashion shoot.

Aparicio appeared in the Spring lookbook in a polka-dot belted black and white dress and a pair of sheer gloves studded with pearls which also speckle her hair. She modeled the dress in a magazine that featured Hollywood veterans such as Gabrielle Union and Kirsten Dunst.

Aparicio appeared in simple colors and extravagant gowns.

For her other appearance, the actress could be seen wearing a black and white plaid dress that featured a ruffle color and puff sleeves.

Of course, it didn’t take long for reactions to Aparcio’s appearance to set fire online.

Fans of the actress were quick to call her a “reina” and other celebrities including “Mad Men” actor January Jones, who also appeared in the shoot, commented “Love. ❤️”

Aparicio’s feature is another reminder, that the indigenous actress has her heels dug into Hollywood and the fashion industry and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Back in January of this year, Vogue México honored the actress with a feature and photoshoot that served as an ode to her culture and home state of Oaxaca. Not only was she featured on the magazine’s cover, but she was also thrown a party at the Patio del Huaje en el Jardín Etnobotanico in Oaxaca.

While the finicky nature of Hollywood and its attention to actresses of color has a strong pattern, Yalitza’s star does not seem to be dwindling. In fact, her appearance in the lookbook nearly seven months after her appearance at the Oscars, and without any announcements of new roles, proves she must have a lot coming up for herself.

Meet Frederico Vigil, The Creator Of The Largest Concave Fresco in North America – Mundos De Mestizaje

Culture

Meet Frederico Vigil, The Creator Of The Largest Concave Fresco in North America – Mundos De Mestizaje

Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

When visiting the National Hispanic Cultural Center campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it’s easy to write-off the upside-down, bucket shape form rising from the ground. It stands alone with no distinguishing marks. There are no large crowds to hint at the remarkable secret hidden inside. Visitors will know they are in the right place when the gray asphalt and concrete beneath their feet morph into red—matching the building’s exterior.

Two, towering wood doors mark the entry into the nondescript building.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

When the doors swing open, it’s impossible to avoid looking up because the vibrant colors of the ceiling act as a magnet, drawing eyes upwards. Step into the 45-foot dome-shaped structure to get a better look, and there, in the small Southwest town of less than 1 million, the largest fresco painting in North America wraps around the ceiling.

El Torreón is the name of the structure which houses Mundos de Mestizaje.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

The larger-than-the-Sistine-Chapel fresco made by Frederico Vigil. It took the Santa Fe native almost three years to have it approved and 10 years to complete it. The aerial artwork depicts thousands of years of Hispanic and pre-Hispanic history. Depending on your cultural background, some iconography is easy to spot and place in history. If you’re Mexican, La Virgen de Guadalupe, a portrait of the beloved civil rights leader Benito Juárez and the eagle, serpent, and nopal from Mexico’s coat of arms will stand out. But walk around the room, or sit in one of the lounging chairs that allow visitors to tip back and view the work at 180 degrees, and soon you’ll realize there are hidden figures among the more popular markers of Mexican and Indigenous identity.

“I’m a mixed man with many different bloodlines,” Vigil says on a phone call. “I’m mestizo. I wanted to show the history of what that means.”

For the project, Vigil consulted with seven scholars on Mesoamerican and Spanish historical culture in order to create an accurate depiction of the past.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

He says that just by looking at the Iberian Peninsula, there’s a mix of Romans, Celts, Muslims, and Phoenicians which is all tied into Spanish identity. Then, with the Americas, there’s Maya, Aztec and Toltec. The history of these lines iS not linear. They overlap, intertwine and blend together in a dizzying ride that Vigil worked to bring to life in Mundos de Mestizaje. 

The purpose is to show the viewer how interconnected and far-reaching culture is. Islamic philosopher Ibn Rushd is depicted sitting next to Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, a Medieval Torah scholar, and physician. Chacmool, the pre-Columbian sculpture found throughout Mesoamerica shares space with George Washington and an African slave. 

“There are no purebloods, we are all mixed—or perhaps the only people who can say they are of pure blood are the Amazons or indigenous tribes that have lived in isolation,” Vigil says. “When people begin to study the past, they realize we, as a society, are not genetically one thing.”

Vigil learned the art of fresco painting from Lucienne Bloch and Stephen Pope Dimitroff. The couple might not be household names outside of the art community, but their bosses were. Bloch and Dimitroff were assistants to the world-renowned Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. 

Vigil connected with the couple thanks to the Santa Fe Council for The Arts.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

The organization reached out to Vigil to gauge his interest in a scholarship learning from the pair. Now in their 70s, the two aging artists were making strides to ensure their knowledge was passed down to a new generation of creators. Art lessons were accompanied by tales of the past that included Kahlo, Rivera, and friends such as Leon Trotsky. There, he learned the complicated and time-consuming process of fresco painting.

A surface is rough plastered with a mix of lime, sand, and cement. On average, a layer takes 10-12 hours to dry. A painter can go to work an hour into the drying process and usually has between seven to nine hours of time to complete their design. The art then needs 7-10 days between coats. If the painter messes up, they have to scrape off the layers and begin again.

“I’m a procrastinator but when the wall is wet, you have to paint,” says Vigil. “Each painting is a new experience. It doesn’t get old.”

Vigil is currently working on a new 2,500-plus square foot monumental fresco at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Credit: Courtesy of Ximena N. Larkin

His new work tells the tale of New Mexico’s history as the oldest state in the U.S. to produce wine. He says the piece could take four to six years to complete. He’s currently in his second year.

The hours for the Torreón (where the fresco is housed) are Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5 p.m., plus it is open by appointment, which can be scheduled with Juanita Ramírez at Juanita.ramirez@state.nm.us or 505-383-4774. The NHCC presents concerts in the Torreón in partnership with the Pimentel & Sons Guitar Makers. The Torreón is available for rentals under certain circumstances and with some restrictions. 

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