Things That Matter

Isabella Gomez From ‘One Day At A Time’ Is Humbled To Be An Icon To The Latinx LGBTQ Community

If you’re Cuban then you’re most likely watching Netflix’s One Day at a Time (ODAAT) like your life depends on it. My own therapist instructed me to watch ODAAT for ‘racial mirroring,’ and at first, I was hesitant to let any show tell me what my culture is, but ODAAT was really what I needed. It’s written by a Cuban woman, for Latinos, and everyone can relate with all the characters on the show.

There’s always one character who filters your lens of all the other characters. For me, it was Isabella Gomez’ character, Elena Alvarez, the angry, feminist, activist lesbian who breaks stereotypes for the LGBTQ community. We couldn’t help but tell the story of the young woman behind our favorite ODAAT character.

Isabella Gomez is an Aquarius.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

She was born on February 9, 1998, which means she’ll be celebrating her 21st birthday imminently. Feliz cumple, Isabella.

Gomez was born in Medellín, Colombia.

@elianamejiav / Instagram

To mother, Eliana Meija and father Sergio Gomez, whose world filled up with the birth of their daughter. They have no other children.

She started acting in commercials when she was 5 years old.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

Caption: “Feliz día a la mamá mas mamacita de todas!!! Te adoro mamita linda, eres la mejor de todas en todo el mundo y el universo por toda la eternidad, amén. ????????”

Her family moved to Orlando, Florida when she was 10 years old.

@sergiogomezc / Instagram

Why? They are the most supportive family imaginable. Gomez wanted to become an actress, so they moved to the country home to Hollywood to being naturalization. Plus, she got to grow up with Mickey Mouse.

Gomez received vocal lessons to moderate her Colombian accent.

@elianamejiav / Instagram

Apparently, she was an honor student from the get-go! When Dreamers dream, am I right?

Pero, todavía, habla español.

@sergiogomezc / Instagram

You’d know if you follow her on any of her social media accounts. She finds a Latino on the red carpet and they both story to share their Latino pride.

Pro tip: if you want to see all the throwback pics of Isabella as una muñeca, follow her parents @sergiogomezc and @elianameijav.

The family made one final move to Los Angeles when Gomez was 17 years old and the rest is history.

@elianamejiav / Instagram

She had appeared on 7 episodes of Matador and even had a small role in Modern Family before she was cast as Elena Alvarez on One Day at a Time. Way to go, fam!

It’s paid off.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

Gomez has pretty much always known she wanted to be an actress. She’ll be the first to tell you (or CorrienteLatina) that, “there’s a lot of rejection, so you have to be sure that this is what you want to do. You have to know that you love this. And I think once you know that you love something, the rest comes into place.”

Caption: “Thank you, thank you, thank you to the TV Academy for the incredible honor and for such a lovely night. #TVAcadHonors ????”

When she was invited to audition for ODAAT, she was asked not to wear makeup.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

Which, if you know Elena, you understand why, but it’s an unusual request for actors. Elena is valued for her intellect, not her beauty, no matter how much it disappoints her beauty-obsessed abuelita.

Her on-screen vampiric BFF is her IRL BFF, Ariela Barer.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

Caption: “Wearing shirts with each others shows on them bc how freaking cool is that & also bc we’re annoyingly proud of each other ????”

Gomez credits her character Elena for teaching her about white-passing privilege.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

Gomez told Vanity Fair, “Ariela Barer, who plays Carmen in the first season, and I are really good friends, and we always talk about the industry, and she’s told me horror stories about the racism that she’s encountered because she’s Latinx. I was like, ‘That’s funny! I’ve never encountered that.’

And then I got this script, and I was like, ‘Oh my god. This makes so much sense.’ . . . It’s so good to be aware of your privilege that way, and I absolutely identified with Elena.”

Gomez has become an LGBTQ icon since starring in the show.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

Caption: “This was my first experience at Clexacon: walking into a room filled with so much love and excitement that we couldn’t help but shed a tear or two. And then it only got better!! I’m still feeling so overwhelmed by this weekend that I can’t quite put into words what an absolute dream it all was. Interacting with you guys, hearing your stories and being able to make human connections with the people we are telling these stories for is so beyond anything I had ever hoped for. My heart feels so full it might burst. I said it over and over all weekend and I’ll say it again: this community feels like my family. Thank you for being so accepting and supportive of me and for allowing me to be a part of your world. And thank you for making my first con an experience I’ll never forget!! I love you all more than you’ll ever know. #Clexacon2018 ????❤️”

When she read the script where Elena’s father walks out on her after she comes out, she wept.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

She told FanFest News, “I remember Gloria told me about the plot line for the Season 1 finale while we were at an after party and I started crying right there. And then I cried when I read the script and at every table read and rehearsals and through the whole filming day. It wasn’t just shock either, it was outrage and pain and betrayal. I’ve become very protective of Elena and the LGBTQ community so living through a little bit of the experience that is the everyday reality for many of them was absolutely heartbreaking.”

