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Laurie Hernandez on what being Latina means to her

U.S. Olympic gold and silver medalist gymnast Laurie Hernandez stopped by the JW Marriot in Miami. The 16 year-old took center stage for a special luncheon at Hispanicize 2017 where she received the Latinovator Award.

The award recognizes Latino celebrities, business professionals and other high achievers who have become crossover successes or whose stories of achievement are remarkable or inspirational.

“Laurie’s achievements bring an instant smile to everyone because in addition to being a great Olympic champion, she represents a new wave of Latinas who dare to dream big and confidently shine as they reshape the face of America,” said Manny Ruiz, founder and CEO of the Hispanicize Media Group that organizes the Hispanicize event.

”We are delighted to welcome Laurie to Hispanicize at the start of what is sure to be a legacy-making sports and celebrity-filled career.”

The Dancing with the Stars Season 23 champion later told Press Pass Latino how being Latina influenced her career.

“Growing up, I also didn’t recognize too many Hispanics, doing too many sports or in gymnastics. It was nice to go to the Olympics and not just represent the United States but also represent a culture and Hispanics in general,” she said.

Olympic Gold medalist Laurie Hernandez

Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez poses at Hispanicize 2017 after receiving her Latinovator Award. (Jackie Diaz/Press Pass Latino)

“I am Latina.  I can show this generation and younger girls that it doesn’t matter what you are or what you do. It matters how hard you work.”

And nuestra Laurie is no stranger to hard work. Aparte de ser medallista de oro and campeona of Dancing with the Stars, she’s also a published author. The book titled “I Got This: To Gold and Beyond” is a chronicle of her journey from her hometown in New Jersey to the Olympics in Rio.

When asked how her parents helped conserve her Hispanic culture, she smiled and said:

“Kudos to my parents for showing off our culture especially during the holidays. My mom loved cooking arroz con gandules and my dad loves Spanish music especially Marc Anthony. We’re always dancing and always singing. It’s a part of my family.”

Y  por supuesto ella no se fue sin darnos un pequeño consejo para todas las personas who have any self doubt.

“Work Hard. Times can get rough, but push through it because it makes you a stronger person.”


Jaclyn Diaz holds a BA in Mass Communications from Florida International University. She worked at WSVN Channel 7 for five years and covered entertainment events for Deco Drive. Jackie has contributed articles to 53-weeks.com; a mom blog, ExclusiveAcess.net and OurBrickell.com. She's now freelancing as a reporter. You can keep up with Jackie on Instagram @jackie_sd

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