Candy Ibarra Mexican-American Latina Made Her Mark In The Entertainment Industry

Candy Ibarra and son Leo

Candy is a multi-dimensional versatile entrepreneur, actress, producer and media executive.

Latin Business Today (LBT) chats with entrepreneur singer and producer Candy Ibarra who founded Latina Enterprises, Inc. over 20 years ago , and it became a leading TV/film producer.  She has also worked in key positions for major media companies Paramount Pictures , Fox Studios , Univision and Telemundo She is also a producer of the Omni Cultural TV Fest. All photos property of Candy Ibarra.

LBT: Candy please tell us a little about yourself, your background and family…Did they have an impact on your values and drive?

I’m a first generation Mexican-American born in Santa Monica, CA. I was born into a long line of business owners and entrepreneurs going back for generations. I can honestly say that every single one of my ancestors had their own business. I was “in my blood” you could say.

Chocolatera de Jalisco

Ibarra Chocolate

My father Esequiel’s side is related to the founders of the company ”Chocolatera de Jalisco” of GuadalajaraJaliscoMexico, makers of the World Famous “Chocolate Ibarra “– used to make hot chocolate throughout the world.

My grandfather, Urvicio, was part of the braceros program and would travel to the United States from Jalisco helping the U.S. build railways and work the fields for over 15 years. My father used to talk often about how he would accompany his father to work as a boy and couldn’t wait to come back to the U.S. to pursue his fortune.

Candy Ibarra's grand parents Vazquez family
Candy Ibarra’s grandmother Marina, aunt, Maria and grandfather, Jose Vasquez- all small business owners/holistic practitioners

My father

At 19, he made his dream came true when he started his own successful landscaping company in Venice, CA and ran it for over 35 years. He had over 100 employees and clients all over Southern California.  As a landscaping company, they installed and maintained some of the most beautiful gardens in California.

He was always so proud to help others create “garden art” and helped some famous clients such as John Wayne, Marlon Brando and Natalie Wood. My father was committed to his business that he continued running his company until he died in 2014.

Candy Ibarra and parents
Candy Ibarra’s dad Esequiel – owned landscaping business , mom- Adelaida a Holistic practicioner/midwife, me and my niece

My mother

My mother, Adelaida is a fifth 5thgeneration midwife/holistic practioner and is still practicing today.Her mother, grandmother and previous generations were responsible for delivering happy and healthy babies throughout Mexico and Central America.

Going even further back is my 5 -times grandfather, Juan Vasquez, was a French man who ran a import /export  business in Paris and after taking a trip to Mexico for business, loved it so much he never left.

Integrity, values

So yes, I was influenced by all of them to go beyond the 9-5 job and do my own thing.

I was taught integrity, keeping my word and to never giving up. This has served me well as I go into my 20thyear of my business “Latina Enterprises, Inc. – producing /Media company.

I learned by watching my family pursue their passions and that is what I think is one of the most important things to do when pursuing a business.  It ISpossible to feel like you are not working when your doing what you love.

LBT: Please share some prior business successes and failures which honed your expertise to become one of the most influential and successful female producers in the entertainment industry. What skills did you acquire in business that prepared you for becoming a producer?

Even before I founded Latina Enterprises, Inc. over 20 years ago , I was able to be a part of many business successes including award-winning shows like “Entertainment Tonight “, “KTLA Morning News “ and work for multi-media giants such as Paramount Pictures , Fox Studios , Univision and Telemundo as a creative/ field producer.

I have been blessed enough to live and work all over the world as a Producer/Content Producer such as London, Mexico City, Miami and Spain.

Latina Enterprises, Inc

Latina Enterprise Logo

Latina Enterprises, Inc. offers language and media services and helps clients hone their message to their customers . In the last few years, we have taken on a bigger role in full service production.  Our most recent productions include:  “John Leguizamos’s Latin History for Moron’s- Road to Broadway; offering voice talent for The Incredibles 2 and The Greatest Showman and are currently Executive Producing the upcoming Omnicultural TV Festival in its first year.

Candy Ibarra at John Leguizamos film premier
Candy Ibarra at John Leguizamos film premier

Every new affiliation teaches me something new. I have learned how to keep up with the art of story telling and how to continue going even though it appears that there will not be enough, money or time to finish a project. It’s important in any kind of business (as hard as it may seem ) to look for the good that comes out of every failure.  There is always a lesson to come out of it.

A new connection that didn’t exist.

A new project or idea that hadn’t materialized. I remember when 3,000 fellow employees and myself were all laid off from one of the multi-media giants I worked for.

We showed up on a Friday and were told that end of day that we would not be returning the next Monday.  I remember thinking how I could ever recover from that, what was I going to do to prevent that from happening again.  But as time went on, this gave me the reason and permission to start Latina Enterprises, Inc. and pursue working for myself.

If it hadn’t of happened, I probably would not of ever pursued being a full-time business owner.  As a matter of fact, some of my best contacts until this day are some of the people that lost their jobs that day.

Candy Ibarra radio interview with Cindy Fernix
Candy Ibarra radio interview with Cindy Fernix

So look for the silver lining, be tenacious and honest with yourself. YES and insert any other cliché here, as there is a reason that clichés exist, because they are TRUE!

Next:What were the challenges in the entertainment industry specifically for: film, TV and theatre? Did you find solutions?