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Gloria & Emilio Estefan

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Page 73 of 179

72 MIAMI LIVING Miami's First Couple A peek into the glamorous lives of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jr. Words by Marla E. Schwartz There's no doubt about it, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jr. are the King and Queen of Miami, beloved all over the world, not only because of their ties to the community, but because of their brilliance in the entertainment industry. They have a reputation as being a gracious and loving couple, and are an inspiration to Miamians and to so many more people the world over. Emilio Estefan, Jr. was born in Cuba in 1953, of Lebanese descent, and in 1968 he moved to the United States. He began his career in the mailroom at Bacardi, but his real passion was music. So he formed the Miami Latin Boys, who performed at Miami parties, and at one of these, he met Gloria Fajardo. He soon invited her to join the group, later known, of course, as "Miami Sound Machine." They married in 1978. Gloria Maria Milagrosa Fajardo was born in 1957 in Havana, Cuba. She and her mother, a kindergarten teacher, immigrated to Miami in 1959. Her father, Jose Fajardo, a bodyguard to Cuban President Fulgencio Batista's wife, was held as a political prisoner by Fidel Castro's regime after the takeover of the Batista government. Gloria was in college at the University of Miami when she met Emilio. Since she had taken up guitar playing and singing at a young age, she was an ideal fit with Emilio's band. Their marriage brought them two children, their son, Nayib (a music composer), was born in September, 1980, and their daughter, Estefanita 'Emily' Marie Consuelo, was born in 1994. She recently appeared onstage with Gloria during a concert in Marbella, Spain. Last year, the Estefans attended the Miami International Film Festival for the debut of their documentary, 90 Millas, a tribute to their homeland. Gloria then ended her whirlwind sold-out concert tour at the Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The Estefans donated a portion of the proceeds from this appearance to the Education Funds of Miami- Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Indian River County Public Schools. Estefan, a five-time Grammy winner, has received many awards and distinctions throughout the years, including the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, BMI Song- Writer of the Year, induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and a host of MTV, VMA, and Cable ACE awards. She was also given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and received the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor in 1993. She has written two New York Times best-selling children's books and is currently writing a script based on the life of Connie Francis. Most recently, she was honored with the 2008 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year award (the first woman to receive this honor), with a portion of the proceeds from the evening's tribute dinner benefiting the Gloria Estefan Foundation, as well as St. Jude Children's Research hospital. The event featured some of her all-time favorite artists performing renditions of her songs. Gloria and Emilio received a Grammy for Best Traditional Tropical Album for 90 Millas and Best Tropical Song for "Pintame de Colores." Estefan hopes to eventually record a second Christmas CD. But right now the Estefans are busy promoting a cookbook filled with traditional family recipes. Gloria's grandmother, Consuelo Garcia, is the inspiration for many of the recipes in Estefan Kitchen (Celebra, $27.95). This cookbook is just another natural extension of their seemingly magical creative style. The Estefans appeared on numerous TV shows to promote it, including The View and The Today Show. The book contains recipes for Cuban drinks, appetizers, sandwiches, and classic entrees like picadillo (minced ground beef creole), bacalao (codfish in tomato sauce), yuca frita (cassava fries), and papas rellenas (breaded mashed potatoes stuffed with ground beef creole). EXCLUSIVE!

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