East Los High was created by Carlos Portugal and Kathleen Bedoya, but it also took a team of talented writers to bring it to the screen. One of those writers is Evangeline Ordaz—an East LA native who worked closely with teenagers to make sure that the show really reflected their lives. In her own words:
How did you start your career as a writer? R
ight after I graduated from law school, I started writing spoken word and performing my work on the poetry jam circuit here in L.A.. After I met my husband, the theater director and actor, Armando Molina, I evolved into play writing. And then I was an ABC/Disney Writing Fellow which really completed my transition from attorney to writer.
What drew you to East Los High?
East Los is where I was born and spent my entire professional career. I love East L.A. and jumped at the chance to show it to the world in a TV show. Also, I loved the fact that the show wanted to send positive messages to Latina and Latino teens. I had devoted my career as an attorney to social justice and community development so being able to devote my writing career to these issues by writing for East Los High was a dream come true.
Why do you think the show is important?
I think East Los High is important because it deals with the issues and problems that real Latina teens in East L.A. are dealing with, like sex, and drugs, and poverty. I volunteer at Legacy L.A. a youth development organization in East L.A., run by my friend Lou Calanche and there’s a group of teen age girls that I am especially close to there. My girls at Legacy have all had to make important decisions about when to have sex, using birth control, and taking care of their bodies. I think East Los High shows my girls and others like them that they are not alone in facing these decisions and there are resouces out there to help them to do what is right for them.