Entertainment

A Rich French Woman Falls In Love With A Young Dominicana In ‘Dólares De Arena’

Credit: Mediosa alternos / YouTube

“Me gusta mucho to cuerpo, ¿sabes? ¿Cuanto cuesta?”

Anne, a jet-setting French woman, meets Noeli, a young Dominicana who wanders around her town finding ways to make money from tourists. Anne falls deeply in love with Noeli and the feeling may be mutual.

But love is not easy. Not only is there an age gap, there’s a wealth gap that puts a strain on Noeli’s relationships at home.

Written and directed by husband-and-wife team Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán, “Dólares de Arena” was the Dominican Republic’s official entry at this year’s Academy Awards. Even though it didn’t get the Academy’s nod, it’s a must-see.

READ: 100 Years Of Dominican Beauty

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Netflix Official Cast The Role Selena Quintanilla And ‘Twilight’ Fans Will Be Thrilled

Entertainment

Netflix Official Cast The Role Selena Quintanilla And ‘Twilight’ Fans Will Be Thrilled

Netflix has officially selected a Latina to keep the legacy of Tejano music legend, Selena Quintanilla, alive. For its highly anticipated show “Selena: The Series,” the big-time streaming platform has tapped Christian Serrators, AKA Rosita Espinosa of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” series.

Twenty-four years after her tragic death Selena is, once again, being brought back to life on the screen.

Little information has been released by Netflix about the series, but Serratos casting will undoubtedly launch quite a bit of chatter.

christianserratos/ Instagram

The series, which was created with the participation of the Quintanilla family and announced by Netflix last December, has already garnered quite a bit of anticipation online. Back in 1997, the casting process for the singer had the Latino community astir for months until it was finally revealed that then-dancer, singer and actress Jennifer Lopez (still known as a triple threat for her moves, voice and acting chops) had earned the role. The Boricua’s casting caused quite the controversy primarily because she was not Mexican. This time around, Netflix kept the controversy in mind while conducting casting. In a recent interview with NBC News, MoisésZamora– who is the head writer and one of the executive producers for the show– explained how crucial it was for him to ensure Mexican- identity was strongly included in the show.

“I associated her with my family and being Mexican in America,” he told the outlet at the time while highlighting how the younger singer was shaped by her identity of being a woman of Mexican heritage who also grew up in Corpus Christi while speaking English.

For the latest portrayal of Selena, the executive producer was involved in the casting of Serratos, a Latina of both Mexican and Italian descent.

Serratos knows all about breathing life into deceased characters.

AMC

For four seasons she has raged against the undead in “The Walk Dead” and in her earlier career played Angela Webber, friend to Bella Swan lover of vampires, in Twilight.

According to outlets, it’s unclear how the series will tackle Quintanilla’s vocals.

Back when Lopez took her turn as the singer, she was made to lip-sync to Quintanilla’s vocals. We’re pretty sure that if Netflix doesn’t decide to do the same, they’ll be in good hands because Serratos voice is banging. She even sings “Baila Esta Cumbia” in this compilation!

So far fans of Selena are on board with the news.

While buzz online hasn’t quite ramped up, we’re pretty sure once news of the casting catches on Latina Twitter will be doing the washing machine for days.

And it appears Serratos has the Selena Fan Club seal of approval.

And it’s no wonder why! Serratos cuts a pretty uncanny resemblance to the Tejano beauty.

Of course, while most of the reactions to Serratos casting have been positive the TWD club is a bit worried.

Okay TBH it feels like a worthy sacrifice.

Like literally people are bummed.

Pero… like I said! Serratos as Selena will totally be worth it.

(Jeeze… wonder if she’ll die by zombie attack?)

But there is a silver lining to the upset.

If fans of “The Walking Dead” are this bummed over possibly losing Serratos, that means she must be pretty damn good at taking on great roles. So here’s to Serratos and her new role! Hopefully, for TWD fans she’ll be able to juggle both… if not bidi bidi bom bom.

Every Time I Go Back To The Dominican Republic, I Remember The Person I Am And Want To Be

Culture

Every Time I Go Back To The Dominican Republic, I Remember The Person I Am And Want To Be

aruni_y_photography / Instagram

Anyone traveling to the Dominican Republic this summer has likely been met with the cautionary warning; “Don’t drink anything from the minibar.” Eleven tourist deaths on the island in 2019, ranging from natural causes to counterfeit alcohol consumption, have spurred FBI and State Department investigations. Though news of flight and hotel cancellations abounded, I missed my family and refused to let fear stop me from seeing them. Since I lived to tell the tale, here are a few things I learned about my father, about myself, and about the precarious paradise that keeps calling me back.

