Someone told me once that she thought it was cool that I was constantly mentioning and thanking the incredible group of people that are with me every day because she knew it was impossible to do what I do alone. And while I could pretend that I take the photos, put nitrogen in the soil, wash my car, and watch the babies via hologram while I’m traveling… jeez, what a big fat lie that would be! Not that having my car washed has gotten me further in my career, but it goes side by side with my need to keep things as organized (and clean) as possible so my mind won’t get cluttered, allowing me to actually focus on the family and the work. With that in mind, I’ve decided that every few weeks I want to highlight one of the fabulous folks from the #CasaMarcela team. I tell them often, but it’s always worth mentioning that I’m well aware that they are instrumental in the success of this company.

Today, that incredibly ginormous shout-out goes to Fernando Cowan, @fercowan. I’ve known Fer for a few years now and, from the moment I met him, I was blown away by not only his determination, but also his skill set. Fer now owns his production company. He is in a Creative Writing class at Stanford. STANFORD. A few years ago, he barely spoke any English… now he’s in a writing class at Stanford! He’s been fighting and working like a mother to get his EB-1 visa and I am sure he will get it. It’s the “Extraordinary Ability” visa and this kid has it. I am in awe with how he has taken pure will (and plenty of talent) to get exactly where he said he was going to get when we first spoke a few years ago.

Fer and I, like Mexicans around the globe, felt as if that photo on the Cannes red carpet with the most successful Mexicans in world cinema (Salma Hayek, Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, Guillermo Del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón and Emmanuel Lubezki) was a personal victory. I can only imagine how many Mexican or Mexican-American actors, filmmakers, writers, producers, directors, etc. were able to now more clearly envision themselves with that level of success. I know Fernando did because we spoke about it. I’ll tell you what I told him: “sooner that you think, my friend, you’ll be there.” That’s what’s so amazing about the immigrant spirit: we tune out the noise and focus, heading towards the dream. We see only the possibility, not the obstacles that might be in the way. Fer has shot a few videos for me throughout the years and his specialty is those new, high def cameras that make food (and everything really) just look very vibrant and gorgeous. Here’s the thing though. This kid has not only shot the footage, but he’s co-produced and edited the footage himself as well.

I started this blog by mentioning the importance of having my team. It is a sign of a healthy company to add employees based on new and growing needs. It is a great asset to be able to recognize your weaknesses so you can bring someone in to do what you can’t. From where I’ve stood, that’s the secret behind some of the most successful people I know. But what if you’re not a company yet? What if you’re just starting, like Fernando was a few years ago? You do what we both did right at the beginning: you learn as much as you can about as many different things as you can and you do them yourself. I tested, edited, styled, photographed and propped my recipes for almost a decade. I meticulously dressed my own sets for appearances. I learned how to style food for shoots and how to write decent intros. The more you know, the more you do. And the more you do, the more you own. This kid will never be in the dark about how a project is going because he understands every level of the process and that’s the only way to do it. If you’re not doing it yourself, it’s fine. You can’t DO everything. I mentioned that already. But you’d better understand it.

So on that note, gracias to Fernando for being such a huge inspiration to me. I’m sure that soon you’ll be inspiring a new generation of Latino filmmakers. Your focus and determination are all you need to guarantee your success! Don’t forget us little people when you’re walking that carpet in Cannes! At Casa Marcela, we will always encourage, support, guide, highlight, and push those like Fernando whose determination needs to be shared with the world. Suerte, amigo.

Un abrazo, Marcela