What does being a Latina mean to you?
Being Latina simply means being ME. It’s the blood that’s running through my veins, the food I eat, my love for music, the way I speak. It’s found in how I raise my children, create my home, and relate to others.
Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.
The one struggle I’ve faced, is the fact that I am too Latina for some communities, yet not Latina enough in some. These struggles find their roots in the fact that I don’t speak spanish fluently.
I also struggle with representation in my career field. I don’t see a lot of “ME” represented in the world of Interior Design.
Share something you love about being a Latina?
Gosh, where to start....
VIBRANCY. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of being Latina. It’s the passion we all carry and the beauty that passion leads to. It’s hard to explain it but when you are around Latinas, you feel it.
What do you identify as? Puerto Rican
Where you born in the states? If not, could you share what your experience has been being an immigrant, and the process of becoming a US citizen, resident, etc.
My mother was born and raised in Puerto Rico and my father was second generation. I was born here in Chicago and raised by both parents. Their biggest regret is not speaking and teaching us spanish. The most I learned was when speaking to my Abuela who speaks very minimal English.
How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:
The way I celebrate being Latina is by continuing all that was rooted within me throughout my childhood and young adolescence, from my parents and grandparents .
The way I love to put on Salsa while I clean, that special way I make Avena that taste like my mom’s, also, her rice. The details of my home decor that celebrate my Puerto Rican ancestors. It’s those moments big and small that remind me of my family...
Do you speak spanish?
Sort of...I understand more than speak.
Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community? Like you're too dark, or too white, etc.
Most definitely. As I said earlier, some communities I am “too Latina” for, and others I am not Latina enough because I don’t speak spanish fluently.
In design school I can recall being one of four other Latinos and in the beginning of my schooling felt out of place due to that. I remember even in my presentations my mannerisms and the way I spoke, it was evidently different yet beautiful.
But when I’m amoungst Latino communities, I often feel that same out of place feeling because I don’t speak spanish fluently. And, partnered with, if I can be transparent, having a Masters degree, waiting to be married to have sex with my partner, and having kids, I get the feeling from some people in the community that I am “too good” for them. Which is never the case, and sad that some Latinos see that as being “too good”.