Billy Joel and Nas have interpreted the “New York state of mind,” and if you have ever visited the Dominican Republic beyond the purpose of tourism, you’ll know that there exists a Dominican state of mind too.

Credit: Dan Gold / Unsplash

Whenever I exit Las Americas or Puerto Plata airports, humidity slaps me in the face, and my Dominican mindset is immediately activated. On this island, electricity does not run 24/7. When the electricity goes, or as we say “se fue la luz,” water doesn’t run from the tap either. All that is left to do is swap your sneakers for flip-flops, and exorcise your need for immediate gratification. It takes practice, and I re-learn this lesson with each visit.

The Dominican Republic is changing fast. 

Credit: zonacolonialrd / Instagram

There is new construction everywhere you look. I sit on the balcony chatting with my father and stare across the street trying to remember how it looked before the apartment building was constructed in that space. I can see from an open doorway on the ground level that wooden boxes are being stacked, and hauled out in front of a business. I tune out my father’s voice as I focus on the shape and size of the boxes. My Spanish needs work, and I ask my father, “Papi, what does ataúd mean?” The business slogan translates to “Quality Coffins.” I think about magic realism traditions in Latin American literature, and I am reminded that so often a country like this juxtaposes disparate images and experiences in such a casual manner. I don’t think I would be able to live across the street from a constant reminder of death anywhere else but on this incongruous island.

We drive to the countryside of El Seibo for a few days.

Credit: fedoacurd/ Instagram

My father syncs his playlist and he directs my sister what song to play next. The first song is by Boy George. I watch my father sing along, and I can’t help but think about the Dominican Republic’s homophobic culture steeped in hyper-masculinity. Same-sex marriage is not recognized on the island, and members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination and violence. I talk to my sister about this later that night, and she tells me small changes are coming to the island. The city of Santo Domingo hosts inclusive events like Draguéalo, where you can even sign up for a Vogue class.

Credit: Draguelao / Facebook

My father’s playlist continues and I’m struck by his selections ranging from Taylor Swift to A.I.E. (A Mwana), a song by a 1970s group called Black Blood, featuring lyrics in Swahili.

I watched this Dominican dad jam across continents, decades, cultures, languages, and race. I realize there is so much I don’t know about him, and so often we shortchange our parents’ knowledge and experience, reducing them to stereotypes and gendered tropes.

My next lesson is on staying sexy.

                                                           Unsplash/Photo by Ardian Lumi 

After a few days in the countryside, my sister and I rent a hotel room in La Zona Colonial. We ready for a night out when she looks at my outfit and asks me, “Um, is that what you’re wearing tonight?” I thought my yellow jumpsuit was poppin’. My sister pulls out a little black dress from her overnight bag and kindly suggests I wear it. The dress is tiny. It’s skimpy. It’s super short. It’s absolutely perfect. I channel my inner Chapiadora, Goddess of Sex Appeal and Free Drinks, and dance all night. 

Growing up in the 90s, I styled myself in oversized men’s clothing. It wasn’t until that one magical summer in the Dominican Republic when the heat was too oppressive to wear jeans, so I wore—gasp—a skirt. That was the first time I felt sexy, and learned the power of sex appeal. Though I wielded that power throughout my twenties, it fell away in my thirties. Wearing my sister’s LBD I realize I still have “it,” and in the Dominican Republic, sex appeal is ageless. Be careful when you come here. You may fall in love with a local, or you may just fall in love with yourself again.

The island leaves me with one last lesson.

It comes late one night, sharing a few bottles of wine with my father and sister. No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver—the worst blind person is the one who refuses to see. I could say the current political landscape in the U.S. reflects this willful ignorance, a refusal to see; yet it is the same human experience felt across space and time.

I come away wondering about my own blind spots.

                                                            Instagram/@rensamayoa

I board my return flight thinking up ways to combat willful ignorance at home, thinking about maintaining that flexible DR state of mind and thinking about buying a little black dress. As tourism in the Dominican Republic picks up again, and unfavorable headlines drop out of the news cycle, this changing island stands in its own plurality welcoming visitors, and offering endless opportunities to teach us something new.

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