FROM SMALL TOWN GIRL TO LATINA STAR ON THE RISE
An actress, model and television host, Santana Rodriguez gravitated to the world of fitness when her father was diagnosed with Diabetes, which eventually caused him to lose both his legs. This painful experience fueled her quest for healthy living and the need to prevent others from going through what her family had to go through.
Rodriguez left her hometown of Buffalo after graduating from college to pursue an acting and modeling career in Los Angeles. Over time she has transformed herself from a small town girl to a Latina star on the rise, appearing on several television shows, magazines, and winning fitness competitions including a national championship title.
But things didn’t come easy. “When I first got here it was a nightmare,” Rodriguez points out. “Anything that could go wrong went wrong. I didn’t know the city or anyone here, and some people I met really misguided me, so I couldn’t trust anyone. I found it to be a really cold atmosphere where nobody looked or smiled at each other.”
Weeks passed before the pressure eventually got to Santana and she shed her first tear. She was running out of money and found everything to be expensive. Things got so desperate that her ex-boyfriend was on the verge of flying out to bring her back home, but she was determined to tough it out and make it on her own.
“I said to myself I’m not going back home, and I didn’t,” Rodriguez remembers.
A winner of many fitness titles, among them, the national “Team USA Model quest” and the title of “Miss Figure Goddess” led to several opportunities, including having her own calendar produced three times, appearing on television commercials and even hosting her own local cable show called “Shaping up with Santana,” but her dream is to have her own network fitness program.
Rodriguez has appeared on “Latin Nation,” a nationally syndicated television show, where she appeared as the host of the fitness tip of the week. She was also featured on “American Latino,” another national television show, and was the segment host and producer of “Profiles,” a production viewed on the Bloomberg network in NYC.
With so much work it’s tough to stay balanced, but exercising, working out, having a good, positive state of mind, and surrounding herself with positive people really make a difference in her life.
She is very proud of her Puerto Rican and Brazilian heritage and to keep in touch with her roots she often visits her favorite restaurants. “My favorite is Cuban and Mexican food, rice and beans and my favorite platanos, I’m addicted to them. I also love cooking for myself. My mother taught me how to make pasteles but I can never get them to taste the same way as hers.”
When times get tough, she likes to go back home for a visit. “It’s the best feeling in the world. It’s like escaping from reality, but in this case, reality is back home.”
A member of a very close-knit family, Rodriguez credits her success, determination and strength to her family, especially her father whom she’s very close to. “I will always be daddy’s little girl,” she says proudly.
Working hard to make her dreams and projects come to life, Rodriguez offers some important advice for anyone looking to pack their bags and head out to Hollywood.
“Be careful,” she warns. “If you want to come out here to pursue a dream, you have to know that it’s not going to happen overnight, and if it does, chances are that career will have no longevity. You have to be tough! If you can’t deal with rejection, then go back home. This is a tough town, but it can happen for you if you work hard at it. Everything in life has to be earned.”
To learn more about Santana’s visit her website at www.SantanaSantana.com.
— By Luis Pérez