Current State: New Jersey
Occupation and/or Title: Designer
I was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the Washington Heights area in NYC. My parents left everything behind to bring the family to the States where they considered the future to be more promising for my sisters and I. I discovered a love of art and a passion for fashion early on in Junior high school and was accepted into the High school of Fashion Industries. I learned all aspects of fashion from art and design to construction, to it’s history and later graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology where I obtained a bachelor degree in Fine Arts. I worked as a designer in the corporate world until I realized I wanted to do more as a fashion designer. I wanted to be creatively and financially independent. So, shortly after the recession took a toll on the industry, and the NY office I worked for closed, I saw my opportunity. I started planning for a business I could grow into a full lifestyle brand in the future and it is what I’m working on to this day.
What have been your struggles as a Latina?
My main struggle as a Latina has been feeling like I belong. I have had the opportunity many times to attend incredible events that honor doctors and intellectuals. And I have to admit, in a room full of successful people, I have felt out of place somehow. Almost like a child in a room full of adults. It seems strange, if you saw me you wouldn’t know, but I have to make a real and conscious effort to get out of this frame of mind. I remind myself that I am me, there is no one like me. I’ve got my own success story and damn it I belong! I also must say that being Latina has brought more blessings to me than struggles. It definitely makes me stand out in all the culture’s colorful splendor. It gives me a different perspective, a different approach and it makes me bold and unique. And what room doesn’t need more of that?!
What does Latina Made mean to you?
When I hear the term LatinaMade now, there is no doubt in my mind that it is something conceived and created by someone with passion. When I design, I truly do it with love and I really put my all into it. It comes from my heart for the world.
What made you who you are today?
The woman I am today is a result of a mixture of experiences I have learned from. But mostly, I would credit love for the basic ingredient of my being. The love I received from my parents in the incredible effort they placed in my upbringing, and the development of my character and integrity was essential. The love I have received from my family as a whole in their support of everything I do helps keep me going, the love I have received from my husband who’s unconditional and supportive like no other, and the love of and for my kids, is my ultimate inspiration. And inspiration is everything for a creative like me. I am who I am because of love.
What advice would you give to young Latinas in our community?
The advice I would give young latinas in our community is to create a base from which you can grow. That base is an education. Through education, you will not only obtain knowledge and the power that comes with that, you will also create connections with like-minded people that can help you and inspire you along the way. Surround yourself with that support and there is no limit to what you can achieve. And don’t forget to offer the same for someone else. You can be great, but it is just as rewarding to be a part of something great.