Feeling truly blessed. Never in my life would I have EVER imagine that I would go to Paris, much less be invited to go there by the United States Ambassador to France and Monaco, Jane D. Hartley. I have felt so grateful being included in numerous art publications like Artillery and X-TRA, and it was unreal to be covered by the likes of The Huffington Post, and featured (with the help of such loyal family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers) on Latina Magazine’s first-ever “30 under 30” list.
But when ELLE Magazine invited me to be featured on their own 30th Anniversary issue, it was like something out of a dream…only it wasn’t my dream because I grew up believing that girls like me would never make it onto a magazine, especially a magazine like ELLE. I was left speechless, when I found out, just a few weeks ago, that I would be in Paris, during fashion week, in honor of France and the United States’s relationship in media and journalism excellence, representing my country.
I got to walk the red carpet (again!), this time, into the Ambassador’s gorgeous home by the US Embassy, alongside a number of the “Who’s who?" in the fashion and journalism world. Seeing Christian Louboutin, and Maria Sharapova, to meeting up with Steve Harvey and his beautiful wife Marjorie Harvey…while talking to Janelle Monae (who congratulated me!) with such awe, and having the amazing Miguel, come to me and shake my hand and wish us a good evening was surreal.
I am so thankful for these amazing opportunities as it has not been an easy road. None of this was handed to me…everything I have ever done and earned, I had to fight for. I echo Viola Davis's Emmy speech when she said, “the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity” and based on my personal experience, I would like to add that opportunity came by taking risks and working hard, being relentless in the face of doubt and failure. Opportunities like this one did not just fall on my lap as others have reminded me. I had to put in work…hard work, and had to face failure and disappointment and overcome each and every time.
As a woman of color who grew up with very little, I worked hard, not just because I wanted to, but because I HAD to…not just for myself, but for my family, my community, and communities similar to mine…communities where people break their backs each day only to be told that they aren’t worth much.
As I mentioned before, all of this is not solely for me. My wish is to help pave the path, for girls of color who grew up like me, and have them realize that they are worth something, that they are enough, and become successful so that they could do the same for others.
Me, with Janelle Monae and my husband, John.
The incredible Miguel! My husband and I joked that there were at least two Mexican-Americans in the Ambassador's Mansion in Paris that evening, and Miguel and I were those two. It was cool to see my fellow Tejana, Selena Gomez's huge ELLE Magazine cover propped up in the building, too!
With my fellow American, Miguel, out here in Paris.
Me with the beautiful Robbie Myers, Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Magazine (US).
My husband, John, thought he'd joke around with the magazine.
My husband, John, Steve Harvey, me, and Marjorie Harvey.
The Power Players of both ELLE US and ELLE France, accompanied by our incredible host, the Honorable Jane D. Hartley (second from left), US Ambassador to France and Monaco.
Surrounded by some incredible folks! I was standing next to Janelle Monae. Legendary Damon was nearby, along with Lewis Hamilton, and Balmain's Olivier Rousteing.
My husband, John, and I in front of the Ambassador's Mansion. Paris, France. Photo taken by one of the editors at ELLE Canada.