Notre Dame hosts transformative Latino leaders in Hollywood panel

Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 11:32 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies played host to an inspiring panel discussion on Thursday featuring prominent Latino leaders from Hollywood.

The panel, held at the university, brought together Mark Consuelos, known for his co-hosting duties on “Live with Kelly & Mark” alongside his wife, Kelly Ripa; Nicholas Gonzalez, who is currently captivating audiences as Captain Levi Delgado on NBC’s hit series “LA BREA”; and Wilmer Valderrama, recognized for various roles including his iconic portrayal of “Fez” in the television show “That ‘70s Show.”

The panel engaged in a profound conversation about empowerment, representation, and the importance of fostering under-represented talent.

Before the event, we had the privilege to sit down with Wilmer Valderrama, who shared some of his insights on the importance of promoting diversity and opportunities for underrepresented youth.

“I hope that tonight’s conversation also opens the door for a little more understanding of your strengths, what your superpowers are culturally,” Valderrama expressed.

These three accomplished personalities are now using their platform to encourage under-represented youth to follow their dreams, regardless of the path they choose. They emphasized the need to empower young talent and foster an environment where opportunities are readily available.

Gonzalez shared an anecdote about his journey in the entertainment industry: “My first performance of this play, we only performed three nights. It was just a small school production. There was another actress who was getting her Ph.D. there, and her name was Alma Martinez. She happened to be in the audience and came up to my dressing room afterward. She said, ‘We need more young Latinos like you in this business,’ and she took my hand and introduced me to everybody in the theater scene in San Francisco.”

After that Gonzalez’s career took off and he eventually burst onto the Hollywood scene.

Gonzales pointed out the challenges of representing one’s cultural identity authentically while avoiding stereotypes. “I think what becomes difficult is trying to represent fully but yet not go fully into these tropes that are trotted out over and over again but trying to find a different way in which my Latinidad comes out in maybe very different ways than for you and for a lot of other people out there, so, it becomes less about trying to represent everyone and being more true to maybe your experience.”