Netflix greenlights series based on Selena, the ‘Queen of Tejano Music’

LinkedIn

“Selena will always have a lasting place in music history and we feel great responsibility to do justice to her memory,” said Selena’s sister.

Netflix has ordered a scripted drama series based on the life of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla.

The series is described as a coming of age story following Selena as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching and life-changing choices she and her family have to make as they navigate success, family, and music.

“Selena will always have a lasting place in music history and we feel great responsibility to do justice to her memory,” said Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s sister. “With this series, viewers will finally get the full history of Selena, our family, and the impact she has had on all of our lives. We are excited to partner with Campanario and Netflix to give fans a never-before-seen glimpse at our story and highlight why Selena will remain a legend for generations to come.”

Moises Zamora will serve as writer and executive producer on the series. Jaime Davila, Rico Martinez, Suzette Quintanilla, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., and Simran A. Singh will also executive produce. Campanario Entertainment will produce. The majority of the creative team behind this series previously secured a put pilot commitment at ABC for a series inspired by the musical legacy of Selena back in January.

“Selena and the entire Quintanilla family are an inspiration to many and especially to me, a millennial of the same heritage,” said Jaime Davila, president of Campanario Entertainment. “Selena’s career achievements are legendary, but our scripted series will focus on the incredible story of a Mexican-American family and how an extraordinary young woman transcended categories and borders to become a global star. I can’t imagine a better partner than Netflix to celebrate Selena and her family’s lives.”

Continue onto NBC Latino to read the complete article.

Young adults are hyped for ‘Carmen Sandiego’ Netflix series with ‘badass Latina’

LinkedIn

“When I see that cute little girl with her pretty brown skin, it makes me melt,” said actress Gina Rodriguez, who is Carmen in the animated series.

Carmen Sandiego and Maria Vargas Aponte don’t have much in common. One is a fictional criminal mastermind who travels the world to avoid capture, while the other is a very real Texas-based video game blogger who makes an honest living as a computer engineer.

But when Netflix released the trailer for its new series “Carmen Sandiego,” which drops on Jan. 18 and features actress Gina Rodriguez as the voice of the main character, Vargas Aponte watched it “more than 15 times.”

Like other young adults who grew up in the 1980s and ’90s loving computers and gaming, Vargas Aponte relates to Carmen for many reasons, though one sticks out.

“Many Latina characters are secondary characters, but with Carmen Sandiego, we have this badass Latina character,” said Vargas Aponte, 28, who grew up playing a version of the “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” computer game.

Rodriguez, a native of Chicago who is of Puerto Rican descent, views her character as one that bridges cultures, something that resonates among the increasingly diverse younger generations.

“Carmen gets to travel to so many different places all over the world, and you see her empathy and desire to learn other people’s languages and cultures and religions, and she teaches that,” Rodriguez said. “The show fuses two things I love the most, which is art and education, and when I see that cute little girl with her pretty brown skin, it makes me melt. I almost want to cry when I think about it.”

Carmen Sandiego was introduced to the world in 1985 as a character in a computer game.

The character has since appeared in multiple iterations of the game, such as “Where in the U.S. Is Carmen Sandiego?”; “Where in Europe Is Carmen Sandiego?”; “Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?” and others.

The character also inspired a PBS game show where middle-schoolers won prizes for successfully answering questions about geography, as well as an animated television series, “Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?” Rita Moreno was nominated for three Daytime Emmys for her voice work as Carmen in the latter series. On Thursday, fans found out that Moreno will be voicing the character of Cookie Booker in a few episodes of the new series.

Duane Capizzi, one of the new show’s executive producers, told Variety that “Gina just wigged out at the prospect of having both Carmens in our show, past and present.”

Though Carmen Sandiego was the center of a sprawling franchise, she was perhaps best known to young people like Vargas Apointe from the educational computer games where she first appeared — and where there were hardly any young women of color.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

First LGBTQ Latinx Talk Show on Nationwide Television

LinkedIn

LATV Network, the original national, bicultural television network — which recently kicked off its second decade of programming — is excited to announce the launch of its groundbreaking weekly talk show “Glitterbomb”, premiering on the network this fall.

“Glitterbomb” is an explosive pop-culture talk show hosted by an entirely gay, Latino, Hollywood-insider panel featuring “Entertainment Weekly” senior editor Patrick Gomez, iHeartRadio personality Alexander Rodriguez, and actor Enrique Sapene.

