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Meet Priscila Garcia-Jacquier, The Colombiana Behind A New Talk Show For Latino Millennials

The self-development industry rakes in a yearly revenue as high as 11 billion in the United States. Through books, podcasts, life coaches, apps and television programs, the field is vast and growing. However, the faces of the self-help world, much like that of film and television, has remained overwhelmingly white and male. This industry, meant to better us as individuals and entertain us as consumers, does not represent our Latinx community. Enter Priscila Garcia-Jacquier, the Latina trying to change that.

In February, the Colombian native started Quiero the Show, an exciting new talk show series hosted on YouTube.

With its first season already on the Web and available via podcast, Quiero is shining a light on successful Latinx creatives in each episode. Using her talents as a director, Garcia-Jacquier has begun to captivate an audience misrepresented by media through engaging and inspiring conversations that truly represent them.

(Courtesy of Priscila Garcia-Jacquier)

Just two months in, and she has already interviewed change-makers like Alexander Dinelaris Jr., part of the Oscar-winning screenwriting team behind “Birdman,” and Michelle Veintimilla, the young actress entertaining audiences in Fox’s Gotham and Netflix’s Seven Seconds. So far, the guests throughout the first season of Quiero are all in the entertainment industry, but she hopes to expand the series to tackle topics of politics, tech, music and more.

Making waves seems to trail her career. The Miami-raised, Brooklyn, New York-living creative holds the bragging rights of being the first Latina to graduate from Carnegie Mellon University’s undergraduate directing program. This double-edged accomplishment is what eventually led her to create Quiero. She wanted to produce a program where Latinx excellence was on full display, introducing viewers who might feel alone in their classrooms and industries to kick-ass artists, thinkers and doers like them.

“Latinos are really killing it across the board and are even in some major leadership positions. I don’t know why I didn’t know that. I have so much access, so much education. Yet, I had to go completely out of my way to find this information. That made me think, How is someone who does not have that access supposed to succeed,” Garcia-Jacquier, 26, told Fierce.

(Courtesy of Priscila Garcia-Jacquier)

She decided on the English-language talk show format instead of a blog, book or Spanish-language medium because of how accessible and understandable it would be to Latinx millennials. Quiero marries the cultural familiarity of Telemundo programs to U.S. talk shows, but it focuses the conversation on Latinx young people.

Through the show, Garcia-Jacquier voices her frustration with the mainstream media, which she says talks about and at the Latinx population but not with us. She describes it as a “white person’s misunderstanding of what we are.”

While redefining the genre boundaries usually placed on our people, she’s updated self-development for the digital era. To attempt to capture a community so diverse, dynamic and always-evolving is not an easy execution, but Garcia-Jacquier has always been in touch with issues of identity.

(Courtesy of Priscila Garcia-Jacquier)

So much of Garcia-Jacquier’s identity and understanding of Latinidad stems from her family’s migration from Colombia to Miami in the early 2000s, when she was in elementary school.

“I grew up feeling incredibly represented. My mom was a successful neurologist and my dad was in the Senate, and it was when I got here that the narrative changed,” Garcia- Jacquier said. “I was told, ‘Oh well, be grateful that you’re here. Be grateful that this is happening. Be grateful that you’re getting a chance to go to college.’ And it was very confusing.”

She continued: “My parents are the most high-achieving people I know. Hunger is what brought us to this country — and now I have to trade that with gratitude? That’s ridiculous.”

Her thirst for triumph, and energy to get there, was present long before she picked up a camera, and now she wants to foster that same self-confidence in other young Latinx people in order to prepare them for when they find their calling. She intends to do this specifically by curating guests who are also up-and-coming artists in order to show all the realities of success.

(Courtesy of Priscila Garcia-Jacquier)

While Latinxs are thriving across industries, she fears that their lack of visibility could prevent younger generations from seeing themselves in these careers and stop them from seeking to realize their dreams. That’s why exposure and community are at the heart of her show and central to her individual identity.

Garcia-Jacquier would ultimately like to take Quiero offline as well, and create networking summits for the very people who watch. But her ambition doesn’t stop there. Personally, the host also has dreams of being a showrunner and producer of her own television show.

Unafraid of her appetite for more, Garcia-Jacquier’s work strives to help the Latinx community assert itself in mainstream media, widen representation and empower us all.

