Get to Know Four Extraordinary Women and Learn from Them

They are not actors or household names, but they definitely wield influence in the areas of entertainment and related spheres. Hats off to these accomplished experts, who just happen to be women. Meet the talented and hard-working Linda Cruz, Doly Mallet, Claudia Shelley, and Raven Wilson, all of them positive role models.

Doly Mallet: Author and Film Critic

Writer and journalist Doly Mallet previously lived in Mexico City, where she contributed to numerous media outlets including the Reforma newspaper as well as magazines including GQ, Empire, Cine Premiere, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, and Seventeen. She worked towards a Master’s Degree in Media Studies at The New School in Nueva York. She also did graduate studies, focusing on Film Criticism, at the University of Melbourne, in Australia. She wrote a Spanish-language YA novel, “Silvana, la Verdad de,” and two highly successful non-fiction books: the best-selling “Mordiendo Manzanas y Besando Sapos,” published by Grijalbo, followed by “Tu Galán de Película,” from the same publisher. Doly has lived in New York for nearly nine years, but has the soul of a nomad and has worked, on an independent basis, on numerous entertainment and cultural projects.

Why did you choose to follow your career path, what was the appeal?

I couldn’t help it. Ever since I was a little girl, I loved sitting down to write stories. I needed to express myself that way. Later, I moved towards journalism, because of curiosity I always wanted to ask questions and learn about people. That can be annoying or "socially unacceptable," and possibly even more so in a woman (as we know, the Bible and the Greeks blamed us for being curious), but journalism gave me the perfect excuse to ask questions without being judged. On the other hand, films have always fascinated me. My parents say that the first time they took me to the movie theater, I was only three, yet I spent the whole time standing, watching intently without blinking. The movie was "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." My dad is a film buff, so I grew up around that. His entire library is centered around that topic, and we always used to watch movies. It could be classic ones on TV or new releases at the theater, but a weekend without movies would have been inconceivable. Post-dinner conversations always revolved around movies. And for me, they were not only entertainment but also a form of catharsis. So my career is my dream come true as it combines what I love: writing, research, and movies.

Please describe a typical day of work for you.

There’s really no such thing as a typical day. I am used to working from home, and I need to become more disciplined and write every day so that I can move forward with new projects I come up with. I don’t always excel at this, but I make constant attempts. There's no other way. When I have a deadline, things are easier for me. As soon as I receive a project, I start doing research, prepare interview questions and review them several times, prepare diagrams, and so on. How long this takes depends on how complex the interview or the article is going to be, especially if it’s on a topic outside of my comfort zone. And there are times when I do have to go to a specific place. Every day is different.

Please mention one career difficulty or obstacle you have encountered, and how you dealt with it.

There’s no denying that those of us who are freelance writers and contributors don't have much financial freedom. However, we have a lot of flexibility as to time management, and a job we are passionate about. The money issue has been something I have sometimes had to deal with in different ways. I work as a pet sitter on occasion. Since I love animals, it’s not a problem, but you might have to find side jobs to support yourself financially. I have caved in and accepted a few jobs that are not my thing, but I always return to my essence. I can't fool myself or do anything that I don't love.

What are two or three moments in your career that you have been especially proud of?

Getting my book, "Silvana la Verdad de," published by Plaza y Valdés. At the time, I was still studying. I was not well-known professionally, yet I decided to knock on the publisher’s door and go through the whole process. When they called me and said they would publish my book, I was excited beyond words. I saw that dreams could come true, and I realized that writing was a way to make a living is an actual possibility. Another proud moment was when "Mordiendo Manzanas y Besando Sapos” was published. It was a project that started out as my Bachelor's thesis, then took on a life of its own. When I was told that it had become a bestseller, I saw that writing was my true calling. When I received messages from readers, I could cry tears of joy at having established a connection with someone I never even met, simply by tapping into the power of words. It seems totally magical to me.

Are there any websites or social media links you would like to share with our Heart Of Hollywood readers?

IG: @dolymallet FB: Mordiendo Manzanas

Linda Cruz: Journalist

and Film and Music Producer

Linda Cruz began her career in the Mex- ican state of Aguascalientes. Since 1998, she has been based in Mexico City, where she works as a film and music producer and a journalist.

