As we proceed with our Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, our third featured tastemaker is New Yorker Bianca Jade, who is a Honduran-American Television Host and lifestyle personality known as Mizzfit. Now, many of you have most likely seen Jade forecasting and reporting on emerging trends in the health world for national syndications such as The Today Show, CBS Morning News, Dr. Oz, People Style Watch, and more. Although she’s cultivated a successful career in media, Jade also created Mizzfit for a variety of reasons, all the way from her desire to motivate other women to feel healthier and look better to wishing her work office at her previous jobs was more like a gym, as Jade considered the gym to be a sanctuary.
Jade and I took the time to sit down and speak on her journey in New York as a woman in media, Mizzfit, owning her Honduran culture, and so much more.
Tell me about yourself, Bianca.
I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri but my family is from Honduras. I grew up in the Midwest as the only Latina I knew, mostly because I grew up in more of a Jewish community since my family is Jewish…and there are not that many Latino Jews just hanging around St. Louis! My mom is from a small town in Honduras called Danli which is a town that literally still has dirt roads. It’s a very humble town, which is what makes it so beautiful. I went to Honduras often as a child and would walk to the town square where there was a beautiful small church. I’d hang outside, buy candy from the little bodegas, and try to play with the stray dogs and cats. It sounds so meager but it was beautiful. Life there was simple when I spent my summers there. I’m glad I grew up with these experiences because I learned how the other side of the world lives. My family wasn’t poor, but in Danli, there really wasn’t any class divide.
So I would spend time with friends of family who lived with less means…and I think that made me grow up seeing the world in a different way. I grew up really knowing what poverty was because I saw it on a personal level. The workers’ children at my grandmother’s home were my friends and I shared my toys with them, as they didn’t have any. I can’t believe I’m telling you all of this but I have a lot of friends that have no idea what poverty is or are scared of being subjected to it. I think it shaped my personality as I have always wanted to share and give whatever I have with others. This is a bit of a facet of my personality. I’m a giver.
What inspired you to move to NYC and how did the city treat you when you first moved in? How was it different from St. Louis?
I went to Cornell University, so moving to New York City was a natural progression for me. This city always had my name on it though. My parents brought me here as a kid and took me to Chinatown and the Empire State Building and really wowed me as a kid with this city. I remember sticking my head out of our cab and thinking “This is the greatest place on earth!”. It was just pulsing with action—something I was drawn to as a kid…and which I still am as an adult.
I like to be constantly moving. I was one of the first fitness bloggers in the USA. I have always been obsessed with fitness, exercise, and just overall movement. My butt literally starts to hurt when I am sitting for too long..that’s how I know I was meant to move. Anyway, for me living in a place that has a lot of action just goes with my personality. Ask my husband, I will never stop! I will be vacuuming at 3 a.m. if I even see a dust bunny. It’s just my go-go-go personality. So I think I belong here. It works. As far as how the city treated me? Well, I fit in NYC better than I ever fit in in St. Louis. Like I said, I was the only Latina kid I ever knew. I didn’t have Latino friends in high school and people befriended me in my new school when they realized I was bilingual and could help them with their Spanish class homework. It worked for me…I became popular because I knew Spanish!
As a Latina woman who is light-skinned, I never truly identified as being fully Latina. The truth is my father is a gringo. But in a way, he’s not because he’s an Ashke Jew (ashkenazi jew) and his family hails from the Ukraine. So I’m a bit mixed. Assimilation is a fact…and due to the fact that I was light-skinned and I had parents who fully assimilated, I identified as a white girl. But I’m not a white girl. I’m a Jewtina! I’m a Jewish Latina whose skin tone is cafe con leche. And gone are the days of me identifying as a white girl. It all happened for me when I went to college at Cornell and was finally surrounded by minority students who were Black and Hispanic. I was accepted by the student community and began to embrace my Hispanic heritage more than I had ever done in my life. I thank my parents for sending me to this college because I think if I had gone to a school in the Midwest, nothing would’ve changed. Coming to New York and being exposed to a melting pot helped me explore the depths of my cultural heritage and I am so grateful for that.
What inspired you to work in the media & entertainment industries?
