We don't know if you are watching OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, but you should be, if only to support Elizabeth Espinosa a contestant on Your OWN Show: Oprah's Search for the Next TV Star (Fridays at 9/8c). We caught up with the part-Mexican, part-Salvadorian KTLA news reporter to find out what it's like being the only Latina on Oprah's new network, the bilingual television show she'd like to host if she wins the show, and why growing up with a disabled brother made her want to enlighten others.
What is Your Own Show: Oprah's Search for the Next TV Star about?
It's basically a reality competition with celebrity mentor judges. We compete in order to be able to host our own show on the OWN network.
Tell us about your experience on the show.
Regardless of being the grand prize winner or not, I am so grateful for the learning experience. I remember episode 1, when I went down to eliminations and I said thank you to Dr. Phil, who was the celebrity judge. He's about tough love, but when he shook my hand, he gave me a hug and whispered in my ear, "Kid, you're really talented, and you're going to go really far," I felt like a kid in the candy store! It was like, 'Dr. Phil just said he believed in me!' It validates you and it's encouraging and I really believe we have to encourage each other.
What made you decide to audition for the show?
I have a severely disabled brother and I've always been inspired by him since he was born. He has always taught me to be a voice for people who don't have one and I really believe that it's a gift to be able to tell stories and empower communities.
What I bring to the table that is unique is that I helped raise a severely disabled child and I'm also the daughter of immigrant parents, so I understand that journey as well. I think in a country built by immigrants from all over the world, it's important to have that understanding.
Do you know that you're the only Latina on the OWN network?
When I was selected to the top 10, I looked at the other finalists and I realized that. I felt proud to at least be the one person on there, to kind of represent. Not that I'm out there talking about our culture or anything, but I'm really proud of my Latin roots and I speak the language and my parents were born in Latin America, so I'm first generation here.
If you were to win the show, would Latino issues like Immigration and Education be topics that you would discuss on your OWN show?
I think that would absolutely be a component of my show. I'm a storyteller and I happen to be Latin and I'm very proud of being Latina. I speak five languages and one of them is Spanish. I started my career in Spanish language television.
Immigration is a very big issue in this country and that would absolutely be an issue that I would cover extensively. And the other part that's unique is that if I'm granted the opportunity, I would love to translate my show too. I would do it in English and Spanish. I would love to do it in both languages for the OWN network to reach more people.
For more info on Elizabeth, visit her website at www.ElizabethEspinosa.com.