For over eight years, she served as a content producer and editor for the entertainment channel on Prodigy MSN, covering major festivals and awards shows. She also created “Hot, la Entrevista con Linda Cruz,” an interview show in which major celebrities, including Meryl Streep, Anthony Hopkins, Steven Spielberg, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Gustavo Cerati, the Beastie Boys, James Blunt, and Café Tacvba made appearances. Linda has hosted the Ariel Awards, a prestigious ceremony that recognizes the best of Mexican cinema, and has been a presenter during red carpets and press conferences for films such as Gravity, Fast and Furious 5, Superman, Hercules, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She was the creator, director, and host of “FullScreen,” the first original production put forth by Universal Networks Latin America. The broadcast focused on various aspects of the film industry, including exclusive interviews, visits to movie sets, breaking news, festival contenders, and more. “FullScreen” was produced for five seasons and shown weekly, during prime time, to all Latin American countries, on the Studio Universal channel. Reruns of previous episodes continue to air.

Linda was editor-in-chief of Warp. la, the digital version of a print magazine focused on music, film, and lifestyle. As a film analyst, reviewer, and critic, she occasionally collaborates with various print and digital media outlets, as well as with radio shows. These have included Warp Magazine, Milenio, Récord, Empire, and Los 40. Since 2012, she has headed the “FullScreen WFM” section (formerly known as “Movie Monday WFM”) of the WFM radio show with Alejandro Franco. It airs every Monday in Mexico on W Radio (96.9 FM), and includes film recommendations and interviews. As a musician, Linda was part of Aurora y la Academia, which recorded albums “La inmovilidad” and “Efecto chocolate.” Along with musician Iñaki (Fobia, Moderatto, Gran Sur), she formed the band Rancho. Their first album was ”Along the River Run,” and they are composing music for their next production.

Why did you choose to follow your career path, what was the appeal?

I always felt music, the theater, and film were essential means of expression. The emotions that can be represented through art and the personal connection that one can establish through it have always been fascinating to me. I was eager to get involved in these fields and curious about all their different aspects, which is why I chose to devote my life to them.

Please describe a typical day of work for you.

For better or for worse, I have no pre-established routines or activities. Given the nature of the projects I am involved in, no day is like the next. My only constant is having to juggle raising my children, my life as part of a couple, everyday responsibilities, career obligations, and leisure time. It’s not easy, but it is anything but boring.

Please mention one career difficulty or obstacle you have encountered, and how you dealt with it.

Whenever you engage in creative and collaborative work, you need to find a balance within the team. I have been fortunate enough to work with friends and to establish great friendships thanks to work situations. However, working with someone emotionally close to you can be difficult. You have to learn to keep any personal relationship separate from the responsibilities and activities at hand. I've dealt with this by being as clear and straightforward as possible, pointing out anything that comes up and causes me concern.

What are two or three moments in your career that you have been especially proud of?

When I went on the Las Corregidoras tour with Aurora y la Academia. We played some dates in Spain and also played at the Sala Nezahualcóyotl, a wonderful concert hall in Mexico City. It was very rewarding to be part of such a powerful project, created by women I love and admire.

When NBCU became interested in producing “Full Screen.” Doing that show with the network was a wonderful and enriching experience in every possible way. Getting the initial call, confirming that the project would be carried out, was an unforgettable moment. Recording the Rancho album “Along the River Run” at the Sonic Ranch studio complex in Texas was magical. Those winter days full of music and good friends are some of the moments that I treasure the most.

Also, hosting the tribute to Robert De Niro at the Los Cabos International Film Festival was a very moving occasion.

In your line of work, have you noticed any specific advantages or disadvantages of being a woman?

Unfortunately, I believe there are many more disadvantages than advantages. The wage gap between men and women is enormous. Access to high-level jobs is much more infrequent for women than for men. There are also studies that confirm that a woman who is more physically attractive than another one is more likely to get a job when a man is in charge of making that decision. Motherhood is also a big issue. A pregnant woman is much less likely to be hired than one who is not... and we could go on and on. There is a lot of work to be done as to gender equality. In my entire career, I have never experienced any advantages specifically because I’m a woman, but I have experienced certain disadvantages because of it.

What advice would you give to other women who would like to work in your field?

Try to learn everything you can about all aspects of the field. Fortunately, there is a lot of information available, and many ways to obtain that information. Even though sometimes things are not easy or do not seem clear, keep at it.

Please name someone who has been a strong influence on your life or career.

Iñaki, my husband. As an artist, as a partner, and as a human being. He is who I turn to for advice and support.

