Entertainment

Meet Rachel Zegler, The Teen Latina Who Just Scored The Lead In Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Remake

More than 30,000 women auditioned for the role of Maria in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of “West Side Story.” The casting directors held auditions in Puerto Rico, just to be sure they looked at everyone that would be perfect for this coveted part. Rachel Zegler, a 17-year-old New Jersey high school student, was one of those who auditioned and she nailed it. While her name might not be familiar, the teenager has a long history of performing on stage, just not the professional one.

“When I played Maria on stage a few summers ago, I never could have imagined that I’d be taking on the role again in Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story,'” Zegler wrote on Instagram. “I send a huge thank you to everyone who helped make this incredible dream a reality — I never could’ve done it alone. I am so honored to join the legendary Rita Moreno, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, and Josh Andrés Rivera. As a Colombian-American woman growing up in this day and age, strong roles like Maria are so important. To be able to bring that role to life— a role that means so much to the Hispanic community— is so humbling. I hope you’re all as excited as I am.”

So who is this talented beauty? Here’s how Zegler got the role of a lifetime, and some pivotal moments that lead up to it. 

The 17-year-old high school senior from New Jersey went viral last month after she posted a video of herself singing “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born.”

Twitter/@rachelzegler

This isn’t how she won the role of Maria, but it certainly didn’t hurt because everyone heard her incredible voice. Film producers, including the director, saw her audition which included two songs from “West Side Story,” “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa” (“I Feel Pretty”).

She is humbled and thrilled to play the part of Maria because it represents so much.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

“I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this amazing cast,” Zegler told The Hollywood Reporter. “‘West Side Story’ was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.”

The big casting announcement also included the names of three other Latinos tapped for lead roles.

Instagram/@bwayblurbs

Ariana DeBose will play Anita, David Alvarez will be Bernardo, and Josh Andrés Rivera will be Chino.

We’re really excited to see the chemistry between her and leading actor Ansel Elgort, who will play Tony.

Instagram/@baldepipoca

You may remember Elgort from his films “Baby Driver,” “Divergent,” and “The Fault in Our Stars.”

She has played countless roles at her school including Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.”

Instagram/@rachelzegler

Zegler said playing Ariel was a blessing and she looks absolutely adorable in the role.

She’s also portrayed the lead in “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Instagram/@rachelzegler

She’s a true professional, even though she’s still in high school. There is no denying that Zegler is meant to be on stage and in front of the camera. She can sing, dance, and act.

She is a theater junky who can’t get enough of Broadway.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

Her social media is filled with singing videos, and portraits like this one above, in which she goes on and on about her life as a performer. She captioned this picture with: “what to expect if you go on vacation with a theatre person.”

Do you think she has what it takes to portray the new Maria?

Instagram/@scorpiolgy

While Natalie Wood did a good job in the role, people are over the moon that there will be a Latina playing the role of Maria. Spielberg made it clear that when they were casting they wanted to make sure to include Latino talent in the Latino roles for authenticity.

Her family is supportive of her ambitions.

Instagram/@jacinblack

In a recent post, Zegler thanked her mom for all of her support. “These past few months have been absolutely insane and there’s no one I’d rather have by my side through it all,” she posted. “I love you most, mom. always.”

Her sister is a singer too.

Some of her favorite actors and singers are praising Zegler’s casting and her voice.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

Within 24 hours of the news that Zegler was cast as Maria, a ton of Broadway celebs reached out to her congratulating her over the casting. She was clearly ecstatic. Talk about a life-changing moment.

Zegler’s acting abilities are also versatile.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

Here she is giving us her best Robert Downey Jr. Pretty solid reproduction of the actor’s facial hair.

Her social media is filled with videos of herself singing on camera.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

She sings in the bathroom, empty theaters, her room, just about anywhere. No matter where she is singing, one thing is clear, the girl has talent. No wonder she was cast to play Maria.

But if you’re curious about her incredible voice, just visit her YouTube page.

Youtube

It’s insanely good! She sings just about every song you can think of. Her covers give the songs new life and her voice is truly worthy of adding to one of the most iconic musicals of all time.

