Some people are able to do what they love for a living. For them, modern technology empowers their professional creativity – and helps them share their work with a much larger audience.
Actor, TV host, bestselling author and bilingual influencer Lizza Monet Morales started out on TV. As a child, she was already doing a talk show at the age of 10 called “One To One with Lizza,” which was on public access across the country. Morales says she interviewed politicians, notable figures in the Los Angeles community, educators and celebrities.
“We discussed everything from hot topics at the time to not so serious items, like what school lunches should serve,” she says. “I had a blast and it was a great foundation for what was to come.”
From there, she expanded her brand by microblogging in 2007, then got into social media, travel and lifestyle blogging and vlogging, just as those channels were gaining traction as daily must go-to’s for more and more people. She also continued to act and host TV shows in English and Spanish.
“Unlike other bloggers who start blogging and then want to be on TV, I was actually on TV, and my community asked if I would start vlogging and blogging so that they could keep in touch with me on the daily,” Morales says.
Originally from Los Angeles, California, she travels the world and shares her stories and adventures on and off set with a community she calls #LoveBugNation.
“I love encouraging people to go off the beaten path, because the way that you really have adventure in life isn’t by checking boxes that everybody else does, but by choosing the road less traveled,” Morales says.
One of those roads led to Dubai, by invitation of the royal family, where she went on safari in the morning – in the middle of the desert – and by the afternoon, she was hugging and feeding a penguin.
Also in Dubai, she discovered a hidden gem offering one of her favorite foods – tacos. Everywhere she travels, she tries to find tacos.
The self-dubbed “OG taconista” was “delighted and over the moon to find that a real Mexican restaurant exists in Dubai.”
“The tacos were authentic and reminded me of ones my abuelita made me growing up. Finding a legit taco restaurant is tough to find because the meat has to be prepared just right, the salsa needs to be actually spicy and not watered down, and of course having handmade corn tortillas is a total luxury. They are hard to find as it is in the United States, so finding them abroad is like finding a needle in a haystack,” she says.
She found out that a pilot for Emirates Airlines and his wife, who is also from Mexico, moved to Dubai and set up the restaurant after realizing they could capitalize on filling a niche. The pilot picks up ingredients needed to make the authentic dishes when his flight route takes him to Mexico, which was about at least once a month. In addition to the tacos, they make Mexican drinks such as horchata and sell Mexican candy and products. The decor also matches what you would find in a typical Mexican restaurant.
“So the whole experience from the minute you walk in takes you on a journey. It was particularly special the day I went as it was Sept. 16, Mexican Independence Day. The whole place was in party mode and they had sombreros for us to wear and noisemakers and of course traditional Mexican music. It was really cool meeting the Mexican ambassador to Dubai and his family that day, as they were all eating there to celebrate the holiday. Nothing validates a Mexican restaurant more than seeing other Mexicans eating there. Though it was really cool also seeing Emirati citizens enjoying them and our culture too.”
For Morales to walk in there and take in her cultural heritage halfway around the world, it felt like the dots in her life and career finally connected. And then to be able to share that with her community, who in turn, share with her how they follow her itineraries, “has just been really special.”
Helping others is at the core of her mission with her work.
“I’m most passionate about leaving a legacy. It’s super important for me to follow in the footsteps of what my grandmother and my mother taught me, which is to choose experiences over things and education over assumptions, and most importantly being of service to others,” Morales says. “So anything and everything that I can do to really give back to my community warms my heart.”
Morales owns three Lenovo devices that she uses to help her stay on top of her many personal and professional interests: two Lenovo Yoga premium laptops (one in rose gold and one in orange) and one Lenovo Yoga Book with a pen that she likes to use to sketch.
“As someone who is always on the go, is constantly on set or looking at a script, being able to have a hub of technology I can really rely on, like my virtual assistant in many ways, really makes my life so much easier,” she says.
