They travel the world inspiring and educating bartenders and consumers about the products they represent but what do we know about the people themselves? This series, in association with Diageo, lifts the lid on the global ambassadors that bring the brands to life.
First up, Rebecca Quiñonez, Global Ambassador Ron Zacapa
Rebecca on brand…
What the biog says:
“Rebecca has served as a Latin American and Caribbean Brand Ambassador for Zacapa since 2008. Having previously worked with the prestigious retailer Young’s Market and the famed Moet Hennessy in California, she initially joined Diageo in 2003 where she worked on the Johnnie Walker portfolio before moving to Miami to work with the Jose Cuervo and Don Julio brands. In 2012 she took her expertise east to the “future city” of Shanghai, China, where she re-launched the brand in market with a series of iconic and unforgettable activations.
What she says:
Describe yourself in your own words.
I’m fearless, always up for an adventure, constantly learning, something of a chameleon and renowned for putting other people first.
…and off duty
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A high school history teacher – I’ve always had a thing for documentaries, research and historical facts ever since I was a little girl.
How and when did you get into the world of drinks?
It wasn’t something I set out to do. I’d been working at a tech company in the dot com era and after it went bust, I landed a job as a sales rep with a wine and spirits distributor. I instantly fell in love with the service side of things, as well as the building and history of the brands.
Who inspires you and why?
With Ron Zacapa Master Blender Lorena Vasquez
I’ve been inspired by many people throughout my career who have made such an impact on me. I use their advice to this day, putting myself in their position and asking myself what they would do in my situation. They include the wonderful Lorena Vasquez, Zacapa Master Blender as well as Glenn Philpott who is no longer with us. He was the gentleman from Moet Hennessy who hired me, his complete openness and transparency in educating his team members about all aspects of the business was instrumental in guiding me to what I wanted to do.
Ed Pilkington and Susan Strom at Diageo were also very inspiring. Both saw something in me long before I did and when somebody gives you an opportunity like that, it’s very special. I also have to mention Lavinia Tong, she’s another person who paved the way and gave me total creative autonomy when it came to Zacapa and managing the brand in China.
Travel is a huge part of the global brand ambassador’s role, what are your packing essentials?
Rebecca on one of her many her travels
Gone are my days of flying in heels, now I only travel in comfy shoes! My other essentials are a good book, a great set of headphones (my favourite are Bose), and lipstick. Even if you don’t have time to apply any other make-up, a great lipstick does wonders to brighten up a tired face and makes you look instantly better!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Gummi Bears! I love sweets (but not chocolate), hard candy does it for me every time.
Sweet treats: Gummi Bears
What would your super power be?
If you were a rum, how would you market yourself and why?
Complex, palatable and very easy to drink – I would want to be accessible to everyone
People don’t know this about me but…
I’m very private. My working life is very much about being on display but outside of that, I like to shut off and be by myself.
Who is your favourite…
The timeless style of Jackie Onassis
Jackie O for timeless classic and Sarah Jessica Parker for her modern stylish repertoire.
Frida Kahlo for the passion and creativity she possessed. It’s inspired and impacted so many women in Mexico and across the world and still continues to do so today.
Frida Kahlo, self portrait
Gastronomy is a particular passion of mine. Zacapa’s taste and flavour profile makes it perfect to pair with food and through my role, I’ve had the privilege of working with world renowned chefs in each market. My favourite food isn’t defined by its provenance but rather food that gratifies the soul. I love any food when you can almost taste the passion, thought and intricacy that inspired the final creation and understand the soul of the chef in one mouthful.
Finding Vivian Maier. The movie left a lasting impression on me as Maier was an unknown talent until recently, she was one of the most prolific photographers of the 20th century but never received the recognition until a stranger stumbled upon her life’s work. The movie made me think about all the hidden talent we have in this world and the fear of never discovering it.
Maya Angelou. Her words carried so much depth and she possessed such love and passion. One quote which resonates with me is; “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
Gucci, Tom Ford style, 1997
Tom Ford for what he did at Gucci and Alexander McQueen for his impact on the fashion world generally.
The only picture I have of my grandmother. It fills me with warmth and reminds me of the sacrifices she and my mother have made, where I come from and where I am now.
The stunning Sentinel Building in San Francisco, renovated by film director Francis Ford Coppola, I could stare at it all day. It exudes anguish, pain and struggle in all its beauty and magnificence.
Jonathan Adler interiors
I’m in the middle of remodelling my apartment and love looking around boutique furniture stores and galleries at the moment. My favourites are Jonathan Adler and Luminaire in my hometown of Miami.
I’m very fortunate to have so many loving and amazing people in my life but as clichéd as it sounds, my hero and my confidant is my mum for instilling her fearless qualities in me and always being my biggest champion.
There are two poignant journeys in my life. The first is my relocation from Miami to China, where I lived for two years, overcoming my fears and leaving all that I knew to a country that was so culturally different to anything I was ever accustomed to. The second is the day I moved back to Miami from China with all the experience and knowledge I’d gained during my time there.
“Do you have the guts to follow your own gut?” – Bruce Lee
Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca (above). It’s got the beach, the mountains – it is pure, peaceful serenity near the Pacific Ocean.
This one is easy – there’s no better view than seeing your loved ones smiling and laughing together around the table. Over a Zacapa Rum of course…
Find out more about the brand at zacaparum.com; follow Rebecca at Instagram.com@quinrebe; twitter.com@zacaparebe