Meet award-winning Latina journalist Victoria Leandra, who’s blazing new trails for travel creators worldwide.

Travel journalism has evolved dramatically in recent years, and one of the journalists leading the way forward is Victoria Leandra, a self-described Gen Z who uses a social-first approach to distinguish her work from traditional journalism.

Intertwining social media with her journalism degree from Manhattan College in New York, Victoria is an award-winning Latina journalist based in the US covering travel for outlets like HuffPost, Refinery29, VICE, Bloomberg, and more.

Recognized as “A Creator to Keep an Eye On” by Instagram in 2020, Victoria is also the executive producer and host of El ADN Podcast, one of Spotify’s “favorite podcasts in 2022.” El ADN features the success stories of female CEOs, public figures, and influencers by providing context and personal insight into their career journeys.

And now, Victoria is also one of the finalists for the Trailblazer Award at the 2024 Bessie Awards. This award honors the go-getter who has thrived in the past year in building her own empire and carving out a path for future leaders in the travel space.

The Bessie Awards were created to honor women and gender-diverse people of impact in travel, particularly influencers, creative entrepreneurs, marketers, and other representatives who have contributed unique voices and work to the travel industry.

Intertwining Travel Journalism and Social Media

Latina travel journalist Victoria Leandra
Photo courtesy of Victoria Leandra

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Victoria’s journey into the travel industry began when she moved to New York at 17 for a journalism scholarship. Her early journalism work focused on culture, with bylines in the likes of Bloomberg, Vice News, and Refinery29.

“I always saw travel journalism as something that was not accessible to me as a Latina writer and as a Latina content creator,” Victoria says. “It just seemed something so out of my reach and so different from my reality.” 

Like so many travel lovers, she thought: “To be paid to travel was a dream. And to travel for a living was even a wilder dream.”

And yet, the Wanderful Creator Community is full of people living that wild dream today!

While Victoria had reservations about entering travel journalism professionally, an invitation for a press trip changed the narrative. 


Catarina Rivera of Blindish Latina on stage at the WITS Travel Creator and Brand Summit in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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“Someone in the Morocco tourism board really liked my culture writing, and they reached out to invite me on a press trip,” she says. “They didn’t give me angles to cover, so I was really free to explore the country myself and then figure out what I wanted to write later on.”

That press trip to Morocco helped her realize that travel could be her career path going forward. Since then, Victoria’s work has evolved into award-winning travel journalism and influencer marketing, combining the traditional newsworthy angles of journalism with the amplification and creativity of storytelling on social media.

Victoria Leandra on Uplifting Diverse Voices and Local Communities

Latina travel journalist Victoria Leandra in Xochimilco, Mexico
Photo courtesy of Victoria Leandra

“I have always been inspired and led by diverse voices,” Victoria declares. “When it comes to travel, there are a lot of outsiders telling the stories of local people. And I do think there’s a way to do so respectfully; there’s a way to do so in which you uplift those voices.”

Motivated to share local stories over tourist-centric narratives, Victoria uses her journalism background and social media storytelling to center local voices and customs in her work. 

“I am someone who always wants to go the extra mile,” she explains. “Making sure that the content that I produce — whether it is for social or for immediate publication — is something impactful, especially impactful for the community that is local to the area.”

Being one of the few Latina writers in the industry drives Victoria to bring authenticity and depth to her storytelling.

“I think a lot of times when we enter journalism — travel journalism in particular — there are not many people that look like me,” she says. “I’m often the youngest, I’m often the only one where her first language is not English. I am often the only Latina or at least diverse voice in the room.”

“I am motivated by the fact that I am one of the few — very few — Latina writers in the industry,” she says.

“I am motivated by the fact that I am one of the few — very few — Latina writers in the industry.”

-Victoria Leandra

In recognition of her efforts, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History selected Victoria Leandra to be part of an exhibit that launched in September 2023.

“I think my proudest career accomplishment is that they featured me in the exhibit as the future of journalism,” she explains. “It’s the fact that I do not work for traditional media outlets; you will not see me on TV, necessarily, you will not see me in print, but you will see me in social media. So I am really proud of the fact that I’ve made a name for myself in the travel industry through social media and that I’ve combined it with journalism, which is my calling and my passion.”

Victoria Leandra on Finding Inspiration in Other Content Creators

Latina travel journalist Victoria Leandra
Photo courtesy of Victoria Leandra

Victoria draws inspiration from everyday travel creators who embody passion and commitment, often without the massive followings. She appreciates those who budget for their own trips, showcasing the importance of making travel a priority. 

She also points to Samin Nosrat — a woman of color who authored Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and hosts a Netflix series of the same name — as a source of inspiration. “When I first watched that show, I was completely mesmerized,” Victoria says.


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Victoria envisions hosting her own travel show someday, with a focus on culture, food, and music, particularly highlighting indigenous communities.

Additionally, she plans to expand her travel business, which offers mentorship programs and consulting for aspiring journalists and content creators. She aims to continue sharing knowledge and bridging the gap between traditional media outlets and social media.

“Social media is where a lot of people, especially young folks and women, are these days,” she says.

For Victoria, redefining travel journalism means pushing the travel industry to be more inclusive in its storytelling. She hopes for a shift towards giving back and making travel a means of cultural exchange.

“I think traveling is so beautiful because you get to truly visit someone’s home and you get to learn from them,” Victoria offers. “So I would love for travel to be a little bit more centered in that as opposed to a way to escape, as opposed to a way to live luxuriously. I would love for travel to be a little bit more focused on how we can give back to a local community. And I do think we’re already seeing that in small waves in the industry and I do think it’s going to continue happening.”

“I think traveling is so beautiful because you get to truly visit someone’s home and you get to learn from them. I would love for travel to be a little bit more centered in that as opposed to a way to escape, as opposed to a way to live luxuriously. I would love for travel to be a little bit more focused on how we can give back to a local community. And I do think we’re already seeing that in small waves in the industry and I do think it’s going to continue happening.”

-Victoria Leandra

A Bessie Awards Nomination and Community Recognition

Victoria is already an award-winning journalist, but being nominated for a Bessie Award as a travel content creator puts this trailblazer into new territory. “I have never received an award as an influencer or as a content creator,” she explains. “And to me, the Bessie Awards is sort of the epitome for woman travel content creators.”

After attending the Bessie Awards in Puerto Rico, Victoria remarked, “I just remember looking at everything around me. And I said, ‘Wow, I just can’t believe I found myself in a room full of people — full of women — who are like-minded, full of women who want the same things out of life, who have the same values.’ And the fact that that community is the same one that nominated me and made me a finalist is just mind-blowing to me. It’s truly an honor; it just further proves to me that I am where I should be.”

As a finalist for the Trailblazer Award at the 2024 Bessie Awards, Victoria’s journey is not just a personal accomplishment but a testament to the evolving landscape of the travel industry — a space she is helping to reshape for the benefit of us all.

Read next: Read more impactful travel writing from past Bessie Awards winners.