Jon Seda Is Benjamin Button + Other Things We Learned at the Impact Awards

Lead Photo: Photo By: Salvador Ochoa / NHMC
Photo By: Salvador Ochoa / NHMC
Read more

The National Hispanic Media Coalition celebrated their 18th Annual Impact Awards Gala this past weekend. NHMC recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions to the positive portrayals of Latinos in media. The Gala took place at the always classy Beverly Wilshire Hotel and was co-hosted by Roselyn Sanchez and Lisa Vidal. This year’s honorees included Jon Seda, Jorge R. Gutierrez, Melissa Fumero, Carlos Ponce, and Gina Rodriguez. Armed with an Android, random questions (like would you rather?), and irresistible charm* we set out to bring you the top seven moments of the Impact Awards.

*Andy García is completely impervious to my charm. No picture. No smile. No love.


Lisa Vidal refusing to light up an imaginary spliff

Nuyorican Lisa Vidal stars on BET’s Being Mary Jane and she is funny and loud. Because she was hosting, we only got a couple of seconds with her. Which we used wisely. We tried to get her to say Mary Jane while inhaling nothing. She politely declined by saying, “Ay mija, me vas a meter en problemas”and walking away. I retaliated by cutting her out of the picture.


Carlos Ponce giving us a private mini concert

Ponce’s charm is off the chain (are we bringing that back?) First, he complimented our technology (a NoteS), then we asked him about his hit “Escuchame” and he sang it whilst shaking his hips and snapping his fingers. After his song and dance we asked him hard hitting questions. Tostones or Pasteles? Tostones. Daddy Yankee or Don Omar? Both. Marc Anthony or Luis Miguel? Marc. He left singing and hungry.


Melissa Fumero’s 'West Wing' moment

Here’s what happened: Fumero was getting her picture taken. I nodded to her. She nodded back. She walked towards me. We walked and talked. Sorkin style. Our topic? A Brooklyn Nine Nine themed “would you rather”: Have Captain Holt or Sargeant Crews as a boss? Holt. Watch 24 hours of Peralta in his underwear or Gina’s dance troupe? Gina’s Dance Troupe. It’s a fencing tournament, who wins Santiago or Diaz? Santiago. We took the pic and without missing a beat she was ushered away into the night.

It was just as well-choreographed as this crazy West Wing clip.


Xolo Maridueña’s swagger and 'Parenthood' scoop

Xolo is 13 years old. According to the rules of being human, he should be awkward and breaking out. He is not. (I, on the other hand… this is not about me. But, yes, those are my t-rex hands. Moving on.) After suavely putting his hands in his pockets, Maridueña explained what it meant to be part of the Impact Awards. “It’s my third year being here and it’s so great to be here with my fellow Latinos and Latinas. It’s really important for me to come to these events because it’s motivation to go that extra step.”Xolo then talked to us about Craig T. Nelson. Here’s the scoop: Apparently, on the Parenthood set, Coach let Xolo drive a car! A car! It was supposed to be fake driving but Xolo accidentallystarted the car and everybody freaked out! Wild.


Jon Seda is Benjamin Button

Twelve Monkeys, Primal Fear and Selena and that’s just the 1990s. This man has been working steadily forever without showing any signs of aging. (Seriously, look at that perfect hairline.) Not only does he grow younger, he is super humble. Case in point, his succinct acceptance speech “I’d never think about receiving an award… but… thank you so much.”


Melissa Fumero’s acceptance speech

She appears twice on our list because she deserves it (plus she favorited one of my tweets.) Melissa thanked Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s creator Mike Schur, “for creating a show where diversity is not the exception but the norm” and a “capable Latina character” because “Amy Santiago is not a typical Latina role. She is not a cleaning lady.” She turned to Roselyn Sanchez and channeling Mr. Samberg said “Sorry. It was right there. Had to take it.” and, again, without missing a beat said to the audience, “You are all straight up ballerzzzz.” Drop. The. Mic.


Confirming Jorge Gutierrez is the BFF of your dreams

Or at the very least should have a motivational calendar. El man will high-five you, make funny faces, and inspire you to live with your corazón abierto. Facts backing this up: He knew about our list: “7 Reasons Why The Book of Life Is the Best Animated Movie of All Time“! And told us, “Let’s write another. ¡Vamos!” He high-fived before and after taking a selfie while singing “Creep“. Finally, his acceptance speech was full of golden nuggets like: “People told me If Scooby-Doo goes to Mexico, if the Rugrats go to Oaxaca we’ll call you. And I would tell myself, a no is a step to a maybe… then I hired myself… and I just want to say… there is so much looking down on emotion… but a work full of heart is bulletproof.” So, yeah, embrace your inner cornball.

Gracias to the random assortment of Latinos at this event. Like Carlos Ponce said, we are beginning to see change.

Visit to learn more about NHMC’s programs promoting Latino access and participation in media.