Mayra Verónica meets and greets the troops in northeastern Afghanistan.
Born Mayra Verónica Aruca Rodríguez
August 20, 1980
Ethnicity Hispanic Occupation model, actress, singer, recording artist, TV personality Height 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m) Measurements
Weight 105 lb (48 kg) Relatives Arturo Aruca (father), Mayra Rodriguez (mother)
Mayra Verónica (born Mayra Verónica Aruca Rodríguez August 20, 1980), is a Cuban-born, American-raised model and singer who acquired her fame in the United States. Verónica's role on Univision's Don Francisco Presenta brought her to the attention of FHM magazine's US edition. After appearing in FHM she was included in its 2004 calendar and went on to do additional magazine work. She made appearances on many Spanish language television shows, as well as appearing in music videos and television commercials.
She is noted for being a spokeswoman for USO.
"Mayra Verónica was born in Havana, Cuba, where her father was a member Cuba’s big band, Los Dada. In 1984, she came to the US with her mother, Mayra Rodriguez, leaving behind the rest of her family including her father, Arturo Aruca, and sister Giselle Guzman. Her father came a year later and reunited with Veronica and her mother, while her sister was unable to meet them until thirteen years later. Mayra grew up with little money and food was sometimes scarce.
A gifted student, Verónica made her way through ballet school by befriending other girls (other students from her school who could afford the training), while surviving difficult financial circumstances at home. Her body began maturing during her middle school years, she became too voluptuous for ballet, and began noticing the effect she had on boys. Her first boyfriend, at the age of 15, was an artist of the same age who often painted her nude or semi-nude.
Pageants and modeling
Verónica continued school and after joining a local beauty pageant and becoming Ms. Miami, she met a photographer who would do the pictures for the event, and noticed the photographer was captivated by Mayra's photos and invited her to his studio for free sessions. Thus, Mayra obtained her first modeling book and signed with a local agent in Miami. This agent sent her out for an audition for a local TV entertainment news show "Miami Hoy" (at the time Mayra was at Florida International University majoring in Psychology and Theater) she did not know much about being a reporter but determined she could act like one.
She began as a correspondent, but was promoted to celebrity hostess for the show. She interviewed celebrities like Donald Trump, Oscar de la Renta, Hugh Hefner, and Dennis Rodman. Throughout, Verónica traveled to New York to continue acting training at the Lee Strasberg Institute to fine tune her craft, until the station (owned by Media One) was bought by AT&T and subsequently closed.
Verónica landed a made-for-TV movie called The Suitor and did commercial campaigns for Nike, L'Oréal, and Coca Cola. Univision announcing a new show hosted by Don Francisco. They wanted Verónica to be their model and co-host, but with one catch. Due to her ample curves, her last appearance on screen for the day would entail her backside presented before turning around to face the camera, which she gladly agreed. Once the show aired, the model with the great backside became the talk of Latinos everywhere, so much so the American press became interested.
FHM, the top men's magazine of the time, contacted Veronica's publicist to ask for a feature spread on their magazine. Veronica agreed and after mail requesting her return, she went on to appear on the cover of the FHM exclusive collection book, which included top sex symbols of the decade such as Pamela Anderson, Eva Longoria, and Carmen Electra. She was featured on other covers for FHM, Maxim, Edge, GQ, and over 100 other national and international covers. Her popularity on such covers made her website at the time one of the top requested websites with more than 4 million hits biweekly.
With her popularity came email from soldiers stationed in Iraq asking for her posters and by now famous calendars. Veronica's management sent a care package of approximately 5000 posters. Shortly, the military named her favorite pin-up girl for the US Marines and the USO asked her to tour with the troops.
The USO tour became a special Thanksgiving tour with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright, actor Wilmer Valderrama, comedian Russell Peters, traveling to six countries in six days: Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Turkey, Africa, and Greenland. The troops' response was overwhelming and although Verónica had decided not to do any more calendars, she changed her mind and decided to do one in 2008 dedicating proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Upon her return from the tour, she was described as a "modern day Betty Grable". Verónica continued touring with the USO and became an official spokesperson, appearing with then-President George W. Bush and Gary Sinise on a panel for CSPAN about the organization.
