What I love about being Latina: My dark eyes, black hair, pale olive skin, and my ability to break into Spanish in a split second or overhear something in Spanish I shouldn’t have. There’s also something about being Latina that makes me feel incredibly sexy. I also love the great food: rice and beans, tostones, Dominican cakes, Tres Leches, Flan, etc.
What I love about being Americana: I used to think that Americans didn’t have culture, especially in comparison to Latinos. But as I got older, it became clear to me that I am an American because I’m forever optimistic, ambitious, a big time coffee drinker (the bucket-sized kind that you can only get in the US), a gym rat, a reality-TV junkie, among many other wonderful things.
My biggest challenge in growing up Latina in America: Growing up in Queens, one of the most diverse places in the world, I always struggled with which part of my ethnicity to align myself with. Ironic, isn’t it? Many times I neither felt Dominican enough (“You can’t make salsa or make tostones?! And what’s with that Spanish accent??”) or American enough (With my big bootie, I was never going to fit into Abercrombie & Fitch jeans).My biggest support in growing up Latina in America: I always found the most connection to my heritage through friends, especially the girls in my after school dance class when I was a kid. We were of all different backgrounds: Colombia, Chile, Peru, etc. We ate the same foods and grew up in similar households. We’d laugh about our parents, their traditions, and mock their accents. Speaking of, my parents are a HUGE part of who I am. I learned everything about my cultures first and foremost from them. And they’re the ones who hear me speak in Spanish regularly, which is usually when I’m annoyed at them. They’re wonderful. Why I am beautiful: I’m a mutt. I’m a Spaninican.