We're so happy you joined us here on our blog! We promise the read will be worth it. But first, in case this is your first time on the #EllenKMorningShow blog, we want to introduce ourselves. The Ellen K Morning Show is a fun, family friendly show from Los Angeles, CA with a goal of ultimately making you feel good! We like to take a pause for the positive. Hosting the show is longtime radio personality and Voice-over artist, Ellen K (pictured in the middle), co-host & Senior Producer Ryan Manno (pictured right) and co-produced by Darlene Rodrigo (pictured left).
"COCO" WON!!! For us, the movie was a special treat, not only to our community but to our show and all of our listeners. We have a really funny back story about Anthony Gonzalez & his sweet mama Lilianna. Here's some behind-the-scenes fun and how one of our crazy dreams came true!
(Read below for the rest of the story.)
It all started last summer at the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center when Producer Darlene & her hubby Alex had a date night & explored the Disney Fandom event last summer to check out all of the latest and greatest in the world of Disney, Pixar, Marvel & the Disneyland Resort.
It was then that they spotted the beautifully colored “Coco” display. As well as a very familiar & handsome face belonging to longtime actor, Benjamin Bratt! Darlene was a fan from way back when she was a kid watching him play a cholo from LA on the movie, “Blood In, Blood Out.” 😆 The kid standing next to Benjamin Bratt seemed unfamiliar but had such a wonderfully pure vibe that made Darlene & Alex want to know more. He was being presented at a Disney expo with a big time actor for an upcoming Disney-Pixar movie, and it was then that we knew the world needed to know Anthony Gonzalez & the mission to get him on the Ellen K Morning Show began.
(Read below for the rest of the story.)
"I felt something special about this movie and couldn’t wait to do something about it. I began asking myself, who is this Hispanic kid in a Disney movie? How do I find him? I wonder what his Instagram username is? I'm going to message him right now!!" - Darlene Rodrigo
Immediately following the D23 Expo, the "FOLLOW" button was hit on @anthonyGonzalez_official Instagram page, and Darlene became one of the first couple hundred followers. He hadn't blown up yet and if you googled his name, you couldn't find much about him. Shortly after, she sent a direct message via Instagram hoping he'd see it. (Swipe through the pictures above to see the screenshot of the message.) Sure enough, that's where the story takes off and picks up some steam. Turns out, since Anthony's a minor, his mom managed his Instagram account. She read it and got worried that someone outside of Disney was asking for a one-on-one interview. So, she did what any mom would do and reported it to the Disney PR team. That's when Disney stepped in and got involved. E-mails were sent trying to figure out who in the world was messaging her son on Instagram! Team Disney hit up Team KOST with this message:
Anthony Gonzalez, talent from our COCO film, received the below text from phone # 909--------- claiming to be with KOST.
Not sure how they got the number, but I wanted to check if they’re legit before I call. I’d be happy to facilitate interview requests through the proper pipeline like we usually do. Are you familiar with them?
Also– can I ask how you were able to get Anthony’s Mom’s cell number? Our publicity team is interested in where this request originated. Thanks!
Turns out, the e-mail made its rounds & was eventually passed on to Ellen K, Ryan Manno and (guilty) Darlene Rodrigo. Luckily, no one was hurt, the social media antics were noticed and the rest was history!
We were put in place with the right people from Disney who set us up with an exclusive interview with Anthony Gonzalez. His mama, Lilliana came with him to the interview and she was just as magical! Beyond this, KOST was given a private screening of the Disney-Pixar movie, "Coco" at the Walt Disney Studios back lot for our listeners to attend. On the way out, Producer Darlene bumped into Edward James Olmos! (Take a look at the picture in the Instagram slideshow above.)
Ultimately, we loved what Anthony Gonzalez shared with us. That by age four, he already knew he wanted to be a performer and sing mariachi. His mom allowed him to follow his heart & supported his wild dream. He would dance Folklorico & sing during the weekends at Olvera Street & swap meets. Little did he know, Disney-Pixar had something brewing for the special movie, “Coco.” This entire story inspires us so much, especially since we all know that when our hearts get excited, this cynical world has a way to shut our magical thoughts & dreams down. But, where would we be if people didn’t follow their hearts & take chances? We're inspired to know today that these stories exist and that the thoughts and dreams we have, can be REAL!
The magic continues to inspire! Team Coco took home two Oscars! Anthony Gonzalez, age 14 is now an Oscar winner! We're so proud!