Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Crystal Santos: An Unconventional ‘Wonder Woman’ To Make Movies, TV with G Productions and Mystic Warrior Productions

Watch Crystal Santos on Let's Talk! show, Thursday, June 23, 2011, 7:30 a.m. on KJLA/LATV, check your local cable grid in the greater Los Angeles area (from Santa Barbara to Orange County, to San Bernardino, Temecula). To read this interview's full article, visit: 
Crystal Santos, leading
Hollywood Stunt Professional
often doubles for Rosario
Dawson and Roselyn Sanchez

We caught up with Crystal recently and asked her about her new film venture and how she balances her busy life: 

Q: Film financing is hard to come by, how did you convince Chinese investors?
Cristal Santos: I was fortunate to meet some wonderful Chinese investors and they had seen the value in my project and moved forward rather quickly. I had taken a course in Asian business etiquette in college and let’s just say it paid off. There is a very different style to Asian business and it is based on respect, honor, and honesty. It’s refreshing.

Q: It’s such a rarity to get financing. What other aspect helped you?
CS: There are many ways to finance a film; it’s about knowing what the market will bear and what investors want to see. Finding money for a film is fun and challenging. Still, no two films are funded alike.

Q: What type of training and diet regime do you follow?
CS: I personally stick to the Paleo Diet and strength training plus I run over an hour a day. And of course the extra fun activities like swimming, fights, weaponry, and miscellaneous stunt stuff.

Q:   We’re calling you Super Woman combining work with motherhood, but in the real world, well that’s just hard for any person. Since the birth of your son, has any aspect of your career focus changed?
CS: I incorporated motherhood into my business. I believe it is good for my son to grow up knowing hard work and discipline. By being an example as an athlete and businesswoman, I think it would be ingrained into my child. I want him to feel welcomed in my life and my business is part of my life and one he will inherit, so he should always be involved. I try to take Alexander [son] everywhere. And, yes, he will be going to China with me too.

If anything has changed it would be in the area of focusing more on my acting and film producing for my own movie projects.

Q: Why is Comic-Con and AFM important to you?
CS: Comic-Con is important because I am writing and releasing a comic book and have assisted others in doing so. Attending this convention helps me to make the important connections in that industry, which helps to facilitate my goals more efficiently. It is also beneficial to meet the artists that are out there and to see their work. I actually am hiring one of the artists I met at Comic-Con. As for AFM, it is an invaluable resource for a filmmaker; you meet distributors, financiers, actors, directors, etc. Wonderful results come out of AFM and it is AFM that gives you a real sense of opportunity in the global marketplace.

Q: Growing up, who in entertainment was your role model?
CS: Honestly, like most little girls my age, I admired Linda Carter. Wonder Woman was awesome!

Q: You’ve worked on some major films as an actor and stuntwoman. Which gig was the most dangerous?
CS: I suppose anything I have done involving fire. And, the most important movie I worked on was War of the Worlds. Everyone was pleasant, stunt team, and actors, and the director made it fun as he guided us into his vision seamlessly. Hands down, the best work experience ever.

Q: On the entrepreneur side, you and your husband also have a vitamin and skin care company, another successful venture. Why another business when you’re already thriving in the movie business?
CS: In the business I’m in, it is important that one’s body is strong and healthy and also, the outer must also shine for the camera. It made sense to venture into the health and skin industry. We’re fortunate in that both Markethealth and Healthbuy are successful businesses. Markethealth offers affiliates opportunities to promote our vitamin and skin care lines as a home business and Healthbuy is a place for consumers to buy our products. My personal favorite is our Revitol line, which I use faithfully.

Q: Is it pure passion that has contributed to your business success?
CS: I really believe that if you are passionate about any business you can make it successful. It’s also about knowing what you want and being flexible on how you get there. Example, you may want to finance your film via private equity, but discover that there are other methods such as gap and bridge loans that may work for you. Understanding what you can collateralize on and what the value of every element of your film is can determine your budget and potential investment opportunities. That age-old saying comes into play: Know Your Worth! Also be prepared to say ‘no’ to a deal. Example: if you write a script with the intent of directing it, then stick to that, do not let someone tell you that your script is great but you can’t direct it. Understand that there are elements you can include in your package that will increase the value of the film, a director is just one of them,  actors another, location, qualified producers, etc. Be realistic. Know what kind of film you are making, who will be interested in distributing this film and what is the possibility of the investors return on investment.

