Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Latina TV show works

'The Chicas Project': Must si TV for Latinos
By Richard Huff, DAILY NEWS, July 6th 2009

Yasmin Deliz and Melissa (Crash) Barrera have tried skydiving and bungee jumping, for their mun2 series 'The Chicas Project.' But politics is what really scares them.

Yasmin Deliz and Melissa (Crash) Barrera have tried a bunch of really cool experiences, like skydiving and bungee jumping, for their mun2 series "The Chicas Project," but nothing scared them as much as applying for work as interns.

"The great thing about the show is, the risk and the danger doesn't necessarily have to come out of something like bungee jumping," said Barrera. "One of the most terrifying things we've done was going to interview at the [Congressional] Hispanic Caucus. I'm not good in a business-type atmosphere."

But that fear in every day things is part of the program, which returns for a fourth season Thursday at 7 p.m. on mun2, NBC Universal's channel for young, bilingual Latinos.

Deliz, a Queens native, and Barrera are the stars of mun2. They also host "Crash & Yasmin Uncensored," a series where the two women weigh in on a variety of topics.

This season, the producers and the hosts have changed "The Chicas Project" a bit to involve viewers. The stars visit such places as Austin and Houston to try blind dates and work at a dude ranch, the sort of thing viewers expect. But this time out, they've also stopped to tape interviews with Latinos to take with them to Washington, D.C.

"Our fan base is so loyal we wanted to take the opportunity as faces of the network and do something with that," Barrera said.

"We found a lot of the youth we spoke to share the same concerns," Deliz said. "No matter what age, or where you are, the most common concern was the unemployment rate and getting laid off."

The tapes were delivered when the two women tried interning at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

"Some of the kids didn't really know how to respond at first, but by making it comfortable, they opened up," Deliz said. "I'm sure we changed somebody's life."

That's not to say the show has gone completely serious. One of the episodes has Deliz and Barrera learning selfdefense and trying out their new skills in a fight; there's also that stint at a dude ranch.

That sort of adventure can change their lives, too.

In the case of Barrera, who was a handful as a kid and clashed with her mother, a businesswoman, the show helped bring them together.

"We did a mariachi episode," Barrera said. "My mom showed up. I started crying because my mom didn't watch a lot of the things I did growing up. The fact that my mom was there really got to me. ... For her to show up meant the world to me. The rest of the episode, I couldn't sing for crap."


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