Their queer Latino perspective — drizzled with wit, humor and first-hand insight into A-lister life — gives “Glitterbomb” a festive and unique flavor that everyone can enjoy. Combining their experience in acting, radio and journalism, there’s no subject too hot to handle and no scandal too spicy to dig into.

“The LGBTQ Latino community has, for too long, been underserved,” says Luca Bentivoglio, LATV’s COO and Head of Programming. “LATV is proud to foster an environment of inclusivity and we are thrilled to be a pioneer in LGBTQ Latino programming by airing the first-ever talk show with an entirely gay Latino cast. As part of our network’s mission to be as inclusive as possible, ‘Glitterbomb’ is a shining example of our network’s commitment to serving diverse and alternative audiences.”

Produced at LATV’s state-of-the-art HD studios in Los Angeles, “Glitterbomb” is an English-language show that features heated discussions about the latest in pop culture news and trends; provides an inside look at the latest celebrity hot spots and events; and welcomes some of the biggest names in entertainment.

“We could not be happier that LATV has given three gay Latinos a platform as big as ‘Glitterbomb,'” co-hosts Gomez, Rodriguez, and Sapene say in a joint statement. “But we hope that people of all races, genders, and orientations will see a bit of themselves in our show — or, at the very least, have a good time watching it!”

About LATV:

LATV is the only remaining Latino-owned TV network in the Hispanic television space. Its programming primarily targets U.S.-born Latinos and the coveted bicultural 18-49 Latino demographic, with content that features originally-produced shows in Los Angeles, as well as licensed content that has never before been seen in the U.S. For more go to LATV.com.

About the hosts:

PATRICK GOMEZ is currently a Senior Editor at “Entertainment Weekly”. As a veteran “People” magazine writer and member of the Television Critics Association, the Texas native has appeared on “Today”, “Extra!”, “Access Hollywood”, “E! News”, HLN’s “Michaela”, and “Nightline” and can be seen frequently on “Good Morning America”.

ALEXANDER RODRIGUEZ is an on-air personality and entertainer. His sense of humor shines on his nationally syndicated radio show, “On The Rocks”, “where celebrities and cocktails” on iHeartRadio and Universal Broadcasting Network. The show is broadcast live weekly from Sunset Gower Studios in the heart of Hollywood. The Southern California native also serves as Entertainment Editor for “Bear World Magazine”, a national LGBT online media source.

ENRIQUE SAPENE is an actor, host and producer. The Venezuela native has entertained audiences internationally as a reporter on Univision, NBC, ABC and Telemundo. As an actor, he has recurred on the Amazon Prime series “Borderline” and his telenovelas ” Pecadora”, “El Alma Herida”, “Eva la Trailera”  and “Tomame o Dejame” have sold worldwide. In 2017, Enrique joined the cast of the docu-series “My Life is a Telenovela”, which aired on WEtv and E! Latin America and is currently available on Hulu.

Discovery en Español Launches “GO Originales” Digital Content Made Exclusively For Its GO App

LinkedIn

Discovery en Español announced today the launch of “GO Originales”, a series of short-form content only available on the Discovery en Español GO App. The new digital programming lineup will focus on genres including Auto, Adventure, Food, Travel and Lifestyle, as well as Tech and Innovation. Discovery en Español GO currently features more than 1,600 hours of content, including full seasons and series of fan favorite shows.

“There has been a steady demand from advertisers for original digital premium content that delivers a great story, said David Tardio, Vice President of Ad Sales, Discovery U.S. Hispanic. “With GO Originales our goal is to satisfy this need and open the doors to more innovative opportunities for clients to connect with Hispanic audiences in their language and screens of choice.”

GO Originales will kick off this month with eight original series, each with a running time between
7 to 12 minutes. The lineup includes:

Auto and Adventure

Enfangados: The show immerses viewers in the world of off-roading in the mud beyond the adventure and deep into the depths of its community, heritage and family. Duration: 10 minutes.

Chrome divas: This episodic series provides an inside look at this all-female motorcycle club – as they struggle to juggle mommy duties and their careers with their thirst for adventure and passion for adrenaline. Duration: 10 minutes.

Conóceme América: Sales guru and motivational coach Wilder “Willy” Rizo embarks on a mission to meet a million people in America. To do this, Willy sells his house and decides to travel in an RV with his family to explore the people and towns of North America. Duration: 8 minutes.