Her favorite though has to be Freddie Mercury.

Twitter

Her YouTube page features so amazing renditions of Queen songs from “Bohemian Rhapsody” to “Don’t Stop Me Now.” They are all worth a listen if you have the time.

See…everything she does is for Freddie.

Instagram/@zeglertweets

Yes, she plays the piano too. And the ukulele. Who knows where her career in entertainment will take her. Her talent seems endless right now and that is just part of that Latina excellence.

She also loves Disney-everything.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

Disney World is one of her favorite places on the planet. Then again, who doesn’t love to visit a Disney park and spend the day eating great food and riding every ride you can.

Zegler isn’t just good at singing and acting. She definitely will be modeling in no time.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

She’s so photogenic…simply gorgeous. Designers are probably already waiting for the chance to dress her.

She’s also already a huge influencer.

Instagram/@dresslikebway

Less than 24 hours since news broke that she would be playing Maria, people have been flocking to her social media, and her fashion sense is already popular.

Of course, people have already started creating fan pages for the new entertainer.

Instagram

People move fast. That’s the magic of the internet, right?

Zegler has been training for this moment since she was a little girl!

Instagram/@rachelzegler

She was literally born to be a star. “West Side Story” is set to begin filming this summer. We couldn’t be happier for Zegler. It is stories like this that keep smiles on people’s faces as they navigate this world. Good luck, chica! You’re going to be great. In the meantime, follow her on social and get to know her before she really blows up.


READ: One Rumor On Twitter Has The Internet Debating If Camila Cabello Can Act Well Enough To Be In ‘West Side Story’

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Jennifer Lopez Just Announced That She’s Pumped The Brakes On Her Wedding To Alex Rodriguez

Entertainment

Jennifer Lopez Just Announced That She’s Pumped The Brakes On Her Wedding To Alex Rodriguez

Insider / Instagram

Just when we thought Coronavirus couldn’t make things worse.

On a recent at-home edition of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jennifer Lopez announced that she has had to put a pause on her wedding thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to Ellen, Lopez explained how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her during this time.

“It did affect it a little bit,” Lopez told Ellen in an interview in which the TV host asked about her wedding plans. “So, we’ll see what happens now … I really don’t know what’s gonna happen now as far as dates or anything like that. We are just kind of in a holding pattern like the rest of the world. So, again, it’s just something we have to wait and see in a few months how this all pans out.”

Of course, leave it to DeGeneres to push for romance. The talk show host recommended that Lopez and Rodriguez try to do a “TikTok wedding” consider how popular their recent videos on the platform have been so far.

“It’s something to think about,” Lopez laughed. “I can’t make any commitments right now.” 

The Latina queen and retired baseball superstar became engaged in March 2019.

For the two years that they’ve been dating, J-Lo and A-Rod have shared their lives with the public through their social media accounts, giving us a glimpse into the loving relationship that Lopez has called her “first ever good relationship”. Their Instagram profiles are sprinkled with pictures of them jet-setting, attending premieres and galas, and taking mixed-family vacations in exotic locales together. In other words, they’re very publicly living their best lives together.

However, a wrench was thrown into their happily-ever-after Sunday night when former MLB player Jose Canseco publicly accused A-Rod of cheating on Jennifer Lopez with his ex-wife, Jessica Canseco. In light of all this drama, we’ve compiled the definitive timeline of Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez’s relationship, all the way from friends to fíances. Take a look!

May 2005

@n12jamiestuart/Twitter

Before the Puerto-Rican triple threat and the Dominican All-Star were Hollywood’s reigning It Couple, they were mere acquaintances. The pair first met in 2005 at a Yankees vs. Mets Baseball game. At the time, Rodriguez was married to his first wife, Cynthia Scurtis, while Lopez was still married to Marc Anthony.

February 2017

@1FREEGRL/Twitter

Lopez and Rodriguez reconnected twelve years later when they ran into each other at a restaurant. According to Lopez, they briefly said hello, but it was her who couldn’t resist continuing the conversations. “After [lunch] I went outside,” she said. “And for some reason I felt like tapping him on the shoulder”. He then asked her out to dinner via text.

