One of FHM's "Top 100 Sexiest Women In The World" three years straight, MAYRA VERONICA is ready to launch her bi-lingual music career, with debut albums to be released nationwide this summer and fall in both Spanish and English. Her first Latin release entitled, Vengo Con To' showcases Mayra’s love of various musical styles that include the Latin flavors of merengue, salsa, cumbia, and cha cha cha (add more styles).
Mayra has graced the pages of magazines from FHM to Maxim, as well as the covers of Men's Edge, Smooth, Smoke, Maxim En Espanol, For Your Eyes, and countless others. She will also be featured in the upcoming Nike commercial television campaign opposite Lebron James; EA video games created a new video character after her in their Def Jam 3 video game; and she will play Frankie J's love interest in the video for his first single of his upcoming album. Mayra was also recently voted by the U.S. Military Troops as their "Favorite Pin Up" Girl for '05 and '06. As if that’s not enough, this genuine Renaissance woman enjoyed one of the nation’s top-selling calendars in 2004, 2005, and now in 2006 -- being the #1 Latina-selling calendar in the world.
Now, Mayra’s musical passion arrives unbounded with her debut Latin album, "Vengo Con To'", a full-bodied expression of her Cuban heritage that includes the hit single, "Vengo Con To". The collection is an irresistible invitation to dance to the beats of life as it captures Mayra’s sensual spirit, teasing playfulness and sexy exuberance. For the CD, she teamed up with top Latin music producers, including Kiki Santander and Roy Tavares. The tracks on “Ay Mama Mia” include the title song, which is the first single and “Canten,” a tribute to Latin music giant Polo Montanez.
Making the transition from television as a regular on the national Univision Networks “Don Francisco Presenta” during her three-year run, to a recording artist, Mayra has had music in her soul almost from birth. As a very small girl, Mayra Veronica can recall sitting by her father’s side as he played Cenicienta, a Cuban song about Cinderella. While she’s found a glass slipper of her own two decades later with almost fairy-tale success as an in-demand actress and model, those achievements have come through hard work and the determination to make it on her own terms.
For years Mayra considered music to be her father’s realm; he played guitar and sang for Cuba’s most popular rock band of the 1970s, Los Dada, appearing at the top hotels and clubs throughout the country as little Mayra would watch rehearsals and performances from the wings. While she pursued other avenues, the need for self-expression through song still filled her heart. She remembers singing into a hairbrush and prancing around her room as a child, singing hits of the day from Kim Carne’s “Bette Davis Eyes” to the country music of Kenny Rogers like “Lucille” and “Coward of the County,” pretending she was at a rodeo.
Born Mayra Veronica Aruca Rodriguez on August 20 in Havana, Cuba, Mayra’s family moved to the U.S. when she was six years old and they settled in one of Miami, Florida’s Cuban communities. It was actually something of a culture shock when she moved to New York City after college. “Suddenly, I was considered Latin,” she says, “When I just always considered myself…American.”
Mayra studied ballet for 16 years in all, taking a break when adolescence took over and she grew “voluptuous,” she laughs now. She also won various honors in a number of beauty pageants, including second runner-up as Miss Miami and Miss Hispanic America. When it became clear that a career in dance was not to be, Mayra turned to acting, but not before graduating from Florida International University with a major in psychology and a minor in business, applying those skills later as her entertainment career blossomed.
Traveling back and forth from the Big Apple to home in Florida, Mayra studied at the famed Strassberg Institute for acting, earned roles in stage plays, and was also signed as a spokesmodel for the giant Univision television network. At home in Florida, she became a host for the Miami television entertainment magazine, “Miami Hoy,” writing, producing and editing her own segments as she interviewed a roster of celebrities, ranging form Donald Trump and Hugh Hefner to Burt Reynolds, Tim Allen and Marc Anthony. Mayra also starred in featured roles in PBS productions, independent films such as “Tumbe”, and appeared in nationwide Spanish language ads for a wide array of companies including Loreal, Ford, Colgate, Burger King, Coca Cola, and Allstate. She then landed the role on Univision’s “Don Francisco Presenta”, in which viewers embraced nationwide, making Mayra one of their top female personalities (Mayra is also the #1 most downloaded female personality on the Univision website).
Five years ago, Mayra decided to develop her longtime passion for music with vocal lessons. As with the voice and diction she’d studied years earlier, she became an adept, serious student. Although Mayra hopes to become a songwriter someday, she believes that, as with all other areas of her career, it’s a craft she must master and while she’s written poetry for years, she’s knows songwriting is a skill to develop. “I will ultimately bring it out, and would rather work first with people who know what they’re doing,” she humbly says.
The launching of Mayra’s music career continues the stunning rise of this self-made star, who’s been named “the sexiest woman on Latin television”, and is both proud, and yet cautious, when it comes to her role as a sex symbol. “Being raised with Catholic background, even though my father was musician, being sexy was not something you wanted to grow up and be,” she says, “Still, it’s something I couldn’t deny being because it is who I am… I was acting sexy at the age of six when I was singing into the mirror in my room, so it’s something very ingrained.”
Mayra has also taken what she learned from acting and applied it to her performances in the studio and on-stage. “It’s my favorite thing to do, bringing the music to life,” she says. “I enjoy the work in the studio, but also love an audience.”
Most of all the key to Mayra’s past triumphs and her new journey as a recording artist is the taking of a hands-on approach, with attention to every aspect “I’m learning to delegate, but I like to know what is going on and going out,” she says. “One thing got from my father is very high standards, so it’ll take awhile for me to get there, but I set those high standards for myself.”