Food, Travel and Lifestyle

Viaja X menos: Mexican-born Alex Tienda, a free-spirited adventurer with over half a million followers on YouTube takes audiences along on his adventures as he visits different corners of the country. His goal is to show viewers how they can explore top U.S. destinations in 48 hours while on a budget. Duration: 10 minutes.

Gastronomía clandestina: Actor, presenter, chef, and former MasterChef Latino runner up, Andrés de Oliveira takes viewers on an underground foodie adventure to discover pop-up restaurants and secret, password required dining establishments. Duration: 10 minutes.

De chuparse los dedos: Grace Ramirez, a former MasterChef USA contestant and creator of the award-winning brand La Latina, tours the U.S. in search of the most finger-licking finger food in the country. Duration: 10 minutes.

Sigue sus pasos: Cristina Sarnoff, an American-Cuban documentary filmmaker born in
New York City tracks the morning rituals of inspiring Hispanics. The shorts follow how these individuals kick start their day to set themselves up for success. Duration: 8 minutes.

Tech and Innovation

TEC + Humanas: Award-winning TV network personality Poncho de Anda delves into how innovative Latinos are fusing the world of technology and humanity. The show aims to inspire and encourage viewers to continue to push technological advancements, while keeping in touch with the human aspect. Duration: 7 minutes.

The Discovery en Español GO App is available on iOS and Android platforms and launching later this month on Roku and Amazon Fire. Aside from GO Originales, other App content includes live and next-day anytime, anywhere access to series and specials, including past seasons of popular network shows like Mexicánicos, Alaska: la última frontera, and Crimen casi perfecto among others.

The U.S. Hispanic GO Apps (Discovery en Español and Discovery Familia GO) have seen consistent growth since launching last year with an average monthly growth of +21% in users +34% in streams. 

About Discovery en Español

Discovery en Español connects Spanish-speaking viewers in the U.S. to the world and all its wonder and possibilities. It provides quality programming focusing on bold storytelling across core genres including adventure, ingenuity, natural history, investigation and current affairs. Created by Discovery Communications, Discovery en Español is widely distributed on Hispanic tier packages throughout the country. It also reaches audiences across screens on the ‘’Discovery en Español GO’’TV Everywhere app. For more information, please follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/discoveryenespanol, Twitter @DiscoveryenESP and Instagram @discoveryenespanol.

Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Named One of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business

LinkedIn

Sylvia Acevedo has spearheaded bold initiatives and lead innovative industry collaborations as CEO of the world’s preeminent leadership organization for girls.

Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), was today named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, a powerful group of thought leaders from around the world. The rocket scientist, entrepreneur, and lifelong Girl Scout was cited for her vision and creativity—evident in GSUSA’s forward-thinking programming in STEM and the outdoors and such timely initiatives as the G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts, which aims to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls to lead through civic action; and the Girl Scout Network on LinkedIn, which invites the organization’s more than 50 million alums to connect with one another to enhance their career development.

When Sylvia Acevedo was a girl in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a Girl Scout troop leader encouraged her to build a model rocket for a science badge, sparking a lifelong passion. Many years after that pivotal experience, Acevedo, a true go-getter, became a rocket scientist. Throughout her career she held leadership positions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, IBM, Apple, Autodesk, and Dell. Since taking on the role of interim CEO of GSUSA in 2016 followed by permanent CEO in 2017, she has brought her bold and innovative thinking to the 106-year-old organization, infusing Girl Scout programming with STEM in response to girls’ requests as well as the cultural and economic need to prepare more girls in the U.S. for STEM careers.

“To be included in this group of incredible change-makers is a true honor,” said Sylvia Acevedo. “The modern world advances rapidly, and I am committed to making sure girls have a hand in designing our collective future. At Girl Scouts, we know that girls are America’s great untapped resource, and we’re unleashing their creative potential so that they can lead and succeed in whatever path they choose. No matter what a girl’s interests—technology, music, medicine, finance, civic leadership, the military, entrepreneurship—she can use the skills she builds at Girl Scouts to be a force for good and make a creative and real impact on her community, the country, and the world.”

Continue onto PR Newswire to read the complete article.

Pat Manuel will make history as the first transgender male to fight professionally in the U.S.

LinkedIn

When Patricio Manuel steps through the ropes and into the boxing ring just after 6 p.m. Saturday, few in the crowd at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio will know what a long and torturous trek he made to get there.

