In an exclusive interview with People Chica, the Emmy-nominated executive producer shares how she is taking her career to the next level after launching her production studio Banijay Mexico & U.S. Hispanic.

For the last 20 years, Marie Leguizamo has been at the forefront of the entertainment industry in Latin America.

As an Emmy-nominated executive producer leading Hispanic content in the United States and Latin America for MTV, Univision, and Telemundo, her extensive industry knowledge poised her to launch her own production studio in 2021 in Mexico City, Mexico: Banijay Mexico & U.S. Hispanic.

Since its inception, Leguizamo and her team have taken new projects to the top, including the comedy series Last One Laughing as well as upcoming plans to work on a docuseries with global superstar Becky G and more.

In an exclusive interview with People Chica, Leguizamo shares the most important lessons learned throughout her professional career, what it's like leading a production studio, and how she hopes to expand her latest projects.

Marie Leguizamo
Marie Leguizamo.
| Credit: Courtesy of Marie Leguizamo.

As a Latina businesswoman, what have you found have been the greatest hurdles you've had to face? How did you overcome them?

It's truly an honor to run a TV production studio as a Latina woman. I am very thankful of my mentors at our company Banijay for believing in me. I have never felt so much support to succeed in my entire career.

The industry has made many strides to diversify and afford more opportunities for inclusion, but there is still a long way to go. The most significant challenge has been to overcome the gender bias in Latin America. Many Latin American companies still have an old-fashioned management style and believe it is a man's role at the top.

Sometimes it can be intimidating, but I find the best way to handle those situations is by walking into the room with my head held high, reminding myself that I worked hard and belong in the room, then take my seat at the table.

You've worked for major networks such as MTV, Telemundo and Univision. How has this experience helped you in your current endeavors at Banijay? What lessons from those experiences do you apply to your everyday life?

Every production I have worked on has molded me into the producer I am today. It's essential to learn from every situation and challenge and embrace the knowledge of the teams and people you surround yourself with. I have been extremely fortunate to work alongside some very talented creatives, producers, and techs who have given me all the tools to continue to succeed in this industry. Additionally, those colleagues have become lifelong friends and I cannot imagine my life without them. 

Many Latinas want to break into the entertainment industry and don't know where to start. What would be your best advice for them?

The advice I always give to anyone starting out in this industry is not to be afraid and to never stop dreaming. Dreams come true, but you must work hard to achieve your goals. Don't be scared of someone telling you no; when someone does, work even harder.

Don't be scared to fail because that will teach you to be stronger. Lastly, I would say, never be afraid to work for free. Take those internships and soak up all of the knowledge and experience around you. 

What projects are you working on now? What makes you excited for the future?

In 2023, we will celebrate our one-year anniversary as a studio and I'm really proud to say that in a very short amount of time, we now have a robust, diverse slate of programs in development, have multiple original shows in production and we're about to announce some very exciting new projects, as well. 

And as you might have heard, we recently announced a collaboration with Jose Eduardo Derbez on two upcoming series. In less than a year, we've really created something special at Banijay Mexico & U.S. Hispanic. I can't wait to see what year two brings us!