Feature Friday: The LATISM Rat Pack


Guest Post by Juan Alanis (@juanofwords)

You know how they release those movies every couple of years, the ones with the ensemble casts and the high wattage celebrity in every star?  Inevitably, at one point or another, no matter the duration, the entire cast begins being referenced as “The Rat Pack.”  Well consider this the LATISM Rat Pack!  Esta gente, every single one of them, are estrellas in their own right, and together, they’ve created one of LATISM’s highest kilowatt Feature Fridays ever.  From a beauty queen with a heart of gold to an undercover Mexican girl, our Rat Pack is as dynamic and entertaining as they are compassionate and passionate about what they do, and believe in.  The script is still a work in progress at this point, but these stars of our Familia are already shining bright!

Helen Troncoso – (@MsNYBL2011)
The starlet with a heart!  Currently Ms. New York Belleza Latina 2011, Helen will not only make you turn twice when she walks into a room, but she’ll also give you a reason to stand at attention and give her your undivided attention… and hopefully your vote for the upcoming Ms. Belleza Latina International 2012, which she’ll be competing in this August in Chicago, IL.  A Latina Lifestyle Blogger at www.msnybellezalatina2011.blogspot.com and www.twolatinas.blogspot.com, this beauty likes to invite others into her world and “journey” through her writing and charitable work.  She is currently serving as 1st VP of the New York Chapter of Tamika & Friends, Inc., a national non for profit organization dedicated to spreading awareness on cervical cancer and its link to the human papillomavirus (HPV).  Helen is passionate about educating and informing the Hispanic community about important health issues, including cervical cancer, a totally preventable disease which strikes Latina women at about twice the rate of any other ethnic group, and about herself says the following: “I got myself out of a terrible relationship, but was left despondent as I wrapped my entire identity on a person instead of focusing on myself.  The true journey to becoming Ms. New York Belleza Latina 2011 and (hopefully) Ms. Belleza Latina International 2012 began when I forgave myself for all the mistakes I had made in the past and decided to finally wake up and allow myself to follow my true passion… I am determined to change the health world as that is my way of “paying it forward” for all those people who helped me.”

Luz Chavez – (@luzchavezb)
The newlywed in the bunch, thanks to Illinois’ new civil union law.  This year, Luz and her partner were one of the many Latina couples to get civilly united in Illinois.  ¡Felicidades!  When she’s not celebrating her marital bliss or thanking people for their congratulations, Luz is all about making a difference in the world.  Born in Chicago, this proud daughter of Mexican immigrants graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in Latino/Latin American Literature and had a brief stint at rebel-rousing UNAM in el D.F.  Now settled near Chicago’s lakefront, Luz spends her daytime hours continuing her 10-year-journey in educational publishing, creating tech products that hopefully impact students’ lives, or at least make them hate homework a little less.  At night, she moonlights working for Gozamos, an online community and culture magazine for young Latinos and Latino aficionados.  “I’m passionate about human rights, especially Latino, LGBT, and immigrant rights.  Outside of work, you can usually find me writing bad poetry, at a conga class pretending I can keep time, at a Latino play or poetry reading, reading news like a junkie, volunteering in the Latino community, helping my partner rescue one-legged birds and other injured wildlife, and online at #LATISM of course!”   

Patrick N. Hernandez – (@pnherdz)
Okay, so he’s the heartthrob in the bunch.  There.  I’ve said it!  The macho in me always has a problem recognizing guys as good looking as our Rat Pack heartthrob, but the truth is what it is.  Besides if I didn’t say it someone would complain and then you’d surely see chancletazos flying around our LATISM casita.  But anyways… back to Patrick!  Not to be mistaken with the famous French singer of “Born to Be Alive,” Patrick N. Hernandez is a 20-something-year-old California native turned Motor City resident who loves technology, music, dancing, food and cars.  A recent graduate from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, Patrick recently joined the internal communications team at General Motors Company, and coined the phrase “from normal kid to car guy.”  The son of Central American immigrants, Patrick encourages youth, especially Latinos, to get as much education as possible in order to succeed.  He recently created a scholarship for students studying communications at his alma mater, and he plans to continue advocating for the importance of education.  An avid Twitter user, Patrick tweets in English, Spanish and occasionally Tongan and French.  He’s looking to change the way the auto industry works, especially in reaching out to the Latino market, and is excited to jump into the driver’s seat of a new career.