March 2017

@jlo / Instagram

By March 2017, neither J-Lo nor A-Rod were trying to hide the fact that they were dating. During the month, they were spotted vacationing together in The Bahamas. ARod’s sister also posted a selfie of herself with JLo, captioning it #miscuñis, which means things were moving along pretty nicely.

March 31st, 2017

@jlo / Instagram

When co-hosting “The View” at the end of March, Rodriguez had only great things to say about his new lady love: “She’s an amazing girl. We’re having a great time”. He also went on to say that J-Lo was “one of the smartest human beings I’ve ever met”. And he didn’t stop there! He showered on the compliments by calling her “an incredible mother” who “loves family”.

April 2017

@nicole_hurley/Instagram

By April, it was J-Lo’s turn to gush about her boo-thing on the talk-show circuit. While being grilled about her new boyfriend by Ellen (naturally), Lopez called Rodriguez “a great guy,” this 100% confirming their relationship.

May 2017

@2015smetgala/Twitter

Never one to do things half-heartedly, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez made their public debut as a couple at arguably the most prestigious event in the world: the Met Gala, of course. This occasion also marked J-Lo’s debut on A-Rod’s Instagram–and the first of many.

June 2017

@arod / Instagram

By June 2017, it was obvious to the world that this couple was the real deal. Not only was Rodriguez gushing to the press that Jennifer was the ideal role model for his daughters, the pair was also taking glamorous European trips together and posting their adventures to their millions of followers on Instagram.

September 2017

@nicole_hurley/Instagram

We all know that one of the most crucial steps of a relationship is when your signficant other accompanies you to a work event. Lopez and Rodriguez crossed this milestone when A-Rod accompanied her to the premiere of “World of Dance”–a show she stars in and produces. It’s for reasons like this that A-Rod calls her “one of the most brilliant business minds that [he’s] ever met”!

November 2017

@nicole_hurley/Instagram

J-Lo and A-Rod took their relationship a step further when they spent Thanksgiving together in Rodriguez’s home. On Instagram, they shared with their followers that this was one of the many times they combined families for the holiday–further proof that they were very confident with where their relationship was.

December 2017

@arod/Instagram

Along with the power couple’s magazine cover debut on the December issue of “Vanity Fair”, the duo also debuted their new (and catchy) portmanteau: J-Rod (we’re pretty sure they had it trademarked before they went public).

January 2018

@arod/Instagram

Lopez and Rodriguez showed their Latinx pride by visiting Puerto Rico in January after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

February 2018

@harpersbazaarus/Instagram

In the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar, JLo got candid about her relationship with A-Rod and addressed the possibility of a wedding on the horizon. “I do believe in marriage,” she said. “And I would love to grow old with somebody in a committed relationship. But I’m not forcing anything right now. It’s good, it’s healthy; we communicate well…We have a similar makeup.” All signs point to yes!

May 7, 2018

@Balmain/Twitter

JLo and A-Rod attended their second Met Gala as a couple in matching couture Balmain outfits, cementing their status as style icons.

July 2018

@arod/Instagram

Lopez and Rodriguez spent her 49th birthday in one of their go-to vacation spots: The Bahamas. A-Rod took to Instagram to share a cute pic of their blended family on vacation along with a heartfelt tribute to his lady love. ” For someone who has been about giving everything she has 365 days a year—to our children, our families, the world,” he said. “I hope today, we can give you all the happiness you deserve. I love you mucho”.

August 2018

@KissChattanooga/Twitter

A-Rod’s reaction to JLo’s epic VMA’s performance last August became a viral sensation, as his pride over his girlfriend’s triple-threat skills were all too apparent. Twitter was full of women wanting a man who looks at them like ARod looks at JLo.

October 2018

@jrod_rodriguez13/Instagram

A-Rod continued to support his girlfriend by attending events that were obviously important to her. In October, Rodriguez accompanied Lopez to Elle’s famous “Women in Hollywood” event. That night, he posted a supportive message to JLo on his Instagram: “With two young daughters and a woman I admire by my side, I know how important it is that we raise women up and teach our girls that there is no limit to what they can do.”

