POPSUGAR and Univision partnered with Target to highlight change-makers who are bringing joy and positivity to their communities through their new bilingual podcast, Juntos We Shine. Andrea Chediak takes us through those captivating stories, but first, get to know this phenomenal Latina.
A home wouldn't be a Latinx home if Univision wasn't on in the background. We grow up with it, we obsess over the telenovelas, we have many conspiracy theories after watching Primer Impacto, but most importantly, we wake up to the beautiful faces we all know and love from Despierta América. In a way, they have become family, and we've come to love them and consider them an important part of our day.
Andrea Chediak is one of those faces. She's become one of our morning darlings, hosting the segment "Lo Más In." So when she announced she was pregnant a couple months ago, we all joined the celebrations in excitement, and now follow along the development of her pregnancy, sending her well wishes and hoping everything goes smoothly.
While Andrea might be busy with her segment and getting ready for the baby's arrival, she's also hosting the podcast Juntos We Shine, a collaboration between POPSUGAR and Univision and presented by Target. The podcast series is dedicated to showcasing the stories of remarkable everyday women and men who are committed to making a difference in their communities.
We caught up with Andrea to talk all things motherhood, growing up Latina, and the inspiring stories she's come across while hosting Juntos We Shine. She's actually quite an inspiration herself, with a positive message rooted in values and good actions.
POPSUGAR: First of all congratulations on your pregnancy, how has it been?
Andrea Chediak: Great! Everything has been very smooth — thank God. I can't complain!
PS: What are you looking forward to the most when your baby boy is born?
AC: We've been trying for two years, so the fact that this is actually happening and I'm so far along is a huge miracle. I think that what I'm most looking forward to is holding the baby, spending time with him, and teaching him about our traditions. It was a long road. We went through IVF a couple of times, so this is definitely one of those babies who has been wanted and searched for, and thought about for a long time.
PS: What traditions do you want to pass on to your baby?
AC: I'm Venezuelan, but I grew up here in the US, moved here when I was 6. My mom is Venezuelan, my dad is Colombian, and it was really important for us to keep both cultures alive when I was growing up. My parents brought our Latinx traditions into our household, but at the same time, we grew up in an American environment. We would eat lunch together every day as a family: pabellón, arroz, carne mechada, our traditional foods, and it was very important for us to be speaking Spanish.
"I feel that my parents have been my biggest inspiration for everything, whether it's education, work, what I have accomplished as a 31-year-old, my career . . . they have taught me from day one to work really hard."
That's something I definitely want to carry on to my family, because you're going to be speaking English in school, and you're going to be surrounded by all the American culture everywhere with your friends, so I think it's important to balance it out. Another important tradition is to highlight the importance of family, that family comes first. Also being a hard worker, going to school, treating everyone equally, I think those are the types of values that as a Latinx family are implemented from a very young age, so it's something I want to keep.
PS: Part of having a Latinx family means that now that you're pregnant, you're probably getting a lot of advice from your mom, the tías, and everyone else. Which advice has resonated the most with you?
AC: Oh my God, yes! Just to put it into perspective, I have three sisters and a very hands-on mom who's my best friend from day one. She had me when she was pretty young, and I feel like she thinks she's the one having the baby. She's the one who's bought everything, she already has the nursery theme, she has the baby shower theme, and I keep telling her to relax because I'm only five months along. But she's super excited. They're very involved, and they're all girls, and this baby is going to be the first boy and first grandson, so you can imagine!
Probably the best advice I've gotten from my mom has been the classic "no lo malcríes," because we wanted him for so long that I feel like you're never going to be able to say no and regañarlo, so that's one thing. The other thing is what I had mentioned previously, the fact that family comes first and that we stick together through hard times and good times. For her it's really important that I have the same type of values when it comes to my family, and that when the family grows, my child understands that his siblings are his best friends, and those are the people that really matter.
"If you think about it, inspiration can be anywhere. It can be from la muchacha que limpia — she has a story — to your own boss."
PS: Do you think you'll also draw inspiration from your parents' parenting style?
AC: I feel that my parents have been my biggest inspiration for everything, whether it's education, work, what I have accomplished as a 31-year-old, my career . . . they have taught me from day one to work really hard. Like I said, they came here as immigrants, with nothing. They had fashion and retail stores in Venezuela, sold everything, and came to the US with three kids — my little sister was born here — and started working from zero to be able to give us a better future.
They were able to balance — which is something that I admire because I still don't know how I'm gonna do it — the whole working, looking for opportunities, looking to put the food on our table, but also being present. I can't say there was a school presentation where I didn't have a representation of my family there. That's why for me it's so important to put family first, ahead of any job or opportunity. If it works with my family's vision and ways, then it's a go. If not, then it's a no.
PS: What inspires you on your day to day?
AC: I do a lot of stories here for our show on women who are go-getters, are very successful, who either come from nothing or come from being prepared educationally, and how they find their ways and prove they're good at something. That's really my inspiration. Day-to-day people who I get to interview and tell their stories, and inspire our audience, specifically our Latinx audience.
If you think about it, inspiration can be anywhere. It can be from la muchacha que limpia — she has a story — to your own boss. It can be your cousin who might be sick but has always been such a go-getter and has had a positive way of thinking that just brings joy to everyone. Inspiration is everywhere.
"I think what makes a story inspiring is not necessarily a huge discovery or a record. I think it's more about overcoming a struggle, making it into something positive, and then using that example."
PS: And that's what you're doing in the Juntos We Shine podcast — highlighting those inspiring stories and people who are doing something for their community. What do you think makes a person or story inspiring?
AC: I think what makes a story inspiring is not necessarily a huge discovery or a record, I think it's more about overcoming a struggle, making it into something positive, and then using that example. A lot of these people featured in Juntos We Shine don't necessarily have to be famous. Sometimes it's just about the positive impact they make regardless of their own struggles.
It's all over in our community, it's everywhere, but people are not getting recognized because their stories are not known, or because they don't feel like they need to be telling everyone what they're doing. That's what really, truly inspires me.
PS: You've been working with Univision for so many years now. What do you think has been the key to your success?
AC: Staying humble, being honest with you. I have been here for 10 years and I have not said "no" to a job. I started as an intern, and then I was a production assistant, and then I was a producer, then a reporter, now an on-air talent. So, I think when you stay humble and focused, and you say "yes" to whatever comes your way, you show that you can do it all, and you're not just a pretty face standing in front of a camera and reading a prompter.
"You have to be focused, you have to have talent, but you have to have a good attitude."
I think it makes you a more valuable asset to the company, and when those hard times come, they'll see that you're willing to do everything, work hard, and get along with everyone. That's who remains in the end. It's so important to get your hands on everything: learn about production — even if you don't like it — learn about control room systems, writing your own stuff. That way you own your content.
For anybody who asks me, I really just say it's the attitude. You have to be focused, you have to have talent, but you have to have a good attitude.
PS: What has been the best advice you've received in these 10 years working with Univision?
AC: I think the best advice working in a media company is that your job is temporary. Let's be honest, it changes so drastically, there are cuts every day, and other companies buying companies. Do your best every day so you can enjoy it. Make sure you prioritize what really matters — in my case, my family. You're not working for your job. Your job is not your life. Your job is part of your life.