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Meet Trailblazer Heidy Rodriguez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heidy Rodriguez.

Heidy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am an advocate of all things transformative, healing and inclusive. This purpose bleeds into everything that I do. As an only child growing up with Guatemalan parents in Koreatown (my brother came when I was 11), I was always around adults and wisdom. My earliest notion of photography and journalism was via National Geographic. My dad would pick me up from school and we would go to thrift stores, there, I would skim through numerous magazines of the 1940s all the way to what was present day. I was in awe of the different cultures and landscapes in every page I turned. This made me interested in the world and finding similarities, I would think to myself and wonder what a child in Afghanistan was doing and envisioned parallel worlds.

My interest and curiosity led me to major in International Studies with a minor in Latin America. I backpacked through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Europe, Colombia and always went through the road less traveled. Always admiring the working immigrant working class that shifts and influences culture around the world. I have countless stories that I never published but have shaped me into who I am.

Some may say naive, but I say adventurous. My bus ride with Bangladeshi day laborers in Rome made me fearless as the male riders recommended I get off as I showed them my map. I could never just travel or go about life without acknowledging those around me. Discovering the Latin American statues in New Orleans and a growing Mayan population made me think about the experiences I would like to share from my perspective. Which is why I made my first short film in 2016, highlighting the story of a woman from El Salvador who fled war and is part of the worldwide urban economy known as street vending.

I plan to draw on more stories and keep creating more relevant and thought provoking mini docu films.

Has it been a smooth road?
I took a personality test a few years back that somehow justified me. I am intuitive, not always organized and I follow my heart, something that is not advised in our society. I had to navigate coming to terms and loving my journey. One moment, I was sure I wanted law school but the other me knew monotony wasn’t for me.

Everyone is different and I would tell my younger self to just go for it!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am passionate about finding common ground and connecting dots. Although my focus now is developing my storytelling, I have worked in various nationally recognized non-profits like MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) the leading Latino civil rights organization, Habitat for Humanity, and Peace Over Violence. Working in these has shaped me and the importance I see between brands, entertainment, and media to shape perspectives and influence culture. Which in the long run, heals, includes and transforms not only individuals but organizations. One of my proudest moments was being the Associate Producer of the Sony Latin Music Awards official after party and seeing the impact and responsibility the organization took upon itself to commemorate the then-recent Las Vegas shooting creating the hashtag #LatinStrong.

This year, I have said Yes to projects that push me, including Co-Producing Solidarity Radio, straight out of Boyle Heights. We bring in activists, speakers, and people who are making a difference in their community. From Sex Work activists to Arts advocates. It’s been fun and I get to produce my own segment #PettyNotPetty where I draw on personal experiences to dig deeper into what society may deem petty, but it’s really about accountability.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
Women for decades have fought the patriarchal system. I can’t say that our society has reached the level of equality we would want it to, but it does seem that we (women) have created platforms for ourselves. We are no longer waiting around and we are unapologetic. We are aware of the glass ceiling and now we are going to tear it down industry by industry.

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Image Credit:

Ciarra Walters

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