“Singing was my first love… The one thing that I love about Orange is the New Black, it’s given me this platform. I have a voice, and people are listening and they’re interested in what I’m doing. ”
Jackie Cruz is a classic multi-hyphenate: actress-singer-photographer. No wonder Rémy Martin’s Circle of Centaurs tapped her as a mentor. We caught up with Cruz in her penthouse suite at the New York Edition, on a balmy August night. For her, music and acting have both been her passion since she was seven years old.
“I went to go see The Bodyguard in the Dominican Republic, and I fell in love with Whitney Houston,” she said. “She was all dubbed in Spanish but she sang her little heart out. On the walk home, I told my mother I wanted to be an actress and a singer like that lady we just saw.”
Her mother proved to be Cruz’s best mentor. Giving up her career as a doctor in the Dominican Republic, she moved their family to the states where her daughter would have a better opportunity at her dreams. Just by not letting her give up, they became the biggest driving force in her career.
Now she wants to impart her own wisdom onto another struggling singer. One such lesson she hopes to teach them is patience. It was something that proved to be important for her own career.
“Don’t put a time limit on your dream,” she said. “Trust me, there is a reason. You don’t know it right now but it’s just going to make you stronger.”
Cruz was the toast of a Rémy Martin celebration the following day at the Bowery Hotel. As guests lounged on black leather ottomans, a selection of specialty Rémy cocktails circulated among the attendees. Cruz and her band, The Family Portrait, performed a set of original songs about life and love. Some of Cruz’s Orange is the New Black family sat front row, cheering on their sister.
With the launch of the program, Cruz and Rémy Martin are taking to social media to find her protégé. Accepting submissions until the end of September, Cruz will personally select the winner. She encourages musicians to submit a 30-60 second clip of their original song.
Contestants must upload a 30-60 second video recording of themselves singing an original song and tag @Remymartin with the hashtag #CircleofCentaursJackie. The winner will receive a chance to be mentored by Jackie Cruz and a cash prize to put towards pursuing their vocal talent. Submissions will be accepted via Instagram and the Rémy Martin Facebook page until September 23, and a winner will be selected October 14.