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Watch > Episode > Jackie Cruz - From Orange Is the New Black to Inspiration in the World of Entertainment

Jackie Cruz - From Orange Is the New Black to Inspiration in the World of Entertainment


Jackie Cruz is an actress, singer, and multi-talented artist who has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide with her magnetic presence and undeniable talent. Her journey from a challenging past to becoming a celebrated figure in the entertainment industry is a testament to her resilience, artistic prowess, and commitment to breaking barriers. In this episode of London Real, Jackie discusses how “Orange is the New Black” has given her new opportunities, why she looks to women who lead with their hearts not their make-up and her inspiration to become an actress.

Born on August 8, 1986, in Queens, New York, Jacqueline Cruz navigated a challenging upbringing marked by adversity and the pursuit of a better life. Raised in a low-income household with parents of Dominican and Cuban descent, Cruz faced early hardships that would shape her character and drive her determination to succeed.

Jackie Cruz’s life took a dramatic turn when, at the age of 17, she survived a near-fatal car accident. The accident left her in a coma for 72 hours and led to extensive injuries, including a collapsed lung, a shattered pelvis, and a broken neck. The arduous recovery process became a pivotal moment in Cruz’s life, sparking a newfound appreciation for resilience and a determination to pursue her dreams.

Jackie Cruz’s passion for the arts and her desire to overcome adversity led her to pursue acting and music. Her breakthrough moment came when she secured the role of Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales in the critically acclaimed Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black.” Set in a women’s prison, the show provided Cruz with a platform to showcase her acting skills and resonated with audiences for its diverse cast and compelling storytelling.

In addition to her acting career, Jackie Cruz is a talented singer and musician. She has ventured into the music industry, releasing singles that blend her Latin roots with contemporary pop sounds. Cruz’s soulful voice and captivating stage presence have earned her recognition in the music scene, allowing her to explore her artistic expression beyond the confines of acting.

Jackie Cruz leverages her platform to advocate for social issues close to her heart. As a survivor of a traumatic accident, she speaks openly about the importance of resilience, self-love, and mental health awareness. Cruz is involved in charitable initiatives, supporting organisations that address issues such as immigration rights, women’s empowerment, and health awareness.

Jackie Cruz’s presence in the entertainment industry represents a shift toward more diverse and inclusive storytelling. As a Latina artist, she is committed to breaking stereotypes and creating opportunities for underrepresented voices. Cruz’s advocacy for diversity in the media aligns with a broader movement within the industry to challenge norms and foster representation that reflects the richness of human experiences.

Jackie Cruz’s journey from adversity to acclaim is an inspiring narrative of resilience, talent, and advocacy. As an actress, singer, and advocate, she continues to make a meaningful impact on and off the screen. Jackie Cruz serves as an inspiration for aspiring artists facing challenges, proving that with determination, creativity, and a commitment to social change, one can overcome obstacles and leave an indelible mark in the world of entertainment.


00:00 | Trailer
03:27 Brian’s thoughts on the episode
05:32 Brian’s introduction
06:14 Looking forward to feeling the energy of London
07:16 Enjoying being in Cologne for Gay Pride
08:00 Orange is the New Black show, on Netflix, has given Jackie new opportunities
14:59 Jackie looks to women who lead with their hearts not their make-up
16:50 Justice is the key to what Orange is the New Black portrays
20:04 What Jackie has learned about prisons and imprisonment during her time on the show
26:31 Joining the show was her big break and it became a master class for her
33:39 Advice for those who aspire to be an actress
36:14 Jackie’s inspiration to become an actress and singer
39:36 The influence New York has on her
42:53 Move to Los Angeles aged 15 and leaving home at 16
47:22 Life changing accident
54:03 Little girl helps Jackie return to her dream
1:00:16 Why she doesn’t say she is American when in Europe
1:05:09 Jackie starts her own company to give a voice to Latinos and other ethnic minorities in America
1:09:12 Her regular daily routines to keep herself positive and focussed
1:13:57 What is her super power
1:15:48 The best and worst days of her life
1:17:25 What scares her
1:20:19 What keeps her awake at night
1:21:22 Success secrets
1:23:33 Best advice ever received
1:26:46 Advice to the 20-year old watching who wants to make a change for justice in the world
1:31:37 What Jackie is bringing to her character
1:34:22 When the new series comes out
1:34:46 When her album is coming out
1:35:10 Brian’s summing up.


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