They won’t know about the resistance overcome or the months of physical rehab endured. They won’t know how hard it was to get those chiseled biceps atop a super featherweight’s thin frame. They may not even know that, at 33, an age when undefeated champions Rocky Marciano and Andre Ward had already retired, Manuel will be making his pro debut.

And if they don’t know any of that, they surely won’t know that Patricio used to be Patricia — he was a she — and in the four-round bout against Hugo Aguilar, a journeyman boxer from Mexico, Manuel will make history as the first transgender male to fight professionally in the U.S.

“It feels like a long time coming,” said Manuel, who fought for the last time as a female in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. “But I’m still like, ‘Wow, we’re finally here. Finally at this point.’

“I just feel incredibly fortunate to be in this position. To be able to enjoy all the sacrifice, all the work, all the doubt that came through over the years to really be here in this moment.”

If you feel like you’ve read this story before, it may be because you have. Fifteen months ago, after losing his coach, getting kicked out of a gym and seeing his dream of fighting as a man stymied by bureaucracy — no one was quite sure how to license a transgender boxer — Manuel split two amateur bouts and was set to turn pro before suffering a broken bone and torn ligament in his right thumb.

Eric Gomez also read that story and as president of Golden Boy, Oscar de la Hoya’s boxing promotion company, he was uniquely positioned to help.

“It really inspired me,” he said. “This is a story that is bigger than boxing. It’s a very tough sport. You compound that with what Pat went through. The inner struggles, the process of transition and to keep wanting to fight?

“Just that drive is impressive. It’s very different than any athlete I’ve met. And I’ve been doing this for 20 years.”

So Gomez — along with a number of politicians, including state assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Dean Grafilo, director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs — cut through the red tape to help get Manuel licensed. Golden Boy then arranged a bout, matching Manuel against the winless Aguilar (0-5) on an eight-fight card topped by a super featherweight world championship elimination bout matching Rene Alvarado of Nicaragua against Carlos Morales of Los Angeles.

“We haven’t talked about doing any more fights,” Gomez said. “His dream was to debut as a professional fighter. Everybody has a right to follow their dreams. Just to be part of this is special for me.”

Manuel, whose ancestry is Irish, Mexican and black, never really knew his father. But his mother, Loretta Butler, and grandmother Patricia Jean Butler were never far away, supporting Manuel through childhood in Gardena and a boxing career that included almost as many injuries as bouts.

And all the while, they sensed something was different about young Patricia, who was named for her grandmother. She preferred boys’ clothes to dresses, kept her hair short and played with action figures rather than Barbie dolls.

“Every Christmas I would be buying toys at Toys ‘R’ Us and everybody would say, ‘Boys at home, huh?’” Loretta Butler remembered.

So one winter Manuel’s grandmother got creative with her gift-giving, buying Patricia a boxing club membership. Although female fighters were rare, Manuel took to the sport and its hyper-masculine ambience quickly, moving to the Commerce Boxing Club and spending long hours working with Roberto Luna, who trained three Olympians.

Manuel was to be his fourth. But in the 2012 women’s Olympic Trials, Manuel had to withdraw after one bout — a one-sided lightweight loss to Florida’s Tiara Brown — because of a shoulder injury.

Even before the trials, Manuel had thought of transitioning to male, but the hope of representing the U.S. in the first Olympic boxing tournament for women held him back. After the trials, there was no reason to wait. On the trip home, Manuel told Butler that her daughter would soon become her son — then waited for the response.

It was one not of surprise but relief.

“Pat has always been a male,” his mother says. “It’s just Pat was not assigned properly at birth.”

Continue onto the Los Angeles Times to read the complete article.

Smithsonian will have its first permanent Latino gallery

LinkedIn

“Latino history is American history,” said Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center.

In a first for the country, a permanent gallery dedicated to the Latino experience will open in the Smithsonian National Museum of American history, Smithsonian officials announced Thursday.

The Molina Family Gallery will open in 2021, thanks to a $10 million gift from the California family whose name the gallery will carry.

The space will be dedicated to celebrating the experiences and history of U.S. Latinos and feature 4,500 square feet of bilingual stories for all audiences.

“We’re thrilled to finally be realizing the dream of having a Latino gallery at the Smithsonian,” said Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center.

Access to the gallery will not be limited to those who can visit the physical space. The Molina Family Gallery will also have a distance-learning component where people will be able to learn about Latino history from anywhere around the world through podcasts, mobile broadcasts and a forthcoming Smithsonian Latino Center app.

