Hollywood godmother to Latino filmmakers, publisher, actress, mentor. When it comes to Bel Hernandez Castillo, founder and publisher of Latin Heat Media, all of these terms fit the description for the radiant Latina behind Hollywood’s most authoritative trade about Latinos in the entertainment industry.
Two weeks ago, Hernandez Castillo received a major surprise when the prestigious NCLR Alma Awards publicly recognize Latin Heat for 20 years of publishing.
Tomorrow Hernandez Castillo embarks on a new journey as co-host, co-founder and co-executive producer of the L.A.-based show ¡HOLA L.A.! that is airing as a pilot on CBS-owned KCAL-TV, Ch. 9. “Hola L.A.”, the successor to Hernandez-Castillo’s Internet only show “Let’s Talk” which she has been producing since 2008, is what you get when “The View” meets Latino.
Hernandez Castillo says its about time Hispanics got their voices heard boldly about pop culture.
“We began our internet talk show because we were tired of being overlooked by the other English-language talk shows, where still there is not one Latina voice to be heard,” says Hernandez Castillo, “so we decided to produce it ourselves. We were lucky to get the attention of KCAL’s Olivia Campos-Bergeron and after two years of trying to work it out, it has happened! This is just the first milestone in the road. Now we need ratings!”
¡HOLA L.A.! is co-hosted by Hernandez Castillo and three dynamic, English-speaking Latina professionals with a fresh new twist on universal topics. Tossing in their own unique flavor of talk-entertainment with her are actress/comedienne Dyana Ortelli (Curb Your Enthusiasm); actress/green gal Kikey Castillo, and Emmy winning journalist Naibe Reynoso-Hodsden. The ladies will report on current trends, the latest happenings in Los Angeles, and a little bit about everything Hollywood.
Talks are underway with several potential sponsors who see the value of advertising on a show that squarely hits the coveted acculturated Latina 18-34 but the real goal is to take the HOLA L.A.! national.
Latinos in Hollywood are rooting for Hernandez-Castillo because they realize ¡HOLA L.A.!’s success will serve as another platform for them to be seen and discovered.
Through highs and lows Hernandez-Castillo has been there for a Who’s Who of Latino entertainers and producers. Now it’s Latino Hollywood’s turn to support the Madrina of Latino Hollywood.
BY MANNY RUIZ