Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Vivo.
Hi Elizabeth, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born in LA, two blocks away from what they used to call the Staples Center. The lights, traffic, and crowds were normal to me. I knew by the age of five that I was created to work with people; I was a social butterfly.
Now, at 25, the butterfly in me is fluttering all over SoCal. I attend a variety of events in LA and interview the dazzling VIPs as they walk down the red carpet. Making fast friends, memorizing names, and defusing awkward situations is my specialty. I am invited by event producers for fashion shows, movie premieres, and soirees to host and make the red carpet experience smooth and exciting. The opportunity to put red lipstick on and slip into a sparkling gown means a lot to a 5’2 single mom in a city full of tall, slender, label-signed models. Yes, I said single mom.
My life changed a lot when I found out I was pregnant in high school, but my determination to succeed did not. I brought the baby to my graduation, nursed her in the parking lot at my junior college, and finally sat in front row with her at my graduation from University California SB this spring. Throughout my college experience and especially during the pandemic, I found ways to work without committing to a 9 to 5.
I started on Model Mayhem using portraits my friend took of me to apply to castings. I was worried at first that I wouldn’t get hired because I didn’t fit the cover girl image; I was shorter than the minimum height for most modeling agencies and didn’t have six-pack abs. I did, however, have twelve years of ballet under my belt. I marketed myself as the confident “classic Hollywood” girl with wavy hair and red lips. My love of old movies and dance turned into my niche as photographers offered to pay me by the hour for portraits. Soon, I was getting work by word of mouth and invited to events in Hollywood. I would talk to the red carpet photographers and make connections. Before I knew it, I was working with a Mexican TV show, Telerey, interviewing award-winning filmmakers, beauty pageant contestants, and designers at fashion shows. The exposure from those red carpet interviews led to the opportunities I have today to work with production companies like Lumiere Runway, InfoList, and Hollywood Latino.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
There were picket signs and teenagers outside my school when our principal was removed because of me. What my classmates didn’t understand was that he had tried to have me kicked out of school for being pregnant; he had tried to coerce me into adult school so I wouldn’t make pregnancy look cool to the other girls. It was that experience of reaching out to the school board that taught me to advocate for myself, despite opposition. I graduated and he was removed.
Advocating for myself made my next job easier, working with veterans experiencing homelessness. I spent a year in a program called Americorps that pushed me to fight for other people who didn’t feel like they fit into society. Listening to stories of rejection, exclusion, and trauma made me realize that the advocacy skills I had in high school were useful. I made appointments with city council members, county officials, and nonprofit CEO’s to secure housing for a number of people that still call me and send me pictures of their homes.
The interviews I have on the red carpets are not too unlike the chats I have had on the concrete carpets of homeless encampments. Breaking the ice can be just as hard; folks are mistrusting, afraid of being used, and unsure of where the conversation will lead. In the end, my goal is to dignify my fellow human. It’s to learn something about that person that can remind them of how far they’ve come and inspire someone else to take the first step as well.
I’d like to see the conversations become about how the red carpet dreamers can impact the dreamers that are still finding a home to dream in. I’m excited to build my network and start that conversation in an upcoming podcast.
Follow my journey!
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I consider what I do an art; it’s real-time improv with a cause. I make the red carpet a place where, after being flashed at by photographers, the VIPs can express themselves and give a moment of their lives to people watching at home. Viewers of Hollywood Latino or Telerey are happy to see the Latinx community shining and bringing art to Hollywood. I would like these moments to blossom into opportunities for the red carpet attendees to inspire and give to the communities that don’t have a chance yet to share their creativity.
Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
I love the endless opportunities our city offers; creative jobs of every kind, entertainment in the streets, clubs, rooftop events. I love the food from the street vendors, the murals on all the buildings, the beautiful parks and gardens, art is everywhere! I don’t like the overwhelming homeless situation; there are so many people without homes, and the options are so limited for affordable housing.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elizabethviv0/