Navani Otero

Aug 16, 11 Navani Otero

City you live in:
Brooklyn, NY

Occupation and why?
I have many titles: multi-media journalist, blogger, entertainment journalist, online writer – all depending on the medium and the subject matter of what I write. At the end of the day, I am a writer. I fell in love with the written word when I read Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in seventh grade. I just loved how she shared herself so openly and honestly and it inspired me. I could relate to a lot of her struggles and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I wanted to use writing to do that for someone else in some way – either by sharing my own story or someone else’s.

A regular day consists of?
What I love about what I do is that no day is ever the same. It could be anything from interviewing celebrities on the red carpet to covering an album release party or just a day transcribing. What’s great is that I am always meeting new people and doing different things.

How do you define success?
Success to me is being happy with who you are and doing something you love every day. Even if you are not in a position to make your passion your nine to five, that doesn’t mean you still can’t do what you love in another way. Many creative folks do one thing to pay the bills and pursue their passion outside of that. As long as you make time to do what it is you love in some form, you are in great shape.

What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is getting out of my own way, as crazy as that sounds. Many times it’s my own fear or self-doubt that paralyzes me. I continue to work on that. You have to believe in yourself for anyone else to and don’t be afraid to take a chance on yourself.

What advice would you give a Latina who wants to follow in your footsteps?
There is no one way to do anything, be bold enough to make your own path and find your own way. What works for one person may not be the way for you, and don’t think if you don’t follow that route then it can’t ever happen. When I started my career in journalism it was anything but traditional. I didn’t go to school for journalism or have an Ivy League program to co-sign me. Instead, I just started writing. I created a blog and made relationships with editors and was able to start getting freelance work by letting them read my work. What I didn’t learn from a classroom I learned from work experience, mentors and lots of mediabistro courses.

What’s on your bucket list?
Writing and publishing a memoir, traveling the world, receiving a Fulbright grant and living somewhere other than New York City.

I am proud to be Latina because:
We are such a diverse people! We come in all shapes, sizes and colors and have so much culture between us. The traditions we maintain, the language we speak, the music we play, all contribute to our identity as a proud, warm and special people.

How do you get your Latin fix?
Turning to my Hector Lavoe station on Pandora and drinking a Malta.

Spanglish, English, Spanish?
English/Spanglish, sadly. I grew up in a Nuyorican household where my parents thought it would benefit me more to learn English as my first language because of the discrimination they faced growing up. So, Spanish became my second and most choppy language. Many times my family will speak to me in Spanish and I answer in English still.

What is your favorite Latin restaurant?
Sofrito in midtown. The name says it all! That’s where I go for authentic Puerto Rican cuisine with an upbeat, trendy atmosphere.

My favorite Latina stereotype is:
That we are super passionate women. I can agree on that. I don’t ever do anything halfway, if I am in it I give 100% and it shows.

Best advice from mami and/or abuelita:
Mami always says, “Sigue pa’lante como un elefante.” It’s a saying that comes from the idea that elephants, by nature, only face forward. They physically can’t look back. So, we should follow their footsteps and not focus our energy in the past. When things get hard you just continue to move forward no matter what and don’t look back.

Favorite home remedy
I learned these from my abuela: cutting an aloe plant for burns and using coffee to clean suede.

Favorite Quote:
I have so many! I actually post a weekly quote up and this week’s I just read from a fortune cookie the other day. I really love it for times when I am in a situation outside of my comfort zone. It says, “You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” So true! So if you find yourself doing something new and you feel a little uncomfortable, remember that. But my all time favorite quote would have to be, “Thoughts are things, so choose the good ones”. When I realized how much of my thoughts were negative it blew me away. And what you focus your energy on you will attract more of, so choosing good thoughts is so important because everything starts there.

Career Highlights
:
Interviewing Rosie Perez when the documentary “Yo Soy Boricua, Pa’Que Tu Lo Sepas!” came out. She was one of the first Puerto Rican women I grew up seeing in the media. There were not many faces on TV or in movies I could relate to, but she was one of them and it was a huge honor for me to speak with her. She is such an inspiring person.

[fun]♦ I am left-handed, a trait I found out I share with 50 Cent when I interviewed him for my first cover story.
♦ I don’t have a middle name, which is very rare, especially for a Latina.
♦ My brother’s birthday is the day before mine, but he is six years younger. We always had joint birthday parties growing up.[/fun]

[career]
♦ Navani Otero is a multi-media journalist, blogger and radio show co-host with over six years of entertainment industry experience. Much of her career has been spent writing for Latino publications and websites.
♦ Her work has been published in The New York Post, BOOM Magazine, XXL Magazine, Latino University Magazine, In Touch Weekly Magazine, MTV.com, Migente.com and MTvtr3s.com. She has interviewed the likes of 50 Cent, George Clooney, Donald Trump, Kiera Knightly and Rosie Perez to name a few.
♦ She currently is a staff writer for www.brooklynbodega.com, assistant producer for the radio show “Rap is Outta Control” on SiriusXM, contributor to www.llero.net and has her own blog, www.NavaniKnows.com.
♦ This self-professed music junkie splits her free time between freelancing and mentoring aspiring teen writers.[/career]

[description]There is no one way to do anything, be bold enough to make your own path and find your own way.[/description]

1 Comment

  1. Jessica E. /

    Dope!

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