Things That Matter

Here Are 13 Latino Innovators That Prove Latinos Can Do Anything They Put Their Minds To

wendycarrillo / luisvonahn / Instagram

A few months ago a creative group from Mexico helped raise the spirits of their fellow Mexicans after gaining inspiration from Guillermo del Toro’s simple yet effective answer of “I’m Mexican” after his Golden Globes win. The viral video has been viewed more than 1 million times on YouTube and features Mexican artists, scientists and pioneers in their respective fields who broke down walls and surpassed obstacles.

Here’s the video that has inspired millions of Mexicans.

With lines from the video such as, “No. You don’t need contacts. You don’t need money. You don’t need the easy road. Because in Mexico, opportunities aren’t found—they’re created,” how can you not feel pumped up?

If you need some inspiration this week, here are 13 other Latinos who have used their talent, grit and hunger to create advancements in everything from tech to sports.

1. Ellen Ochoa

2. Guillermo González Camarena

3. Luis von Ahn

4. Susana Ibarra

Ibarra is setting her sights on the horizon as a pilot for Kuwait Airlines. She became El Salvador’s first female commercial airline pilot in 2015 when she was 29 and has now become Kuwait Airline’s second female pilot.

5. Oscar Hijuelos

Cuban-American novelist Hijuelos’ bestseller book ‘The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love’ earned critical acclaim and made him the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction back in 1990. The novel tells the story of the Castillo brothers who emigrate from Havana to New York City and transform into the Mambo Kings of NYC after playing in an orchestra.

6. Maria Contreras-Sweet

Born in Guadalajara, Contreras-Sweet is most-widely known as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama. She was also the executive chair and founder of ProAmérica Bank, the first Latino-formed commercial bank and also founded Contreras-Sweet Enterprises, a marketing and research firm. Contreras-Sweet’s extensive career extends from the public and private sector to corporate America.

7. Adriana Cisneros

At the age of 33, Cisneros became the CEO of Cisneros Group, a family-owned multibillion dollar media and real estate enterprise founded by her grandfather in Venezuela. She joined the family business at 25 and launched its digital media division, focusing on online advertising networks, e-commerce, social gaming and crowd-funding. After five years in the role, she was given the company reigns as its CEO.

8. Linda Alvarado

Alvarado placed her bid to become the first Latina to become a co-owner of a major league team when she became co-owner of the Colorado Rockies. Her success in the business sector began when she started Alvarado Construction with a loan from her parents in 1976. Back then, Latinas could not get access to either capital or even a credit card. Now the company has completed several projects including stadiums, hotels and an aquarium.

9. Dr. Helen Rodriguez Trías

10. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa

Known as “Dr. Q,” Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa rose to become the chair of neurologic surgery at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and also co-founded the non-profit Mission: BRAIN, Bridging Resources and Advancing International Neurosurgery. After moving to California from Mexico, Dr. Quinones-Hinojosa worked as a migrant farm worker and put himself through school at a community college. He then transferred to University of California, Berkeley and attended medical school at Harvard Medical School. He has written an autobiography on his life, Becoming Dr. Q.

11. Jessica Márquez

Named one of CNET’s 20 Most Influential Latinos in Tech in 2017, engineer Márquez began working for NASA in 2007 and helps to plan and schedule software tools for space missions. She received her bachelor’s from Princeton University and her Master of Science degree in Aeronautics/Astronautics and her Ph.D. in human-systems engineering from MIT.

12. Alberto Villarreal

Also on last year’s CNET List of 20 Most Influential Latinos in Tech, Villareal currently works as the creative lead at Google for the hardware group. In his past jobs, Villareal has worked for automotive-design studios in Europe and launched a strategic design firm in San Francisco. He has also been featured as a TEDx speaker in Mexico City.

13. Wendy Carrillo

A former undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, Carrillo was raised in East Los Angeles and worked for 10 years as a radio host, writer and producer before switching to politics. She is currently an assemblymember for the California State Assembly’s 51st District, representing parts of northeastern Los Angeles and East Los Angeles.


READ: Meet The Trailblazing Latinos That Made It Onto The Forbes ’30 Under 30′ List

Which Latinos are inspiring you to pursue your dreams? Let us know in the comments and share this list with your friends!