Although most of the exhibits are still in development, the planned inaugural exhibition, “Making Home: Latino Stories of Community and Belonging,” will examine how Latino culture has shaped the United States. The gallery will include rotating exhibitions featuring multimedia activities, first-person narratives, objects and other interactive content.

Continue onto NBC Latino to read the complete article.

From Makeup Artist To Barrier-Breaking Model

LinkedIn

When Denise Bidot was 18 years old she had one dream — to become an actress. Her first baby step towards that dream was to move from her native Florida to LA. Her first encounter with how the best dreams are sometimes the ones we stumble upon was when her career as an actress took a detour and instead found her becoming a makeup artist.

“One day, [at a shoot where I was the makeup artist] a photographer asked me if I’d ever modeled before and if she could take my photos,” shares Bidot. “I was at a crossroads in my life and thought what do I have to lose? Sometimes life guides you on a path so that you can find yourself.”

Bidot’s path since then has found her breaking barriers as the first Latina plus-size model to walk NYFW runways and being featured in campaigns for everyone from Target to Nordstrom. Tapping into her Latinx roots and the pay-it-forward values she was raised on, Bidot has also founded “No Wrong Way Movement” — a body positive Instagram account that celebrates that “there is no wrong way to be a woman.”

She currently champions all of these overlapping values as one of the judges on Univision’s Nuestra Belleza Latina, the Spanish-network’s longest-running talent competition, which premieres its final episode of its revamped season this Sunday.

I’ve been part of NBL’s creative board and was able to give input when the show was being reimagined,” notes Bidot. “I wanted to make my mark and ensure that the modern Latina woman was reflected on the show. When you look at the three NBL finalists, you see diverse representation of Latinas. This show has even inspired my own daughter who is Afro-Latina to speak Spanish as she sees more representation on television.”

Below Bidot shares advice she has for Latinxs who are looking to break into the modeling industry, her tips on negotiating, and why she started “No Wrong Way Movement.”

Vivian Nunez: What helped you when learning how to navigate the business side of the modeling world?

Denise Bidot:What has helped me the most to navigate the business side of the modeling world was having open conversations with colleagues. When I first started out, I asked other models about compensation and started learning more about the business and uncovering the truth. Having these open dialogues helped me understand more about the business side.

I also talked to my aunt who is a doctor and had her own business. She advised me on how to start my own business. She taught be how to be business savvy, how to save and be smart about this business.

Nunez: What has been your biggest lesson learned through this season of Nuestra Belleza Latina? 

Bidot: The biggest lesson I’ve learned through this season is really from watching the girls and how they deal with the different challenges they encounter on a weekly basis. Often in life, you get thrown curveballs and how you handle them and how you bounce back from them, will define who you are. I made a special connection with many of the contestants on the show and I will continue to follow their careers and mentor them long after the show is over.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Loved Rita Moreno in ‘West Side Story?’ You can see her again, in the Spielberg remake

LinkedIn

“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” said the legendary Puerto Rican actress.

It appears Rita Moreno took the West Side Story lyrics “I’ll never stop saying Maria!” to heart. The award-winning actress recently announced that she will not only be starring in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, but she will also be an Executive Producer of the film.

The Puerto Rican actress captured the hearts of audiences with her performance as Anita in the 1959 version of West Side Story, a role which landed her an Academy Award. But in this go-around she will play the role of Valentina, a reimagined version of Doc, the owner of the corner store where Tony works.

Moreno currently portrays Lydia on the hit Netflix show One Day At A Time, a sitcom about a Cuban-American family grappling with immigration, generational differences, PTSD and parental issues. She has also recently appeared as a guest star on Jane the Virgin, Frankie and Grace and Getting On.

Moreno is one of 15 actresses to achieve EGOT status — she’s won an Emmy, a Grammy, and Oscar and a Tony — yet she says she herself is surprised to be returning to West Side Story.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” said Moreno in a statement. “And to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling! … I am tingling!”

Steven Spielberg envisioned Moreno as part of his West Side Story remake from the beginning. He said he was so moved by her performance as Anita in the original version that he and his team created an original role for her.

Continue onto NBC Latino to read the complete article.

