Yelyna De Leon

Yelyna De Leon is an award winning Writer, Producer and Actress. As an actress she can be seen in several television series such as Shameless, Bones, Ray Donovan, A Better Life and East Side Story. Behind the scenes Yelyna is committed and her work focuses on non-stereotypical characters for Latinos and strong female characters. Yelyna is a 2015 NHMC, ABC/NBC writing fellow.

De Leon began as a theater actor in her town of South Chicago, writing a three-act musical due to the lack of representation of the Latina/o community in media. As a teen, she became a single mother, which fueled her to overcome the obstacles of her hometown. Her political climate, mother’s influence and multiple roles (motherhood, latina, filmmaker identities), led her to not only want to be in stories, but to create stories that would represent the Latina/o community in a more complex light.

She continues focusing on the “culture conscious” and how the world works, having been familiar with the fact that Chicago is segregated, but celebrates its cultures. She follows the spirit of celebration of all cultures, not only her own. It does not matter which parade--be it a Puerto Rican, Mexican, Black-- she knows that all kinds of life should come out and celebrate culture with everyone. To De Leon, #WeAreInclusion is an invitation to all, not just the Latina/o community. “Together, you create your opportunities,” she says. Her experience with NALIP includes being a semi-finalist in the Latino Lens incubator with Televisa and Univision. De Leon became a NALIP member two years ago. Through her membership, she and NALIP have established a relationship that has helped her learn and grow in the ever-changing ecosystem of the film industry.

In five to ten years, Yelyna De Leon sees people of color more involved. De Leon knows the Latina/o community will be more involved in the future of media than it has ever been, especially in this political climate. “There’s room for everybody.”