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Three Latinx Alumni to Watch (on Insta)

The Emerson Alumni Association invited three Latinx artists to take over their Instagram account (@emersonalumni) and talk to their fellow alums about their work and their lives to celebrate Hispanic/Latinx American Heritage Month (September 15-October 15).

Who are they?

woman smiling on staircase with framed pictures behind her
Hailey Chavez ’15. Courtesy photo

Hailey Chavez ’15, who will host on Wednesday, October 6, is a Latina TV and feature writer from Los Angeles. She has written for shows like Superstore (NBC), Pretty Smart (Netflix), Diary of a Future President (Disney+) and grown-ish (Freeform).

Related: Emerson Alumna, Professor Help Make TV College Life Feel Real

She started out doing improv and sketch comedy at UCB and working as an assistant on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW). A short she wrote, Are We Good Parents?, was featured at SXSW and Outfest. She was a Writing for Film and Television major at Emerson, with an unfinished Gender Studies minor.

michael cavazos in black t-shirt, arms crossed
Michael Cavazos ’98. Photo by Gary Norman

Then, on Wednesday, October 13, Queer Chicano theatre maker, playwright, and visual artist Michael Cavazos ’98 will stop by. Before moving to Portland, Oregon, Cavazos was a member of the sketch comedy troupe Gender Offenders, and performed at venues across New York City, including the Beechman Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, The Culture Project, and P.S. 122. Cavazos directed and performed in the theatrical concert, Universo, for Hand2Mouth, where he is a company member, and has worked with Imago, Milagro, Crave, Profile, Portland Center Stage, and Portland Playhouse. He is part of two cross-cultural theatre collaborations with companies in Egypt (ShakeSphere) and France (Theatre Begat).

He recently released a new video piece called “de los cadavers crecen flores/from the corpses flowers grow,” and currently is co-developing a devised theatre work called Un Nuevo Mundo. His visual art was selected as part of Regional Arts and Culture Council’s new public art collection, Capturing the Moment. Cavazos is one of five Oregon performing artists to receive the 2021 Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. He lives in Portland with his husband, Rad, and two fur babies, Mamonster and Mitzi.

paloma valenzuela in black sequined dress leaning agains planter
Paloma Valenzuela ’09. Courtesy photo

And if you missed Paloma Valenzuela ’09 on September 22, you can still catch her story on @emersonalumni. Valenzuela is a Dominican-American writer, director, actor, and educator, originally from Boston. She is the creative director of La Palomita Productions, LLC; the writer/producer/creator of the comedic web series The Pineapple Diaries; and a 2019 City of Boston Artist Fellow.

Related: WBUR’s ARTery 25 Features Alum Paloma Valenzuela ‘09

She works as a teaching artist in Boston and has taught for various programs, including Grubstreet. She teaches screenwriting at Brandeis University and recently joined the film school faculty at the Institute of Contemporary Art as the teaching artist for their Fast Forward Film Program.

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