Talk:'Top Model' winner Jaslene Gonzalez on her career and being a Latina role model
Interview done between Sandra Ordonez (WikiBlue, in St. Petersburg, Florida) and Jaslene Gonzalez (in New York City) by phone on February 5, 2008. TheCustomOfLife - (talk) 05:15, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
1) How did your family end up in Chicago? What were the benefits and negatives of growing up there?
I was born and raised in Chicago. My mom was born in Boston and my dad was born in Puerto Rico.
I had a humble beginning. I was a dancer for 12 years and life revolved around dancing. My grandfather was the director of a local dancing group. I was a very active girl, and was always involved with my grandfather's dance studio. The whole family was. My aunts, my cousins – everyone took part in performances and were involved in the group.
I loved the city. It was fun. I went to an all girl catholic school and grew up with tons of family. The time I spent there was great. I would like to raise my own children there in fact. Like any other place, there were some bad influences, but thats anywhere.
My family was very close knit and supportive. They were involved in my life everyday. So there was so much joy in every little occasion.
We were always constantly traveling. We traveled to Mexico to poor villages where we gave performances to give back to the community.
I am very close to them. Every Sunday we would go to my grandmother's house where we would hand out together. Of course, she always cooked the best food. We enjoyed being around each other and being together.
My grandfather's dance troop was called “Viva la Gente.” We had kids anywhere from 5 to 25 years old, that participated in annual concerts. We invited everyone – family,
Grandfather dance troop was called Viva la Gente. We participated in annual concerts, invited community, family and friends. We brought people. We were friends with other groups. He ran it for many years. Thats how we spent our summers, and we looked forward to being outside, dancing salsa hip hop, merengue. Getting everyone involved was a thrill.
2) What challenges did you face growing up? Why do you think you overcame them? And what advice do you have for women that might be facing the same type of challenges
Being a minority its a challenge no matter what. I take pride in being a Latina. I don't it as a challenge. Initially, it is a challenge. I love being Latina, and everything that it entails. I want to seen like a human being. We are beautiful women. We are entrepreneurs. They carrying a lot of responsibility and they are doing an amazing job, and there are so many people that can follow in their steps, and become the next JLo, or Tyrak Banks, Latina style. Believe in yourself, in the power a woman has, As a Latina you have an advantage being a Latina. Not only do you have this corporate job, but you can relate to many groups as a person.
3) Do you think that current fashion industry forces Latina models to change certain aspects about themselves that may be accepted or celebrated in our cultures?
I believe in what I do. Modeling is a difficult job because of what you go through, 80% of the time is its a no. So you have to walk, deliver good angles. When I go in, I go in like me, I don't have to change anything. Any time I get a chance to show who I am, I do. I am a spanish girl, trying to pursue my dreams. I try to be the best I can be. Women should always be themselves. I had to build a character for the show, I stay true to myself, I show them the light inside. On a real note, for you to be yourself and be comfortable in your own skin, is the most beautiful thing. You can tell in the energy when someone feels that way.
4) You mentioned in a previous interview that you were involved in an abusive relationship. You also partnered up with Liz Claiborne and the National Domestic Violence Hotline to spread awareness about teen dating violence.
If there is a will, there is a way. Having a dream and having a goal in life, is the most important thing I did in my life. Because of that i maneuvered my way to that dream. I knew i was better than that, I wanted to be happier. Because of that I got involved in top model. I imagined how cool it would be to be the first Latina to win. I went in there, without knowing that I was in an abusive relationship. They were the ones that brought that up to me. On ANTM they gave us interviews. They were the ones after the interviews, they felt i was emotionally destroyed, they wanted me to get support. Thats when it really dawned on me that i was in situation that could ruin my life. I had family and friends that supported me. I always remembered I had people that cared for me, and wanted a better life for me.
We had a several meetings with Liz Claiborne, and they asked me to be a spokesperson. I was honored. I was so happy and blessed to be able to help women, to have that title. Its something I want to do, besides modeling. I knew I was a role model, and showed that dreams come true. That you can be someone powerful, no matter where you come from.
Liz Claiborne asked me to speak at many events. I enjoyed sharing personal experience because I can educate them, but I can also save someone's life. Its something precious. Its a gift. I'm happy i have that. I know who i am, what I want, and what I can do with my life.
Liz Clairborne gave me that opportunity. We are out and educating people about domestic violence, giving all the help we can give. We have a high rate of people who are calling and seeking help, we try to minimize the number.
5) What do you think makes a woman beautiful? What characteristics do you find beautiful in women you know?
I find women beautiful. I find a girl with no makeup, no worrying about her style and appearance, I find that sexy. I find confidence beautiful. When a girl can carry herself strong and confident, I find that beautiful. Being yourself, being who you are, I think thats beautiful. It is so simple. Its being natural and confident.
6) How did your family react to your success. What Latin T.V. show would your grandparents like to see you on?
There is a show called Cristina. She is the Spanish Oprah. They would love for me to come out in that T.V. show.
My family is so funny. They are so happy. I've never seen them so full of life. My mom acts like she won. My grandmother screams “mi flaca” every time she see me. They are so proud. Especially my grandparents. I was practically raised by them. To see them see you so happy and successful, there couldn't be a better feeling, “
7) What are your future plans? Where would you like to be in 10 years?
I'm trying to grace of all magazine, but also dedicate myself to helping young teens develop self growth and esteem.
I want to be the entrepreneur and the super model, and give as much as I can.
Every time I wake up, God gives me the opportunity to be a better me. Life gets better as it goes by.
8) What advice do you have for women?
I have two things. Nurture your mind with positive thoughts. All you need in life is to identify the principles in life you value: integrity, determination good work ethic. They are principles that if you can identify, you should push forward with them. Nothing should be so difficult, when you are confident with yourself. You will be fine. Also, check your surroundings, because it influences who you are. My surrounding had nothing to do with what I was reaching for, thats why I moved to N.Y. Now I'm full of life. Stay grounded. Have some spiritual background. My believe in God leads me through life. This is what worked for me.
This article has ruined the experience for all non-american viewers of the tv show as they are aired much later outside of the US. There should of been a warning and the headline should not of been so revealing. - 18.104.22.168 01:54, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
- This aired nine months ago in the United States. I don't think we should delay reporting because other countries are behind the ball and don't air a popular TV show for years after the actual event. It's not my bad, it's the TV stations in those countries. TheCustomOfLife - (talk) 02:05, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
- I noticed this IP is from Australia. It's already aired on the pay channel FOX8 there. It won't be on free TV for a while but it's already aired in Australia if you have the channel. TheCustomOfLife - (talk) 06:28, 16 February 2008 (UTC)