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If “Never Been Kissed” Had An All Latinx Cast

Annapurna Pictures / 20th Century Fox

Who doesn’t have a soft-spot in their hearts for the quintessential Drew Barrymore ’90s rom-com “Never Been Kissed”? For those of you who don’t know, “Never Been Kissed” (which turned 20-years-old on Tuesday) is the story of Josie Geller, a young, mid-level reporter who is tasked to go undercover as a highschool student to infiltrate the school’s clique of popular kids and report on all of the scandalous things they’re getting up to. While she’s on assignment, she ends up falling head-over-heels with her English teacher (a dreamy Michael Vartan).

Sure, the storyline seems borderline inappropriate in our post-#MeToo era, but die-hard fans of the movie still celebrate it for its tender and affectionate portrayal of a nerdy, virginal bookworm who takes the phrase “unlucky in love” to another level. And although we love “Never Been Kissed”, there are unfortunately very few Latinos in the cast (although it does mark the film debut of a young Jessica Alba). So in celebration of “Never Been Kissed”‘s anniversary–and in order to bring attention to the issue of Latinx representation in the media–we’ve re-casted the original roster so it includes an all-Latinx talent pool.

1. Tessa Thompson as Josie Geller

If ever there was an actress–let alone a Latina actress–to fill Drew Barrymore’s shoes, it would undoubtedly would be powerhouse performer and “Sorry To Bother You” star Tessa Thompson.

2. Tessa Thompson has that relatable, cutesy quality that makes us want to do everything in our power to protect her.

@bisougray / Twitter

Not to mention, Thompson could convincingly play a teenager in her own right–let alone an adult–playing-an-adult-playing-a-teenager.

3. Jay Hernandez as Sam Coulson

jayhernandez001 Instagram; @xanpx Instagram

If any of you have seen Jay Hernandez in “Bad Moms”, then you know that this man can sell both sexy and responsible.

4. Jay Hernandez has a charisma that mixes intelligence with sex appeal

@jayhernandez001 Instagram

More than anything, it’s important that Sam/Mr. Coulson comes off as genuinely smart and respectful, otherwise this role could easily veer into “creepy” territory.

5. Wilmer Valderrama as Rob Geller

@wilmervalderrama Instagram; @franlouisa88 Instagram

Sure, we love Wilmer Valderrama now, but we also remember the days when he was one of Hollywood’s most notorious playboys.

6. Valderrama would be great as Josie’s lovable slacker brother who dreams of his high-school glory days.

@wilmervbrasil Instagram

Not to mention, we’d love to see Valderrama play Rodriguez’s brother.

7. Anjelah Johnson as Anita

@anjelahjohnson Instagram; @carynwelbys Twitter

Both hilarious actresses have the comedic timing to pull of the role of the sex-obsessed co-worker and best friend to Josie Geller.

8. Laz Alonso as George

@atlblackstar Twitter; screenshot via Youtube

Cuban-American actor Laz Alonso would be great as Josie’s right-hand man to her under-cover operation, George. Not to mention, he has the same levels of swag–not an easy feat!

9. John Leguizamo as Gus

erinpatricobrien Instagram; @iJohnCReilly Twitter

Like John C. Reilly, John Leguizamo is a kooky character actor that has the ability to play both serious and comedic roles.

10. Emiliano Diez as Rigfort

@joe69cool Instagram; drewseum Twitter

Originally played by the legendary director Garry Marshall, the role of newspaper owner and Josie’s boss would be a great fit for “George Lopez” actor, Emiliano Diez.

11. Diego Bonita as Guy Perkins

@diego Instagram; sweetvalleyparty Instagram

Who better to play a teen heartthrob and the unfortunate reminder of Josie’s unfortunate past than pretty-boy Diego Bonita? We already know he rocks at starring in teen-centric storylines (hello, “Pretty Little Liars”).

12. Michael Trevino as Jason

@michaeltrevino Instagram; @sweetvalleyparty Instagram

We love Mexican-American actor Michael Trevino, but if we learned anything from “The Vampire Diaries”, it’s that he’s very capable of pulling of an air-headed dumb jock, just like James Franco did so perfectly 20 years ago.

13. Victor Rasuk as Tommy

@victorrasuk Instagram; @sweetvalleyparty Instagram 3

What good is a group of popular guys without a third meat-head to round out the gang?

14. Cierra Ramirez as Aldys

@cierraramirez Instagram; @officialsdsa Instagram

Although Cierra Ramirez is all grown up now compared to her early days on “The Fosters”, we still think of her as the brilliant computer whiz, Mariana. Since we know she can convincingly play a cute nerdy girl, we think she’d be perfect to play the role of Josie’s first friend as an undercover teen: Aldys.

15. Lauren Velez as Cynthia

@lunalaurenvelez Twitter; @mikehaggs15 Twitter

Lauren Velez is exactly the type of actress to fill in Octavia Spencer’s usually un-fillable shoes as the no-nonsense coworker, Cynthia.

16. Naya Rivera as Kirsten

@nayarivera Twitter; @sunsetstripp Instagram

Initially played by legendary Latina actress Jessica Alba, Naya Rivera would be a great updated choice to play the leader of the mean girls, Queen-B Kirsten. Not only is she beautiful, she’s also just the right amount of scary!

