Anthony Launches Non-Profit to Aid Disadvantaged Children

He’s partnering with soon-to-be ex-wife Jennifer Lopez to find undiscovered talent in Latin America… But Marc Anthony is also taking time to help those less fortunate in those countries.

The 43-year-old singer/songwriter, the top selling tropical salsa artist of all time, has partnered with entertainment impresario Henry Cardenas to launch the Maestro Cares Foundation, a non-profit organization to aid disadvantaged children in Latin America.

Marc Anthony

“I’m blessed to be a part of this project,” said Anthony in a statement. “There are millions of children suffering throughout Latin America. Maestro Cares seeks to make a positive impact in their lives.”

Maestro Cares’ first recipient of funding will be an orphanage in the Dominican Republic that Anthony visited last month.

“I’m grateful to Henry Cardenas for his contributions to this initiative and we are both eager to get started. I hope Maestro Cares will inspire others to do the same,” said Anthony, who has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide.

The foundation’s goal, Cardenas says, is to help create “healthy and safe environments” for children in Latin America, as well as addressing their academic needs.

“Education is key for Maestro Cares because it will bring the children closer to their dreams,” said Cardenas. “They are our future leaders.”

Thousands Celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City…

There’s no denying that Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image… And, “La Morenita,” as she called, has become one of the most popular icons of the Virgin Mary throughout Latin America and the world.

On Monday, December 12, hundreds of thousands gathered at the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City— one of the most visited Catholic shrines in the world—to observe the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, an annual celebration that dates back to the 16th century.

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

This year’s observance—which included a special performance of “Las Mañanitas” to the Empress of Latin America by superstars like Lucero, Aracely Arámbula, Pedro Fernández and Gabriela Spanic—commemorated the 480th anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s apparitions in Mexico, on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, on December 9, 1531.

According to Catholic tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to a poor 57-year-old recently converted Aztec Indian named Juan Diego and asked him to build a church on the spot where they were standing. He told the local bishop, who asked for proof. When he returned to the hill, Mary gave Juan Diego the requested sign. Miraculously, roses appeared on the hill in the middle of winter, and Juan gathered them in his tilma.
Mary arranged the roses in his tilma with her own hands, and Juan returned to the bishop. When he released the tilma, the flowers fell to the floor and an imprint of the Virgin Mary appeared on the tilma from the residue of the soil and roses.

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Along with “Las Mañanitas,” Monday’s celebration included a performance of “Amor eterno” and special prayer readings.

Diego Rivera Celebrated by Google…

If you’ve spent any time on Google today, you’ve probably noticed a special mural on the site’s main page…

It was Google Doodle’s way of celebrating the 125th anniversary of legendary Mexican painter Diego Rivera’s birth.

Elements of Rivera’s original work are displayed in the Doodle, including  figures from some of his iconic paintings like “The Flower Carrier” and “Mother and Child Sleeping.” A man painting while standing on scaffolding is intended to depict Rivera at work.

Born on December 8, 1886, in Guanajuato, Mexico, Rivera is credited with helping establish the Mexican Mural Movement.

He joined the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City to study art when he was just 10-years-old. Rivera later went to Europe, where he studied in Madrid then moved to Paris to live and work with the artists in Montparnasse.

Google-Runs-Mural-Doodle-Dedicated-to-Diego-Rivera

Rivera was greatly inspired by the political ideals of the Mexican Revolution and the Russian Revolution. Through his art, he sought to reflect the lives of the working class and native people of Mexico.

Under a special government program in 1921, Rivera created a series of murals in public  buildings. During the 1930s and 1940s, he moved on to paint several murals in the United States. But not all of his murals received overwhelming love. One of them at the Rockefeller Center in New York City—called “Man at the Crossroads” and featuring a portrait of Russian communist leader Vladimir Lenin—was later destroyed.

In 1929, Diego Rivera married fellow Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who was some 20 years his junior. The two divorced in 1939, only to remarry later.

Rivera died in 1957 at the age of 70, but his legacy lives on as his awe-inspiring works continue to inspire younger generations.

Saldana Helps Feed the Homeless…

This Thanksgiving week, Zoe Saldana made an effort to give back to the community…

The 33-year-old half-Dominican, half-Puerto Rican actress prepared and served Thanksgiving meals to the homeless on behalf of the Los Angeles Mission on Wednesday.

