TV personality, lawyer, chef, thrice published author, Target partner and “A Bullseye View” contributor, brand ambassador for IMUSA (the largest Hispanic cookware brand), the face of Unilever’s “Vive Mejor” campaign, South Beach Food and Wine Festival chef, creator and developer of Skinny Latina food line, which includes the delectable Million Dollar Marinade, Ana Quincoces is a woman worth more than rubies with a vision worth more than millions.
Add to her accolades a social and philanthropic calendar, plus her number one priority and self-described “obsession,” daughters Kati and Beba you too will wonder how she does it all. Quincoces made her reality TV debut on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Miami in 2012. Her unique wit, particular brand of humor, and no-nonsense unpretentious attitude made her a fan favorite, earning both their love and loyalty.
Quincoces who is currently working on a fourth cookbook aimed at empowering women of all ages to feel comfortable in their own kitchens and in their own skin carved some time to speak to Chispa editor, Mavian Arocha-Rowe. She is on a mission to debunk “the silly notion” that cooking is slave labor and somehow degrading or demeaning. She believes cooking is an art form, a gift one can develop, a skill that is easy and rewarding to hone, and that feeding someone is perhaps the greatest expression of love.
Q: Business person, attorney, author, chef, ________… which title best describes Ana?
I am all those things and embrace them all equally. These days I would have to say entrepreneur. I like to think of myself as multifaceted, something of a renaissance woman. I would definitely add mom to the top of that list. There is no title that embodies who I am more than mom.
Q: Is there a specific person or persons who helped pave your current walk?
I think there is a reason for everyone that comes through one’s life. Some have had a profound influence and some have challenged you simply by virtue of not believing in you. I thank them all equally. It is all these people that have helped shape who I am today. My late father was my biggest fan and cheerleader. I know he would be proud of me and that makes me happy. Being a role model to my daughters is also a great motivator.
Q: The page has turned for Housewives; thoughts, feelings, take-aways?
No regrets. It was a calculated risk that turned into a great opportunity. I was able to parlay it into something positive and for that I am grateful.
Q: What sparked Skinny Latina and its name?
Skinny Latina was born of my desire to level the cooking playing field for those too intimidated to venture into the kitchen arena. I knew that health consciousness is a concern for everyone, from millennials to senior citizens. I also knew that Latin food had a bad reputation of being notoriously fattening. I am setting out to prove that “Skinny Latina” is not an oxymoron. That we can look great, be healthy, and keep our curves.
Q: You are currently in Fresh Market and hitting 650 Target stores in nearly 20 states this week, plus other stores in the works, can you describe the journey? How did you get your marinade into the hands of the corporate decision makers?
There have been a few bumps in the road but I made the decision early on to enjoy the process. I knew I had a great product. A product that was different from anything else on the market. A product that gave people the courage to cook knowing they could not fail. The opportunity to experience the rewarding feeling of serving a delicious home-cooked meal to their family and friends, plus enjoying the accolades. Where else can you find that in a bottle?
My relationship with Target first began by partnering with them as a Latin food contributor to A Bullseye View. I enjoy a wonderful and mutually beneficial partnership with the Target team. I am proud of their efforts with the Latin community. By not only creating content on their site that is of interest to us and investing in products the Latin demographic needs and wants, but also by sharing those things with the general market. By doing so they have created opportunities and opened doors for people like me while sharing with the general market products and recipes they would perhaps not have been exposed to.
Q: Can you share Skinny Latina’s marketing strategy or perhaps the campaigns we should stay tuned for?
Skinny Latina is growing every day. It is now available nationwide and new products are in development. Our guava BBQ sauce and specialty spice rubs are next. The brand will have a presence at the 2015 SOBE Wine &Food Festival, as well as Specialty Food Shows throughout the country. We are excited to expand into more markets and retailers and make it available to everyone.
Q: How does your business play out within Ana’s personal life, and how do you prevent burn-out?
They say when you finally do what you love, you never work another day in your life. I can honestly say I am not working. My business life and my personal life are closely intertwined. I was just in NYC to shoot some videos for About.com. I stayed a few extra days and had an amazing time. I am partnering with Smithfield on an event for NASCAR and looking forward to spending time with the driver and crew by having lunch in the hauler and watching the race from the pit. How is this work? My family and friends are always happy to participate or taste test so it’s a win-win.
Q: How does Ana dream during her sleep? Do you carry your dreams onto your business or life strategy?
My one real challenge is getting my brain to turn off for a few hours every night. Whether it’s work, my daughters or my personal life, I am always thinking.
Q: When you look at fear in the eyes, what do you say to it?
I tell fear that it is a liar. My spinning instructor and fitness motivator Maria has that printed on t-shirts and it resonates with me. I am no longer governed by fear. I was when I was younger. I am now willing to work diligently even when I have setbacks and I know I have the goods to succeed. It’s pretty simple really; it simply requires a little practice.
Q: If Biography were to contact you regarding your life’s success…which strategy would you convey knowing your words would live a legacy?
I would share that being resilient has served me well. That is not to say I never wallow in self-pity. I do allow myself that luxury for about 10 minutes. Then I dust myself off, put plan b into effect, and keep going. I don’t dwell on the past and have little or no regrets. I have no room for that. I like to travel light on this journey we call life. I have never had anything handed to me and as a result I enjoy the fruits of my labor to the fullest.
Q: Who do you like to impact and what lasting impression do you want them to always cherish?
The obvious and most honest answer is my daughters. I know I have had a profound effect on their development but they have had at least an equally profound effect on mine. I would also like to be a role model for women who want to reinvent themselves. I would like them to know that if I can do it, they can too.
Q: Say you woke up one morning and everything you treasured, except for your family, was gone… how would you move forward?
I would be grateful to still have the one thing that can never be replaced, my family. Then I would start over.
Q: What would you address at an entrepreneurial woman’s conference; can you provide three mini-lessons?
I would address the three stumbling blocks that keep many women from reaching for the goals they have set for themselves. 1. Fear of success plagues women much more than fear of failure. Fear of success stems from the guilt so many of us feel every day. 2. Women are fueled by guilt because we wear so many hats. We are workers, nurturers, caregivers, short order cooks, housekeepers, and amateur psychologist, and that’s often before 9 am. We rarely feel entitled to do something for ourselves, pursue goals we set long ago, let alone reinvent ourselves. 3. Age is no barrier to ambition. As women we are more ageless than we have ever been, capable of doing anything at any age. Fifty truly is the new 30. If you have the right attitude and disposition, your age should not be a deterrent to achieving your dreams.
Q: Have you reached your life’s purpose?
If I was not in a constant state of evolution, I am pretty certain I would cease to exist. Working toward a goal, however small, gives my life purpose and joy. I am pleased with what I have accomplished thus far, but not completely satisfied. Life is like a really delicious buffet and I always like to stay a little hungry. You never know what delicacies await at the next table.
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