The curious case of Zoë Saldana

Zoë Saldaña

Yesterday during my regular pedicure at my local nail salon, I picked up a copy of the September issue of Latina Magazine. I used to subscribe years ago and then let my subscription lapse. Aside from the constant code-switching which always felt forced and inauthentic. I don’t dislike code-switching or Spanglish. I speak and write like that, but I also recognize that it’s tough to write and make it feel natural. I did appreciate that their models were often real women and they were not 5’10 and 115 pounds.

I haven’t paid much attention to them lately, at least not positive attention. A few weeks ago, I heard about their inane list on 10 Latinas who have played “the help” in movies or television shows. It was a tie-in to the movie of the same name. For obvious reasons, there was a bit of social media outcry. It wasn’t about the perceived status of maids, nannies or domésticas; their work is valued and important. Instead, the criticism arose from the tone deafness of the article. There was no criticism about the lack of meaningful roles for Latinas and Latinos. The blurb about Lupe Ontiveros mentioned her estimate that she has played a maid 150 times, but was in no way critical of the fact that she didn’t have many other opportunities.

Anyway, as I flipped through the magazine, I checked out the details of Zoë Saldana’s photo shoot. On the same page, they included thumbnails of her previous covers for the magazine in May 2006 (far left above) and June/July 2009 (middle). I was surprised to see the change in skin tone between her first cover and subsequent covers. I know all magazines do a lot of touching up, but it’s interesting to see how much they’ve lightened her up over the years. Way to celebrate Afro-Latinas, Latina Magazine.

Fotos, Listed

31, East Village & NY near misses

31 at S'Mac (macaroni and cheese restaurant)

Things Sean missed after leaving New York and moving to LA:
– Several blizzards (except for the one that delayed his move 3 days)
– The second hottest day in New York City history
– An earthquake
– A hurricane

Things Sean misses about LA and wants to do when we return to NY in the fall:
+ Play football with ZogSports
+ Visit various restaurants
+ Walk/take the train everywhere
+ Wear his fall coats again (he gave them to his brother before he left)
+ Go to happy hour with friends
+ See family, of course
+ Hopefully see the Yankees in the playoffs


Desert blood

This morning on my way to work, I heard a KPCC story by Adolfo Guzmán about the English translation of “Los Muertos” a poem by María Rivera about the thousands of victims of drug violence in Mexico. The poem reads like a litany of cities, towns, victims and the violent acts committed against them. [Los Muertos/The Dead English translation]

In the afternoon, shortly before I left work, I saw Daniel Hernández’s tweets about several deaths after arsonists started a fire Monterrey casino.

“Four armed persons entered and began to say: ‘Everybody leave! Everybody leave!’ ” she said. The woman said she ran out a door to a parking lot, but many others fled to the second floor of the casino.

The witness said the attackers, wearing white masks, did not fire weapons or hurl grenades, as some early news reports had suggested. “They started to throw gasoline. There was no grenade attack,” she said.

A line from Rivera’s poem came back to me “… their bodies burnt.”



31, Westwood & most popular posts

My artwork

Last week I stopped by Rite-Aid to grab a drink before heading in to work. At first I was surprised to see that they were already had Halloween candy in stock. Then I wanted to grab a bag of fun size Snickers. I resisted. Plus, I barely had enough money to pay for my drink.

The thought of Halloween (and all that candy!) being a couple of months away excites me. I have fun picking my costume and putting it together as well as helping others come up with affordable, creative and sometimes culturally relevant costume ideas. I started the whole thing as an alternative to the super short, tight and sexy costumes.

I’ve also found that my low budget costume series has been quite popular and brings lots of visitors to my site. Check out my overall 10 most popular posts as defined by the Popularity Contest plugin (in descending order):

  1. Halloween on a budget: Old School Chola
  2. Halloween on a budget: La Chilindrina
  3. Halloween on a budget: Frida Kahlo
  4. Halloween on a budget: La Adelita (Funny thing, my cousin Nancy told me she wanted to dress up as an Adelita. I told her I did it once. She said, “I know, I searched on Google and you were the first to come up.”)
  5. Halloween on a budget: El Chapulín Colorado
  6. A Chicana outlook on Ruben Salazar
  7. The definitive guide to wearing your ethnicity (this could really use some updating)
  8. Nopalitos
  9. Halloween on a budget: La Catrina
  10. Concert buddy search revisited

All of these posts are more than a year old. Some as much as 6 years old. I wonder if this means I’ve already peaked as a blogger. Probably.

Cambios, Fotos, Listed

31, Los Angeles & GPOY pre-post

31 - LA sports fan version

Maybe sometime soon I’ll have a photo of me wearing/holding up the jersey of whoever gets #31 on the NFL team we might get in LA.

I also chose this photo because it’s a gratuitous before/after photo. The first photo is from January ’09 on my first trip to the Staples Center. After the Red Wings beat the Kings, my date and I wandered around the store; of course I had to take a photo of the Kurt Rambis’ jersey. I know the jersey covers up most of me. Oh well, you can see it in the face right? This photo was taken just a few days after I started WW. [This is usually the “before” picture I use.]

The Dodgers jersey was a gift from Sean. The first jersey he bought was lost somewhere in a postal office in NY. Someone out there has a Dodgers jersey and is confused; there are no Mosquedas on the Dodgers. I took the second photo in June ’10, after getting to my goal weight and achieving WW Lifetime status.

There are a lot of differences between January ’09 me and August ’11 me. Things that I didn’t foresee happening in January ’09:

  1. Successfully losing 31% of my starting weight (60 lbs).
  2. Running a mile without stopping. Hell, running much longer distances without stopping and really enjoying it.
  3. Cooking decent home-cooked meals.
  4. Still loving the Dodgers even as they go through one of the worst seasons ever, both on and off the field. Troubles include life-threatening violence in the parking lot, threats of MLB taking over, severe decrease in attendance, possible bankruptcy and not being able to make payroll on the first of the month.
  5. Going back to work as a research assistant for my advisor to study the educational pipeline of underrepresented minority research scientists.
  6. Getting an article I co-wrote with colleagues published in a top tier education journal. I was last author, but that’s okay.
  7. Losing two long time roommates and seeing my living situation turn upside down initially. In the end it all worked out and I have some pretty cool roommates.
  8. Beginning to date Sean, the guy who inspired the concert buddy search and a post on mini crushes. After 9 months of doing the LA/NY thing, he moved to LA. A few months later, he asked me to marry him. Now we’re planning a wedding. Fun times (sorta).
  9. Having my words featured in some pretty cool places. I wrote about college affordability on the NY Times debate blog and was featured along with my father on NPR’s Morning Edition and Latino USA talking about our father/grandfather. I’m such a nerd that a year later I’m still geeking out over that.
  10. Getting in to the reading running and healthy living blogs. (More the former as the latter typically bore me.) These would inspire some quality snark and contributions to a meme. Today I found out I won Angry Runner’s contest. Neat.

There are some things that haven’t changed since then. Some of the changes were tough. The change in roommates wasn’t easy. Neither was breaking up with Alan in November ’09. I only alluded to it here, but it felt a little too personal for the blog.