“Being the vessel for this representation means a lot of people are extraordinarily vulnerable with me.”

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

Gomez is touched to be an icon for other young kids participating in their own coming out stories. She told FanFest News, “I couldn’t tell you how many coming out stories I’ve been able to read about and how many people, ranging from kids to adults, tell me that although they’re still in the closet, they now feel better about their situations and are working towards living their most authentic lives. It’s so humbling to read all this feedback and get to be a little part of their journeys.”

Gomez totally spaced out when she found out she got the role of Elena.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram
That’s right. The story goes that she was on a three way call with her agent, her manager and her dad (whose a lawyer), and they just start reading all this legal jargon aloud. She tells corriente Latina the full story:
“And they finished and they’re like, “all right, coo, bye.” And I’m like, “coo, bye.” And I went to walk into my room, and my dad called me back and he said, “What are you doing?” and I’m like, “What do you mean?” and he’s like, you just booked One Day at a Time and you’re not reacting. And I screamed out, like there’s no way this happened. I called Doyle back and said, “What were you reading to me?” and he said, “That was the pickup for you. I was wondering why you didn’t freak out.” So, that was that.”

She’s used her platform to promote voting rights in America…

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

Caption: “Voting is our RIGHT, our PRIVILEGE and our RESPONSIBILITY. I’m voting on November 6th and I hope you will join me if you can #BecauseItMatters.”

And equality for Latinas in pay, respect, and opportunities.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

Caption: “Today is #LatinaEqualPayDay, when we catch up to what white, non-hispanic men were paid in 2017. The pay gap is greatest for Latinas, who get 53 cents for every $1 a man makes. We are #PhenomenallyLatina and we deserve equal pay! ????????@phenomenal.ly t-shirt proceeds benefit the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. www.phenomenalwoman.us”

I know what you’re thinking. Of course she, has a boo.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

His name is Rhenzy Feliz and he’s the Dominicano you love to watch on Marvel’s Runaways and he’s super passionate about environmental justice (and Isabella Gomez). That means her bestie and her boo get to share a set en juntos.

She stans Hispanic Heritage Month.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

Netflix brought together nine Netflix stars for this small photoshoot that brings together some of the cast from On My Block, Orange is the New Black, and One Day at a Time. she says she missed the memo that it was ‘farm casual’ but I ship her look.

She has no advice for her fans except to keep giving her advice.

@isabella.gomez / Instagram

This is Socrates level humility. She told FanFest News, “To my fans: If anything, I think you guys should be giving me advice and words of encouragement. I’ve never encountered such an overwhelmingly positive and supportive group of people. Please, please, please keep being the bright lights you already are. Keep loving hard and fighting for what’s right. If the world could feel a fraction of the happiness you all have made me feel then I truly believe the human race would become better. And I know you are all capable of making that difference. Keep fighting, my loves.”

21. Take the mitú quiz that Isabella Gomez, la princesa herself, took!

@wearemitu / Instagram

I guess Isabella Gomez wanted to find out who she’d be in the cast of ODAAT, based off her personality. Pero, no sé, maybe you’ll be Elena?


READ: Find Out Who You Are In The Alvarez Family With This ‘One Day At A Time’ Quiz

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America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

Entertainment

America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

It has been 20 years since America Ferrera’s dream of becoming an actor back true. She took to Instagram to reflect on the moment that her dream started to come true and it is a sweet reminder that anyone can chase their dreams.

America Ferrera shared a sweet post reflecting on the 20th anniversary of working on “Gotta Kick It Up!”

“Gotta Kick It Up!” was one of the earliest examples of Latino representation so many of us remember. The movie follows a school dance team trying to be the very best they could possibly be. The team was down on their luck but a new teacher introduces them to a different kind of music to get them going again.

After being introduced to Latin beats, the dance team is renewed. It taps into a cultural moment for the Latinas on the team and the authenticity of the music makes their performances some of the best.

While the movie meant so much to Latino children seeing their culture represented for the first time, the work was a major moment for Ferrera. In the Instagram post, she gushes over the celebrities she saw on the lot she was working on. Of course, anyone would be excited to see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out. Yet, what stands out the most is Ferrera’s own excitement to realize that she can make money doing what she loves most.

“I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be. We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us,” Ferrera reflects.

Watch the trailer for “Gotta Kick It Up!” here.

READ: America Ferrera’s “Superstore” Is Going To Get A Spanish-Language Adaptation In A Win For Inclusion

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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