Entertainment

Who Is Mari Pepin? Everything You Need to Know About the Puerto Rican Beauty Queen and ‘The Bachelor’ Frontrunner

As you probably know by now, a new season of the never-ending reality series “The Bachelor” has just started.

And this season is destined to be especially exciting–not just because of the promise of non-stop drama, but because the franchise has finally hired its first Black male lead, Matt James, after 18 years on the air.

And with the first Black “Bachelor” comes the most diverse group of contestants competing for the lead’s heart that they’ve ever had.

And one of the contestants that is capturing the hearts of both fans and Matt James alike is 24-year-old Puerto Rican-born pageant queen Mariela “Mari” Pepin.

On this season’s premiere episode of “The Bachelor”, Mari was immediately clocked by viewers as one of the front runners by the way that Matt reacted to meeting her. The former Wake Forest wide receiver was struck speechless by her beauty and couldn’t keep his eyes off her when she parted ways with him. It was obvious that Mari had made quite the first impression on him.

And because we love to see #representation on screen (and especially on reality TV), we decided to do our due diligence and find out as much as we could about this gorgeous and accomplished Latina. Here’s everything you need to know about Mari Pepin.

She’s Boricua–and proud of it!

Something that immediately endeared Mari to fans was the fact that she is so vocally proud of being Puerto Rican. In her first sit-down conversation with Matt, she opened up about how hard its been for her family to live through the relentless natural disasters that the island is going through.

She’s a military brat.

According to Mari’s personal blog, she spent the first few years of her life in PR before relocating to Germany because of her father’s military career. According to Mari, her unique childhood contributed to her love of traveling as an adult.

She was 2019’s Miss Maryland USA.

According to Mari’s official “Bachelor” bio, she began competing in pageants when she moved to Maryland as a teenager. She won Miss Teen Maryland and then went on to win the title of Miss Maryland. After that, she placed in the Top 10 of the Miss USA competition.

She’s wicked smart.

According to Mari’s LinkedIn page, she has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Towson University and she’s currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Marketing Intelligence from the same institution. It’s safe to say she values education.

She’s multilingual.

Not only does Mari speak both Spanish and English flawlessly, but she’s also fluent in French and American Sign Language.

Based on all this info alone, we can’t wait to see Mari Pepin crush this season of “The Bachelor”. Hopefully, this Boricua beauty will be popping up a lot on our screens for years to come!

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Bad Bunny Talks Depression And Says Sometimes He Still Feels Like The Boy Who Bagged Groceries Back Home

Entertainment

Bad Bunny Talks Depression And Says Sometimes He Still Feels Like The Boy Who Bagged Groceries Back Home

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Bad Bunny is on top of the world. Or, at least, that’s how it appears to all of us on the outside enjoying his record-breaking year. Not only did he release three albums in 2020 but he also landed his debut acting role in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico and from his Instagram stories, he seems to be in a happy, contentful relationship.

But like so many others, Bad Bunny has his experience with mental health issues, of which he recently opened up about in an interview with El País.

Bad Bunny recently spoke up about his struggle with depression.

Despite his immense success that’s catapulted him to, arguably, the world’s biggest superstar, Bad Bunny admits that sometimes he still feels like the young man who bagged groceries in a supermarket.

The reggaetonero revealed in an interview with El País that right as his career really started to take off, he was not happy. “You asked me before how I hadn’t gone crazy. Well, I think that was the moment that was going to determine if I was going to go crazy or not. From 2016 to 2018 I disappeared, I was stuck in a capsule, without knowing anything. The world saw me, but I was missing,” he said.

Although no doctor diagnosed him, he is sure of what was happening. it only did he feel lost and empty but he had stopped doing many of the things that brought him joy, like watching movies and boxing. Without realizing it, he had also fallen out of contact with much of his family, with whom he was typically very close.

“And that’s when I said: who am I? What’s going on?” he told El País. When he returned home to Puerto Rico from spending time in Argentina, he was able to get back into the right state of mind and remember who he was.

Despite his success, Bad Bunny still worries he’s in financial trouble.

Although today, he is the number one Latin artist on Spotify and the awards for his music keep coming, there are times when Bad Bunny still thinks that he has financial problems.

“Not long ago, I was 100% clear in my head what I have achieved, maybe a year or six months ago; but until then, many times I forgot, I felt that I was the kid from the supermarket. He would happen something and say: “Hell!” And then: “Ah, no, wait, if I have here,” he said, touching his pocket.

Much like Bad Bunny, J Balvin has also been candid about his own mental health struggles.

