Those sultry brown eyes. That glowing brown skin. The sexy brown mane. That last name! Despite all the apparent identifying traits, “On The Lot” host Adrianna Costa is NOT Latina. She’s white…and Jewish…and grew up in the valley.
According to Wikipedia, 26-year-old Adrianna’s real last name is Heber and one of the categories she’s listed under is American Jews. Because anyone can write a Wikipedia entry, they are not always a credible source. So I did a bit of my own research.
I emailed a friend, Jesse Gabriel, who grew up in the same Agoura Hills neighborhood as Adrianna. Although he doesn’t remember her (how can you forget a beauty like that?), he asked a few high school friends about the now famous Jewish girl next door, and this is what he dug up (his words exactly as emailed to me yesterday morning):
1) The family belongs to Temple Etz Chaim in Thousand Oaks.
2) She changed her name because she looks Latina (this is only speculative on the part of Jesse’s friends).
3) She is Avi Rutschman’s cousin.
The last piece of info is important because the Wikipedia entry cites an article by Avi Rutschman, therefore verifying the entry’s accuracy. Avi also happens to be the son of my beloved high school teacher/counselor/mentor and the person who started me on the journalism path by (gently) pushing me to write for the school paper (thanks Mr. Rutschman!!!).
The questions still remain: why did Adrianna change her name? why is she marketing herself as a Latina, or at least encouraging people to assume she is? what’s wrong with the name Heber? sure, it’s a single letter away from Hebrew, but what’s wrong with being a Heeb from the Conejo Valley?
I’m sure Jesse Gabriel, the proudest Jew I know, and the rest of the way-out-there largely Jewish valley community is wondering some of the same things.