ABC Is Developing Brooklyn-Set Latino Web Series ‘East WillyB’ Into a TV Show

LinkedIn

Forget pilots. Apparently, if you want your TV shows to star non-white leads, you’re better off making a web series first and getting a network to pick it up later. It worked for Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure). And for Fatimah Asghar (whose Brown Girls is also being developed by HBO). It was only time a kickass Latino project would be next. More than six years since Julia Ahumada Grob and Yamin Segal first released their web series East WillyBABC has put their half-hour comedy into development.

Before Gente-fied was tackling gentrification, before High and Mighty was putting young Latino talent front and center, before Grown was telling local stories in urban areas, there was East WillyB. The pioneering web series was a kind of Latino Cheers set in Bushwick. It starred Flaco Navaja as Willy Jr., who runs a bar in the quickly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood. As he sees the barrio around him changing and his arch-nemesis (who stole his gf Maggie) fully taking advantage of the new hipster crowd in a competing bar, Willy Jr. finds himself needing to face the music lest he lose the two things he loves most. Throughout its two-season run the salsa-infused series showed the full breadth of the Latino experience, with characters from all over: Mexican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Puerto Rican and even some halfsies. Moreover, it was warmly received by the New York community it was representing; many of whom are now celebrating the ABC news.

“When we created this show as a web series we did so by using our grit, emptying our piggy banks, and paying our cast and crew with our tia’s arroz con pollo,” said show creators Grob and Segal. “To have the opportunity to bring an authentic Brooklyn story to television is a dream come true for two New York kids raised on city stoops.”

Continue onto Remezcla to read the complete article.

Alex Rodriguez: From Baseball Star to Business Supernova

LinkedIn
MLB player Alex Rodriguez attends the 2017 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center on December 4, 2016 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize)

By Brady Rhoades

Did you know that Hispanics contribute $1 trillion to the economy every year?

Two years into his second career as a business executive and baseball analyst, Alex Rodriguez—always a student, always a numbers cruncher—knows all too well.

And he’s looking ahead.

“I think… we should be having really smart conversations on how to double that number,” he said.

Rodriguez was one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history, finishing his career with 696 dingers and winning a World Series with the fabled New York Yankees, but this is A-Rod 2.0.

Owner and CEO of A-Rod Corp. Investor. The first Hispanic to swim with the big fish on Shark Tank.

Rodriguez has gone from baseball star to business supernova.

“When people think about my career, they think about the championships, the RBIs, the home runs, but what they don’t realize is that I’m fifth all-time in striking out, so that means I have a PhD in failing,” Rodriguez, 43, said. “But I also have a master’s in getting back up and that’s what America is all about: getting back up, not getting defined by your mistakes. That’s what I try to push and encourage.”

Rodriguez, the father of two daughters, started A-Rod Corp, a private holding company with multiple businesses in the United States and Latin America, when he was 26. His motivation? “Fear.” He’d already seen too many players go broke.

His first investment was in a type of infrastructure he knew all about from his modest childhood: rental properties.

New York Yankees vs New York Mets -
New York Yankees batter Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out at Shea Stadium, Saturday, May 19, 2006, in Flushing, New York. The Yankees lost 7-6. (Photo by Jim Rogash/WireImage)

“We find ’em, we vet ’em, we underwrite ’em, we close ’em, we manage ’em, and then we rehab ’em,” he said. “We buy in secondary markets where job growth is growing. Millennials don’t want to own a house. They want to own an app. The last five or six years have been very healthy in the multifamily apartment sector.”

Today, A-Rod Corp owns or manages about 20,000 properties in 12 states and has branched out to fitness centers and automotive dealerships. The man who made hundreds of millions in his playing days also invests in Google, Amazon, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, among others.

He espoused his investing strategy on his first appearance as a guest judge on Shark Tank.

“I always invest in jockeys, not horses, because business—like sports—is just about people and I always tell people that I want entrepreneurs and partners with a PhD, not from Harvard or Yale, which is nice, too, but I mean poor, hungry and driven. I want entrepreneurs that are scrappy, that are gritty, and that can think outside the box, and that are winning players.”

Rodriguez retired from Major League Baseball after the 2016 season, and after Sports Illustrated named him one of the 30 most influential Hispanics in sports. The shortstop/third baseman won three MVP awards, was named to 14 all-star teams, and knocked out 3,115 hits in a 22-year career.

He was known for putting up staggering numbers; he was also revered as a student of the game.

He had been in business for years while he played for Seattle, Texas, and New York. He even took marketing classes at the University of Miami and value investing at Columbia University.

