Where is LaToya Tonodeo Now? Her Age, Husband, Career, Kids

LaToya Tonodeo is an American actress who’s been making waves in the entertainment industry with her talent and charisma. She has quickly become a recognized name in the world of television, with her portrayal of Diana Tejada in the critically acclaimed television series “Power Book II: Ghost.”

Early Life and Background

LaToya Tonodeo was born in April 1997 in Los Angeles, California, and she comes from mixed heritage with parents who have African-American and Hispanic roots. While there isn’t a wealth of information available about her family, in an interview, she did reveal that she greatly admired her mother and grandmother, both of whom were strong, influential women in her life.

A natural talent for the spotlight

LaToya Tonodeo’s journey towards becoming an acting sensation began at a very young age; even before she fully understood her ambitions, she was already preparing for a future in the spotlight. At around the age of nine or 10, she was unwittingly cultivating her talents for the small screen. Right in the comfort of her own home, she crafted her own advertisements and commercials. Everyday activities, such as brushing her teeth and doing chores, became opportunities for her creativity to shine. LaToya would read the back of a toothpaste tube or study product ingredients with a natural talent for imitation. She enthusiastically acted out and mimicked the commercials she’d seen on TV.

Her parents astutely recognized her boundless energy and creative spirit. While LaToya herself may not have fully grasped the significance of her actions, her mom and dad certainly did. This parental insight led them to make a pivotal decision. They understood that their daughter possessed a unique and promising talent, so they took the initiative to enroll her in acting classes, and auditions, providing her with the guidance and tools necessary to nurture her innate potential.

Career

Path to stardom: Trials, tears, and triumph

Before securing her role as Diana Tejada, LaToya had been tirelessly working and striving to find the breakthrough role that she believed would launch her career. Despite her best efforts, she faced multiple disappointments and rejections along the way. There was a particular job that she had pinned high hopes on, convinced it would be the one, but it eluded her grasp. It was a moment of heartbreak, and she admitted that it was the first time she had shed tears over a career setback.

LaToya, typically an optimistic individual, was deeply affected by this missed opportunity. However, looking back, she realized that if she had actually landed that movie role that ultimately didn’t make much of an impact, she wouldn’t have been available for the life-changing opportunity that would become her breakout role.

She mentioned that her prior projects have undoubtedly played a significant role in shaping her into the actress she is today. They marked the beginning of her personal and professional growth. She started with roles that are often uncredited and involve minimal or no speaking lines, such as a party girl in “Becoming Pony Boi” (2009), and a lady in a casino in “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” (2015).  LaToya garnered Honorable Mention for Best Indie Shorts at the Independent Shorts Awards with her portrayal of Sonia in “The Last Straw.” In “The Perfect Match” (2016), she brought to life a lively and flirtatious bridesmaid, while in “The Fosters” (2018), she portrayed a more reserved bridesmaid. What drew her to these characters was their authenticity, the ease with which the audience could relate to them.

Through these experiences, she not only honed her acting skills, but also gained valuable insights into the business and technical aspects of the industry. She stressed that acting goes beyond mere recitation of lines in front of a camera, emphasizing the multi-faceted nature of the craft.

Breakthrough in LaToya’s Career

One of the most significant milestones in LaToya Tonodeo’s career came in 2020, when she was cast in Starz’ “Power Book II: Ghost.” Her performance received positive reviews, and she garnered attention for her acting prowess and on-screen presence. This role marked a turning point in her career, and led to increased recognition in the industry.

She had always been an avid admirer of the original series, “Power”, which stood out as something entirely distinct from anything she’d ever witnessed on TV. Its innovative and unique approach, which made both the heroes and villains relatable, deeply resonated with her. As a result, she nurtured a fervent desire to become a part of the series.

When the original series concluded, she maintained the hope that, someday in the future, she might have the opportunity to collaborate with the show’s creators on a different project. Then in 2019, her dreams took a significant leap forward. The first spin-off, “Power Book II: Ghost,” entered production, and her character, Diana Tejada, came to life.

At the outset, LaToya was brimming with excitement with a tinge of nervousness and fear, given the enormity of joining the “Power” universe, with its iconic characters. However, as she immersed herself in the role and had the opportunity to meet everyone during the table read, the original cast extended their warm welcome to the new additions, making her feel like she was truly a part of their “Power” family. She described the atmosphere as exceptionally heartwarming; the camaraderie and support among the cast and crew made her daily work experience remarkably smooth and enjoyable.

