Producer and actress Ileanna Simancas was used to creating holiday-themed pieces with Telemundo's on-air talent, and last month she decided to change things up a bit and came up with a Pride month video concept. The daughter of very well-known actors from Venezuela, who has been around the entertainment business since birth, she knows the power of media. So she created a three-minute piece starring popular Telemundo telenovela actors.
The initial cut got so much attention, that with support of Yoly Casaprima, a representative of Out@NBC (the company's LGBT eployee resource group) in South Florida, at Telemundo's parent company, it evolved into a 9-minute, moving montage of stories from Telemundo novela actors, morning show personalities and network executives. Some are themselves out, others talk about their kids or family members, and all send a great message of support. Simancas' mom, Martha Mijares, a very well-known actress, is even in the video along with morning show and novela stars like Adamari López, Rashel Díaz, Jorge Luis Pila, Laura Flores, Gabriel Coronel, Gloria Peralta, among others.
Simancas herself has only being part of the LGBT community and out for the last 4 years, which brings with it a unique perspective. "I am used to freedom and there's no way I'm going into any closet now," she says. "What, it was okay to make out with my husband in public when I was married, but now when I am with my girlfriend, we are not supposed to even hold hands or dance or show our love in public in any other way?"
Since sharing the piece on the network's digital page and newsletters, and its internal channel Mundo TV, Simancas says she's received so many beautiful messages of encouragement and support that she wants to share the video with a wider audience. Simancas feels that by having respected members of the Spanish-language media community in the spot, she will be reaching a larger audience in the United States and Latin America, an audience that wakes up to, gets the news from and is entertained by the people at her network.
She notes that there is not enough media about the LGBT community in Spanish. There's a huge need, she says, for the community to know about us and hear that we have support from our families, are loved and respected and have successful careers. Simancas, pictured here with her mom, knows full well that not everyone has a supportive family or a community, but by giving voice to those who are supportive, she hopes to show what can be accomplished if more people speak out.
She also hopes to encourage those of us who are struggling for acceptance, equality and justice to keep fighting.
You can watch the powerful video here:
And tweet your thanks to Telemundo for this great message. Or to the following particpants:
Ileanna Simancas: https://twitter.com/IleannaSim @ileannasim
Adamari Lopez: https://twitter.com/AdamariLopez @adamrilopez
Rashel Diaz: https://twitter.com/RashelDiaz @rashelDiaz
Jorge Luis Pila: https://twitter.com/jorgeluispila @jorgeluispila
Laura Flores: https://twitter.com/LauraFloresMx @laurafloresmx
Gabriel Coronel: https://twitter.com/gabrielcoronel @gabrielcoronel
Gloria Peralta: https://twitter.com/gloriaperaltas @gloriaperaltas