Q:  So, Crystal what does an active working professional like yourself do for fun?
CS: I have tons of fun! I get together with friends and play with bullwhips, swords, practice fights, and hang off things,” she laughed. “Our hobbies are a bit unconventional.” Crystal added that a friend even got a baby harness so they can introduce one-year old Alexander to the trapeze soon.

Considered one of the industry’s top stuntwoman, working on dozens of films and television shows. She is also a popular stunt driver for TV car commercials. To learn more about this multi-talented woman, visit: 
  Don't forget to watch her on Let's Talk! on KJLA/LATV at 7:30 AM. Or check out the episode on the website, 

Latinowood: Elia Esparza
Crystal Santos/June 2011 ©


Watch our very own Nick Chavez on QVC tonight (June 22nd) at 10PM (Pacific), as he debuts his new line, Traditions. Nick has captured the essence of his heritage, traditions, and home remedies from his Latino and American-Indian background. We’re so proud of our friend and for all his philanthropic contributions. His hair products have been the top sellers on the network for years because of their premium quality and affordable prices. Nick will also appear on QVC on Thurs., June 23rd, 8AM and 4PM (Pacific); and 1AM, 11AM, and 7PM (Eastern) where he will introduce his other new line Advanced Volume.

Before I introduce his new line, here is a little background on Nick.  He comes from a large Mexican-American family (with Yaqui and Quechan Indian blood).  He is the second oldest of seven children and  is related to UFW founder, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. Raised on a farm where his father was a farmer, Nick’s job was to groom horses, clean out stables, and work as a ranch hand after school because the family needed the money. He knew early on that he was headed for something bigger and better. He felt it just the same way as Oprah Winfrey who said that she felt it as a young girl, knowing her destiny was bigger than she could have ever imagined. At around the age of 10, he started working with horses and fell in love. Everyone thought he would become a famous horse trainer. He groomed show horses with a pair of scissors he borrowed from his mother’s sewing kit.  In time, he got so good, his horses had the most beautiful manes and tails. There is so much more to his story and I urge you to check out his book, “Perfect Hair Every Day” (QVC Publishing) to read his amazing journey. He eventually turned to hair styling when one of his cousins insisted he cut her hair just like that new TV star, Farrah Fawcett-Majors. Well, that haircut led to many others. Later he travelled to Europe where he modeled and later acted (TheYoung and The Restless) and other TV programs and national commercials. Later he would open his Nick Chavez Beverly Hills Salon, where he continues to cater to his celebrity and eclectic groups of clientele. 

Nick Chavez
We’re very proud of Nick and his achievements and for the generous and spiritual person he is. He never forgets where he came from and honors his cultural heritage with integrity. His new line Traditions reflects his heritage and each product’s ingredient's story is based on his own life growing up on  a farm. He has an intimate familiarity with unique plants of the Southwest.

New Products:
Yucca Root Conditioning Cream
A rich and luxurious conditioner that helps provides the ultimate hydration and moisture for all hair types. Especially effective on hair that has been chemically treated and has a tendency towards dryness and brittleness. Native American tribes have used yucca root for years to help prevent hair loss, while wild yam helps with normal hair growth. The result is balanced, healthy, shiny and beautiful hair.

Yucca Root Shampooing Cream
This rich luxurious shampoo helps provide the ultimate hydration and moisture for all hair types. It is especially effective on hair that has been chemically treated and has a tendency towards dryness and brittleness. Native American tribes have used yucca root for years to help prevent hair loss, while wild yam helps with normal hair growth. The result is balanced, healthy, shiny and beautiful hair.

Raindrops Purifying Spray
A unique pre-styling spray used immediately after shampooing and conditioning to help neutralize the effects of chlorine and high mineral content in hard water. Made of purified water because of its purifying effects and nutrients that counter the effects of hard water to the scalp and hair. Contains Agave Nectar, which is highly moisturizing and effective in helping to soften and condition the hair.

Red Desert Clay Re-Balancing Conditioning Cream
Designed to help heal damaged or distressed hair that has been depleted by chemicals, thermal heat or the elements. Promotes healing to over-processed, damaged hair. Formulated with Red Desert Clay, which penetrates and restores moisture and hair to its optimum condition… For all hair types, but especially effective on fine and thinning hair.

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills Salon on QVC: June 22rd, 10PM (PT) and June 23rd, 8AM, 4PM (PT) and 1AM, 11AM, 7PM (ET)

Latinowood: Elia Esparza
Edited by: Casandra Moreno Lombera
Nick Chavez on QVC, © June/201

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Constance Marie - No Pushover on Switched at Birth, ABC Family’s New Hit Series

ABC Family’s Switched at Birth caught my attention since the series debuted on June 6th on the network’s 9 p.m. slot. I’ll admit I only tuned in because Constance Marie is cast in one of the lead roles, and I’m a huge CM fan.

