Nicole Chacón is no stranger to the spotlight. As a TV and radio host, writer, actress, and entrepreneur, Chacón has more than 10 years of experience in Puerto Rican media under her belt. But her new role as Ambassador for the 62nd National Puerto Rican Day Parade is one she’s prepared for since she was a kid.
“My mom says I used to wave at other cars whenever we’d pass by the Puente Dos Hermanos,” Chacón recalls of her childhood in la isla. “And I used to tell Mami, ‘I’m going from Condado to Fifth Avenue.’”
“I used to tell Mami, ‘I’m going from Condado to Fifth Avenue.’”
It’s surreal that her dream – one that’s a goal for any Boricua public figure – is finally becoming true this Sunday. Chacón will head down Fifth Avenue, alongside figures like La India, José Feliciano, Dagmar Rivera, and this year’s Grand Marshall, Ricky Martin to commemorate the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, an annual celebration held since 1958. “Of course I want to run into Ricky!” she admits. “I’ve never had the chance to meet him.”
Born in Puerto Rico, Chacón is the daughter of a Cuban father and a Spanish mother. Growing up, she danced ballet, participated in productions of “The Nutcracker,” and served as backup dancer for merenguera Olga Tañón.
Although her parents were not born in the island, Chacón says she is Puerto Rican. “To me, that identity is what being Puerto Rican is about,” she adds. “Puerto Rico feels like the whole world because we have to admit that we are all a mixture of so many cultures, so many experiences.”
Chacón has garnered a career of more than a decade in Puerto Rican television. After graduating from the Universidad de Sagrado Corazón, she landed a spot as VJ for the now-defunct MTV Puerto Rico channel. Today, she is a host of the WAPA network, where she’s cultivated an audience thanks to her work in shows like “WAPA a las cuatro,” a daily local newscast, and “De quien es la corona,” a behind-the-scenes look at the annual Miss Universe Puerto Rico competition.
But her work in television is just one facet of her multi-hyphenate career. Chacón is also the founder of a public relations and marketing agency focused on Puerto Rican influencers called Contacto, which she founded in 2013. The agency now represents public figures and influencers in Puerto Rico, such as Daniela Droz, Ivonne Orsini, and Shanira Blanco. “I think there is so much talent in the island that needs to be exported and the digital space is one where we also shine,” she says. “We can’t just stay shining here, we have to grow talent outside the island, too.” As a philanthropist, Chacón also contributes to charities, such as the Go-Go Foundation, the Carmelo Anthony Foundation, MDA Puerto Rico, and La Liga Puertorriqueña Contra el Cáncer. She’s also worked as a columnist for local newspaper El Vocero and participated in films like “Quien paga la cuenta.”
Throughout her career, Chacón has participated in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade twice, she says, covering the celebrations for WAPA and WAPA America. But this year, the experience promises to be something different. “It’s one thing to be there as an outsider, observing everything,” she says. “It’s another to be part of it, to go there to give and receive love.”
Chacón is also clear on what her priorities are for her outfit this year. While many choose to don their pride with Puerto Rican flag paraphernalia, the host says she’s going for bling. “I’m wearing a lot of chains from this Puerto Rican jewelry brand called Forever Crystals,” she says. “I have one with the flag, the island, and a coquí.”
As a first time ambassador, Chacón admits is mostly anticipating how the parade’s dedication to the town of Loiza, a northeastern town known as the “Capital de la Tradición” for its proliferation of Afro-Boricua rhythms and traditions, such as bomba. “I really am excited to see how the Loiceños will represent Puerto Rico,” she says. “I really think this is an important reminder of where we come from.”