Zoe Saldana Thanksgiving LA Mission

Saldana—who has served at the Los Angeles Mission several times in the past—reminded her Twitter followers that they “could feed more if you log on to http://www.feedLANow.org and donate.”

But Saldana wasn’t the only celebrity in attendance at Wednesday’s event. She was joined by Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

“Their goal is to feed 120,000 people by the end of the year!” Kardashian tweeted. “We fed so many today.”

“Every one of us can do something small that will make a huge difference to someone else,” she added.

For 75 years, the Los Angeles Mission has served the people of Skid Row, providing shelter, food, clothing and professional medical and dental services. It also offers long-term residential rehabilitation programs including education, job training/placement, transitional housing and counseling.

Diaz Previews His Sizzling 2012 Calendar

iCaliente! Aarón Díaz will be setting hearts aflutter in the New Year and beyond…

The 29-year-old Mexican American telenovela star will not only star in the highly anticipated telenovela El Talisman, which will air on Univision sometime in 2012. He’s also releasing another oh-so-steamy calendar to keep him top-of-everyone’s-mind throughout the year.

Aaron Diaz 2012 Calendar

After the tremendous success of his 2011 calendar, Diaz—who recently made a guest appearance on ABC’s new series Pan Am—is back and looking hotter than ever.

According to a teaser video aimed at awakening the curiosity of his fans, he’s returning a sexier, more amusing and more daring man with a (12-month) plan to add sizzle to your life.

Sanchez Switching Tongues for His Latest Cooking Program…

He’s won the hearts of millions on the Food Network… And, now noted chef Aaron Sanchez is hoping to win the corazones of Spanish-speaking viewers.

The 35-year-old Mexican American chef is taking a stab at Spanish-language television with his new show Aaron Loves New York, which premieres this week on the lifestyle cable network Utilisima.

Chef Aaron Sanchez

Sanchez, the owner of New York City’s Centrico and Tacombi restaurants, will cook dishes with “people I admire” while taking viewers to iconic spots in the Big Apple, where the El Paso, Texas-born chef grew up.

“It’s a learning process for me as well,” says Sanchez. “I’m the expert, but there are also other experts who inspire me.”

Each of the 13 initial episodes has a specific theme, including an installment dedicated to Cuban music and cuisine with singer David Oquendo and members of his Raices Habaneras band.

“(Viewers) will see my favorite places, where I like to get the ingredients, where I go to eat, the farmers market in Union Square,” says Sanchezd. “In Spanish Harlem I visited a butcher’s shop, a bakery and La Marqueta.”

It’s part of Sanchez’s plan to reach his gente.

“I want the people of Latin America to get to know me, what my path has been,” says Sanchez, who is the son Zarela Martinez, an author of several cookbooks and owner of the acclaimed Café Marimba.

Sanchez currently appears on the Food Network shows Heat Seekers and Chopped. He’s also been featured on the network’s Chefs vs. City.

Aaron Loves New York will debut on Utilisima this Sunday at 8:00 pm ET.

Click here to learn more about Sanchez or to view his recipes.

Vergara’s Latest Venture: Saving Lives!

She may be known for her comedic chops… But Sofía Vergara’s next venture is no laughing matter.

The 39-year-old Colombian actress is partnering with Mexican American boxer Oscar de la Hoya to launch a website aimed at educating Hispanic families on the health issues that affect the Latino population most, including diabetes, lupus and asthma.

“There are 50 million Hispanics in this country and there’s no resource like this and we need it,” affirmed Vergara in an interview with PrimeraHora.com. “It’ll be something revolutionary to better and save lives.”

For the Modern Family star, the decision to launch the site is quite personal. About 11 years ago, doctors told Vergara that she had thyroid cancer. As a survivor, she has to undergo a series of intensive medical checkups each year to make sure she’s healthy.

“I take good care of myself and am very aware of any change in my health,” declares Vergara. “Thank God I am well and as head of the household and as a woman, this is something I have to take very seriously.”

No word on a launch date for the website.

