Entertainment

The ‘On My Block’ Cast Acts Like A Family When They Are Off The Set And It’s Amazing

We all know Netflix has been crushing it with messages of racial injustice, minority perspectives, and casting more diverse actors. The streaming platform has a long line of diverse characters with shows like Dear White People, She’s Gotta Have It, and a slew of Spanish Language Netflix Originals. On My Block (OMB) is one of the shows that Netflix users have not been able to get enough of.

It tells the story of the tightest group of friends coming up into high school on the East Side of Los Angeles and touches on topics of gang violence, gender expectations, and how family ties can make or break you if you let them. More importantly, the cast is non-white and gives us a strong Afro-Latina lead.

On My Block is the most-binged show on Netflix of 2018.

CREDIT: @onmyblocktv / Instagram

According to their own data, it tops the list of Original shows with the highest watch time per sitting. That means when people sit down to watch OMB, they can’t stop for a lot longer than other shows. It was followed up with Season 2 of Making a Murderer and 13 Reasons Why.

Diego Tinoco is probably the biggest break out star of the whole show.

CREDIT: @diegotinoco / Instagram

While others have had other gigs before, playing Cesar Diaz, the little bro of a major gang leader, is Tinoco’s first starring role. Though you might recognize him from one episode of Teen Wolf.

Tinoco would have wanted to be a writer if he wasn’t an actor.

CREDIT: @diegotinoco / Instagram

He says he’s a lot like his character, Cesar, in that they’re both hopeless romantics and in love with the idea of love. Though he would not have wanted to become an architect.

He set off to chase his dream right after high school.

CREDIT: @diegotinoco / Instagram

In an emotional post, Tinoco revealed a bit about his past:

“Risked everything, for the chance of nothing. Left my life back home to try and start a new one someplace else. Straight out of high school, with nothing but a dream and a passion for it. I’ve lost a lot of great people, but have also met a whole ton of incredible souls. I feel so incredibly blessed, & this feeling is still so surreal and bewildering. Honored and proud to have accomplished all this my first year out in LA. Only want to continue to strive and grow as an artist, and contribute good things as a human being. Love this cast with all my heart.”

Sierra Capri dreamed of working in forensics before she took a stab at Hollywood.

CREDIT: @sierracapri / Instagram

It wasn’t until her junior year at Armstrong State University that she decided to audition for some gigs. She has zero acting lessons under her belt and is just pure raw talent.

Capri is a mega activist for immigrants.

CREDIT: @sierracapri / Instagram

She volunteers with the Refugee Assistance Project and CHLA. In the show, her character Monsé is a headstrong young woman who has been fighting to keep her relationship with Cesar a secret to maintain the ‘family’ and her image.

Capri can take a nap anywhere.

CREDIT: @onmyblocktv / Instagram

In an interview with Celebrity Haute Spot, Tinoco shares a behind-the-scenes secret. “Hmm. Sierra Capri can take a nap anywhere at any time. I admire it. It’s like a superpower haha.”

Her and actor Brett Gray sing Demi Lovato songs at 4 a.m.

CREDIT: @iambrettgray / Instagram

The two seem *especially* close and while many speculated they were dating, his most recent post calls her “the most beautiful sis.” Ok. Fine then. I ship it though.

Brett Gray worked as a clerk at ACME market before being cast on OMB.

CREDIT: @iambrettgray / Instagram

We know him as Jamal, the nerd of the group obsessed with finding hidden treasure from a lost business endeavor “RollerWorld.” Actor Brett Gray had a few spots with Law and Order: Special Victims Unit before he was perfectly cast as Jamal.

Gray is obsessed with Selena.

CREDIT: @iambrettgray / Instagram

He posted this stunning photo of Selena on the anniversary of her death with this caption:

“Anyone who knows me knows this woman is my first inspiration. The person I want to be and performer I want to be has been shaped by her career and music and daring to do what others thought she couldn’t. Rest in power.

