Sunday, October 31, 2010

Being in Wonderland (HOLA Awards Gala)

Janet Dacal of Broadway's Alice in Wonderland
Lauren Velez, Tony Plana, Jose Yenque, John Quinones, Janet Dacal, Telemundo and Univision were in the same room as me!!! And no one had to kick me out or anything!! 

As you may recall, I attended the HOLA Awards Gala that honored many amazing Latino actors and those in the media

I've talked a lot about being a member of the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors [click here for a refresher]. 

While in law school, I attended an event by the Puerto Rican Bar Association where a member of the Board of Directors from HOLA was speaking. I spoke to him about my interest in entertainment law, and he handed me their press packet.* Fast forward many years later and I became a member of HOLA...not as an attorney, but as an actress.  Life's funny, ain't it?

I went to the HOLA awards and snapped hundreds of pictures and videos until my batteries ran out, acting like these were my kids performing at a school show. Meanwhile I don't know any of these people! But of course I'm hootin' and hollerin' at every award recipient. Why? Because these are mi gente

Here are a few pics of those that received awards: 
Lauren Vélez  
2010 Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence honoree 

John Quiñones
2010 HOLA Excellence in English-Language Media honoree

José Yenque 
2010 HOLA Ilka Award for Humanitarian honoree  

Tony Plana 
2010 Raúl Juliá HOLA Founders Award

Telemundo 47 

(for 45 years of serving the NY metropolitan area’s Latino/Hispanic community) accepted by Jorge Ramos and Odalys Molina

While I was present I heard many speeches and of course, they shared a common thread: how proud they were to be Latino. The feeling of orgullo was enormous. There was also a strong sense of support from their families, and from their colleagues. 

I felt so at home in that room. Not "at home" in the sense that I felt I could talk to everyone around me (although I did help Lauren Velez's mom snap a pic of her family) but at home in the sense that I belonged among these creatives.

Although I didn't network with a soul, I did enjoy listening to the actors speak. I was sitting along side my beautiful date - my mother. And while I was stumbling around with hors d'oeuvres, avoiding the celebrities that were standing all around me, she struck up a conversation with a woman I will never forget. 

This 91 year old Cubana, who looked no older than 75, was sitting with her high heeled legs crossed, hands clasped on her knees, with snow white hair and a broad smile on her elegant face. She was there to support her son (I discovered later that her son is the President of the Board of Directors...the same man who gave me the press kit* on HOLA when I was in law school). 

She had so much spunk, that I felt really inspired. This woman spoke of life and love as a gift. A gift, not to be stored away, but to be enjoyed. While she was speaking with such animation, a part of me felt really good inside. Because for the first time, in pursuit of my acting, life is something that I am truly enjoying. 

Not the glitz and not the glam, but through her, I felt that I was hearing a confirmation from deep inside that let me know I was not falling down a rabbit hole, as it whispered, "you're in the right place, honey."