About “Power Book II: Ghost”

“Power Book II: Ghost” is a TV series that serves as a sequel to the popular Starz crime drama series “Power”, created by Courtney A. Kemp and produced by 50 Cent. It picks up immediately after the events of the original “Power” series, focusing on the impact of James “Ghost” St. Patrick’s death on his family and associates. It delves into the complex world of crime, politics and law, with Tariq St. Patrick, Ghost’s son, at the center of the story, as he tries to balance his college life and criminal activities.

It features a talented ensemble, including Mary J. Blige as Monet Stewart Tejada, Method Man as Davis MacLean, Michael Rainey Jr. as Tariq St. Patrick, and Naturi Naughton as Tasha St. Patrick, among others – LaToya Tonodeo played the role of Diana Tejada.

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The series received generally positive reviews from both viewers and critics. It successfully continued the narrative established by “Power”, while introducing new characters and storylines, exploring themes of power, crime, family, loyalty, and the consequences of one’s actions. It delves into the morally complex decisions that characters must make to protect their interests.

It’s just one of several spin-off series within the “Power” franchise, which includes “Power Book III: Raising Kanan” and “Power Book IV: Force.” Each one explores different facets of the “Power” universe, contributing to the franchise’s prominent status in today’s TV landscape.

Nailing her audition

LaToya received a self-tape audition appointment via email from her team, prompting her to swiftly delve into online research about the show. Her objective was to uncover crucial details, such as whether it was a prequel or any other valuable information, but the show’s creators excelled at maintaining secrecy. Despite the lack of information, she meticulously prepared her audition tape, and submitted it with a sense of excitement. However, she reminded herself to stay grounded and not overthink the outcome, adopting the belief that if the role was meant for her, it would eventually be hers.

Later on, she received an in-person callback appointment, wherein she entered the room to find notable industry figures such as Courtney Kemp, additional producers, and casting professionals. Her focus and confidence were unwavering, even in the presence of the numerous individuals in the room. She felt deep satisfaction, firmly believing that her performance had been outstanding. Following the audition, they engaged in a casual conversation with her, inquiring about her background, the languages she spoke, and her involvement in sports. It was during this interaction that her nerves made a subtle appearance.

As she exited the room, she couldn’t contain her radiant smile and her triumphant thoughts of nailing her audition. She was convinced that even if she didn’t secure the role, she’d made a strong impact, and left no stone unturned in delivering an exceptional audition.

Playing the role of Diana Tejada

Latoya’s character, Diana Tejada is the princess of the Tejada family, the daughter of Lorenzo Tejada (Berto Colon) and Monet (Mary J. Blige). She embodies a compelling mix of characteristics; she’s driven, resilient, highly intelligent, and fiercely protective of her family. Yet, she’s still navigating the intricate world she was born into. Her family isn’t just a part of the drug trade; they’re prominent players, commanding both respect and fear due to their ruthlessness.

Diana faces a profound inner conflict—balancing her role in the family’s criminal enterprise with her own aspirations. Despite her desire for independence, her deep love and unwavering loyalty to her family keep her tethered to their dangerous game.

However, the pivotal arc in Diana’s journey centers around her evolving relationship with her mother, Monét. No longer content to unquestioningly follow her mother’s orders, Diana’s growth into a young woman introduces tensions and newfound respect between the two. Armed with the same manipulative tactics and street smarts her mother instilled in her over the years, Diana undergoes a transformation from a teenage girl into a formidable young adult, setting the stage for a power struggle within the family dynamic.

How does LaToya relate to her character

When asked about the parallels between her character and herself, LaToya provided insight into the shared traits and distinctions. Both she and Diana possess a blend of book and street smarts, excelling at reading people and discerning positive and negative energies. Their protective nature towards loved ones and unwavering determination are also common ground.

However, notable differences emerge in their aspirations. While Diana is still on a journey to claim her independence, LaToya can confidently affirm that she’s already attained it. She doesn’t feel the need to fight for her freedom or the right to shape her destiny, whereas Diana faces the challenge of reconciling her desire to attend school, with the pressures of becoming involved in the family business at that moment.

Personal Life

LaToya Tonodeo is engaged to Belizean actor Arlen Escarpeta. The news was reportedly shared by LaToya herself in December 2021 through an Instagram video, during which the actress proudly displayed her dazzling engagement ring. However, for some reason, it appears that the post has been set to private or removed.