Switched’ became ABC Family’s number one series debut of all time in total viewers (3.3 million), women 18-34 (754,000), adults 49 (1.7 million) and women 18-49 (1.3 million). 
Constance Marie, Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano, Lea Thompson,
D.W. Moffett, Lucas Grabeel
Switched at Birth’s story centers on two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally swapped and are being raised in polar opposite family circumstances. Of course, one family is rich and the other is not. Switched at Birth explores deep issues of nature versus nurture.

It is a smart show and I’ve chosen to forgive the typical Hollywood stereotypes although it is hard at times to dodge the racial clumsiness. Various embedded and reinforced racial clich├ęs unfold, i.e., the poor family who lives in a gang-infested barrio/ghetto is, of course, Latino…because all Latinos only live in ghettos…and all single-Latino mothers are recovering alcoholics. I decided to focus on the unique story line and the fact that the show creators got one thing right: casting Constance Marie, an actress who gives all her roles a classy conscience.
Katie Leclerc & Constance Marie

As Regina Vasquez, CM portrays a talented artist and mother of Daphne (Katie Leclerc) who is hearing impaired. Regina is no pushover and defends her position as a low-income, hard-working single mother who has done an excellent job raising her daughter. Daphne, a light skinned Irish-looking strawberry blond, is a well adjusted, considerate, and excellent student who is proud to be Puerto Rican.

Regina does not let the other parents, who are raising her biological daughter Bay (Vanessa Marano), intimidate her with their wealth and social position.  
Katie Leclerc & Vanessa Marano

The parents, John and Kathryn Kennish (Lea Thompson and D.W. Moffett) have provided their beautiful dark-haired, ethnic looking daughter, Bay, and their strawberry blond son Toby (Lucas Grabeel) a comfortable life due to John’s former sports career and successful chain of car washes. Bay has lived in the lap of luxury her entire life, yet there is something missing. She has a rebellious streak, is a talented artist, and when she’s upset, she recharges by sneaking off into the night to secretly paint/stencil graffiti art on walls and fences. Yes, another stereotype because she’s biologically a Latina so of course she would have an innate desire to paint walls! Ugh! OK, no more objections. Back to her art: an image of a little girl in pink and black, like an angel. There’s a story of a lonely girl in there. It will be interesting to see how this metaphor unfolds.

Kudos to Lizzy Weiss (Blue Crush) for creating a show that introduces the integration of the deaf community to a hearing family. The Kennish’s will have to expand their understanding of deafness if they are to connect and bond with the daughter that was lost to them for so many years. Not easy for a family who has enjoyed life’s pleasures without giving much thought to the rest who are not normal like them.

The series debut also featured Ruth Livier as a concerned hospital professional who informs the families of the switched baby girls’ mix up.  Ivonne Coll, an actor who brings great integrity to her roles, also shines as Regina’s mother. For those who may not know, Ivonne is a former Miss Puerto Rico and Miss Universe contestant. The Vasquez’ family consists of three strong women and we hope the show’s creators will befittingly cast more Latinos.

Emmett Bledsoe, Daphne’s best friend and protector is played Sean Berdy, a young and winsome deaf actor. He is a thespian with Marlee Matlin acting chops, who is so comfortable with himself that he inspires you to want to learn sign language just to hang with him. What a cutie.  Then there’s Ty (Blair Redford), a friend from Daphne’s barrio. I gather he’s supposed to be Latino, not sure, but he has strong Native American features and is a total hunk.  No doubt he’ll be hugely popular as Bay’s future love interest.

I hope Lizzy Weiss uses her hit show to introduce more exceptional Latino talent and leverage the interest of her culturally diverse, mainstream audience. For sure the families have miles to go before there is acceptance and understanding with each other’s circumstances and traditions. This means that Ruth Livier’s character should visit more often.  As for Ivonne Coll, there is great potential to explore her relationship with daughter Regina.  

Moms... daughters trying to
understand their differences
Switched at Birth delivers a highly plausible and socially challenging storyline with emotional intelligence and courageous steps into uncharted waters.

Switched at Birth, Mondays, 9:00-10:00 p.m. on ABC Family.

Latinowood: Elia Esparza
Edited by Casandra Moreno Lombera
Latinowood/Switched at Birth ©  2011