When a partner dies, many of us feel not only a profound sense of loss, but we may also come to find that we’ve lost our direction, and even our sense of self. Traumatic loss, toxicity from specific challenges we face in the LGBTQ Community, such as homophobia and not being legally married, can further […]
Michelle C. Bonilla
Michelle is a proud (Chicana), born and raised in Hollywood, CA. She is one of the first Latino entertainers, as well as the first Latina actress to come out publicly, in 2005, in an article in The Advocate.
Along with her 25-year career in film and television, with more than 160 acting credits, she is an avid supporter of LGBT rights and advocacy. She has used her skills as a writer and producer to create projects such as her short film, Slip Away, that dealt with substance abuse and it’s effects on a lesbian Latina relationship. For the first time, gay Latinas saw themselves in a very real, social and domestic, not too often talked about situation of alcoholism and drug addiction, and posed the question “How Far do you go before you Slip Away”, empowering gay Latinas to choose themselves over living in situations that too often takes away from their self
worth and esteem. That film went on to screen at numerous film festivals around the world, including OUTFEST, The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film festival. It also went on to win The Fortworth Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival and The Mexico International Film Festival for best short film.
Michelle’s advocacy doesn’t stop with her creative endeavors but continues with her numerous charity and community service opportunities. As a volunteer for Project Angel Food, she enjoys working in the kitchen, preparing meals and packaging them for delivery. She also sells pies during the holidays to help in the organizations mission of providing a vital lifeline of hope and nutrition to our neighbors struggling with illness and too sick to shop and cook for themselves. She has started her own grass roots campaign, supporting homeless people in her community by passing out handmade bags with hygiene supplies and food, to get them through the day and just to give them a smile.
She also serves on the SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles Local Ethnic Employment
Opportunities (EEO) Committee, which works to increase opportunities for
members of any and all racial/ethnic groups so that the American Scene is
accurately reflected in all areas of SAG-AFTRA’s work force. The EEO Committee explores ways to promote diversity by educating members and industry stakeholders on the value of inclusion and the contractual policies of non-discrimination and fair employment. She also serves as a National Delegate for SAG-AFTRA, representing actors, in the Los Angeles branch of the union.
Continuing service through SAG-AFTRA Foundation, Michelle contributes to the younger members of her community, by reading to them in schools through the nationwide program called Book Pals.
Since the passing of her life partner, in April of 2016, Michelle has started two fundraising campaigns in her honor, supporting the following institutions: The Marfan Foundation which seeks to create a brighter future, by research, education, and support for those effected by this genetic disorder that effects the bodies connective tissue. And, Girl’s Inc. of Los Greater Angeles, which inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold by providing them with life-changing support and real solutions to
the unique issues they face.
She also supports many charitable organizations, including The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and City of Hope Los Angeles. She has participated in events that support the Susan G. Komen For the Cure, Aids Walk Los
Angeles, Toys for Tots, and What a Pair! benefiting breast cancer and research for The Los Angeles Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.
Michelle is a proud recipient of The ALMA Award (American Latino Media Arts Award) for her portrayal in PBS's, Award Winning Foto-Novelas Series, Seeing Through Walls. And, is the recipient of the Inaugural Gift of Life Entertainment Media Award, presented to the cast of ER, from the National Kidney Foundation.
Ms. Bonilla is extremely proud to have been awarded a Resolution, from the City of Los Angeles, as The Latinas in Pride Special Honoree, “for her work in promoting and advancing LGBTQ rights, commitment to philanthropy, all the while serving as an icon and role model for the next generation of Latinas.”