I got into working in media because my first meaningful job within 5 years of graduating from college was working as a creative art director and copywriter in advertising. I worked at Chiat Day, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, and McGarry Bowen. I founded my production company Mizzfit LLC back in 2009. It started as a blog but then turned into a personal brand that launched my career as a digital content creator and TV host. I’m proud to say I split my time between these jobs. I host on Home Shopping Network (HSN) and anywhere else in the beauty, fashion, and skincare world that likes to invite hosts like me to talk about trends in these categories. I have worked the news circuit and appeared on the Today Show. I do think my greatest challenge as a host has been on HSN because it’s literally non-stop talking and sales. And that’s hard…but I love it!
How do you feel you’ve broken barriers in the media industry and with Mizz Fit as a Latina in NYC?
I feel I have tried to break barriers by identifying as a Latina Jew. I think it’s been important to me to connect two cultures that aren’t usually thought of as going together. But there are MANY Hispanic Jews in this world and I am proud to be one. I feel that being a Jewtina has given me leverage to bridge the gap between Latinos and Jews. In the media industry, it’s helped me coin a phrase that people don’t use a lot. People laugh when I say Jewtina and I love that because it’s quirky. I love being different and sharing different sides of my heritage in a new context. Like on Chanukah, we mix it up with Latkes and hot sauce! At my wedding, we had Latin dancers fill the room right after saying the blessing for the bread and wine in Hebrew. I think showing people you can be more than one thing helps to open peoples’ minds and make them more tolerant.
My husband’s family had never met any Jewish people before meeting me and my family. This world is more sheltered than you know! I’ve always wanted to shake things up and challenge the status quo.
What are some obstacles you’ve experienced throughout your career in Media and Entertainment and how did you tackle them?
I didn’t have any connections in media. I knew I wanted to try and be a TV host but I had to do it all on my own. No one has ever helped me get a job aside from my agent. Living in a place like NYC, a lot of people know someone who knows someone and can help you out. Well, I came here without any family living here who could help me. So it took me a while to find my way into a successful career in digital and TV hosting. I’ve had to hustle to get what I wanted. I’ve been let down, and disappointed and have gone to audition after audition without booking something. But then there are those times when I’ve killed it and earned what I worked hard to achieve. I’m not Hoda Kotbe YET but I would like to be so from my perspective and still have ways to go. But it would be boring if I had already reached my goal…so I’m going to keep climbing!
What do you appreciate the most about your Honduran culture and what could you say is something that people in Honduras do that is similar to people here in the states?
Here in the US, I think family dynamics are just more rigid, in my opinion. I’m grateful that my Latin side all attended my wedding recently. I never felt more loved, more celebrated, and more connected to my heritage on this day. We played Latin music late into the night and partied only as Latin people do. I’m not sure I feel there is much that is similar between Honduran and American culture aside from the fact that kids growing up in Central America are very Westernized compared to the past. All of my cousins speak perfect English whereas my Spanish was average.
Who is one of your Latina inspirations and why and how have they shaped you to be the person you are today?
I love Eva Longoria and Eva Mendes because they have similar upbringings to mine. They grew up in the States but with Hispanic culture in their homes. I love how they are constantly sharing different aspects of their culture and incorporating them into their businesses and careers. It’s incredibly inspiring and something I’d love to do myself. They shaped who I am today because they showed me that you can have one foot in one thing and the other foot in another. We can be proud Latinas but also Americanas, identifying as both without feeling like we are lacking.
I used to be embarrassed by my slightly “gringa” accent when I spoke Spanish. I no longer am embarrassed. I own it. I’m a first-generation-er, meaning my story matters. We live in a time where people are faking their backgrounds or ethnicities, such as that time Hilaria Baldwin claimed she was Latina, which was messed up because she was taking opportunities and attention away from real Latina women who worked hard to make their mark on this world.
Overall, I bring this unique perspective to everything I do and I will always advocate for my fellow Latinos and push them forward as well.
What advice do you have for aspiring women in media, entrepreneurs, especially Latinx and newcomers to the states who strictly immigrate to pursue their dreams to pay the rent as well as to make a difference?
I recently played a role in helping my cousin obtain her VISA to come to the United States, so with this in mind, I say, DREAM ON, DREAMERS! If this is where you see your life taking off, what are you waiting for?