Welcome to Episode # 010!
Where we interview ñ, Danett Hernandez, and her husband, Miles Wartes – both actors who were in the controversial Coca-Cola Superbowl commercial in 2014.
NOTE: You can download the podcast to your computer or listen to it here on the website.
This was a fascinating piece to do, especially to discover how they were selected to represent a Mexican-American family in the commercial, in addition to their personal experiences sharing their lives with the nation. Hernandez’s father’s restaurant in Denver was featured in the commercial which played a huge role in why they were chosen, depicting four different generations of Mexican immigrants. “It was a beautiful experience,” Hernandez recalls.
Wartes remembers thinking, “What am I doing here? I’m the token white guy!” He describes the scenario they featured in the commercial, of sitting down for dinner after the restaurant has closed – it’s a modern American gathering. “It never occurred to me that this is actually an authentic portrayal of what our family looks like…”
Plus, we found out there is also a ‘making of’ the Coke commercial. The producer of the commercial asked to sit down and interview Wartes and Hernandez, her father and step-mother after filming and ask them what their relationships are like, and their experience as an interracial couple. A lot of the producers questions surrounded their son and how the mix of cultures will affect their son. *Unfortunately, the video has been since removed from YouTube. However, the post-commercial reactions were incredibly powerful. In fact, this was the first Super Bowl commercial to feature a gay couple.
Wartes explains how proud they are to have been a part of what Coca-Cola did. They had no idea a corporation of this size could create something so bold and that they would be having this conversation with their family and others.
Next, we hear from ñ Belen De Leon of 9 News and her experience growing up in Texas with a Mexican background. She learned to speak a form of Spanish that was ‘Tex Mex,’ that was not ‘correct’. After high school Belen signed a music contract to perform with Mexican Pop group La Onda. Performances were broadcast all over the world to different Spanish speaking countries and Belen needed to learn how to speak Spanish “correctly,” a major challenge to her comfort zone! After she got out of the music business and used her meteorology degree to be on television to deliver the weather in both English and Spanish on two different networks. She gained confidence that her bilingualism was indeed a great advantage.
Then we discuss the motivation behind this project and the problem of the underrepresentation of Latinos in the entertainment industry, or anywhere for that matter. Our whole project aims at engaging and telling stories that we hope people can relate to, and eventually see themselves in a position of power or on TV. The more imagery of Latinos and diverse faces on television, the smaller the gap will be for those children who lack confidence to see a bright future.
The struggle continues and so does the conversation —
Do you know an ñ with an amazing story? Tweet at us! Use #soyñ AND #beingñ so we can connect with you! Or join our private Facebook group and connect with other ñs or share your story!
Are you an ñ? Stand up and be counted! Go to our interactive ñ map!
Thanks for listening!