Star of 'Orange is the New Black' kicking off Auburn's Hispanic Heritage Month

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Jackie Cruz, known as Marisol "Flaca" Gonzales on the Netflix No. 1-rated series "Orange is the New Black," will be the guest speaker for the kickoff of the annual Hispanic Heritage Month at Auburn University on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. in Foy Hall Auditorium. The event, presented by the Cross-Cultural Center for Excellence, is free and open to the public.

Cruz has been singing and acting her whole life, entertaining thousands with her unique sound and artistic skills. At Auburn, she will serenade the crowd with her acoustic guitar and also share her story "CRUZing through Adversity," giving the audience a close look into the ups and downs of her life before her recent vault into stardom.

The event is co-sponsored by the Community and Civic Engagement program, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, the Latino Student Association, the University Writing and ePortfolio Project and the University Programming Council.

Born in New York City, Cruz spent her childhood shuttling between New York, Los Angeles, the Dominican Republic and Miami, and often says that she carries a little piece of each city with her. Raised by her mother and her aunts, Cruz says she draws from the strength that allowed her to survive a near fatal car accident that almost left her paralyzed.

Now on the fast track to fame, Cruz was named one of the "Top Latino Powerhouses under 40" by The Hollywood Reporter in 2014. Cruz also served as a fashion correspondent during 2014's New York Fashion Week for OK! Magazine, and was named by Latina Magazine as their "Celebrity Style Crush" and "Best Dressed Latina."

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