‘Orange is the New Black’ star Jackie Cruz will visit campus to speak with students


Jackie Cruz, best known for her role as Flaca Gonzales on Netflix’s number-one rated series Orange is the New Black, will be on campus Nov. 17, recounting stories about struggle and determination. Cruz left home as a teenager and nearly died in a car accident before embarking on a career in entertainment. 

Challenges, no matter how big or small, are best faced head-on. This is the message Jackie Cruz will deliver to students Nov. 17.

Cruz, best known for her role as Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales on Netflix’s number-one rated series Orange is the New Black, will be on campus recounting stories about struggle and determination in order to achieve dreams, no matter how ambitious.

When she was still a teenager, Cruz moved out of her mother’s apartment and slept on friends’ couches for six months. When she was 17, not long after leaving home, she was the victim of a near-fatal car accident that collapsed one of her lungs and left her in a three-day coma. Without a doubt, it was the lowest point in her life.

Twelve years later — following short-term stints as a model, singer, waitress and reality TV bit player — she’s become one of the most recognizable faces on Netflix.

“Inviting Jackie to McMaster was an easy decision for us. Her perseverance and determination is an admirable quality,” says Joey Duong, marketing and outreach intern with the Student Success Centre.

“She delivers a message that will resonate with students and hopefully provide some motivation and momentum for students as they work towards the final few weeks of first semester.”

Presented by Mac’s Money Centre, the event takes place in conjunction with Financial Literacy Month — a Canada-wide initiative now in its fifth year. Financial Literacy Month was officially recognized by the Government of Canada in 2012.

This year’s theme of “Count Me In, Canada” aims to raise awareness about the importance of financial literacy in order to strengthen an individual’s financial well-being. Understanding the basics of money is as essential today as numeracy and literacy.

“Cruz’s presentation fits in well with this year’s theme,”  says Gina Robinson, director of the Student Success Centre and assistant dean of Student Affairs.

“Hearing an inspiring story, students will gain confidence not only when making life decisions but also in financial matters.”

A Twitter contest will select five winners who will get front row seating at the event plus a meet-and-greet pass with Jackie Cruz at the end of the event.

To enter, participants must follow @MacsMoneyCentre and tweet using the hashtag #mactalksmoney answering the question: What is the best financial advice you have received?

Selected winners can invite one friend to join them in the experience.

The event will take place in Room 147 of Burke Science Building (BSB). Doors are at 7:15 p.m. and OITNB themed food will be available as well as a photo booth.

The talk will begin at 8 p.m. Registration on OSCARplusmcmaster.ca is required in order to attend the event.

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