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April Hernandez Castillo Actor/ Tedx Speaker/ Author of Embracing Me/ Survivor and Advocate for Intimate Partner Violence
April Hernandez, also known as April Hernandez Castillo, was born and raised in the borough known as the Boogie Down Bronx. Growing up in the tough streets of the Bronx during the crack epidemic era, April always knew in her heart she was created for more. Her mother would always say “there is nothing impossible as long as you dream big and work hard.” April’s dream became a reality when she booked her first commercial as the “Yo girl” in the Visa Check Card spot starring Yao Ming and Yogi Berra. The commercial would air during the Super Bowl and become a sports classic. She then went on to star in television shows such as; Law & Order: SVU, The Following, Person of Interest, Elementary, 30 Rock and Nurse Jackie to name a few. She also garnered a recurring role on Showtime’s hit show Dexter, which she was nominated for a SAG award for “Best Ensemble” cast. But she is most noted for her powerful portrayal as, “Eva Benitez” in the MTV movie Freedom Writers starring Oscar winner Hilary Swank. In 2015, she ventured into a new role as a television host and co-hosted a faith-based talk show called 100 Huntley with New York Times bestselling author, Eric Metaxas. In her most recent work, she starred on NBC’s popular show, New Amsterdam and the FOX drama, Prodigal Son.
Speaking in front of audiences was a natural transition from screen to stage. April realized she had a story to share after filming Freedom Writers. She was a survivor of intimate partner violence and nearly lost her life. She also contemplated suicide twice. “Leaving the abusive relationship was hard but believing I could still become someone was a greater mountain I had to climb.” April’s message of the power of one’s voice and the ability to move beyond trauma has taken her on a journey across the United States, reaching audiences from middle schools, high schools, universities and conferences. From speaking at Harvard University, Q Conference to her biggest stage to date -TEDx. April shared her most personal story on the TEDx stage talking about her struggles with becoming a mom and the stigma on post-partum. The title of the talk is called “The Gift of TransPARENTcy”. Not only is she an accomplished speaker but April has also authored two books, Your Voice Your Choice, and recently released, Embracing Me, which describe her abuse and how she was able to leave the relationship and never look back.