By Jailene Adorno
La Gringa Loca Productions present, The Pineapple Diaries, a web series that follows the lives of young Latinas living in Boston. Meet Maite, Feliz, Catalina, Montserrat, and many others as they take on millennial life in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. This laugh-out-loud funny web series is written and directed by Paloma Valenzuela.
Creator, Writer, and Director of The Pineapple Diaries – Paloma Valenzuela
After graduating from Emerson College in 2009, Valenzuela decided to move to the Dominican Republic to work in the film and television industry and to get in touch with her roots. She took up some freelance gigs writing and editing, even working as a second assistant director for a television show. She then went on to become a theater teacher at a bilingual school in the Dominican Republic. However, while Valenzuela loved working with students, it wasn’t what she’d always dreamed of doing. She decided to switch gears and go back to fulfilling her dreams, with plans to return to teaching in the future.
“I wanted to do something twenty-four, seven,” Valenzuela says. “I wanted a big project. I wanted to immerse myself in a project.”
That was when Valenzuela got the idea for The Pineapple Diaries. She found that YouTube would be the perfect outlet to introduce the web series. YouTube worked well when she first introduced her documentary series Onomatopeyas Dominicanas, which showcased popular Dominican sayings and phrases. It went on to receive well over 10,000 views. When it came to The Pineapple Diaries, she wanted to use pineapple in the title because she wanted there to be that essence of tropical life, especially since the series would be about Dominican-American women.
When it came to recruiting cast and crew, Valenzuela was able to reach out to friends and classmates from high school and college to get them involved. She recalls reaching out to her friend Adobuere Ebiama about her web series and she was more than happy to join in Valenzuela’s project.
Many of Valenzuela’s friends had been traveling here and there, modeling and acting. When bringing all the pieces together for The Pineapple Diaries, people that she knew from her past showed a lot of interest. After being a student in a Company One acting class, she found very talented actors who ended up making great additions to the show.
“I started asking other actors and by luck and fate and the kindness of these actors, we were able to complete the cast,” says Valenzuela. “Like for instance, Leandra [Rivera], I had her in mind for the character [Montserrat De Luna] without knowing whether she would even be interested or have the time to be a part of this project.”
Adobuere Ebiama as Maite Lopez on the set of The Pineapple Diaries
Aside for writing and directing for the web series, Valenzuela stars in it as well. She explained how each character from the series has little pieces of her, including the character that she plays—Feliz.
“I think that that feeling of being a little lost, but having a dream—I can connect with Feliz in that sense,” says Valenzuela. “I think that Feliz doesn’t know what she wants to do with herself yet…but I think I can understand what that might be like and what that might feel like.”
Overall, Valenzuela hopes that when people watch The Pineapple Diaries, they walk away seeing representations of themselves and people they know—so that in a way, they’re seeing themselves on the screen.
“Representation of Latinos, representation of people of color, representation of women, representation of Afro-Latinos—I hope that people can relate to the show, to connect,” says Valenzuela.
Be sure to catch new episodes of The Pineapple Diaries on YouTube every Tuesday and Thursday.