Now, it was time to do a deep dive into business. Rodriguez did what he’d done in sports: stepped into circles of greatness.

He asked questions. He listened.

His mentors include Lennar CEO Stuart Miller, JPMorgan Asset Management CEO Mary Erdoes, billionaire Warren Buffett, and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who once said Rodriguez’ most impressive quality was “incessant curiosity.”

Rodriguez has never forgotten—and always applied—a simple lesson about business he received from Buffett: Never personally guarantee any debt and never hold too much cash, but rather put your money in great businesses.

Buffett also taught him that you can be a great businessman and a great guy.

“Always be a gentleman,” Buffett told him.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ, BARBARA CORCORAN, MARK CUBAN
SHARK TANK -“Episode 901” – Sharks include; Alex Rodriguez, Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban. Photo: ABC/EDDY CHEN

“That was simple, but it was genius,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez first appeared on Shark Tank in 2017 and is returning as a guest judge for its tenth season.

As usual, he looked like a natural, as if he’d been swimming in those waters all his life. Truth be told, his success is a result of hard work and preparation.

He says starring on the show with the likes of Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner is a thrill.

“Of course, being the first Hispanic on Shark Tank is something to be really proud of,” he said.

In one of his investment victories, Rodriguez teamed up with Cuban to invest $150,000—for a 15 percent stake—in an Ice Shaker business, which sells insulated bottles that are an upscale version of plastic cups used to mix up protein shakes.

Chris Gronkowski—brother of famous New England Patriot Rob—said Ice Shaker sold about $80,000 worth of shakers in the first few months after he, Rob, and his three other brothers appeared on Shark Tank.

Rodriguez has stayed involved in baseball, honing his skills as a broadcaster for FOX before ESPN named him their lead analyst in early 2018. During his playing days, Rodriguez was versatile enough to switch from shortstop to third base when he joined the Yankees. As a broadcaster, he seamlessly goes from color commentator during games to studio analyst.

“It’s an exciting time in baseball and now I get that front row seat to tell that the story,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez has proved to be studied, insightful, and articulate in his off-the-field role. Listen to him for ten minutes and you’re bound to learn something about the national pastime. Recently, in a studio appearance on the morning sports show Get Up!, Rodriguez named the five greatest hitters he’d ever seen.

His take went viral. Many agreed. Many disagreed. Nobody questioned his baseball acumen, or his reasoned arguments, however.

For Rodriguez, life is never business as usual. There’s parenting, and there’s giving back to the community.

Rodriguez has spearheaded the Alex Rodriguez All-Stars in Education Scholars, offering hundreds

Alex Rodriguez on the phone doing business
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 11: Baseball player Alex Rodriguez attends the annual Charity Day. (Photo by Mike McGregor/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)

of thousands in scholarship money to those determined to be the first in their families to earn a college degree.

He also premiered a TV show called Back in the Game earlier this year, designed to help athletes who are down on their luck, financially speaking. His co-star? Former NFL great and current TV superstar Michael Strahan.

“Michael and I, something we’re really passionate about is taking athletes who have run into some bad luck … [and] lend a helping hand and hopefully they can get back on their feet,” Rodriguez said. “If you look at the data, they suggest that a lot of our players are going bankrupt way too soon. You make 90 percent of your money between age 20 to 30. Less than 5 percent of our guys in the major leagues have a college degree. What happens from age 30 to 80?”

Alex Rodriguez seems to have packed several lifetimes into his 43 years. And he’s come a long way from his early life as a child of Dominican immigrants who was raised by a single mother and had to move every 18 months “because the landlord would raise the rent.”

He was born in New York City and spent time in the Dominican Republic and Miami, Florida. He has never forgotten his Hispanic roots.

In 2005, amid confusion about his ethnicity, Rodriguez stated: “I want to say it out loud. I am Dominican.”

He has gone the extra mile to help Dominican baseball players thrive in “The Show.”

When Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, he and Jennifer Lopez visited the country and raised more than $30 million to help victims and rebuild infrastructure.

His mission is to improve financial literacy among Hispanics and athletes in general.

What comes next for A-Rod?

If past is prologue, as Shakespeare said, he’ll surprise us with yet more accomplishments.

If humility is wisdom, as Proverbs says, he’ll continue to grow wiser, because he’s got two secret weapons named Ella and Natasha.

“My girls are great at making fun of dad,” he laughed. “They’re never impressed with anything I do. I love that.”