The cover of the April 9 issue of the tabloid Star laments the fate of Khloe Kardashian and Dallas Maverick Lamar Odom, so a couple of “locals” made it to the front cover, but skip that and flip to a few pages in to the worst of the week section.
Last night, NBC premiered its new runway show Fashion Star, which hopefully will prove better than the tepid Project Runway All-Stars over on Lifetime. I’m sad to have missed the first episode, because among its cast of designers is Oscar Fierro, the local designer I spoke with in 2010 prior to his fashion show at Station 4. I would love to have seen how his spitfire personality works in reality TV competition. We already know him from his fashion policing with Gabriela Natale on SuperLatina.
Star, hosted by supermodel Elle MacPherson, has a similar premise to Runway in that designers create fashions in limited time and materials; sometimes, more than one designer gets eliminated. And the designs created for the show are available immediately for purchase. Judges include Nicole Richie, designer John Varvatos and another Texan, Jessica Simpson.
One of the highlights of the show comes when the comical, Salvadorian, top-hat-wearing Oscar Fierro, 37, is introduced. The Texas-based designer proclaims to be like a “cartoon” and has a lot of dedication because he’s crossed three borders and knows what it’s like to go hungry, or so he claims. But does Fierro, who is evidently going to be the show’s drama queen with his constant crying and backstage shit-talk, knock over the buyers with his designs? Not so much. The short cocktail dresses, seen in off-the-shoulder green satin and glittery black, are items seen daily at Forever 21. Richie doesn’t like the offerings, saying, “I want to see what I saw in the studio.” Varvatos chimes in, “I have seen what you do in Miami, and in South Beach.” Fierro retorts, “You have seen it before, but not with my label.” Needless to say, he doesn’t get any offers.
To see Fierro’s fashions from last night’s episode, click here, here and here. Watch his profile video after the jump.
MADE FOR TV | Natale sees the Latino community in a state of transformation, opening up to LGBT issues. She hopes ‘SuperLatina’ is contributing to that change.
Gabriela Natale (Gaby for short) has a voice beyond her 32 years. She talks spiritedly and quickly with youthful enthusiasm, but there’s wisdom in her tone. Natale talks like she knows something others don’t.
“I hope to create understanding bridges because we as human beings have so much more in common with each other,” she says.
Natale hosts SuperLatina, a Spanish-language talk show on Telemundo that airs Wednesday mornings. SuperLatina heralds a new type of voice in the Latino community; Natale cites Ellen as an influence, but Tyra Banks has been a specific inspiration for her.
“I’m inspired by Oprah and Ellen but I love how Tyra will touch on delicate topics in African-American culture that aren’t talked about out loud,” she says.” “We have those same problems in the Hispanic community.”
With her show, Natale has also burst open the door of LGBT topics within the Latino community — a decision that has led to discomfort among some. With a culture mostly steeped in Catholic tradition, Latinos can be uneasy talking about gay issues, and Natale says Spanish language television reflects that —there is relatively little coverage of LGBT topics. But when SuperLatina had a show on Latino gay youth, Natale met with a surprising response.
“When I heard about the suicide rate for gay teens, I wanted to talk about how they felt,” she says. “It’s hard to be a minority within a minority. I got messages on Facebook, people had seen the show on YouTube and I got so many thank yous. The audience was very positive about it. This was probably some people’s first exposure to the LGBT community.”
Natale doesn’t approach such topics with ulterior motives. SuperLatina isn’t about controversy — she’s committed to making the show a positive tool. Every episode, however, doesn’t have a heavy inspirational message: Some are heartwarming stories of giving youth an educational scholarship or granting someone’s wish to meet a star … and of course, what would a talk show be without makeovers?
But she does put in the effort to make her LGBT-related episodes mean something to both the audience and the community.
“I don’t want circus topics,” she says. “When I reached out to people for my same-sex parents episode, I took more time on that and wanted to establish trust with them. I don’t want anyone to be on my show in fear or as if they are in the hot seat. I don’t want them to be awkward.”
