A M'ija to Meet: Stephanie, Colombian and Dominican

stephanie.jpgWhat I love about being Latina: My herencia: the richness that encompasses our culture, language, traditions, the fact that within the “Latin culture” there are quite a variety of subcultures to learn and know more about.  I love the fact that I can visit a multitude of countries in Latin America with similar values and at the same time with new things to explore. 

What I love about being Americana: I have many opportunities my family doesn’t have in Colombia or the Dominican Republic.  There is so much diversity in the States, I am able to mesh with so many other cultures.  I had the privilege to study in an elite university–  a place where a person with my economic status in Latin America could only dream about.  Being Americana made me who I am, and I am able to make my dreams come true. 

My biggest challenge in growing up Latina in America: Growing up all I saw were white, blond, and blue eyed women on TV, magazines and in movies.  Not many looked like me. So I developed a complex where I thought being Caucasian was better.  It was on TV and only the best were on TV or so I thought.  My self esteem did suffer; I felt inferior to a person lighter than me.  It wasn’t until my teens that I began to hear Latin music and saw how great we really are and began to embrace my gorgeous full brown hair and year round tanned skin. 

My biggest support in growing up Latina in America: My family was a great support especially my sister, she beat the odds coming from an “under privileged” neighborhood and entered the Ivy Leagues, and I later followed in her foot steps.  Also, I was and still am a huge Selena fan.  I was quite impressed when I saw her performing because she looked just like me!  At least I wanted to look like her! Seeing her and other great women of color on TV helped me embrace my Latin beauty and sent the message that I too can be just as great. 

Why I am beautiful:  I am beautiful because I represent a myriad of rich cultures, and I am able to see, feel, smell and almost touch the true essence of my heritage every time I see my reflection.  On physical terms, I love love love my features, my curly hair represents a mixture of European, African and indigenous decent as does my tanned skin and wide set hips.  My personality reflects a bridge of two distinct worlds making me stand out in college and in my current career.  I like to believe that my creativity spans from my Latin ancestry. I never run out of inspiration and creative ideas when looking south of the border.  If I ever feel “blocked,” I look at pictures of the Caribbean, pick up a Gabriel Garcia Marquez book, do research on ancient pre-Colombian civilizations or just listen to the beats of the music.  The fact I can look towards my people for inspiration makes me feel beautiful.

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7 responses to “A M'ija to Meet: Stephanie, Colombian and Dominican”

  1. krysia

    “I am beautiful because I represent a myriad of rich cultures, and I am able to see, feel, smell and almost touch the true essence of my heritage every time I see my reflection.”

    this statement is so powerful and gorgeous. thanks rosie for posting this one!

    i can only imagine what reading this book will do for younger latinas, but i know that even those of us who participated in the book itself got something out of it too. i can’t wait to see the final product!

  2. Brenda Guevara

    Hey Rosie great to see this blog up and running, and it’s great to see my beautiful friend and artist Marisol Diaz pictured within the trailer. Stephanie thank you for your reflections. I can definitely connect with your experiences. I’m excited to read the book, and feel proud to have been a participant. I wonder Rosie if you are planning to organize a reading with multiple voices. It would be a cool celebration.

  3. rosiemolinary

    Thanks, Brenda and Krysia, for your good thoughts and encouragement! Brenda, I am hoping to hit cities that had significant numbers of participants in the interview/survey process come September. I’ve been thinking about doing panels, but hadn’ t thought about doing a “group read.” Very interesting possibility!

    All the best, Rosie

  4. Gisselle Ruiz

    I am so overwhelmingly inspired and touched by this project and can not wait to have my very own copy to treasure. Thank you Rosie for having the courage and commitment to tell our stories. Stephanie, your expressions were electrifying and I think you should consider writing a book yourself. Hope this comments gets me into the book give away contest!! Mis Mujeres Stay proud,beatuiful, and powerful!

  5. Michelle L.

    This might be one way that I can connect, but I am reminded of Ugly Betty.
    Does this show accurately portray the struggles of a young hispanic woman? Betty Suarez seems to have a very light complection. Many issues within the show touch upon some od the issues above: applicable role models, definitions of beauty, minority presence. Simply look at the title, “Ugly Betty.” Although adapted from a telemundo show, is this the only way that we can introduce a young hispanic female to large, critical audiences?

    I must admit that I enjoy the show, but how many cultural truths are sacrificed for stereotypes?

    Thanks for the posts and I wish you well,

  6. Stephanie

    Hello beautiful ladies,
    I also wanted to take a moment to thank Rosie for posting my profile! I was immediately excited when I received the email asking us to participate, both with the book and now with the website. Thank you to those that responded it makes me so happy my comments touch others, I have always considered writing a memoirs type of book ha ha, however I am not a professional write and feel I have many more roads to travel to give complete insight. I hope to one day dedicate myself to do it though.
    Congradulations Rosie I am one PROUD latina and can’t wait to get a copy ofthe book for all my girls, younger cousins and sister!

    Keep up the positive actionsmujeres!

  7. christinaalicia

    You go girl! Love your positivity and strength. Thank you for putting yourself out there.

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