Bad Bunny is just the most recent to speak to the emotional havoc he experiences despite being a global superstar. And, thankfully, like many other celebrities, he’s been able to find refuge in a reality that allows him to keep his feet on the ground so that he too can enjoy the achievements of his career.

Much like El Conejo, J Balvin is known for the brightness of his style and mentality. But he’s long addressed the importance of caring for one’s mental health. During his Arcoíris Tour, he encouraged people to not be ashamed of seeking professional help, and let the audience know they are not alone.   

“Las enfermedades de salud mental son una realidad. Yo he sufrido de depresión y he sufrido de ansiedad, así que tengo que aceptarlo. Y eso me hace más humano, me hace entender que la vida tiene pruebas,” Balvin said. “Pero si alguien está pasando una situación difícil, no están solos, siempre llega la luz. Tarde o temprano llega la luz.”  

“Mental health illnesses are a reality. I have suffered from depression and anxiety, so I have to accept it. And this makes me more human. It makes me understand that life has challenges,” Balvin said in Spanish. “But if someone is going through a difficult time, they are not alone, light always comes. Sooner or later, the light comes.”  

We need more men like Benito and J Balvin to speak up about their mental health struggles, to help destroy the stigma that exists within our community.

And in the same interview, he also spoke about why he works to elevate the Spanish language.

As for the possibility of singing in English, the answer remains the same: a resounding no.

“You have to break this view that the gringos are Gods…No, papi,” he told El País. And, although he’s collaborated with artists like Drake, Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez, he has always sang in Spanish and with his famous accent.

“I am very proud to reach the level where we are speaking in Spanish, and not only in Spanish, but in the Spanish that we speak in Puerto Rico. Without changing the accent,” he said.

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Puerto Ricans Bring The Receipts As They List Priorities For The Island Under A Biden Presidency

Things That Matter

Puerto Ricans Bring The Receipts As They List Priorities For The Island Under A Biden Presidency

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

For years, the island of Puerto Rico has been neglected or outright ignored by the federal government. Following a series of natural disasters (earthquakes and hurricanes), Puerto Rico struggled to get the attention and resources it so desperately needed from federal officials on the mainland.

Now, with a new president set to take office in January, progressive leaders from the island are working hard to make sure they have President-Elect Joe Biden’s attention.

Progressive leaders sent a letter to Joe Biden detailing their priorities for Puerto Rico.

More than thirty progressive organizations have signed a letter calling for the Biden-Harris administration to establish clear priorities for Puerto Rico. Officials on the island are hopeful that after decades of neglect, the island has a real chance at achieving genuine change under a Democratic president and, hopefully, a Democratic-controlled Congress.

The letter sent to President-Elect Biden includes several policy initiatives for the island – including a full repeal of PROMESA and debt cancellation, the promotion of a just recovery for Puerto Rico, and immediately initiating a process of decolonization and self-determination.

The letter asks the Biden administration to support the U.S. Territorial Relief Act of 2019, which provide much-needed debt relief for the island, while also ensuring a proper audit of the causes and sources of Puerto Rico’s debt.

In ensuring a just recovery for the island, the letters asks that all emergency relief bunds (from HUD and FEMA) be immediately released so that infrastructure, agricultural, educational, and economic projects get the critical assistance they need to help rebuild the island.

And, perhaps most importantly, the letter requests that the Biden-Harris government support the AOC-sponsored Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2020. The bill recognizes Puerto Rico’s legal right to establish its own constitutional convention to determine the island’s future relationship with the United States.

The letter was released the same day that other progressive organizations headed to Delaware to get the president-elect’s attention.

Although the community was successful at electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the offices of president and vice-president respectively, there remains so much work to be done.

We must hold the future administration accountable to promises made during the campaign and that work starts now. Many progressive organizations are already on the ground in Delaware (Joe Biden’s home state) working to ensure that he works to protect immigrant communities, Black lives, worker’s rights, and the rule of law.

Puerto Rico has long suffered under mismanagement and neglect.

From Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017, which absolutely devastated large swathes of the island, to the ensuring political crisis and recurring earthquakes of 2019 and 2020, Puerto Rico has suffered for years.

Even within the island’s own elected government, a crisis of mismanagement has plagued Puerto Rico. Following the initial recovery, scandal after scandal was uncovered which forced the island to go through a series of governors after each was forced to resign. Puerto Ricans took to the streets in record numbers, demanding change from their elected officials and help from the mainland.

Despite pleas from Puerto Ricans across the country, the federal government has been slow to help the island. Federal dollars have often been tied to painful austerity measures that would only further hurt the island’s economy and community.

Now is the time for real change. And Puerto Ricans – both on the mainland and the island – are hoping that a Biden-Harris administration will finally be able to deliver the much-needed relief the community so desperately needs

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