Tell What You Think

In Columns, Just My Bellybutton, Opinion by Nathasha Alvarez

While checking my email one day, I get an email stating that I have been nominated for the Diva Visionary Award. I was a finalist and I was to tell everyone I knew to go to and vote for me.

This is what the person who nominated me wrote about me:

Nathasha Alvarez is the perfect person for your diva contest. Her friends call her the little Latina Diva on Wheels! She is a bit over 3 feet tall and uses a manual wheelchair due to her disability. Nathasha was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, brittle bone disease and has had several operations and literally over one hundred fractures before the age of 12. Now at the age of 36, she is a reading and language arts middle school teacher, a consultant for a paratransit company that transports people with physical disabilities and an advocate for the physically disabled.

Recently, she has been very outspoken with the media and the school board about the poor salaries for Miami Dade Public School teachers who are now leaving the cities for better paying jobs.

As if that is not enough, she started her own business four years ago and runs her own non profit company, World Wide Ability, Inc. the parent company to, an online lifestyle magazine for people with physical disabilities. The magazine covers international issues from politics, sex, fashion, and social issues that interest people with physical disabilities.

She recently earned an award for being one of Miami’s savviest singles and her award winning magazine has earned her kudos from the Miami Herald and has been described as the “cosmo for the extraordinary person”.

Her current favorite saying is “Do or Do Not, there is no try” by Yoda! Another short but adorable creature from Star Wars!

I was flattered to say the least.

I told all of my friends, family and Audacity Readers about this contest.

The winner would get a trip to Mexico for almost one week! Sounded very exciting.

There was a deadline for the votes to be registered. I was winning by 100 votes. Then…the deadline was extended. People who voted for me were calling me and emailing me asking me why the deadline was extended. I contacted Patti Mangan, contact person for the contest. She told me that the sponsors needed more time

to send out their newsletter.

While I didn’t understand what a newsletter had to do with the contest, I relayed the information to the people who voted for me.

One supporter of mine couldn’t find the rules and regulations for the contest on the website. In fact, no one really could find them. But someone did find that there was a vacation package at the winning hotel. The package was called The Bikini Boot Camp. It was filled with rigorous physical exercises. Exercises that I would never be able to do in sitting in my wheelchair. Another red flag as to the delay in voting? Maybe. Maybe not.

I spoke with Patti again and asked her about the purpose of the voting process. She said it was to give our friends and family a place to gush about us.

But you know what? The nominees are supposed to be divas. So shouldn’t we be used to the gushing?

So the voting deadline came and I won by 70 votes. Now Patti tells me we have wait for the panel of judges to make the final decision.

I passed this information on to my supporters. More waiting, more analyzing, more questions, more red flags, more suspicion as time goes on.

Finally, the winner was announced.

It wasn’t me.

It was Kristina Leonardi, the founder of The Women’s Mosaic, who came in second place in the votes and can do the exercises in the bikini boot camp program that is spotlighted in the winning hotel.

This is not to take away anything from Kristina Leonardi, who is doing a service for the female population but I thought the goal was to find the Diva Visionary.

In the bio that was written about your latina diva on wheels, the focus wasn’t only about the magazine but other aspects of my community. Shouldn’t a Diva Visionary have a broaden scope of vision for her community?

While I had more votes and covered more areas of community service, I would not be able to participate in the winning hotel’s Bikini Boot Camp package.

Should I scream discrimination? All of my voters feel I should demand that I be named the winner. They think that I didn’t win because I would not be able to promote the sponsor’s Bikini Boot Camp package which appears to be the winning package.

What do you think?
You can email me at and you can email