Things That Matter

Suzy Perez A Former J.Lo Dancer Is Found Homeless And Heroin-Addicted

The insidious disease of alcoholism and drug addiction is indiscriminate in its victims. Univision’s Genela Solano recently found Susy Pérez, a former dancer for J.Lo and model, living on the street fighting for her life against a heroin addiction. Solano interviews Pérez in what might be the most heart-breaking news’ interview broadcast ever–ending with Pérez sending a message to her son, who she hasn’t seen in years. 

That is until Solano returns with Pérez’ son, who she hasn’t seen since she first became homeless. 

Susy Pérez came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic, and made it big in the entertainment world.

Credit: Univision / YouTube

The mitad-Boricua and mitad-Dominicana was a model and a dancer for J.Lo. Up until a week ago, she had spent the last five years homeless living on the streets. She told Univision that when her mother died, she was lost without her. That prompted the spiral downwards.

Pérez has survived off the trash of others and the kindness of strangers.

Credit: Univision / YouTube

She told Univision that she’s grateful for the people who have bestowed compassion on her and offered her money or food. Her son has also said that he was giving her money the first couple years she was homeless, not realizing she was a heroin addict and using the money for drugs.

Pérez is a breast cancer survivor, and hasn’t been to the doctor in years.

Both her and her abuela were breast cancer survivors and endured double mastectomies. “She may still have it. It may have come back, because cancer never really leaves,” her son tells Univision.

“Jay, I love you and want you to know you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” she tells the camera, hoping her son will receive the message.

Credit: Univision / YouTube

“Without you, I cannot smile,” she says.  She tells Univision that she wants to get off the drugs but that she can’t because her body has adapted to them. It’s important for people with addiction to have medical supervision as they detox because their bodies could go into shock and die from cardiac arrest.

Three days later, Solano returns with Jay to reunite the mother and son.

Credit: Univision / YouTube

“My love, look over here,” Solano tells Pérez. When she sees Jay from a distance, she tosses her wig on the ground and runs to hug him. She doesn’t let go for several minutes, sobbing into his shoulder. Later, she shouts at the crowd gathered around for the touching moment, “I’m going to fight for my son.”

Jay tells Solano that after his mom left, his father kicked him out of the house for being gay.

Credit: Univision / YouTube

He started living with friends at a young age and was adopted by another family. According to Jay, in his father’s mind, his sexuality was “the last straw” after coping with his mother’s addiction and abandonment. Jay tells Solano that most of his family doesn’t support him. “I haven’t felt safe. He would constantly verbally abuse me because of the way I expressed myself,” Jay tells Solano.

He told Univision that his mom has a herniated disc, broken bones, and has likely contracted HIV or AIDS.

Credit: Univision / YouTube

A car was ready to take Solano to get food, medications, a doctor’s check up and fresh clothes and a shower. According to Solano, they attempted to take her from streets and into the car not once, twice, or three times, but six times before she got in the car. She was very happy to get a fresh haircut but didn’t want to check into a treatment center.

They weren’t able to remove Pérez from the streets.

Univision / YouTube

After experiencing what looked like withdrawal symptoms (irritability, aggression, crying), Pérez stormed off looking for money to buy more drugs. Nearly everyone who has seen the video has offered their prayers that she findS the strength to voluntarily get the help that she needs. 

If someone’s drinking or sobriety is bothering you, there are resources that can help. You are not alone.

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This Man Raised Thousands of Dollars For His Former Teacher Who Was Left Homeless From the Pandemic

Things That Matter

This Man Raised Thousands of Dollars For His Former Teacher Who Was Left Homeless From the Pandemic

Photo via Steven Nava

At this point, it’s common knowledge that the pandemic has had a negative financial impact on many Americans. When the pandemic hit, many people lost their jobs. Some people dealt with food and housing insecurity. And this homeless teacher experienced exactly that.

But if there’s one positive thing the pandemic taught us, it’s that there are tons of amazing humans out there who are willing to lend a hand when they see a fellow human suffering.

Recently, a homeless teacher named José Villaruel, received help from a former student who discovered him sleeping in his car.

The former student’s name is Steven Nava and he ran into Villaruel, purely by coincidence. “Every morning/night I’ve always noticed this older man that would stay out in his car constantly at this parking lot near my house, even when the weather was bad,” wrote Nava on Twitter. “He looked familiar…”

Nava ended up approaching the older man. That is when he discovered that the man was him former teacher José Villaruel, whom Nava affectionately calls “Mr. V”.

