“It’s a dream come true.”

That is how Claudia Forestieri feels about her six-year journey to create “Gordita Chronicles,” which was released June 23 on HBO Max.

What You Need To Know

  • “Gordita Chronicles” made its debut June 23 on HBO Max

  • It’s based on the childhood of Creator Claudia Forestieri, who moved with her family from the Dominican Republic to Miami in 1985

  • Zoe Saldaña and Eva Longoria are executive producers on the show

  • Forestieri said the show is breaking boundaries by pairing a first-time Latina creator with a first-time Latina showrunner

“I wanted to show kids and anybody who’s ever felt a little less than because of certain perceived flaws that yeah, people might call you names, but you can overcome it, and you can do whatever you want,” Forestieri said.

She is the show’s creator and one of the executive producers. Further, the show is based on her own childhood experiences as a Dominican girl growing up in Miami.

“I wasn’t going to have a boyfriend or get married. I wanted to be a TV reporter. I was told that wasn’t going to happen either because I was ‘gordita,’” Forestieri said.

Her father moved the family to Miami for work after getting a job in marketing with Eastern Airlines.

Initially, she envisioned the show as a one-hour dramedy series. She knew she wanted it to be about a Dominican family set in the 1980s since, she said, Dominicans are not well represented on American television shows. 

“When Sony read the script, Frank Ochoa, a Latino executive at Sony, he said, ‘You know I really like this. I think it could be a show that we could sell. Would you be willing to turn this into a half-hour comedy?’ I was like, 'Frank, if you think this show could sell, I will turn this into a musical procedural. I will turn this into whatever you want,’” Forestieri exclaimed.

The show eventually became a half-hour comedy series and got the backing of Zoe Saldaña’s Cinestar Pictures, who told Forestieri that the story hit close to home as someone with a Dominican father and Puerto Rican mother.

“You have the biggest Dominican movie star in the world, Zoe, related to it because she had a backwards experience. She was born in the United States in the New York area and then, I believe, when she was 10, she had to go to the Dominican Republic, so she had to learn Spanish,” Forestieri said.

Eva Longoria directed the pilot of the series but with so many Latin voices in front and behind the camera, Forestieri definitely feels the pressure for the show to be a hit.

“If this show doesn’t do well, and if people don’t like it, like I don’t want to be the show that slowed down the progress of the whole Latino culture on TV,” she said.

She hopes the show helps more people see immigrants through a sympathetic lens but also a humorous one.

“Yes, [immigration is] difficult, and it’s challenging, but it can be really funny,” she said.

It has become a show trying to further pave the way for the many immigrant stories still waiting to be told.

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