2023 CC7D JURY
Rick Najera is a comedian and award-winning actor-writer-director-producer, professional speaker and host with credits in film, television, theatre and Broadway. Early in his career, Najera was inspired and mentored by Oscar-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg, Keenan Ivory Wayans and comedian Cheech Marin. Realizing there were few roles for him to play, he took matters into his own hands and started writing his way into Hollywood, and landed his first big writing gig on In Living Color. Rick Najera is one of only three Latinos in the history of Broadway to write and star in his own show. Najera made his Broadway debut in 2005 at the Helen Hayes Theatre with his award-winning sketch comedy show, Latinologues (TM), the longest running and only showcase of its kind for Latinos in America. Najera penned the holiday film, Nothing Like the Holidays starring Debra Messing, Alfred Molina and John Leguizamo, which won him an Alma Award for best writer. He was also honored with two WGA nominations for his writing on MADtv. Najera has been honored twice as 100 Most Influential Latinos in America along with several other awards. Rick Najera's fourth book was released in 2013, Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood garnering a press tour and five-star reviews on Amazon.com. Rick Najera has directed sketch comedy for more than 20 years. He is a regular contributor to NPR radio and is also a professional speaker (The World Bank, Google, Harvard Law School, Wellesley College, Stanford, CBS, CNN, Al Jazeera, UCLA and more). He is the writer of the multi-Emmy nominated Hulu original series, East Los High and producer of talk show, Latino Thought Makers.
Blair has been a professional actor for over 30 years; having appeared on Broadway, extensively in regional theatre, and in film and television. Recent credits include The Other Two, The Good Fight, New Amsterdam, Chicago PD, and Irresistible, directed by Jon Stewart. You can catch Blair this fall in The Girls on the Bus (HBO), Three Women (Starz), and American Horror Story (FX). Blair holds a BFA from UT Austin and is a graduate of A.R.T.’s Institute at Harvard University.
MICHELLE RANDOLPH FAIRES
Besides a founding member of the Becoming Leslie crew, productions have included the feature documentary on the legendary Broken Spoke dancehall, Honky Tonk Heaven that premiered at SXSW 2016 and earned an Audience Award. She was part of the producing team for Stand Up Empire (PBS, KLRU) a series showcasing the expansive comedy scene in Austin, Texas. Michelle has managed and been a part of multiple crowdfunding and fundraising events. including Leslie, Honky Tonk Heaven, A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story, and Curious George Documentary. She recently helped develop a nationwide film contest that incorporated multiple partnerships with the Corpus Christi Visitors Bureau, Corpus Christi Film Commission, Production For Use and the Texas Film Commission resulting in the short Goodbye Sirena screening at several festivals that included Austin Film Festival. She is currently in production on the feature Fugitive Dreams, as well as a feature documentary about criminal justice reform.
Michelle began her career in production with the Austin Film Festival as the Festival & Conference Hospitality Coordinator before being invited to join the staff full-time as the Outreach and Community Coordinator, producing various programs such as the Membership program and the Dell Children's Hospital Summer Film Series. She worked for aGLIFF, as the Volunteer Coordinator and Festival Manager, later serving a full three year term on the Board of Directors. She loves building community through film and besides serving on multiple panels, has created the very successful San Antonio Filmmakers Happy Hour, a monthly networking event that encourages diversity and collaboration for all skill levels in the greater SA area.
STEPHANIE GARCIA BRAZEAL
The Corpus Christi creative community is no stranger to Stephanie Garcia Brazeal. As Marketing & Special Events Director at House of Rock (aka Boss Bitch), she uses her talents and skill set to keep House of Rock the epicenterof cool events in Corpus Chrisit. To the CC7D community, she is recognized for her dedicated and steadfast leadership as CC7D Steer Comm Chair from 2015 to 2021. Her expertise, vision and voice has contributed to the legitimacy of CC7D.
As the 2023 "Average Joe" juror, Stephanie brings unique insight to CC7D's core mission - and what CC7D Teams hope to accomplish by taking the challenge.