By: Brittany Valadez
I’ll never forget the call that changed my life. Strolling down the women’s shoe aisle in Target (typical, for an aspiring fashionista), my phone began to ring. I didn’t recognize the number, but picked up anyways. “Hello?” I said casually, examining a bright purple pump. “Hi!” a voice chirped brightly on the other end of the line. “This is the National Council of La Raza – we’re calling to let you know you’ve been selected as a finalist in our search for a fashion correspondent at the 2012 ALMA Awards. Congratulations!”
I could barely breathe! Would I be able to answer a few follow-up questions, the voice asked? Yes. Was now a good time? Of course! Although I was the one answering questions over the next few minutes, I couldn’t help have a few of my own pop into my head: Am I speaking too fast? Am I rambling? Am I sabotaging my chance at becoming ALMA’s inaugural fashion correspondent? I was completely nervous! I knew I wanted this opportunity more than anything in the world.
A couple days later, my phone rang again. A number not listed in my contacts flashed across the screen. I answered and suddenly, it was as if all of my dreams had come true. I could barely contain my excitement as I heard the life-changing words echo across the phone: “Congratulations! You’ve officially been selected as the fashion correspondent for the 2012 NCLR ALMA Awards.”
The next few weeks were a whirlwind. I went dress shopping with my mom, carefully choosing a beautiful, floor-length, lavender gown as my ensemble for the event. Of course, to give it that little something extra, my mom hand-stitched rhinestones to the bodice. What can I say? Fashion is in the family! Before I knew it, I was boarding a 6 AM flight to Los Angeles.
The day of the Awards, I felt an unimaginable joy. As I scrambled around my exquisite room at Pasadena’s Langham Hotel getting final touches to my hair and makeup, all I could think about was what I was about to experience at my first-ever awards show. ALMA was not only the first awards show I would attend; it was the only event other than prom where dress was black tie. I felt like a princess.
When I arrived on the red carpet, my dreamlike fairytale became reality. I felt right at home interviewing celebrities from Eva Longoria and Tyler Posey, to Diego Boneta and a host of recent Olympians. There were stars everywhere, and I was so inspired to see each of them supporting Hispanic heritage. I knew then that I wanted to pursue this work professionally.
One year later, my whole life is different. A correspondent for both Latina Magazine and Hollyscoop, I get to live out my dreams every day. My experience at the ALMA Awards was just the platform I needed to launch my career. Thanks to NCLR, I was given a chance to shine. Thanks to God’s grace and mercy, I found my calling. And while I know a lot can change in a short amount of time, I hope to continue down this road to success for many years to come…and if that road is a red-carpeted one, all the better!
Thank you NCLR, from the bottom of my heart.
Since attending the 2012 NCLR ALMA Awards, Brittany Valadez has covered Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards, the MTV Movie Awards, the Do Something Awards, and “The Voice” red carpets. She attended FOX’s Teen Choice Awards this past Sunday, and will cover “The X Factor” in the Fall. Brittany currently works as a correspondent for both Latina Magazine and Hollyscoop.