Ariana Toro

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Current state: Florida

Occupation and/or Title: Graphic Designer

Background

I am the daughter of Cuban and Dominican immigrants and was born and raised in Hudson County, NJ. After graduating with a degree in Communication from Montclair State University, I relocated to sunny South Florida in 2004. I am a wife and mom to two beautiful (and crazy!) kids. I am a graphic designer and have been running my own design firm for over six years after working in the corporate world for nearly a decade. I’ve always been a big fan and supporter of the Arts – I enjoy drawing and writing; I am a musician and alum of Berklee College of Music; and I like to surround myself with creative, artistic minds.

What have been your struggles as a Latina?

Where I grew up, being Hispanic was the norm so I never gave my ethnicity much thought. Most of my friends were Hispanic and came from similar backgrounds to mine. Everyone had loud, opinionated families. Everyone had that one crazy Tia that made family get-togethers interesting. Everyone had a quinceañera. It’s just the way things were. My culture shock happened in college, when I went away to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Despite having diversity in Hudson County, this was different. This was my first time being and feeling like a minority and having to explain, and sometimes defend, my culture to people that had no idea about our heritage and customs.

What does Latina Made mean to you?

To me, Latina Made means being proud – proud of Latinas as a collective, proud of yourself as a Latin woman. It means celebrating the success of ALL Latinas and the women who made them. It means instilling that sense of pride in the next generation of Latinas and the generations to come.

What made you who you are today?

I could not be where I am today without the support and love of my parents. My father escaped Cuba by boat right as the Revolution began in the early 1960s. My mother left the Dominican Republic alone, as a single parent with two young children, my half-brothers. My parents struggled so that I didn’t have to and I am forever grateful for their sacrifices and hard work.

What advice would you give to young Latinas in our community?

Don’t shy away from your culture…embrace it! It will give you a fulfilling sense of belonging like nothing else can. Love who you are because you are Latina Made.

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