HeiddiZ – (@HeiddiZ)
La Reina de la Fiesta herself, Ms. HeiddiZ is the nothing-but-class-and-charm celebrity in the bunch who can talk her way in or out of anything.  If ever you needed a shoulder to cry on or a caring soul to pour your emotions and heart out to, she’d know just what to say and would make sure you left with a smile on your face.  A single working mom, therapist and writer from New York City, where she was born, HeiddiZ was raised by a Boricua mom and an Ecuadorian father and considers herself one proud Latina.  She blogs about parenting, family, and wellness issues, with some humor mixed in, at NapTime Stories, and about hot topics at heiddizalamar.wordpress.com.  Her third blog, The Freshman Writer, is all about the craft of writing.  Heiddiz describes her one goal in life as “simple”: making a difference in the world using the skills and talents that God gave her. Besides blogging, this leading lady is also working on a lesson book for single moms with quotes, encouragement and therapeutic interventions to get them through the challenges of being a single parent.

Yessica G. Guerrero – (@La_Yessi)
The multi-hyphenated super star, Yessica with a Y, is a home grown Chicagoan who wears multiple hats in the digital world.  She recently started working with the Chicago-based startup company Pegmo.com, where people can connect and engage with businesses they are loyal to by completing action pegs to earn rewards.  She’s also blogging for A Tale of Two Chicas, a joint blog with a twenty something year old friend, her same age in case you’re wondering, who lives in Pittsburgh, and together they compare their lives as Latinas from two very different cities.  She’s an active tuitera as @La_Yessi and likes to tweet about everything and anything related to social media, advertising, Chicago, and everyday thoughts.  Never one to take a long break, La Yessi is also working on developing another blog onYessica.mobi, where she’ll write about local and international marketing/advertising campaigns, analyzing them from a millennial perspective.  When Yessica is not “wired in” online she practices bikram yoga 4 days a week and takes time to travel as much as she can to new cities and countries.  She’s truly becoming an international sensation.  JLO watch out!

Carlos Macias – (@thecarlitosway)
And the Carlito’s way it shall be!  So you know how in every ensemble cast there is always, and I do mean always, a natural born leader who just takes on the role, no questions asked, be it for his natural abilities or his hard earned skills?  Well that person would be Carlos.  The Colombian-born journalist from New York is a Customer Relations Rep for Consumer Reports magazine, and a very proud, 100 percent Latino.  He’s also a contributor at Being Latino Online Magazine, a LATISM activist, and the president of PorColombia (www.PorColombia.net or http://www.facebook.com/PorColombia), an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing career development opportunities for college students and young professionals.  During his three years tenure with this organization, Carlos has worked very hard to change the negative perception that some have about Colombia.  A proud member of the LGBT community, Carlos is a big fan of #chancletazos, #wepawednesdays and LATISM’s Thursday Fiestas, and firmly believes in his personal motto, even though he acknowledges it’s a little dramatic: “if you don’t live to serve, you don’t deserve to live.”  More about Carlos: “Personally, I love a good conversation, on and off line, over any fancy party.  I admire people that are committed to serve their communities, gente sencilla, with good sense of humor and with passion about their lives.  I love to cook, watch a good movie with a bag of Cheetos in my hands and to smile without any apparent reason at all.”  You will like him on Facebook.

Alexandra M. Landeros – (@UndercoverMexi)
And finally, but of course not least, the artist in the bunch.  La mera thespian!  Alexandra M. Landeros (aka Undercover Mexican Girl) has been writing as long as she can remember.  As a kid, she’d make her own books – complete with binding – filling them with stories and drawings to fulfill her passion for the written word. Today, she blogs and utilizes social media to satisfy her unquenchable urge to let her voice be heard through writing.  Aside from her own blog, she has a monthly column in TODO Austin and has been a guest writer on TacoJournalism.com and SomosTejanos.org. Alexandra also works as the PR & Marketing Director for Descuento Libre in Austin, a discount service company for Latinos, and, most recently, she’s also been selected as a Social Media Ambassador for the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce!  If possible, she’d like to invent the 48-hour day to make time for making short films, music playing (violin), gardening, and practicing sustainable living.  She dreams of one day building her home from scratch in the West Texas desert and living off the land.  Alexandra is Great!


Are there any other tweeps you believe should be in this list? Is it YOU? Tell us about it in the comments below and we’ll feature them/you in an upcoming Feature Friday!! 

About The Author:
Juan Alanis (@juanofwords) is a South Texas based writer living in Houston who owns and operates the blog www.JuanofWords.com.  You can find him on Facebook, where he’s always up to something “bien Latino” at http://www.facebook.com/juanofwordsblog . Also, don’t miss Juan’s hilarious misadventures, personal vlogs and random thoughts on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Juanofwords





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