Read: Meet Angela Maria Spring, The Latina Creating Space For Book Lovers Of Color In Washington, DC

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Up Next: Meet Katalina, The Colombian Funny Girl-Turned-Pop Singer You Need To Know

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Up Next: Meet Katalina, The Colombian Funny Girl-Turned-Pop Singer You Need To Know

Up Next is a FIERCE series highlighting rising Latina and Latin American women artists you might not know about but definitely should.

Katalina is used to the spotlight. For years, the colombiana has cultivated an audience of millions on Instagram with her hilarious short videos about relationships and womanhood. But now, the social media influencer-turned-singer is using her mic to explore these themes.

Debuting her first song, “Sacude,” a carefree pop-urban dance jam, last November, the Miami-living entertainer followed up this month with the heartbreaking ballad “Adios” featuring Cuban-American singer JenCarlos Canela, showing her musical versatility.

“With me, there will definitely be both. This is something I think I have been very clear about,” Katalina, 27, told FIERCE. “I feel that music is more free now and you do not have to limit yourself to only one genre. I like challenges and I dislike routine, so you can always expect a mix.”

We chatted with the rising star about her lifelong love of singing, transitioning from social media influencer to music artist, saying goodbye to loved ones and what to expect from the beauty in the months that follow.

FIERCE: Most people who are familiar with Katalina know you as a social media influencer with hilarious videos, but last year you took the leap into music. Why?

Katalina: I have always liked to sing. I come from a very musical and talented family, but we always practiced it as a hobby. A year ago, I gave myself the opportunity to develop it professionally with my manager, Kito Sunshine, and I am totally grateful and in love with this. Music is what I love the most — it frees me.

FIERCE: Was this shift from social media influencer to singer strategic? Did you know you always wanted to sing and saw social media as an avenue to build your popularity and get you there or was this an unexpected but welcomed outcome?

Katalina: Since I was a little girl, I have known that I liked to sing and play the piano. From 9 to 11 years old, I sang in the choir of a church when I lived in Colombia, and for me it was something magical, so I’ve always known it. As far as social media, I entered by accident, but from the first day, I enjoyed the opportunity to reach so many people and show them my musical side as well. It was not a strategy. I did not upload many videos singing, but people motivated me more and more to try to develop music professionally, so I gave myself the opportunity, and, well, here we are.

FIERCE: But you’re not just a pretty girl with a following who is trying to use her fame to dabble in something she has no business doing. You are talented! Still, several social media influencers have attempted to break into music, some like Cardi B and Jenn Morel finding success, but others not so much, oftentimes not because they lack talent but rather because they’re not taken as seriously. What has this transition been like for you?

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Katalina: It is a bit difficult for people to see social influencers in another facet that they are not used to, but, in my case, I always showed them that musical side, so it was not totally a surprise. The same people asked me and the reception was very special. I hope to reach many people with my music.

FIERCE: As you stated, you have been passionate about singing and playing the piano since you were a child. What sort of music did you grow up listening to and how do you think it’s influenced your Latin pop sound today?

Katalina: I grew up listening to a lot of pop and ballads. My mom always listened to this music, so she did influence me a lot. I remember locking myself in my room and practicing these songs all the time. I still do this.

FIERCE: Colombian music is having a major global moment right now. What do you think you bring to the game that’s different and helps you stand out among the rest?

Katalina: Together with my work team we are creating our own seal. Our sounds are different and the vocal arrangements are unique to what we want to project. We are focused on the urban wave but keeping my romantic side.

FIERCE: I can see that for sure! You recently released “Adios,” a ballad featuring Cuban-American artist Jencarlos Canela about saying goodbye to an ex-love with the hope of returning to each other again in the end. This is very relatable because a lot of times during breakups there’s this hope that time away will bring you two back together. Sometimes it’s because the couple really is good for each other, but other times it’s just a matter of costumbre. How do you, Katalina, decipher between the two?

Katalina: Saying goodbye is always going to be difficult, either out of love or habit. I think that if you are with someone just out of habit and not because you love him, it is better to say goodbye definitely. “Adios,” to me, has another meaning. Beyond the circumstances for which you have had to say goodbye to your ex-partner, it is the goodbye that makes your heart hurt. It’s the memories of the shared moments that make you miss a person and want to have them again, that’s “Adios.”.

FIERCE: In the music video, the song took on new meaning. It wasn’t just about an ex but about losing someone you love to death and never being able to be with them again. Why did you all want to dedicate this song and video to those who lost their partners?

Katalina: These are very common situations in all of our lives. The message also has to do with those who have lost a loved one, not just their partner. In my case, I recently lost my grandmother suddenly, who was a mother to me, and, for this reason, I, and many others, can identify with this video.

