identities

I Developed At A Young Age, But America Ferrera’s Character Was The Only One Who Really Helped Me Channel My Confidence

When we hear “representation matters” today, we often mean that audiences want to see themselves in pop culture. Back in the day, there was hardly any accountability for that. So, when a little film about the Latino experience was released on the big screen, it was as if the movie gods were answering my prayers.

On Oct. 18, 2002, a film directed by Patricia Cardoso was released titled “Real Women Have Curves” and she didn’t mean big boobs-and-a-size-24-waist kind of curves.

She meant real women. Average women who, like many of us, aren’t a size 24. The trailer alone blew me away.

I cherish other Latino films such as “La Bamba,” “Stand and Deliver,” and “Selena.” But these films were biopics about extraordinary people in particular situations. “Real Women Have Curves” featured someone just like me, and parents just like mine.

While the indie film went on to win numerous awards and has been credited for exploring the struggles of so many women — especially Latina women — but there was more than just physical issues that were addressed.

I had never seen a movie in which the lead was a curvy Latina —and not like Sofia Vergara or Jennifer Lopez — but curvy just like me.

CREDIT: Giphy

No offense to Vergara and Lopez, but seeing America Ferrera dancing in her underwear flaunting it all made me feel so empowered.

“Real Women Have Curves” not only reflected my life and aspirations, but the more I looked at Ana, the more I thought we looked alike.

CREDIT: america-ferrera-fan.tumblr.com/ Araceli Cruz

Crazy, right?

America Ferrera as Ana spoke to me on so many levels. Particularly her body type. At the time I felt so uncomfortable with my curves — mainly my breasts. I developed way too early as a pre-teen and wasn’t ready to deal with all of the confusion and harassment that came along with this. There were so many times I just wanted to hide from the world.

Seeing Ana own her body and be so open with who she was, made me want to be like that too. It took me a few years to catch up to her confidence, but she let me know it was possible.

One of those most hilarious and touching aspects of this movie was Ana’s relationship with her mother.

CREDIT: Giphy

Ana’s mom was incredibly overbearing and dramatic. She criticized Ana for her looks, for the foods she ate, and generally about the kind of woman she was becoming. Ironically, even though Ana’s mom (played by Lupe Ontiveros) was so outspoken and in-your-face, she clashed a lot with her daughter because she too was outspoken and never compromised who she was.

My mother was (and still is) domineering about so many aspects of my life and everyone else’s.

CREDIT: america-ferrera-fan.tumblr.com/ Araceli Cruz

And she also looks a lot like Ontiveros.

People always tell my mom how much she looks like Lupe Ontiveros — and she hates when people tell her that because she doesn’t want to be compared to a character that is a controlling and, let’s face it, a little nutty. But tbh, she is totally like that, and it’s why I love her so much. It’s my mom’s strong persona that inspires me to be demanding about what I want and need in my life. I have so much respect for women like my mother.

Ana’s supportive and loving dad also reminded me of my dad very much.

CREDIT: america-ferrera-fan.tumblr.com/ Araceli Cruz

It was really amazing to see the dynamic between Ana and her father because I related to that in many ways. Through her close relationship with her dad, Ana came to realize how tirelessly how father worked, and that work ethic that made her strive harder for her dreams. As did I.

The movie also showed what it is like being the youngest in the family with older sisters that didn’t have the same advantages as I did.

Estela resented the fact that Ana had a little more freedom that she did. That’s a struggle that many siblings can relate too. I know I felt that resentment.


Yes, it was easier to be the youngest one. I recognize that I didn’t have to work as hard as they did. I was also the only one in my family to move to another state.

CREDIT: Me and my sisters.

There are many advantages to being the youngest, but biggest is probably the fact that my parents were less strict with me. I traveled a lot more than my sisters and even moved out of state.

The main highlight for me was seeing an adventurous Latina move to New York City to live out her dreams.

CREDIT: Giphy

Some might not see moving to New York City as a big deal. But when you’re a Latina, with all of your family in California, moving away is a HUGE deal and it’s something I feel years after moved away. It’s very difficult for Latino parents to let their kids go… and they make sure you know it.

Just like Ana was guilt-tripped about going away to college in New York City, I also felt that many times, and mostly by my mother. But we both did it anyway. I have friends that wanted to move away from their family and weren’t able to because their parents prohibited it, so it’s not something that I take for granted.

Seeing a Latina who’s from California and lives in New York City depicted in a film resonated with me for many, many years.

CREDIT: Araceli Cruz

While this film was groundbreaking in so many ways, it’s a story that remains special to me personally. The film really elevates the idea that a Latina can do anything she wants. She doesn’t have to look like a model, or be a singer or an athlete — she can just be a woman who lives out a life that’s all her own.

I wish they could make more movies like “Real Women Have Curves,” but until then I will continue to watch this movie and never forget how much it changed my view of myself at an important point of my life.

READ: It’s Time Movies And TV Show Us That Female Latina Friendships Are As Important As Our Romantic Relationships

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

There’s no denying that the world looks a lot different now than it did in 1947. And while the list of all of the positive changes that the decades stretching between now and then have done for the world and minorities, a recent campaign is also highlighting the ways in which our current president could take some notes on certain values the United States held dear during this time. Particularly ones that had been pressed for by one of our former presidents.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” effort, he worked to promote positive and healthy relations between the United States in Latin American countries.

At the time Rooseveltaimed to ensure that the North, Central and South American countries avoided breaking under the influence of Axis countries during World War II. As part of this campaign, Roosevelt comissioned a Spanish and a Portuguese version of the U.S. national anthem. According to Time Magazine he also “recruited Hollywood to participate in this Good Neighbor Policy; Walt Disney went on goodwill tour of South America, hoping to find a new market for his films, and ended up producing two movies inspired by the trip: Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944). The Brazilian star Carmen Miranda also got a boost, and her role in The Gang’s All Here made her even more famous in the U.S. And alongside these cross-cultural exchanges, the U.S. government decided it needed an anthem that could reach Spanish speakers.”

