All posts by lovi

Former Street Vendor Builds a Life For Him and His Family

Rene Benitez finishes sweeping the floor, clocks out and grabs his backpack. It’s 10 o’clock in the evening; he’s been working 12 hours straight.

A 12-hour workday is strenuous for most, but for Benitez, it’s a breeze compared to the 18-hour workdays he was used to as a teenager.

“I would be up at 4 in the morning, helping my mom setup for the day,” Benitez said. “Then I would take the bus to school and after school, go straight to my mom’s cart and take over for her until 10, sometimes later.

Benitez grew up in Echo Park, the son of Mexican immigrants. His family had little income, so Benitez had to work and help support his parents, who worked two jobs themselves.

Benitez’s father worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant by day and as a janitor by night. His mother ran a hot dog cart during the day and would babysit in the evening. When Benitez was done with the school for the day, he would go take over the cart for his mother.

“Some of these people you see on the street are crazy,” Benitez said jokingly. “I was nervous at first, but the longer I was out there, the less nervous I got.”

Since money was always an issue, Benitez was unable to attend college, opting to work full-time after graduating high school. He now works as a waiter and a busboy at a small family owned coffee shop in the San Fernando Valley.

The skills Benitez learned as a teen are helping him tremendously now. His ability to sell and interact with people has helped him become an exceptional server.

“I have so many regular customers who always want to sit with me,” Benitez said. “I like to talk to my customers and really get to know them on a personal level.”

Benitez, now in his mid-30s, is married and has two daughters. To him, the most important thing is building a better childhood for his children than the one he had.

“I want my girls to go to school, go to college, not have to worry about money,” Benitez said. “I want them to understand the importance of money, but I’m working my butt off now so they don’t have to in the future.”

Space Jam 2 and Movie Remakes

Intro:

Warner Bros. Studio and LeBron James have agreed on a content creation deal after James’ success in the film “Trainwreck.” Rumor has it James will be featured in a new Space Jam movie, after the first film garnered so much success almost 20 years ago. Dan Lovi polled students on the University of Southern California campus to find out what they thought of the possible sequel with James and remaking movies in general.

Outro:

Looks like most people think James will have a tough time filling Michael Jordan’s shoes, but we will have to wait and see once the movie hits theaters. We heard from Sandra Brujis, George Styliaris, Phina Cabico, Will Benton and Lily Goldberg

Ivana Nguyen: A Modern-Day Renaissance Woman

 

It’s 3 o’clock in the morning, the moonlight fills the sky, and most of Los Angeles is asleep.

Ivana Nguyen is at the gym, pumping iron and dripping sweat.

Her day has already started and it’s far from over. After the workout, Nguyen readies for an hour-long commute from her home in Diamond Bar to the University of Southern California. She is a graduate student working toward her goal of becoming a professional reporter.

“I knew I wanted to be a reporter since I was four-years-old,” Nguyen said. “I have an innate curiosity and I love meeting new people.”

Nguyen’s style and pizazz combined with her desire to succeed in the journalism world has already put her way ahead of the game. She has accumulated a solid amount of experience interning at various news organizations throughout her undergraduate career at Cal State Fullerton, including CNN and ABC7.

Nguyen prides herself on being a jack-of-all-trades journalist; whether it’s writing, editing, shooting video or producing, she can do a little bit of everything.

Nguyen’s true passion is entertainment reporting. She started to develop her interest while working as a personal assistant for George Pennacchio, ABC7’s entertainment reporter.

“He was a mentor to me,” Nguyen said. “He helped me become the journalist I am today and really develop my passion for entertainment.”

When she’s not busy reporting from the red carpet, Nguyen loves giving back to the community. She has visited orphanages in her parent’s home country of Vietnam and her love of dogs has inspired her to open a no-kill shelter when she gets older.

Nguyen credits much of her success to her parents and the struggles they went through in Vietnam when they were her age.

“They always told me stories of when they were fleeing communists in Vietnam,” Nguyen said. “It made me appreciate being born here as an American citizen and having that freedom.”

Nguyen wants to inspire other young women just as her parents inspired her. She participated in the 2015 Miss California USA Pageant, representing her hometown.

“I thought I could represent the Asian community very well, but more than that, I wanted to inspire people,” Nguyen said. “No matter what stereotypes that you’re facing or what roadblocks may be in the way, just go out and do it. Just do it.”

Even if it means getting up at 3 a.m. for your workout.

nguyen_tips

Ivana Nguyen: A Modern Day Renaissance Woman

It’s 3 o’clock in the morning, the moonlight fills the sky, and most of Los Angeles is asleep.

Ivana Nguyen is at the gym, pumping iron and dripping sweat.

Her day has already started and it’s far from over.

After an intense workout, Nguyen gets ready for her hour-long commute from her home in Diamond Bar to the University of Southern California, where she is a graduate student working toward her goal of becoming a professional reporter.

“I knew I wanted to be a reporter since I was four,” said Nguyen. “I have an innate curiosity and I love meeting new people.”

Nguyen has already accumulated a vast amount of experience. She interned at several news organizations throughout her college career at Cal State Fullerton, including CNN and ABC7.

Nguyen prides herself on being a jack-of-all-trades journalist; whether it’s writing, editing, shooting video or producing, she can do it all. In addition to her many skills, Nguyen’s true passion is entertainment reporting.

Nguyen started to develop her love for entertainment reporting while working as a personal assistant for George Pennacchio, ABC7’s entertainment reporter.

“He was a mentor to me,” said Nguyen. “He helped me become the journalist I am today and really develop my passion for entertainment.”

When she’s not busy reporting from the red carpet, Nguyen loves giving back to the community. She has visited orphanages in her parents home country of Vietnam and hopes to get involved with Operation Smile and The Wounded Warrior Project. Her love of dogs has also inspired her to open a no-kill shelter when she gets older.

Nguyen wants to inspire in other ways as well. She participated in the 2015 Miss California USA Pageant, representing her hometown.

“I thought I could represent the Asian community very well but more than that, I wanted to inspire people,” said Nguyen. “No matter what stereotypes that you’re facing or what roadblocks may be in the way, just go out and do it, just do it.”

Even if that means getting up at 3 a.m. to fit in a workout.

The Multi-Faceted Ivana Nguyen

Ivana Nguyen may seem like your typical journalist on the outside, but there is so much more to her than you can imagine.

A quick google search of Nguyen’s name results in a array of websites including her personal website, http://www.ivananguyen.com/. On her webpage you can find her bio, her reel, a photo gallery (which includes several pictures with celebrities like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Wayne Brady) and her contact information.

Nguyen has a strong journalism background. While attending Cal State Fullerton, she hosted her own news program called “In Focus” on Titan TV. She also interned at CNN, HLN and Entertainment Tonight.

Nguyen’s reel demonstrates her versatility as a journalist. From entertainment reporting on the red carpet to covering breaking news, to creating and producing her own television packages, Nguyen does it all.

Aside from being a journalist, Nguyen is competing in this year’s Miss California USA Pageant, representing her hometown of Diamond Bar, California.

When she’s not busy reporting or getting ready for the pageant she could be found tweeting at the Electronic Entertainment Expo or gaming online.