Artists Open Cuba’s First Ever Sex Store, But It Won’t Last Long

Things That Matter

Artists Open Cuba’s First Ever Sex Store, But It Won’t Last Long

Cuba has come a long way since the communist rule of Fidel Castro. A lot of restrictions have been lifted including travel from the U.S. to the island (despite some Trump-era issues). Yet, there’s still a lot that the government there forbids including some luxuries that we can easily buy anytime we please.

Cuba forbids the sale of any obscene items, which means there are no sex shops until now.

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

In New York, there are sex shops in every neighborhood. Even in the Bible belt, you can score sex toys at Adam & Eve, but in Cuba, it’s a whole different story. The island does not give out licenses or permits to vendors who sell anything sexual related. If you want a dildo, you have to sneak it into the country in your suitcase — that’s what the New York Post is reporting.

A group of artists successfully opened a sex pop-up store called “Consolez Vous” because technically it is “art” and not a typical business.

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

Yanahara Mauri, Javier Alejandro Bobadilla, and Joan Díaz sought out to open a pop-up sex shop at this year’s Havana Biennial and to their surprise were approved.

“We want to break the taboos,” Mauri told the Post. “In the rest of the world, this is normal now.”

The group creates the sex toys in Cuba and use resources such as “entwined fish line for whips and resin for dildos.”

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

While demand continues to increase, according to the publication, some customers have complained that their sex toys aren’t as smooth as the silicone products that are sold everywhere else.

“At the end of the day, we are not harming anyone,” Ernesto said. “On the contrary, we are giving people benefits.”

The sex shop might be a pop-up but a lot of people are hoping they could become a regular occurrence on the island.

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

What do you think about this pop up shop? Let us know your thoughts by commenting on the Facebook post.

READ: Here’s How Cuba’s Tumultuous History Forced A Cuban Diaspora That Changed The World

Here’s How A Goth Makeup Company Is Helping Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Economy After Hurricane Maria

Fierce

Here’s How A Goth Makeup Company Is Helping Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Economy After Hurricane Maria

necromancycosmetica / Instagram

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, businesses all over the island were devastated by the destruction. Some were able to reopen months, to a year later, while others had to close for good. While more established businesses such as resorts and restaurants had backing to get back on their feet, it was the independent companies that struggled to reopen. Necromancy Cosmetica, however, is thriving after resuming business as usual.

Puerto Rico-based Necromancy Cosmetica a gothic makeup company was closed for four months after Hurricane Maria.

Instagram/@necromancycosmetica

In an interview with Remezcla, Necromancy Cosmetica owners Desiree Rodríguez and Salvador Pérez talked about their joint venture which has a large social media following. The couple launched the brand four years ago but they said they almost had to shut down their store after the hurricane.

“The store was full of mold. It was total chaos,” Rodríguez told the publication. She adds that they had “like two free days. We got to work before we even knew how our families were doing. My family is from the west side of the island, and I didn’t hear from them for almost three weeks.”

The couple said that they had help locally, and abroad during the rebuilding process. They were able to sell their product online while they continued to work on reopening.

Instagram/@hex_des

Like many local businesses after the hurricane, Necromancy Cosmetica has survived because of loyal and proud Puerto Rican customers. While many people might think of colorful and tropical scenes when they think of Puerto Rico but the goth community needs representation. Just because you live on an island doesn’t mean you will look like you live on an island.

Puerto Rico’s economy is struggling as the island continues to recover from a storm that devastated everything and everyone. As the Puerto Rican economy tries to build up, it is the local stores like Necromancy Cosmetica that are giving the island the support it needs. The company might not be donating money to the recovery effort but pumping their money into the local economy creating a stream of tax revenue that the government relies on.

The owners take pride that their makeup line is vegan and cruelty-free.

Instagram/@necromancycosmetica

If you need more reason to check out the company, how about their stance for animals?

“These and all other Necromancy Cosmetica brand lipsticks are made with 100% vegan materials that have never been tested on animals, that means you can rest easy knowing that your wicked lips will always be on the up-and-up if you decide to join the Necromancy cult,” reads the Necromancy Cosmetica website. “Des and Zal work hard from their crypt in Puerto Rico to fulfill all the orders themselves and have high hopes for their independently owned, produced, and distributed non-liquid lipsticks. So take a look at their witchy works and get inspired.”

Necromancy Cosmetica is located at 59 Calle Arzuaga Local #3 Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Click here for more information on the products.

READ: Here Are 13 Latino Innovators That Prove Latinos Can Do Anything They Put Their Minds To