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez 👑

April 16, 1971 – March 31, 1995”

He turns 22 on January 13, 2019.

CREDIT: @iambrettgray / Instagram

Yup, the whole cast is barely drinking age, and are slaying the high school looks. Diego (Cesar) is 21 years old, Jason (Ruby) is 22 years old, and Ronni Hawk is just 19 years old.

Gray just dropped a single.

CREDIT: @iambrettgray / Instagram

Caption: “Wow wow wow wow wow…. So much love. I’m so grateful.

This EP was my first musical endeavor and there were so many ups and downs. Between me pushing myself too hard, not pushing enough, being insecure, or feeling unworthy of new things. This year was one of tremendous gain, some loss, some love, some love misplaced, heartache, and back to strength again. All themes of this project. A sonic remembrance of an easier time in life. It’s yours now. ”

Jason Genao is Dominican-American and from Jersey.

CREDIT: @ronnihawk / Instagram

Genao plays Ruby, the most ambitious and persuasive member of their friend family, and Genao has a lot in common with his character. He’s always known he wanted to be an actor and has had the most experience out of anyone in the core cast. He has been cast in star roles in Netflix Original series The Get Down and in the superhero drama show Logan.

Genao is an activist támbien, the latest face of the NOH8 campaign for LGBTQ rights.

CREDIT: @jason.genao / Instagram

He says that if he didn’t become an actor, he would have wanted to be a chef or a medical examiner. Regardless, he would stand up for equality. We’re glad he has this platform to do that.

Jasmine just got bumped to the main cast.

CREDIT: @jess_m_garcia / Instagram

Let’s be honest. While Jessica Marie Garcia’s character is in the peripheral for most of Season 1, she brings us the most jajas. We’re so happy we can expect to see a lot more of her.

The actress may play kind of a slob on OMB but she’s a total Queen IRL.

CREDIT: @jess_m_garcia / Instagram

Also, you can probably tell that she just got married. But not to the cast. To another very tall man.

You might recognize her from How to Get Away With Murder.

CREDIT: @jess_m_garcia / Instagram

In the show, she plays Rhonda Navarro, a member of Annalise Keating’s Legal clinic and has been in four episodes so far. Check her out being serious and all.

Ronni Hawk started out as a ballerina.

CREDIT: @ronnihawk / Instagram

Hailing from Boca Raton, Florida, she trained at the Boca Ballet Theatre until she started modeling in commercial and print campaigns at the age of 12. You might recognize her as Rachel Diaz from Stuck in the Middle, or from one of her many national commercials with Bank of America, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Target, and Kohls.

The show won the Teen Choice Award for Breakout TV Show.

CREDIT: @jason.genao / Instagram

There’s no wonder why. The show has incredible actors that bring to life the real stories of what it’s like to grow up brown and black in America.

You better believe it’s renewed for a second season.

CREDIT: @jason.genao / Instagram

It was never really a question, with reviews like Matt Seitz from New York Magazine:

“One of the many remarkable things about this series is how it folds crime and the awareness of potential violence into everyday life, which is something white sitcoms never do unless it’s a Very Special Episode.”


READ: These 11 Moments From ‘On My Block’ Are Some Of The Realest Latino Moments Captured On Film

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In Efforts To Double Latino Representation In Hollywood, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Unveils New Historic Initiative

Entertainment

In Efforts To Double Latino Representation In Hollywood, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Unveils New Historic Initiative

beatrizacevedogreiff Verified

On the same day that many pointed criticism towards the Oscar nominations for lack of diversity, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a new initiative to help curb the issue, particularly for Latinos. The project is being called LA Collab, a historic endeavour that plans to link Latino talent to opportunities in the entertainment industry with the goal of doubling “Latino representation in Hollywood by 2030.”

According to the LA Times, the initiative has already “raised a quarter of a million dollars to finance a range of film, TV and podcast development deals and projects intended to provide opportunities for Latino filmmakers, writers and actors and crew members.” The initial funding for the project is coming from the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, the Annenberg Foundation, WarnerMedia and Endeavor Content, a press release from Garcetti’s office read. 