Her latest movie, “Intolerance No More,” premiered in September at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood and is currently on the film festival circuit. It has already picked up a few awards along the way and was screened at the Mexican embassy in Los Angeles twice at the request of the Mexican ambassador to the U.S. Morales, in a lead role, plays Lola, who seeks the truth after a routine traffic stop goes awry and an African American woman is charged with shooting a white officer.
“We find out rather quickly that the truth isn’t always black and white and go on a whirlwind of a ride,” Morales says.
In Philadelphia, Juan Dimida, 40, creates graphic art and electronic music on touchscreen devices, working them into beats with other songs or multimedia pieces.
He recently created an album of electronic music on his Motorola G3 over the summer and has been performing it on his Lenovo Yoga PC, connected to drum machines and synthesizers. He’s playing this music live in November.
His artistic background began with graffiti art as a teen, but then he joined a city-run art program in his 20s that channeled his creative energy into colorful murals that covered up graffiti through community-based commissions. These collaborative projects usually involved four to five people and would include elaborate scenery, characters and animation. While each had a theme, the artists also improvised.
Dimida used Photoshop to get designs together and make alterations. While he was working on these murals, an event planner stopped by with a Lenovo ThinkPad tablet, and gave it to him to draw on. He hired Dimida to create art for a 2012 event, where Dimida connected different devices, such as a Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO, to projectors. Dimida drew mosaics on that screen that projected onto 80-foot walls.
After that event, he gained traction to host his own events, showing his original projections at art shows and parties.
Sound visualizations are something he particularly enjoys. Dimida uses a Lenovo ThinkPad X220t to record different sounds, so he’s able to set up different scenes, music effects and visuals, using multiple projectors. He has a separate Lenovo Yoga feed into that, where he draws on its screen. The ThinkPad X220t adds sounds and projects that out.
One of his most memorable projects started with a photo of the Mona Lisa. He ran it through a photocopying effect in black and white using a Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 and then used a projector to impose the image on a canvas – then he painted over that.
At other shows, he sets up different tablets on tables and invites people to interact with them. Some draw on the tablets, others play with drums on different tracks. Most of his shows are in Philadelphia, a couple are in neighboring New Jersey, but once the Lenovo INsiders program flew him to Beijing where he presented in front of 3,000 people, who helped him draw on tablets.
For Dimida, technology plays an integral part in his art.
“It makes it more tactile. I love it because I like to continually learn new things. As I started using technology, that was something new. I wanted to get into more video, so I had to learn that. It’s a creative learning experience. Now I’m doing digital art, but also doing a lot of music and other stuff. It’s all about improvisation. A lot of people who do music on computers are composing in a program. That’s more about the end result and sequencing into song,” Dimida says.
“But I like to use touchscreens and devices as improvisational tools, writing music as I go, freestyling. I use a tablet and touchscreen computers in collaboration with drum machines, different synthesizers and keyboards at once.”
“When it’s cold here I get stir crazy indoors, so this has kept me busy,” he says.
He uses these devices to make digital art that he posts on Instagram, at least once a day. At some point, he’d like to fill a whole gallery with these prints.
“It just seems like Lenovo constantly comes out with cool, different stuff. For a creative person, who likes approaching things differently, these choices lead to other possibilities. Sometimes I’ll DJ parties, and I can bring up DJ software on it, mix records right on the screen. I can physically mix records back and forth,” he says.
Dimida was a Mac user before turning to Lenovo, but it proved too pricey to upgrade and replace over the years. For the past nine years, he’s been a devoted Lenovo user.
“They work really well for me. I love the ThinkPad with the digitizer pen. I’ve souped it up with a card that lets me feed an HDMI into it. It’s also at a reasonable price point. They’re doing the trick for me. They always come out with atypical devices. They have the Yoga Tab with built-in projector. It’s easy to use. I can project on a wall and trace it out, and it’s easy to bring with me. The Lenovo Yoga Book opens up into a drawing surface. These are crazy devices that make me go wow, it can do that?!”
Lead photo of Lizza Monet Morales by Gabe Ginsberg for Getty Images.