This Year’s Best Latina Celebrity Halloween Costumes

All Hallows Eve is drawing to a close… Throughout the weekend and well into Halloween night, our favorite Latina celebs were out in full force at bewitching holiday parties, events and outings in their most inspired costumes. So who was the best of the best?

Here’s a look at some of this year’s standouts:

Nicole Richie

No, no… That’s not Jennifer Lopez. That’s the 30-year-old Nicole Richie channeling la Lopez at Kate Hudson’s Halloween party in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Image courtesy of Flynet.

Jessica Alba

Even a large mole can’t detract from Jessica Alba’s spell-binding beauty. The half-Mexican American actress wore a witch costume to Kate Hudson’s Halloween party in Los Angeles.

Image courtesy of Flynet.

Alessandra Ambrosio


Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio donned a Black Swan-inspired outfit for a Halloween party at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. There’s no denying the 30-year-old Brazilian bombshell looked white-hot!

Image courtesy of AKM Images.

Natalie Morales

During The Today Show’s Halloween Day reenactment of Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton, news anchor Natalie Morales dressed as Pippa Middleton.

Image courtesy of Getty.

Lea Michele

Glee star Lea Michele paid tribute to Natalie Portman‘s Oscar-winning role in Black Swan at a Halloween party this year. The part-Spanish actress dressed as the good “Swan Queen.”

Sofia Vergara

She’s commonly spotted in tight-fitting attire. But Modern Family star Sofia Vergara actually covered up for Halloween. The Colombian actress Tweeted this picture of herself dressed in an Angry Birds costume on Saturday.

Thalia


Mexican singer/actress Thalia dressed as a traditional Dia de los Muertos doll at Bette Midler‘s New York Restoration Project’s Hulaween on Friday night in New York City.

Image courtesy of Fame Pictures.

Francia Raisa

Francia Raisa wasn’t afraid to bare skin this Halloween. The part-Mexican, part-Honduran Secret Life of the American Teenager actress dressed as the iconic Star Wars character, Princess Leia.

So, who do you think was this year’s best-dressed Latina this Halloween?

Covarrubias Named Latino Chef of the Year

Chef Omar Covarrubias has been named the Latino Chef of the Year at this year’s Flavors of Passion Awards, which honor the best of the best nation’s Hispanic chefs.

chef-omar-covarrubias

“[He] is a great promoter of the excellence of Mexican food in the world,” said the Mexican Consulate in Dallas while recognizing Covarrubias at the third annual event.

The 42-year-old Mexico City native started cooked at a very young age in his family’s hotel kitchen in Cuautla, Mexico with guidance and some secretos he learned from traditional cocineras in Mexico.

Covarrubias, who graduated from Johnson and Wales Culinary School in Florida, currently leads the food operations at Miami’s Rosa Mexicano restaurant. He’s also served as the executive chef for a number of government events, including a special gala dinner for the Mexican President during his visit to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

“It’s pure love for Mexico and a dedication to God and my family,” that Covarrubias credits for his tremendous culinary success. “Because in the world of cooking, it would not be possible without the support of the family,” he adds.

Once hailed “an ambassador of the Mexican cuisine in the world” by The New York Times, his specialties and savory creations include his Camarones a la Cova, Ossobuco Azteca and Tres leches de Chiapas.

Chef Omar currently produces and hosts the television program “Conoce México por sus Sabores.

National Coming Out Day: Eight Out & Proud Latino Celebrities…

It’s National Coming Out Day, a day to celebrate gay pride and promote government and public awareness of gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender rights.

Founded by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary on October 11, 1988 in celebration of the second gay march in Washington D.C. a year earlier, many choose this day to come out to their family, friends and co-workers.

To commemorate National Coming Out Day, here’s a look at eight out and proud Latino celebrities.

 
Ricky Martin
Rumors swirled about Ricky Martin’s sexual orientation well before he came out of the closet. During an interview with Barbara Walters, the journalist even grilled Martin about his sexuality. He refused to confirm or deny the rumors, until March 29, 2010. That’s the day the 39-year-old Puerto Rican singing sensation announced on his website that he is “a fortunate homosexual man.” So what prompted Martin to come out? He credited the twin sons he fathered with an egg donor and surrogate with giving him the courage to make the decision, as well as the process of penning his autobiography. “Writing this account of my life, I got very close to my truth,” he professed. “And this is something worth celebrating.”