Nevertheless, the absence of the post doesn’t necessarily imply that their relationship went sour. A quick glance at their social media profiles reveals that they are still together. For instance, Arlen warmly extended birthday greetings to LaToya in April 2023, and the couple enjoyed dinner with friends, as evident from a post in late September.

The couple’s journey began in 2014, and in 2018, they were guest stars on the Spanish late-night talk show “Noches con Platanito,” in which they enthusiastically shared their love story. Their first date was at the gym, and LaToya fondly recalls that her hair was perfectly styled and her gym outfit was flattering, but her choice of shoes left much to be desired – little did she know that Arlen was very particular in footwear. Arlen posted a clip of that TV appearance on his Instagram page, jokingly noting that she has significantly improved her sneaker selection since then. Despite this amusing first impression, the connection between LaToya and Arlen was undeniable. They hit it off, and have been inseparable ever since.

During the interview, she spoke about her close relationship with her grandmother, a bond that stretched back to her childhood. She regarded her as her best friend who usually got her out of trouble. She revealed that her grandmother was battling Alzheimer’s disease, a brain disorder leading to a gradual decline in memory and loss of ability to perform everyday tasks. However, in a funny but touching twist, her grandmother considered Arlen as her own boyfriend. LaToya mentioned how she couldn’t overly show her affection to Arlen in front of her grandmother, who seemed to take exception to it, as she believed Arlen to be her man. Arlen humorously attributed her grandmother’s fondness for him to his exceptional oatmeal-making skills.

Arlen Escarpeta is an accomplished actor known for his dynamic roles in film and TV. He gained widespread recognition for his performance as Lawrence in the 2009 “Friday the 13th” reboot, which catapulted his career. He has since showcased his talent in notable projects such as “Final Destination 5,” “The Magicians,” and “David Makes Man.” Arlen’s versatility as an actor is further evident in his role as Bobby Brown in the Whitney Houston biographical film “Whitney.” In 2011, he married actress Benita Nall, but by the end of 2012, they’d divorced.

LaToya and Arlen shared the screen as co-stars in the crime drama series “The Oath,” which was broadcast on the Crackle streaming service. In season one, Arlen played a significant role as Officer Damon Byrd, and notably he put in a good word for LaToya to the production team. This recommendation led to LaToya’s audition for the role of Tara Byrd, who is Damon’s wife, and with the chemistry that they had, she ultimately secured the part.

Interesting Fact

“Buy Back the Block L.A.” is an initiative founded by music manager Daniel Carter to combat gentrification, and facilitate the transition from renting to property ownership for South L.A. residents. It has prominent supporters, including actors LaToya Tonodeo and Arlen Escarpeta. The couple has been actively involved in this since 2019, attending meetings and gaining insights into securing the right loans and making informed decisions about purchasing a house in South L.A. In line with the broader goals of the movement, they emphasize its multi-faceted nature, addressing issues such as reform, justice, generational wealth, and fair wages.

Appearance

LaToya Tonodeo stands at 5ft 4ins (163cms) tall and has a weight of about 120lbs (55kgs). Her figure might be fit and petite but it is elegantly proportioned, measuring at 34-26-34ins (86-66-86cms). She possesses beautiful black hair and captivating hazel-brown eyes. She mentions that her brother has green eyes, while her dad’s side of the family has green-hazel eyes, and her mom’s side has hazel eyes.

Net Worth

LaToya Tonodeo might have been in the industry for a considerable period, but her fame skyrocketed with her breakout role in the TV series “Power Book II: Ghost.” This surge in her popularity had resulted in features in magazines and guest appearances on talk shows. There are no indications of her slowing down, as new opportunities continue to present themselves. According to authoritative sources, her estimated net worth as of October 2023 stands at over $2 million.

Her talent and potential are undeniable, and as she continues to build her career, her future prospects are bright. When posed with the question of what legacy she aspires to leave in the entertainment industry, she expressed her earnest desire to be known as a hardworking artist who wholeheartedly dedicates herself to every role she takes on. Beyond her craft, she aims to serve as a beacon of inspiration and positivity for others. LaToya is determined to demonstrate that she can thrive in the industry, while remaining steadfast in her faith and unwavering belief in God. She firmly believes that one need not compromise their values, and stands resolute in her faith, without feeling compelled to choose between her career and her spirituality.

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