Last month we brought you a profile of Latina powerhouse Aymee Zubizarreta, marketing director (her company is zubizarretA group) and web series producer of fledging project Merrick Park. Now we’re back with highlights from our conversation with Ms. Zubizaretta.
HL: Did your parents come over from Cuba?
AZ: Absolutely. My mom was brought over here by her Aunt. She packed one suitcase, thinking she would only be here for a few weeks—and she never went back.
HL: Would you ever want to visit the homeland?
AZ: No, I really don’t, unless I could go with my mother and see where she grew up. This country has given me everything—I don’t feel I need to see Cuba, or consider it “home.” The U.S. is my home.
HL: That makes sense. So, I thought it would be interesting to talk about Merrick Park, and to ask about any other creative projects you may have going on. I saw that your KickStarter has ended—what are your current plans for funding Merrick Park?
AZ: We ended up finding advertising agencies and brands specifically that were interested in helping us launch the series So right now we are in the process of completing a business plan to present to the agencies.
HL: I noticed that on the Merrick Park website you are listed as creator, executive producer, and also as a scriptwriter. How did you come to write for the series? Have you done other writing, and are you interested in doing future screenwriting projects?
AZ: Yes—well how that came about was a few years ago I was working in corporate America—I have spent over 20 years [hyperlink to her LinkedIn] for large Fortune 500 companies in positions of leadership. I was a catalyst for change, helping them develop a meaningful connection to what they saw as the emerging Hispanic market.
I was reaching an age in my life where I thought, ok, I’ve reached the level of success that I’ve always looked for, but my personal life was miserable. It was like I had a PhD in Business, but when it came to my personal life, I was failing. I was getting older, and it was getting harder to meet quality people, and I thought, I’ve always wanted to be a wife and a mom—I’ve got to get on it!
Just after that, I met my husband, and three years ago we had a baby. So I got married at 39, and I had my son at 41, and I’m 45 now. I laugh because it was like, if you visualize a baseball diamond, I was sliding into home base just in time.
HL: But something was still missing.
AZ: Right. I felt “yea, I’ve accomplished what I want at work and socially” but something was still missing. And I noticed that there were not a lot of other women in corporate America doing what I was doing. I wanted to help younger women—to really be a mentor, to share the experiences that I had had. That’s where the idea for Merrick Park came from—a series where I could use my experiences to help the next generation.
If you look at television still today, there aren’t a lot of shows about Latinas. The typical telenovela is based on: poor girl meets rich man; poor girl woos rich man; poor girl marries rich man. And that’s not what I would want my daughter to feel—that the fantasy is to marry a millionaire. I want young ladies to learn that through higher education they can achieve their dreams. Through your education, your experience, and your skillset—these are the things that are going to open doors for you.
HL: That’s fantastic. Best of luck with Merrick Park and your many other endeavors!
AZ: Thank you!