Q: Please introduce yourself and tell me a little about you and your journey.
My name is Liz Hernandez. I am the creator of Wordaful, which is a popular video series and live events that centers [around] women and the power of our storytelling. It’s really honing in on retelling our stories in a powerful way.
Q: What inspired you to start Wordaful?
It was my need for connection — to connect with my community, to uplift my community — and understanding how powerful our words are when it comes to our self-talk, our self-love [and] how we empower ourselves.
Right around when I started this, my mother was diagnosed with dementia, which would turn into Alzheimer’s, and she began losing her words. My mother was my biggest cheerleader and she would fill my cup up with constant affirmations of how loved I was, what my qualities were [and] what she loved about me. [She] reminded me who I was and where I came from, and when those affirmations from her stopped — they were always with me, but I had to reinforce them even more. It really made me pay attention to becoming my own caregiver and really making sure I knew how to love myself the way my mother had shown me.
Q: You were also a TV personality and journalist. Tell me about that aspect of your life and how it segued into creating Wordaful.
My background is in radio. I did radio for over 10 years and that is where I really understood the power of storytelling and community since I had the beautiful opportunity to be on a major morning show in LA and connect, especially with the Latino community.
That parlayed into a television career, and once I got into television, I noticed the storytelling switched. I was following the trajectory of my career, and when I was doing storytelling on radio, it was more centered around real-life events — what was happening in our lives, what was happening in the lives of our audience. In television, I went off into the world of entertainment, so it was all about celebrity lives, and the disconnect I felt was so immediate and it was so obvious.
I had yearned for that connection to once again talk about real stories, about real people — not that celebrities aren’t real people, but they live in a different world than we do. I realized that it was also the training ground that helped me launch Wordaful. Being able to work at my craft everyday on radio — you’re live, telling stories in real time — and then being in front of the camera for television, it all set me up to then be in my own purpose, and that’s to be a catalyst for delivering the message of the power of words and how important it is to love ourselves.
Q: You mentioned you are trying to build a community through Wordaful. Why is community so important?
I grew up in a community of relatives. I have a big family, and there were five of us women under one household, and the ability to rely on one another for love and support and appreciation is the reason why I am the way I am today. I do realize that [with] the impact these women had on my life — my sisters, my mother, my grandmothers and how close we were — I felt less alone. There was always someone there to care for me, to support me, to give me positive words of affirmation.
So once I started my career in radio, I had understood that to have a woman’s voice on the air in a room full of men, it allowed women to be seen and to feel like they had a voice and that they could succeed and they could fulfill their dreams. So when we come together, especially as women, it’s so important that we share our life experiences — what we’ve been through, our hurts, our victories, our fears, our insecurities. Suddenly we say, “Oh, I’m not the only one who feels that way. I’m not the only one who’s going through that.” It’s OK to be human. It’s OK to have flaws. Everyone else is experiencing exactly what we’re experiencing, and that’s the power of community because we feel seen, and then we can feel supported.
Q: What has it been like to be a public figure and what obstacles have you faced in that realm?
As I transitioned into starting my own company, you are doing it in front of everybody, so they’re seeing your wins and they’re seeing your failures. You’re on a platform for everyone to witness. Everyone has been on this journey with me, watching me go through the death of my mother and healing from that, and relationships, and understanding why I am who I am. I embrace it. I don’t really get uncomfortable with showcasing that because I learned that your life can be used as someone else’s survival guide.
What we go through doesn’t have to be in vain, and I very much learned that through my mother’s illness. I wanted so badly in the beginning to protect her privacy, but I realized if I became an advocate for Alzheimer’s, I could hopefully spare another daughter from the pain and agony I had to go through had I known the warning signs earlier. So it’s the same thing when it comes to life in general. If we can share what we’ve learned from a heartbreak, if we can share what we’ve learned through grief, through sadness, through depression, through anxiety, someone will feel less alone.
Q: Based on everything you have accomplished, what are you most proud of so far?
Wordaful is what I’m most proud of because it’s a way for me to honor my mother and it’s a way for me to uplift my community.
Q: What has been an inspiring story or moment you have experienced through Wordaful?
There are so many stories. It’s so beautifully overwhelming, but there’s a woman in our Wordaful community and she said she was very much close to taking her own life. She joined the community, and it made her realize she had to change the way she spoke to herself and she felt very supported by the people around her. I can’t speak for her exactly, but just to know there was a shift — to really wrap my brain around the fact that this company could save someone’s life blows my mind.
Q: As a leader in this community designed to bring women together, what advice would you give other women?
You just have to show up as your most authentic self. I think that’s most important because if you are trying to show up as somebody else, or do somebody else’s work or lead the way somebody else leads, it’s not going to be authentically you, and people can’t relate to that. They won’t gravitate towards you because it’s not real. I think sometimes we forget that where our magic lies is leaning into what makes us, us. No one’s going to do it the way you do it, and no one’s going to do it the way I do it. But when I try to replicate what someone else is doing, it’s always going to be a carbon copy. It’s never going to be as fresh and as real and as bright.
Q: What are your goals and future plans?
We launched the Wordaful membership, and it’s a community. So it’s all the tools I gathered over the years — audio affirmations, meditations, we have a book club, we have a playlist, we have live events — and for me, it’s really about creating a safe space for other women to come and heal and be part of this community. That’s always at the forefront — how I can make it better, how I can evolve it, how to lean into more self-love.
I’m working on a book as well. I’m really excited about that. [I am] just constantly finding new ways that make tools accessible for the everyday busy woman who’s out there, who is just trying to find ways to include self-care but also understands we heal until the day we die and we constantly need that support. We always need to have the tools in our back pocket when we do fall down because life is ebb and flow. We’re going to have loss, we’re going to have heartaches, we’re going to have breakups, we’re going to have job losses — all of those things are part of what makes life, life.
Follow what Liz is up to on her Instagram @lizhernandez.