December 2018

@arod/Instagram

According to their Instagram accounts, J-Rod spent New Years eve in Malibu, again with their blended family. Rodriguez’s caption read: “As the sun sets on 2018, from our family to yours … #HappyNewYear everyone!”.

February 2019

@arod/Instagram

Lopez took her athlete-beau to the ultimate glamour event: The Oscars. The two shined in evening wear and Rodriguez was solidly by her side while she strutted the red carpet and presented awards.

March 2019

@arod/Instagram

On March 9th, J-Rod announced that they were engaged with mutual Instagram posts sharing the news. The Instagram posts showed off the 15-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring, which is reported to be worth up to a cool $5 million.

March 10th, 2019

@JoseCanseco / Twitter

On Sunday night, former Major League Baseball player Jose Canseco accused A-Rod of cheating on J.Lo with his ex-wife, Jennifer Canseco. Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s important to realize that Canseco has a history of making some pretty out-there statements (i.e. asking his Twitter followers to “spend the day with me and my alien Buddies”and insisting that he’s acquainted with “Bigfoot and a real alien”). In other words: there’s reason to doubt his word.

As of now, both JLo and ARod have remained silent in response to these explosive allegations, so there’s no way of knowing the veracity of the claims. Until then, all we can do is speculate and hope for the best!

‘Modern Family’ Says Goodbye In A Time That We Kind Of Need It The Most

Entertainment

‘Modern Family’ Says Goodbye In A Time That We Kind Of Need It The Most

Modern Family / ABC

It’s officially goodbye and lights out for the Dunphy/ Delgado-Pritchettclan. “Modern Family,” the ABC series which had an 11-year run will air a final one-hour retrospective of episode the program’s 250-episode series.

In late February, the Dunphys said their final farewell to fans.

After 11 seasons, the beloved ABC sitcom Modern Family finally is near its conclusion. The sitcom made a star (and a multi-millionaire) out of Sofia Vergara, resulting in her frequently* being named the “highest-paid actress on television”. Not only that, but the television show earned an incredible five consecutive Emmy wins for Outstanding Comedy series, tying with the record previously set by “Frasier” in the ‘90s. Although the series will be returning tonight from the holiday break to resume its final season, it is one of the last time viewers will see the show on their TV screens.

Although ABC had announced back in February of 2019 that the upcoming 11th season would be it’s last, the premiere date of the series’ finale was heartbreak for fans.

Naturally, the “Modern Family”’s farewell episode sparked some sadness among the cast.  “I will probably miss the people the most,” Sarah Hyland, who plays the peppy and boy-crazy Haley Dunphy, told People magazine. Our crew is amazing and, of course, I love our cast, they are very special people.” According to series’ co-creator, Steve Levitan, the show’s ending had been a long time coming, with the writers plotting the finale for the past year and a half.

As for the Latinx community, what they will ostensibly miss the most is Sofia Vergara’s hilarious and affectionate portrayal of maternal Colombian bombshell, Gloria Delgado.

Although Vergara had appeared in small bits in movies and television shows, her turn as Gloria Delgado is what truly solidified her as a household name. Critics praised her performance for being “tonally perfect”, and she established herself as what The Hollywood Reporter called a “formidable comedy actress”. She was even nominated 4 times for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. As for the criticism that her character was feeding into harmful stereotypes as the “fiery Latina”, Vergara paid it no mind, saying, “I am Gloria, my mother is Gloria, my aunts are Gloria. [Gloria is] colorful, she’s honest, she’s out there, she cares about people. She’s loud, but I am loud. She’s crazy, but I am crazy.”

Vergara, for her part, is confident that Gloria’s story will end exactly how it’s supposed to. “Gloria has such a great life and such a beautiful family that I think anything that the writers have prepared for her, I’m going to be happy with,” Vergara recently told BuzzFeed. “I’m sure that it’s gonna be great, like all the seasons’ finales.”

“Modern Family” will air its series finale April 8 at 9 p.m. on ABC, after a one-hour retrospective.