Follow Us On
Although she was born in Queens, New York, Orange is the New Black’s Flaca, Jackie Cruz, lived with her mother off and on in the Dominican Republic until she was in high school. And it was there — in the DR’s warm, endless summer that Cruz’s dreams of Hollywood stardom first took hold.
“My mom took me to the movies one day to see The Bodyguard. I think I was probably like, seven at the time,” remembers Cruz. “The movie was dubbed in Spanish but Whitney sang in English, and I fell in love with movies and singing the minute I heard Whitney Houston sing. I was just in awe … and then the lights went out. We don’t have electricity all of the time in the DR, so we all just sat there in the dark and chilled until the generators kicked in so we could finish the movie.” She laughs, describing it as “definitely a very Dominican moment.”
On the walk home, she recalls telling her mother, “I want to be like that lady, you know, the girl that was the star of the show we just watched.” With a blossoming music career, her own film production company, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards as part of OITNB’s diverse ensemble to her name, Cruz seems to be well on her way to doing just that. However, the multi-talented Cruz is the first to admit that her journey from that darkened movie theater in Santiago to the Hollywood red carpet hasn’t always been an easy one.
“We moved to Los Angeles from the DR when I was fifteen, and I went to high school at the (Alexander) Hamilton Music Academy. I had to audition to get in, and they were like: ‘Ugh, another Latina?’ But my mom was like: ‘She’s talented, please, let her audition!’ So, they let me audition and I got in, and it was pretty amazing!”
Taking a full slate of performing arts classes with the likes of Grammy-winner Fiona Apple and Into the Wild star Emile Hirsch, Cruz says her time at Hamilton was inspiring and really instilled in her a sense of the hard work and dedication it takes to forge a successful career as both a singer and actress in Hollywood.
But teenage rebellion soon drove a wedge between Cruz and her strict Dominican mother; the then-high school student found herself homeless and alone. And then, just a few months shy of an early graduation, Cruz’s life took another unexpected turn. For more CLICK HERE
WE HELP CONNECT WOMEN TO THEIR TRUE SELVES ENCOURAGING HER TO THINK ABOUT HER LIFE, NOURISH THE MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT. EBBY MAGAZINE CREATES INSPIRATIONAL AND MOTIVATIONAL CONTENT FOR WOMEN THAT LOVE THE FINER THINGS AND TO LIVE AND ENJOY THE BEST LIFE HAS TO OFFER
IT IS LUXURY FOR THE SOUL
One Bridge Plaza North,
Fort Lee, NJ 07024