Erin Patrice O'Brien and Stella Nolasco I photographed the actor, John Leguizamo, for the Smithsonian Magazine Ingenuity Awards. His one man show currently streaming on Netflix is called Latin History for Morons. Leguizamo has been an invaluable advocate for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. My college classmate, the Puerto Rican fashion designer Stella Nolasco, created a t-shirt based upon the protest signs her models held on the runway in 2018.
Three months after the hurricane hit, the Stella Nolasco show was sponsored by the Foundation for Puerto Rico in New York to raise awareness. With the island in darkness, Stella and her team sewed her gowns with machines powered by generators in Old San Juan. When the model Monic marched down the aisle holding the sign, the crowd yelled, “Puerto Rico Se Levanta”( Puerto Rico Rises). Leguizamo loved the shirt and the story behind it. Back in the day, when we were design students at Drexel University, I don’t think Stella and I would have ever dreamed this up.