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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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

Things That Matter

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

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