Garcetti co-founded the initiative with Beatriz Acevedo, the founder of mitú and president of the Acevedo Foundation and Ivette Rodriguez, founder of communications firm AEM. The trio says that the issue of Latino representation in Hollywood is one that needs attention. The announcement is spurred by a 2019 study by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California that showed how Latinos are vastly underrepresented in the film industry. 

Despite making up almost 20 percent of the U.S. population, the study found only 3 percent of the top-grossing films from 2007 to 2018 had Latino actors in lead or co-lead roles. LA Collab wants to help and push more Latinos to the front and behind the camera in the next decade. 

The study was a wakeup call for many civic and film leaders in Hollywood that were dismayed by the numbers that showed the growing disparity for Latinos in the entertainment industry. The report showed that only 4.5 percent of all speaking characters from the last 12 years of film were Latino, behind the camera, only 4 percent of directors of the 1,200 films were Latino.

“Latinos are a powerful force in Los Angeles’s culture and economy, and our trademark industry should tap into the diverse pool of talent in our own backyard,” Garcetti said at a news conference Monday. “On big screens or small, in front of the camera or behind it, our studios, actors, directors and producers inspire the world with the power of their creativity and imagination, and LA Collab will elevate new voices and empower the next generation of Latinx creatives.”

The lack of Latino representation in the entertainment industry is a problem that goes back many years with some putting blame on movie studios not greenlighting certain projects and films. Thomas Saenz, chair of the National Latino Media Council, told mitú back in 2018 that the problem is these studios overlooking Latino talent.

“When studios focus on diversity that can mean any minority group. Latinos in particular have been represented in minuscule numbers that don’t properly show what this country is made up of,” Saenz said. “In the last 10-15 years, African-American representation has gone up same for Asian-American. But I can’t say the same for Latinos. That has to change.”

The LA Collab initiative hopes to be a catalyst for that change. The project already has the support of some big Hollywood names that will be part of connecting workers with various employers in the industry.

Backed by Eva Longoria, J.J. Abrams, Eli Roth, Devon Franklin, Jason Blum, and Zoe Saldana, LA Collab will be working with all of them in some capacity to connect Latinos with opportunities. Roth will help connect Latino horror filmmakers via his digital platform, Crypt TV and Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films with Pantaya will also be hiring new bilingual voices for their projects. There have also been secured deals with multiple media companies, including Endeavor Content, WarnerMedia’s 150, Shine Global and Southern California Public Radio’s LAist Studios.

For Longoria, who has long championed the need for more Latino representation in the film industry, says that she will also be opening the door for more Latinos with her production company, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment. 

“As a Latina, I want to see more actors who look like me on screen and behind the camera,” Longoria said in a statement. “I started my own production company to create content from our community, and I became a director/producer to be in a position to hire people who look like me. With LA Collab, I want to open the door for many more Latinx creators and fuel the emergence of a better entertainment industry that elevates and celebrates the diversity and richness of my culture.”

The announcement of LA Collab coincidentally fell on the day that Oscar nominations were announced. Criticism followed the nominations that had only one person of color, Cynthia Erivo, up for an award in the four major acting categories.

There was calls for multiple snubs on Monday morning as the Oscar nominations were revealed. Much of that criticism came from the lack of women of color, particularly the snub of  Jennifer Lopez for her role in “Hustlers,” for which she won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. The omission stood out for many reasons including what could have been the fifth Latina nominee in the category and the first Latina winner in the award’s history. 

This announcement of LA Collab comes at a time when the disparity in Latino roles and representation is the entertainment industry only seems to be going backwards. This year’s Oscars nominations is just one example of this continuing problem and one that Acevedo says can be fixed by working alongside studios and fellow allies. 