According to NPR, Clotilde Arias, wrote wrote the translation at the end of World War II, was born in the small Peruvian city, Iquitos in 1901 and moved to New York City to become a composer when she was 22-years-old. Her version of the anthem is now part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Now in an effort to support Latino communities affected by the coronavirus, the non-profit We Are All Human Foundation’s Hispanic Star campaign commissioned the a remake of the song.

Hoping to raise awareness of its Hispanic Recovery Plan and efforts to help to connect Hispanic small businesses and workers with resources during the pandemic, the campaign brought the old recording from obscurity.

For the song, the 2019 winner of the singing competition La Voz,  Jeidimar Rijos, performed “El Pendón Estrellado.” Or, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

The song has already received quite a bit of comments and support on Youtube.

Hang in there, fam. We can only get through this together.

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These Online Botanicas Will Satisfy The Bruja In You

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These Online Botanicas Will Satisfy The Bruja In You

With young Latinxs reclaiming the bruja identity, the demand for access to novenas, herbs and other specially crafted ritual tools has grown tremendously. Luckily, these Latinx-owned online botanicas have made it easy for brujas, or anyone who wants to dive deeper into the practice, to get their hands on the goods. Whether you’re looking to conjure up more cash flow or secure some extra protection from those pesky mal de ojos, these shops have the magia you need.

1. The Flowerchild Bruja

You know you’ve received some real tesoro when you open your delivery and see the holographic cellophane. Unmistakable and unique products are what make The Flowerchild Bruja’s shop un cielo de flores. Garden Smudge Sticks adorned with colorful flowers and loose herbs packaged in clear hearts make this online botanica a must-visit if you’re looking to manifest more love and beauty into your life.

2. Brooklyn Brujeria

No forlorn-looking saints and pale stricken Marys here! Brookyn Brujeria offers a fresh and modern take on the classic bruja necessity of novena candles. At $10 a candle, you can enhance the vibrations and style of your space without blowing all your chavo. With intentions like Boss Bitch and F*ck Outta Here, these ain’t your abuelitas’ novenas.

3. The Hoodwitch Store

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Thank you for all of your love & support to those who have been readers and customers of @thehoodwitch over the years. ♥️You know truly how hard I work and that this is my livelihood and culture. Visual art and magic ARE my life and practice. Not a peach flavored “turquoise” glitter drink. My magic is in my blood, my magic is in my ability to bring life to my visions, it is creation & destruction. Over the last 6 years, I have been so honored and lucky to be featured in some of the largest media publications internationally not limited to Instagram. This is bigger than that and the creative team for Starbucks knew that. I have personally worked on consulting large companies in their design concepts this work comes naturally to me. “So what’s the big fuss?” My personal style has become synonymous with the visual aesthetic of my brand. No, I absolutely did not “invent” the crystal balls nor acrylic nails but What I created was a space for myself along with other POC to feel represented and have visual imagery that was representative of us. The colorful candles of my local botanicas, my gold jewelry, and my long nails clutching my crystals are certainly not “new” but to see them presented in a manner that I shared visually in this space was. Katherine de Vos Devine @devosdevine is a lawyer and art historian who wrote a powerful and insightful look as to what exactly is happening with this situation and we are sharing it in our story today because more than anything she truly gives the full tea of the situation. I can strip away the crystal balls, the nail art, and delete all of my beautifully curated photos but I will always be me, I will always be my grandmother’s voices and wisdom. I will create, and I will always know my value and my worth. I trust and believe that my ancestors and my guides are looking after me. These giants may have the money to bully artists, creatives, and small business but we know the truth and absolutely must not allow it. As a small business owner, I appreciate you standing with us in this uphill journey and even if it goes nowhere, at the end of the day I can laugh to myself knowing that Starbucks made a drink inspired by HW 🔮

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If you’re in the market for an obsidian scrying mirror, unique tarot decks or nail polish for your mystic manos, then The Hoodwitch Store is your one-stop bruja shop. Be sure to also check out the Bruja Bookshop tab, where you’ll find vintage, one-of-a-kind libros to up your witchy wisdom. The shop offers some rare finds en español as well. However, make sure you stay up to date on the latest inventory. These goods sell out fast!

4. House of Intuition

If you live in LA, you’ve most likely heard of House of Intuition. With four brick and mortar stores throughout the area, plus an online shop, it’s probably a wise investment to grab one of their “Success” intention candles. Their beautifully colored novenas aren’t the only reason to check out the shop, though. Seriously, this casa is staked with everything from crystals skulls, cauldrons and wands to a line called “Hair Mystics” featuring crystal-infused hair mists. You’ll be glad your intuition led you here.  

5. Lunar Magic Shop

Lunar Magic Shop is the super affordable and super thoughtful shop with some of our favorite bruja apparel. You will for sure want to grab the “My Mom Will Hex You” tee for the little one in your life or the “I Am My Own Sacred Place” one for yourself. While you’re at it, you might as well secure the “Motherhood”and “Student” crystal kit bags. This small shop definitely has the whole family’s brujeria needs in mind.

6. Curandera Press

While this shop is currently taking a small hiatus, they will re-launch on August 1. This gives us time to save up for a big vela haul. We could all use some divine intervention with lazy lovers and bad hair days, right? With Curandera Press’ “No Mas Amante Perezoso” and “Good Hair Day” velas, your prayers are answered. We’re excited to see what intentions they roll out next.

Read: In These Trying Times, Boricua Bruja Emilia Ortiz Provides A Digital Space For Healing

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