Are there any websites or social media links you would like to share with our Heart Of Hollywood readers?

yes, @Lindacruz on Twitter and Instagram

RAVEN WILSON: Artistic Director, Professional Dancer,

Choreographer, Runway Coach, Casting Director

IM (Colors in Motion) Entertainment Group is composed of three different divisions: CIM Exclusive Models, CIM Dance Crew, and CIM Performing Arts. Raven Wilson is the co-founder of Colors in Motion (CIM) Exclusive Models and is also involved in countless other aspects of the company. Raven, sometimes credited as Ravan Willson, appeared in Michael Jackson's legendary "Thriller" video as a principal dancer. She has been a professional per- former for over 20 years. Over this time period, she got to work with major celebrities such as Prince, Debbie Allen, Black Street, Ice Cube, Grandmaster Flash, Fat Boys, Whodini, Vanilla Ice, and more. She also had the privilege to work as an Elite Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and Houston Gambler Cheerleader, and an assistant choreographer for the Indiana Pacers cheerleaders.

Why did you choose to follow your career path, what was the appeal?

The Colors in Motion (CIM) Performing Arts Academy is a place of both creative and personal growth. The instructors are either current or former professional dancers and have extensive training and experience in the entertainment industry. At CIM, we strive for excellence and work hard to give the student the best possible experience possible, whether it involves dance, vocals, runway modeling, or acting. We offer cutting-edge dance routines set to popular upbeat industry music, professional workshops, and an environment conducive to creative growth, experience, and expertise.

Please mention one career difficulty or obstacle you have encountered, and how you dealt with it.

CIM Exclusive Models and LA Kidz Fashion Week were extremely blessed during the coronavirus pandemic. We were the first fashion entertainment agency to start a very successful online live fashion show. The difficulty we faced was the COVID-triggered restrictions, but we had models, designers, and entertainers from all over the world signing up and participating in our online event. We had magnificent celebrity hosts, Newton Mayenge and Vanessa Vizard.

What are two or three moments in your career that you have been especially proud of?

I have been independently contracted with MTV and BET for over 20 years and continue to spread my knowledge of the dance and modeling industries with all the students and instructors at CIM. I have also run state vendors and contracted bus and transportation companies for over 25 years, transporting mildly to moderate special needs children through the DDS statewide service.

Please name someone who has been a strong influence on your life or career.

With the help of my partner Jasmine Jennifer, who currently resides in Australia, and our lead photographers Johnny Jones and Sheron Jones, we've cornered the market and it's been absolutely amazing. We’ve worked with top brands, stores, and designers such as Manish Vaid of Jsquad, Cristina Tenille, Macy’s, Tommy Lee of Tee Jay Couture, Will Franco, Veteran Couture, Standsexy, Huxnboss, One World Peace, Rene Dieu, Boss Lady Bling, Imperial, and many more.

Are there any websites or social media links you would like to share with our Heart Of Hollywood readers? Yes, https://cimentertainmentgroup. com/


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CLAUDIA SHELLEY: Advertising Maven,

Theather Producer and Shoe Designer

Claudia Shelley, currently based in Mexico City, has over 25 years of experience in advertising. She began her career at the Grey México agency as an art buyer and then moved to Ogilvy & Mather as a photo producer. She branched out into other agencies, such as BBDO, Wunderman, and Publicis. It was at this last company that her responsibilities as a producer grew, and she eventually became Production Director. More recently, Claudia has collaborated with additional companies such as McCann, Nómades, Lápiz, and Innocean. Another activity she once carried out be- sides working for advertising agencies was offering production services to photographers in Mexico and other countries. This in turn led Claudia to represent top international photographers, and have them work worldwide for clients such as Banamex, El Palacio de Hierro, Coca-Cola, Samsung, L'Or’eal, Casa Cuervo, Honda USA, and Bimbo USA.

Along with advertising, Claudia was drawn to cultural projects, particularly theater, and became an executive producer in Mexico for the country’s National Theater Company and the National Institute of Fine Arts. This path enabled her to win an award for Best Executive Production for a play titled “El Diccionario.” Later, she fulfilled her lifelong dream of heading a fashion brand—she now owns a shoe company featuring her unique de- signs that definitely make a statement.

Why did you choose to follow your career path, what was the appeal?

Back in the day, I noticed that there were very few producers specializing in still photography. Also, it was necessary to create a position for someone who would fit all the pieces together to make the process as seamless as possible. It was necessary to bring the best and brightest people together so that projects that always met the highest standards of quality could be delivered. Another thing that appealed to me was that each project had its own challenges, and overcoming them required creativity along with the speed of execution. I have always enjoyed dealing with challenges because it leads to growth.

Please describe a typical day of work for you.

A typical day includes both administrative and creative work. Checking e-mails is an important