“The radical decline of Latinos in Hollywood was the catalyst to rally Hollywood behind this crisis to create change together,” Acevedo said in a statement. “By facilitating unprecedented collaborations between the creative community … and other influential allies, LA Collab will ultimately drive exponential growth for the industry and our community.”

READ: Latinos Are Still Waiting For Their Own Movie Moment As Hollywood Tries Casting More Diverse Films

This Latina Disney Star Is All Grown Up And Plays A Major Role In ‘You’—Can You Guess Where Else You Might’ve Spotted Her?

Entertainment

This Latina Disney Star Is All Grown Up And Plays A Major Role In ‘You’—Can You Guess Where Else You Might’ve Spotted Her?

Netflix

The second season of you came out just a few weeks ago, and people can’t get enough of the creepy psychological drama. The new season features a mostly new cast, as the homicidal leading man Joe moves to Los Angeles for a fresh start to unleash his cycle of obsession and murder on a new group of people. One of the new main characters is Ellie, played by former Disney star Jenna Ortega —and although the teenager is only 17 years of age, she’s landed some major roles.

In the new series, Joe (played by Penn Badgley) tries to turn his life around by moving to Los Angeles.

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joe’s got new rules, he counts them

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There, he becomes close to the Quinn family and the Alves family —and things take a dark turn for Joe’s neighbors Delilah and Ellie Alvez —who is played by Jenna.

Ortega is Ellie, a teenager who grew up fast in the big city.

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Handbook to Being Dope in a Sea of Basic Losers

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Ellie likes to act and appear older than her years. Secretly living with minimal supervision or nurturing in her life, she must take care of herself and isn’t afraid to get into murky waters to make a little cash. This includes working cons on the adults around her, including Joe Goldberg.

Joe and Ellie’s older sister Delilah become friends and Joe starts to feel very protective over Ellie.  

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A reminder to protect @jennaortega at all costs

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When things take a turn for the worst, Joe looks after Ellie, who’s left orphaned with Child Protection Services close behind her. Seeing his younger self in Ellie, Joe helps her escape and promises to protect her.

This Latina rising star has been working since a young age. 

Although Jenna Ortega is only 17, she’s been acting since she was 9, with plenty of guest spots on TV and, eventually, some major roles. Maybe you recognize her as the young Jane from Jane the Virgin, or you might recognize her voice from one of Disney’s most popular current animated shows. Keep reading to see all of Ortega’s major roles to date.

Jane the Virgin

Jenna Ortega’s breakout role was her five-season recurring role as the young version of Jane Villanueva on CW’s beloved comedy Jane the Virgin. She played Jane in flashbacks throughout all five seasons of the show.

Richie Rich

You isn’t Jenna Ortega’s first major role on a Netflix show. Back in 2015, she was one of the main characters on the reboot of Richie Rich, playing Richie’s luxury-loving best friend Darcy. The show wasn’t successful and ended after just one season.

Stuck in the Middle

Jenna Ortega landed her first full-fledged leading role on the Disney Channel sitcom Stuck in the Middle, where she played Harley Diaz, the middle child of seven siblings. The show ran from 2016 to 2018, earning Ortega three Imagen Award nominations, one of which she won.

Elena of Avalor

Beginning in 2016 and continuing to the present day, Jenna Ortega has voiced the character of Princess Isabel on the Disney animated series Elena of Avalor. She plays the clever younger sister of the teenage princess Elena, Disney’s first Latina princesses.

Saving Flora

The little-seen drama Saving Flora features Jenna Ortega as the teenage daughter of a circus owner who rescues an aging elephant from being euthanized. The two run away into the forest, where they encounter dangers on their way to an elephant preserve.

‘You’ is just the latest major role for Ortega, and there are more on the horizon

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Our little Yes Day familia💛

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She’s signed on for another go-round with Netflix, this time in the upcoming horror comedy The Babysitter 2. After that, she’s set to appear in the family comedy Yes Day, co-starring with Jennifer Garner and Édgar Ramírez.