Michelle Colón, professionally known as Malentina, is a film and stage actor, singer-songwriter, recording artist, creative writer, producer, and podcaster from Ponce, Puerto Rico. A graduate of Louisiana State University with a bachelor's degree in Interior Design, Malentina's resumé is as diverse as her artistic career. After pursuing an internship with an architecture firm in New York City, Colón moved back to Louisiana in hopes of figuring out her dissatisfaction with her career and herself. One evening in Lafayette, Louisiana, where she moved to work as an assistant in technical drawing, she decided to go to the local theatre to see a play and distract her restless mind. Little did she know that night would change her forever.
Moved by the stellar performances in the Lafayette production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the first play she'd ever seen, Michelle felt a calling to something that was completely foreign to her yet familiar enough to draw her to the next auditions offered in that same theatre. From her first audition ever, she landed the lead role of Babe Botrelle in the local production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Crimes of the Heart. New to the theatre scene in Lafayette, Michelle made waves with her performance which landed her another role right after the closing of Crimes of the Heart in another award-winning play, Seminar by Theresa Rebeck. Around this time Lafayette's most well-known Latin band, Río Luminoso, was looking for a singer and, at the suggestion of one of her theatre colleagues, she went to audition for the band. She became the lead singer of the band and, within less than a year, was invited to perform at Festival International de Louisiane, the biggest francophone festival in the US. Voted the "Best World Music Festival" by About.com readers in 2012, Festival International has included such headliners as Bomba Estéreo, Angelique Kidjo, Balkan Beat Box, Dr. John, GIVERS, and more.
Michelle's success as a singer inspired her to form another band, one focused on the music she grew up listening to in Puerto Rico, which included the genres of boogaloo, bolero, Latin jazz and Latin folk songs. The band was called Café Con Lucha and it was a quick success in the Lafayette area. She eventually left Río Luminoso to focus on Café Con Lucha, which helped her harness a style that inspired her to dig a little deeper into the world of cabaret performing. From her performances in Café Con Lucha you could expect odes to La Lupe, Celia Cruz and Iris Chacón which lead her to create her stage persona: Malentina.
After being scouted during a Café Con Lucha performance, she was invited to join a burlesque troop in Lafayette which also toured in New Orleans, Texas and Oklahoma. She joined as Malentina Del Mar and earned a loyal following for her Latin glamour and tributes to Latin Saloon Divas. As Colón toured and played with Café Con Lucha she met musicians from different bands and places, who she jammed with and wrote songs with, eventually leading her to meet Latin Hip-Hop producer Andrés Proaño, professionally known as Andineaux, and with whom she started a new band, TONOMONO.
TONOMONO was very different from what she had done previously. It was a Latin trip-hop band with a jazz flair and the first time Michelle was writing her own songs. The band was quickly well-known in the Lafayette area, and once more earned her a spot in Festival International de Louisiane. TONOMONO released an EP titled "0000" and it became the last project the band worked on together. As band members toured with other bands, and some moved out of town, the band's momentum slowed down, leaving Michelle ample time to return to the theatre stage, next auditioning for the Lafayette production of Chicago: The Musical. She landed the role of Velma Kelly, giving a critically acclaimed performance and bringing her to the attention of local talent agents and TV and Film actors within the area.
At the suggestion of a well-known TV and Film actor, she signed with the Baton Rouge-based talent agent Cindy Hill and focused on acting for film, TV and commercials. In her first year of acting for the camera, she landed a supporting role in the feature film Girl With A Gun, starring Ronnie Hawk and Jeremy London, two national commercials, and leading roles in two short films. Her TV and Film work have energized her but she felt like she wasn't complete without the stage, which inspired her to write an album currently in production and set to release this year, 2021. This is her first solo project and what she considers the culmination of everything she's become and always wanted to be, by the name of Malentina.