 

Christian Chávez
Long before Ricky Martin declared himself a “proud homosexual man,” 28-year-old Mexican pop singer and actor Christian Chávez—then a member of popular Mexican music group RBD—came out of the closet publicly in 2007. “Don’t judge me for being honest,” Chávez wrote in the group’s website. Earlier this year, he released a video for his song, “Libertad,” a glossy five minute-plus video that notched more than 1 million views on YouTube in only three days, aided along the way by heavy props from Pérez Hilton, who makes a cameo appearance. It’s all part of his outspoken support of gay rights and opposition of homophobia.

Nicholas Rodriguez
Even though he’s a seasoned Broadway veteran who has appeared in “Tarzan” and “Evita,” Nicholas Rodriguez is best known for playing the role of Nick Chavez on ABC’s One Life to Live. The openly gay actor from Austin, Texas formed part of the first gay love triangle on American daytime television. “The character was just supposed to come in and get between [same-sex couple] Kyle and Fish and go away,” recalls the 34-year-old Rodriguez. “But people liked it and everything started to happen really fast. They started writing new scenes and tackling all these subjects. I didn’t have time to think about being out actor Nick Rodriguez playing a gay character. I was just supposed to be there for four days!” Since leaving “One Life to Live,” Rodriguez has volunteered for several youth organizations, a cause important to him. “We’re able to be out and have more of a presence as a gay community,” he says, “and kids are able to come out earlier and earlier. But then what happens to them? Some of them get kicked out and bullied in school. While I’m excited that they’re able to come out at 10, 11, 15, 16 they still need guidance. These kids need role models.”

Vicci Martinez
She has been performing since the age of 16, but the Tacoma, Washington native rose to fame this summer when she appeared on NBC’s reality singing competition “The Voice.” Martinez, who ended up coming in third on the hit show, came out to her devoutly religious mom and dad while a teenager. “It was hard for me coming out to my parents,” recalls Martinez, who says she’ll never hide who she is. “I’ve already gone through that hurdle and I’m not going to go through it again. I’ve had people say, ‘Well, why don’t you just keep them guessing? You can hit all the markets.’ No. Especially if you’re with somebody; it’s so disrespectful.” 

 
Perez Hilton
Mario Lavandeira, better known as Perez Hilton, is the self-proclaimed “Queen of all Media.” The openly gay celebrity gossip blogger writes about celebrities all the time on his notorious gossip blog PerezHilton.com. The 33-year-old Cuban-American has earned plenty of praise from his fans, even from fellow gossip columnist Michael Musto. “Perez is great because he’s fearless, rambunctious and gayer than Ikea on Super Bowl Sunday,” he says. “He’s the new me!”


Wilson Cruz
He rose to fame playing gay high school student Rickie Vasquez on MTV’s critically acclaimed and gone-to-soon series, “My So-Called Life.” As an openly gay actor, the 37-year-old Puerto-Rican-American has served as an advocate for gay youth, especially gay youth of color. Having been reportedly kicked out of his home by his own father, Cruz has helped raised awareness about homelessness among gay teens.

Richard Rodriguez
Mexican-American writer Richard Rodriguez is Catholic, Republican and gay. He has received acclaim and criticism for his works Hunger of Memory, Days of Obligation—a Pulitzer Prize finalist—and Brown. In 2008, the 67-year-old Rodriguez spoke to Salon.com about being a gay Latino, explaining, “In my own my family…it would have been impossible for them to have dealt with the words ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ in my relationship with them. They didn’t want it said, they didn’t want it named or defined, but they assumed it and accepted it. These communities have very intricate ways of dealing with these things and they are not necessarily the highly politicized tactics that you see in traditional middle-class society in America.”

Mondo Guerra
Fashion designer Mondo Guerra rose to fame after appearing on the eighth season of the popular “Project Runway” reality series. But the 33-year-old Mexican-American won’t be known as the contestant who came in second place, he’ll be remembered as the person who bravely revealed his HIV Positive status to the panel of judges, and that had been keeping his HIV status a secret for ten years. Since appearing on the show, the the Denver-native has served as a positive role model in the game community and helped raise awareness for GLBT issues, including commemorating World AIDS Day