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MJ Acosta-Ruiz        

Emmy Award Winning Sportscaster, Host of NFL Total Access & Advocate, First-Ever Afro-Latina Reporter and Host for NFL Network

Emmy Award-winning journalist and trailblazing sportscaster MJ Acosta-Ruiz is the acclaimed host of NFL Total Access. Acosta-Ruiz is the first ever Afro-Latina and woman of color to host a show at the NFL Network, and as she is fully bilingual in English and Spanish, contributes across multiple platforms for NFL Mexico and NFL Español. She has covered sports, entertainment, and breaking news for over a decade, while advocating for representation and equality. Acosta-Ruiz recently co-hosted NBC Sports’ On Her Turf podcast, which highlights amazing women and allies who motivate people to be the best versions of themselves. In her reporting, moderating, and as a keynote speaker, she shares her insights on overcoming obstacles, embracing your authentic self as part of the path to success, and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities to create a more just world.

In addition to her work as an award-winning journalist, Acosta-Ruiz works as an advocate for women’s empowerment and representation and equity for marginalized communities. She works closely with A Seat at the Table, a mentorship community for young women interested in careers in sports. Acosta-Ruiz is a sought-after speaker, sharing her inspirational journey and takeaways about strategizing for success, embracing what makes you different, and breaking barriers in her empowering talks.

Speech Topics

Break Barriers and Blaze Trails

Drawing on her experience of being the first ever Afro-Latina and woman of color to host a major NFL show and working in a male-dominated field, MJ Acosta-Ruiz knows what it takes to overcome obstacles and rise to the top. Her success did not come easily and took a decade to make, refine and shine. Before her entrance onto the national scene, Acosta-Ruiz strategized her steps as if they were a military plan and then defeated rejection, insecurity, loneliness and even gender bias to reach her goal. Her inspirational story is one of hard work, endless preparation, and embracing what makes her different.

Embracing Your Authentic, Professional, Beautiful Self

As an Afro-Latina with a career in media, MJ Acosta-Ruiz opens up about her journey from being told how to look and present herself to the audience, to being an unapologetic curly hair advocate. For some it may seem trivial: “It's just hair. Who cares?” But for MJ it was about owning and loving what made her special and presenting her true and authentic self to the world. When she started her television career over 10 years ago, there was no scenario where she would be allowed to wear her curly, textured hair as it grew out of her head — none. A chemical hair relaxer was like a rite of passage for most of the women in her family, who were taught for generations to hide their pelo malo, or bad hair. It took MJ over 30 years, a lot of internal work, and self-love to get to a place where she felt confident in her own skin and in her own beautiful curly crown. In this talk, Acosta-Ruiz encourages and inspires everyone to present their true selves at work, and move past traditional beauty standards of professionalism.

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