FIERCE: I’m so sorry to hear that! And I think you’re right. The video really extends to loss outside of romantic relationships. We are in an era of collaborations, especially for Latin music, and in this song, your and Jencarlos’ voices blend very beautifully. Tell me, who are some of your other dream collaborations?

Katalina: I’ve always believed you find strength in unity, so working in a team, to me, is a very wise decision. I have a long list, but I’d want to start with artists like Natti Natasha, Karol G, Becky G, Ivy Queen, Cardi B — these are strong women and great examples of what it means to be an empowering woman. Also, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee and others. They are artists with careers worthy of admiration.

FIERCE: I know you’ve been working on a lot of music for this year. What can you tell us is in store for Katalina in 2019?

Katalina: There are incredible songs written by international composers. I will also have my debut as a songwriter in a song that I think people will really identify with.

FIERCE: Can we expect more ballads like “Adios” or more dance songs like “Sacude” or a mix of genres?

Katalina: With me, there will definitely be both. This is something I think I have been very clear about. I feel that music is more free now and you do not have to limit yourself to only one genre. I like challenges and I dislike routine, so you can always expect a mix.

FIERCE: You are so young, at the start of your career, what do you hope people can say about Katalina in 10 to 15 years?

Katalina: My dream is to become an icon in music worldwide. I would love for people to say that I inspired them to fulfill their dreams, that I helped empower other women, that my life has been a great example of triumph. In 10 to 15 years, with the help of God, I will leave my mark throughout the planet.

Watch Katalina’s latest single, “Adios,” below:

Read: Up Next: Meet Victoria La Mala, The Mexican Badass Empowering Women With Urban-Banda Jams

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After Four Years Of The #OscarsSoWhite Movement, The Academy Awards Is Inviting Its Creator, April Reign

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After Four Years Of The #OscarsSoWhite Movement, The Academy Awards Is Inviting Its Creator, April Reign

In 2015, the Academy Awards looked much different than they do today. Back then “Birdman” took home the Oscar for Best Movie. Actresses nominated included Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, and Reese Witherspoon. Steve Carell was nominated for Best Actor, as was Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton, and Eddie Redmayne. There’s no subtleness that in 2015, movies lacked diversity and social media aimed for the Academy’s failure to recognize actors of color and films with proper representation.

The lack of diversity in 2015, prompted April Reign to use the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, and it quickly went viral.

Reign’s brilliant hashtag sparked much-needed dialogue about representation in Hollywood and the recognition of people of color at the Oscars. The following year the Academy invited more actors and creatives in Hollywood to be part of this exclusive group in order to represent diversity. In 2015 they invited  322 new members, in 2016 they invited 683 more, and in 2018, they invited another 928. Talk about inclusiveness.

If you’re wondering whether or not, #OscarsSoWhite worked, just look at the diverse group of people and films nominated this year including the first Mexican indigenous actress, Yalitza Aparicio.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, this year’s Academy Awards are the most diverse ever. Thanks to social change via social media, people of color are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

“It’s not about saying who is snubbed and who should have been nominated, it’s about opening the discussion more on how the decisions were made, who was cast and who tells the story behind the camera,” Reign told Huffington Post in 2016. “My goal was just to have the conversation and push the dialogue further.”

To thank Reign for her incredible work, the Academy has invited her to attend this year’s Oscars.

“I’ve been holding this secret for nearly a year!” Reign said in a tweet about her exciting invitation.

“After creating the hashtag and working for almost five years to turn it into a movement that not only changed the Academy but made its way into so many other industries, I feel immense pride and a sense of coming full circle, back to the where it all began,” Reign told The Hollywood Reporter. “The work continues, but I am thrilled to be able to celebrate the incremental progress that has been made, even if only for a night.”

She added that seeing films such as “Roma” and “BlacKkKlansman” is proof as to the success of her social media campaign.

“I’m going to give myself permission to think that the work that I and many who believe in issues of diversity, equity and inclusion have done is having an impact,” she told the publication. “Seeing Spike nominated is a very public validation of that work. Nevertheless, the daily work of [#OscarsSoWhite] is for all marginalized people, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, age, or disability, to have opportunities they didn’t before.”

As far as who he will be her plus one to the event, Reign said she is taking her son.

READ: The Power Of Women Of Color Is Strong In Both “One Day At A Time” And “Black Panther” And If You Want More, You Better Go Watch

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