Irina Gonzalez Director of Audience Development

Irina Gonzalez is the Director of Audience Development for Latina.com and The Latin Kitchen, where she oversees social media, content partnerships, writes and edits, and more. An NYC-based journalist, web editor, and food writer, she started her career with an internship at Latina magazine while receiving her bachelor’s at New York University. Her work has appeared in Time Out New York, MamasLatinas.com, FamilyCircle.com, TheFrisky.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, and more. When she’s not checking out the latest taco restaurant in New York City, scouring for the best tapas in Barcelona, or dreaming of visiting Alex Atala’s restaurant in Brazil, she’s blogging about her favorite recipes, healthy eating tips and maintaining her 100 pound weight loss on HealthyLatinFood.com. You can always find her on Twitter (@msirinagonzalez) & Instagram (@msirinagonzalez) talking about her latest delicious meal.

 

Favorite Latina fashionista:  Naya Rivera. She always looks amazing on the red carpet and, I mean, have you seen her latest Latina cover? Yowza!

The Latino celeb I'd want to be best friends with: Demi Lovato. I think we’d have a lot of fun bonding over how much we both switch our hair colors.

My first celebrity crush: Ricky Martin! Back in his “Maria” days, he would make me swoon like no other. Um, still kinda does…

Something people don't know about me: I lost 100 pounds thanks to a gastric bypass—and subsequent reconstruction surgery—done in Colombia. Since then, I taught myself to love eating (and cooking!) healthy Latin food and have embraced spreading the message that it IS possible to eat flavorful, good-for-you meals to other Latinos. Well, except when I get those sudden cravings to bake something positively sinful… All in moderation, right?

Guilty pop culture addiction: Well, I’m a pretty heavy TV and chick flick addict, but I’d say my guiltiest is The Vampire Diaries. I don’t know what it is about that show. Oh wait, yes I do! #DelenaForever.

My Latina Role Model: Definitely Shakira. The work she does with her the organization she founded at just 20 years old, Piez Descalzos Foundation, her continuing work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, and many other charitable ventures—all while continuing to be one of the top recording artists, and now a partner and mother—make me love her even beyond her unstoppable hips that don’t lie.

Fun Memory from My First Day at Latina: My fun memory actually came a few days BEFORE my first day, when I got my nails done with shellac manicure for the first time—and my boss loved them so much that he put them on Latina’s instagram. That’s when I knew I’d really fit in!

Two words that describe Elvis Crespo: Unbelievably addicting. I just can’t keep my body from dancing whenever I hear “Suavemente.”

If I met Jennifer Lopez, I would: Thank her for her unwavering support of the LGBT community, for which she has just received the HRC Ally for Equality Award.

Movie that makes me cry: Come on, do you even have to ask? It’s Selena.

Celebrity I'd switch teams for: Sara Ramirez, without a doubt. I mean, haven’t you seen Callie Torres’ underwear dance?! Hot.

Latino artist on my iPod right now: Bruno Mars. I just can’t stop listening to his new album!

Favorite Interview with a Latino Celeb: Well, as a huge foodie, I have to say it’s definitely Aaron Sanchez. I’ve spoken to him in person twice and he always makes me laugh and teaches me something new about food or cooking.

Favorite Latin dish: You expect me to pick just one?! Well, if I have to, I’d say there is nothing better in this world than perfectly prepared platanos maduros fritos (fried sweet plantains).

Favorite Spanish-Language Song: That’s like picking a favorite kid! Well, it’s a tough choice, but I have to go with Gloria Estefan’s “Mi Tierra.” It always brings me back to my Cuban roots.

Proudest Moment as a Latina: I don’t know that I could truly say that I have one big moment that stood out. For me, proud moments happen whenever I do something small, like write a story that elicits a reaction and means something to someone else or when I give someone a piece of advice on how to make their Latin dishes less fattening and more weight loss-friendly and they thank me for it. What makes me proud is incorporating my culture and pride into my everyday life, and sharing that with others. 

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