“Turns out he’s gone homeless since the whole pandemic hit and he’s been struggling getting back to his feet,” wrote Nava. “His car is really old and that’s where he’s been staying for the past year.”

Apparently, the homeless teacher had only one source of income–a monthly social security check. He sent most of the money to his sick wife in Mexico.

Nava gave Mr. V $300 to get a hotel for the night. Meanwhile, he got to work to try and fix the homeless teacher’s situation more permanently. “I had a mission to help the teacher who was going through a difficult time during the pandemic,” Nava told TODAY.

José Villaruel’s former student took to Twitter to inform his followers of Mr. V’s situation and ask for additional help.

“I come to the Twitter community and ask for help in raising money to help him out,” Nava wrote. “I know if we can all pitch in even $1 it will go a long way.” Nava shared a link to a GoFundMe for Mr. V. And to his surprise, the donations began to roll in.

By the end of the fundraising period, Nava had raised over $27,000 for the homeless teacher–far surpassing his original fundraising goal of $15,000.

Donations flooded in both from Villaruel’s former students and from concerned citizens who were happy to help the older gentleman get back on his feet.

“[Mr. Villaruel] was always so sweet when I had him as a sub 🙁 Thank you so much for looking out for him I hope you reach your goal for him!!!” wrote one Twitter user.

As a final gift, Steven Nava planned a surprise party for Mr. Villaruel 77th birthday that happened to be that week.

Former students of Mr. V gathered to pay tribute to the teacher who had touched their lives years before. When Mr. V showed up, they all sang “Happy Birthday” to him. Then, Nava gifted a stunned Mr. V with a $27,000 check.

José Villaruel told media outlets that the experience touched him deeply.

“It is an experience of my life that will be kept for the rest of my life. I carry it in my heart,” he said. “I felt that something was going to happen, that things were going to change, and it happened suddenly when I least expected it.

Since then, Steven Nava has continued to fundraise for Mr. V. Altogether, he has raised over $50,000 for his former teacher–and counting. You can visit the GoFundMe page here.

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Jennifer Lopez Talks New Skincare Line, Denies She’s Ever Had Botox: ‘I’m Not That Person’

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Jennifer Lopez Talks New Skincare Line, Denies She’s Ever Had Botox: ‘I’m Not That Person’

Photo by Amy Sussman/SHJ2019/WireImage

Jennifer Lopez is as famous for her dewy, glowing skin as she is for her acting, singing, and dancing. And like a fine, wine the Bronx-born triple threat just keeps getting better with age. Let’s be honest: JLo looks as hot now as she did in the ’90s.

Finally, JLo has decided to let the public in on some of her secrets. That’s right, JLo has created a skincare line.

The line is called JLo Beauty and its dropping on January 1st.

As of now, the line includes eight products, a “Gel Cream Cleanser”, a “Multitaskting Serum”, a sheet mask, a “Wonder Cream”, a “Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Moisturizer”, an eye cream, a tinted moisturizer and an oral skin supplement. According to Lopez, she was intimately involved in the creation of all of them.

“The past three years, we’ve been working on the products, but we finally got them right,” she said in an interview with People. “I think I drove everybody a little bit crazy because I didn’t want to put my name on anything that didn’t work or wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be.”

Ever the perfectionist, JLo claims that her skincare products went through one hundred rounds of product development before she was satisfied with the outcome.

Recently, JLo made headlines for claiming that she’s never gotten Botox. And if that’s true, maybe we can learn a thing or two about skincare from her.

In a recent interview with The New York Post, JLo shot down rumors that her youthful appearance is the result of a doctor’s intervention.

“I haven’t ever had Botox to this day. I’m not that person,” she said. “I don’t have anything against people doing that; it’s just not my thing. I’m more about a natural approach to skincare.”

And indeed, JLo Beauty does seem to rely on natural ingredients, the primary one being olive oil.

“The hero ingredient and the basis of the line was kind of a secret that my mom and aunt had from a very young age, which is olive oil. It’s nature’s secret ingredient which we don’t use enough of,” she told People. “They would use it on their skin and on their body, their face and their hair to get like a glow and to highly hydrate and moisturize.”

The slogan for JLo Beauty is “beauty has no expiration date.” That’s a mantra we can get behind.

JLo Beauty will be available on its website on January 1st in Sephora stores on January 14th. Pre-order all of the products here.

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