In that episode, she discussed parenting with both male and female couples as well as a specialist on how to approach the subject with children. She says that these families were happy to share this episode with their families, but she also knows that the mindset in the Latino community will be accepted slowly. However, she’s found that Latino families are more accepting than most might think.
“It comes from the heart but I think that people choose to know reality,” she says.
Originally from Argentina, where she graduated with a degree in journalism, Natale moved to Washington, D.C., in 2003 after working for free at a political marketing conference. Following a stint as a news anchor at Univision, she moved on to Telemundo to develop SuperLatina.
But North Texans audiences didn’t get to know Natale until last August, when production on her show moved to the Fort Worth office and it began to air locally.
The Emmy nominee didn’t have a particular go-to person for her interest in the gay community — no gay friend who suffered discrimination that sparked her activism. Instead, she felt obliged to reach out after seeing how Latinos are demographically classified.
“I think it’s a contradiction as a minority to turn your back on another minority,” she says. ”I consider myself a voice for my community and I want to be a stronger voice for positive change.”
Natale sees the shift of thinking in the new generations of Latinos — especially when it comes to the gay community. She references two events over the last year that were crucial to opening minds and embracing the community and both involved music superstars.
“First, there was Ricky Martin coming out, “ she says. “Then there was the Mexican singer Paquita la del Barrio statement in March “that she would prefer a child die on the streets rather than be adopted by a gay couple. “
GLAAD immediately called for an apology and la del Barrio has worked to repair her image by giving a concert at a gay club outside Mexico City. (Interestingly, she recanted not just because of GLAAD’s demand but because of outrage in the Mexican community at large.) Add to it Martin’s eloquent coming out letter on his website and the Latino community could be growing into a more accepting culture respecting gay issues.
“I think there is this shift of shame in the culture,” she says. “People are more proud to speak Spanish and embrace their heritage. But also, I humbly feel part of the transformation in the community is awareness, participation and even education. Right now is a special moment.”
SuperLatina airs on Telemundo on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.
I called SuperLatina host Gabriela Natale for her response to the news.
“We are so excited about the nomination. This is something that is very dear to us. We’re all for equality and we being a minority cannot look forward to equality if we turn our backs on other minorities. The response that we got was very positive and it was fulfilling to talk with the kids and the families. Not only did we talk with kids who were not accepted by families but we got to feature a traditional Latino family who was very supportive of their son. Many kids suffer discirmination but there are families that are taking a different attitude.”
Natale, pictured, wasn’t sure yet about attending the ceremony. It’s divided into three parts in three different cities on three different dates (really, GLAAD?). But she says she hopes it’s the New York event with Alan Cumming as host. Mostly because she’d like to see the English-speaking nominees for Daytime Talk Show Episode.
“Tyra and Oprah are nominated and I’m a big fan!”
The awards happen in New York on Mar 13; Los Angeles on Apr. 17; and in San Francisco on June 5.
LGBT Latinos will get some television face time tomorrow morning. SuperLatina host Gabriela Natale e-mailed to remind that her episode, “Latino and Gay: Stories from a Minority within a Minority,” airs tomorrow at 8 a.m. on Telemundo 39. She does a lot more than talk to youth as mentioned in my previous post about this. She broke down how tomorrow’s show will play out:
Can’t say I have much more info on this but Jesse Garcia just posted this to his Facebook:
at the Resource Center Dallas, waiting on Youth First Texas students and Telemundo media to film segment on the bullying of LGBT children in the schools.
He posted “about an hour ago,” which would have put it at around 6:09 p.m. I’m thinking, if they are about film, that might just be enough time to edit and package it up for tonight’s newscast on channel 39.
UPDATE: Turns out, Telemundo wasn’t filming for a news segment at all. Garcia was involved in coordinating youth to be interviewed by talk show host Gabriela Natale. She hosts “Super Latina” which airs every Wednesday morning. The segment will be part of Natale’s episode on the struggles of LGBT youth in which six locals discussed coming out experiences, thoughts of suicide and young life in general.
Sounds like Natale supports the community beyond this one episode. According to Garcia, she hopes to make the Pride parade and has agreed to work with Garcia on future stories regarding the Latino and LGBT communities.