On July 2, 2009, the New York Stock Exchange asked her to ring the NASDAQ bell for the Fourth of July week. Verónica decided to bring awareness to two of the organizations for which she's an advocate and spokesperson, The USO and UNICEF, and brought them to the bell ringing ceremony.
Vengo Con To
During her time with the Univision Network, Veronica had the opportunity to meet top ranked music producers who collaborated with her on her first music album. It was titled Vengo Con To' (I'm coming at you with everything). It was also a popular time for the reggaetón music movement and Verónica's album included as its first single "Vengo Con To" which was later quoted by King magazine: "Mayra Verónica's moaning make Madonna's Erotica sound like bubblegum pop… chew on that Daddy Yankee." The song soared to number one on the top station in the country (New York) and made top 40 on Billboard. The video was banned from Latin television because her curves seemed too much for TV.
Europe did not seem to mind and Mayra signed a deal with a German label for the European release of the album. The album's popularity landed Verónica a deal with Universal Motown, which put out a second single from the album titled "Mamma Mia" which also did very well on radio.
A third single, "Es Tan Dificil Olvidarte", dedicated to the fallen troops, put Verónica in the top 10 on the pop contemporary charts. Verónica continued her work with the troops by visiting the wounded at camp Lejeune.
Saint Nor Sinner
Verónica began 2010 on the cover of Billboard magazine with a new single, "If You Wanna Fly," that reached #9 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart, #11 on Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay chart, #5 on Billboard Dance/Electronic sales and #74 Hot 100 Chart. She continues working with producer Eddie Galan of Mach 1 Music, (who is co-writing and producing the entire debut English album) with a new album titled Saint Nor Sinner due out in 2010.
Year Single Peak chart positions Album Hot Dance Club Play Hot Dance Airplay Heatseeker Songs Dance/Electronic Digital Songs 2010 "If You Wanna Fly" 9 11 21 5 Saint Nor Sinner 2011 "Freak Like Me" 3 18 - 28 Saint Nor Sinner "—" denotes a release that did not chart.
- ^ Mayra Veronica wants you to look at her a__, Moeackson.com, accessed 9-25-2010.
- ^ "Mayra Verónica". Los Angeles: IMDb. 2010. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1225773/.
- ^ "Mayra Verónica" (in Spanish). Generalidades. Los Angeles: IMDb. 2010. http://www.imdb.es/name/nm1225773/. Retrieved 2010-07-17. "20 agosto 1980, Havana, Cuba"
- ^ a b "13 Questions with Mayra Verónica". Interview. AskMen.com. http://www.askmen.com/celebs/interview_200/225_mayra_veronica_interview.html.
- ^ a b c d e f g "Mayra Verónica". FamousWhy. 2009. http://people.famouswhy.com/mayra_veronica/.
- ^ a b c d e "13 Questions With Mayra Verónica". Ask Men. IGN Entertainment, Inc.. 2007-03-03. http://www.askmen.com/celebs/interview_200/225_mayra_veronica_interview.html.
- ^ Peters,, Veronica and Russell. "Vice Chairman USO Tour". Gallery. United Service Organization. http://www.uso.org/gallery/details.aspx?id=173. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
- ^ a b Fisher, Joseph (2008-11-10). "Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Celebrity Guests to Give Thanks to Service Members on Annual USO Tour". USO Tour. USO. http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=102603820&blogId=448092171.
- ^ Lane, James (2008-11-12). "Celebrity Mayra Verónica Model Supports Troops On Annual USO Tour". Entertainment News. Indie News. http://www.hotindienews.com/articles/2008/11/0005.php.
- ^ Verónica, Mayra. "Mayra Verónica Pics". Official Fan Site. Mayra Verónica. http://www.mayraveronicapics.com/blog_2.shtml. Retrieved 2010-07-17.
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