Ivy Queen, Carmen Villalobos and Catalina Cruz inspire other Latinx women with their success stories at People en Español's Festival.

When fierce women like reggaeton star Ivy Queen, actress Carmen Villalobos and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz took the stage at People en Español's Festival, magical things happened. In the fascinating panel, moderated by People en Español's executive editor María Morales, these three successful Latinas shared their inspirational stories of breaking barriers and overcoming obstacles.


“I have always considered myself the ugly duckling of the corillo,” Ivy Queen joked. “That's not a bad thing, because you start out as a caterpillar and end up becoming a butterfly that spreads her wings.” The “Yo Quiero Bailar” singer said that song became an anthem for men to respect women more and not harass them at night clubs where ladies just went to dance and have fun. Queen said Dominican American rapper Cardi B — a self-proclaimed Ivy fan — called her to do a new version of “Yo Quiero Bailar” together. “That song is so representative of what Ivy Queen is that I wouldn't want to touch it,” the Puerto Rican star admits. “That's like if one gets a Celia Cruz song and tries to do a remix. I respect that a lot.” She added that she's open to collaborating with Cardi on any other new track, though.

The urban music icon also talked about her role as a mom. “Our kids are our gasoline, what keeps us brave. All I ask is that God grants me health so that I can be there for Naivoy. When I'm no longer here, I want my daughter to learn how to defend herself in life.” Queen said she grew up listening to singers like Celia Cruz and La Lupe, and her mom and dad would dedicate songs to each other at home. “Celia and La Lupe were great inspirations for me,” she explained. Ivy admitted she always wanted a love story like that of Celia Cruz and musician Pedro Knight, and found that in her husband Xavier Sánchez.


Colombian soap opera star Carmen Villalobos also talked about leaving her country behind to start a new life in the United States working for Telemundo. “It's always hard to leave your country behind, it's a hard decision to make, it's scary,” she said. “I was a warrior and although it wasn't easy, I took on the opportunity. Challenges makes us grow.” Villalobos argued that women need to be more supportive of other women. “There is still a lot of rivalry and competition,” she said. “There is no need for that. We are women and have to support each other.”


Meanwhile, Colombian American Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz emphasized the importance of having more Latinas in politics. “I was undocumented, then became a lawyer,” she recalled of her story. Cruz said her mother has been her biggest inspiration, teaching her that hard work pays off. “We don't have a lot of Latinas in politics. We know the value of giving a hand to other women,” she said. “We have to open the door to other young Latinas who are looking to represent our barrios.”