17. Sofia Carson as Kristen

@VSofiCarson Twitter; @youthoughtyouforgot Instagram

The less powerful and laughably interchangeble other-half of the Kirsten/Kristen duo. Sofia Carson isn’t as menacing as Naya Rivera, but we’re sure she’d have a great time playing a ditz after playing such strong characters throughout her career.

18. Camila Mendes as Gibby

@camilamednes Instagram; @youthoughtyouforgot Instagram

Gibby is the “Gretchen Weiners” of this “Never Been Kissed” popular-girl group. Who else but Camilla Mendes to fill the role of the requisite brunette best-friend?

19. Isabela Moner as Rob’s Girlfriend

@isabelamoner Instagram; via IMDB

Isabela Moner gives off the perfect vibe of both sexy and cute to be Rob’s high school girlfriend (who also happens to be a gymnast).

20. Tony Revolori as Merkin

@TonyRevolori Twitter; @screenshot via Facebook

As Josie’s nerdy coworker, we could totally see “Spiderman: Homecoming”‘s Tony Revolori pull of this role. He has both the talent and the physicality to make this his own.

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After Making A Name For Herself In New York's Fashion Scene, Salvadoran Designer Ariela Suster Is Giving Back To Her Own Country

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After Making A Name For Herself In New York’s Fashion Scene, Salvadoran Designer Ariela Suster Is Giving Back To Her Own Country

Sequence

Growing up in El Salvador, one of the most dangerous countries in the world, Ariela Suster witnessed gang rivalry-driven violence firsthand. It’s partly why she decided to move to the US to study and build a career for herself in New York’s fashion industry. But as she climbed the ladder in women’s magazines, she still couldn’t shake the grisly memories and current conditions back home. Suster felt compelled to do something about it, so she founded Sequence, a handcrafted accessories company that employs young Salvadorans who are vulnerable to gang recruitment.

The brand, which Suster created in 2011 with the help of local artisans Oscar Bautista and Natali Orellana, aims to disrupt the cycle that breeds violence in her native land by providing young men with design training, tools and paid working opportunities.

“I didn’t want to just be in New York living my life and not making a difference in my own country. Even if it’s a small difference, I wanted to create something,” Suster told FIERCE.

Credit: @sequencecollection / Instagram

Currently, Sequence employs 40 men between the ages of 18 and early-20s. After engaging in lengthy handcrafting, screen printing and sewing training, the men produce knotted and beaded bracelets, necklaces and tote bags for worldwide consumers. Each bracelet is made-to-order, and customers can customize their jewelry, choosing which colors they want their threads and tie to be, or they can purchase items from collaborative collections with high-end designers like Diane Von Frustenberg and Jonathan Simkhai. Last year, their handcrafted earrings, necklaces, belts, handbag straps and handbag charms were on the catwalk of the Furstenberg’s spring 2018 runway show during New York Fashion Week.

Sequence also frequently teams up with big brands like Universal Pictures and Microsoft to create corporate products for events and conferences. In 2015, for instance, during a partnership with Microsoft, the men added NFC chips to their creations that when tapped against the back of smartphones played a short video that shows how the bracelet was made.

For Suster, who continues to work and live in New York while running her business in El Salvador, these opportunities don’t just help sustain her company but also allows the young men to witness their own potential.

“It’s been amazing watching people not know their own talent until someone shows it to them. One of the things that is unreal was to see the level of the product design and everything,” she said.

Credit: @sequencecollection / Instagram

According to the Sequence website, every purchase made has a social impact. For instance, for every 1,000 additional products sold, the company is able to employ, train and empower another at-risk youth. With paid work, employees have been able to build homes for their families, attend or finish school, or create small businesses of their own.

For Suster, though, Sequence’s mission goes beyond employment. She wants to instill bigger visions in the minds of marginalized young people. Through the Sequence Academy, a project for children and adolescents in Tepecoyo, El Salvador, the company offers free workshops in the arts and technology, hoping that the skills these young people gain will allow them to become agents of change in their own communities and country in the future.

“We don’t just want to affect the lives of the men that work with us but the communities overall,” Suster said. “To do that, we need to provide young people with role models, with workshops, with programs.”

Being a female entrepreneur comes with challenges, especially for women of color, but the work is uniquely difficult in violent environments. While Suster brainstorms ways her business can thrive, she also has to consider the ever-changing conditions in El Salvador and the welfare of her employees.

Credit: @sequencecollection / Instagram

“One of the most challenging things I continue to battle with is pace of growth, which is different when you’re in an environment that doesn’t foster growth, when the ecosystem doesn’t support you, especially as a woman entrepreneur inside a community tackling the issue of violence,” she said.

But she remains determined, seeing changes, even small ones with vast possibilities, as potential to disrupt the cycle of violence in El Salvador and create a new reality for her country and its people for tomorrow. Suster’s confronting it through fashion design and technology, but she wants others, both in the Central American country and beyond, to know that progress and transformation can be made through almost any means.

“You can create change with any skillset you have. For me, it’s fashion, making bracelets and necklaces, but this can be applied to any industry and can be tailored to make a difference in your own communities,” she said.

Read: Why This Latina Started The Bloomi, The First Digital Marketplace For Clean Intimate Care

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