Celebrating Hispanic Heritage
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September 30, 2021
Being Latina is something I’m very proud of. But it’s also something I’ve struggled with a lot in many ways, as I’m sure many “minorities,” for lack of a better word, can understand. Growing up in Alabama, racism was all around me. It was something I did not understand as a child; I just knew I had to fit in. I blew out my curls, avoided hoop earrings (LOL!), and got embarrassed when my mom spoke to me in Spanish in front of other people. I was given a Latin first name and a “white” middle name. Guess which name my family decided to call me my entire life? Because of this and so many other reasons, it has taken me a long time to truly and fully embrace my Hispanic heritage. And for a while, I even had a little bit of imposter syndrome around it since I am bicultural.
I’m a second-generation American – kind of. Both of my parents were born in the United States even though my mom actually lived in Nicaragua until she started school. My mom’s mom was from Nicaragua and my mom’s dad was from Montreal. They actually met in an English class they were taking when they both first moved to the US in their twenties. How cute! On my dad’s side, his dad is American by a couple generations – their ancestors are from Ireland. And then my dad’s mom is from Puerto Rico, which is technically part of America, but not truly in many ways that matter. But no matter the detailed background, I am Latina, and that Latin culture–particularly the Puerto Rican Latin culture–is one that deeply resonates and just feels like me. I grew up with the music, the food, the language, and the warmth of Latin culture. And while some strangers might not instantly be able to tell that I am Latina, I know I am. That’s what matters.
So in honor of Hispanic Heritage month, I’m taking the opportunity to highlight some fellow Latinx brands that I recommend.
I first discovered Alessandra Palms at their launch through a press release. I instantly fell in love with the products and emailed them expressing that. Gina, the founder, was so incredibly friendly and we’ve been in touch ever since. Alessandra Palms products “begins in the hands of one of our exceptional artisans who use traditional Colombian techniques to create beautiful and modern designs.”
Queen Carmen is a brand that is very special to me because it is owned by one of my best friends in the world, Erica Valentin. She named the shop after her Panamanian grandmother and each item is handcrafted by Erica herself. Not only are the pieces absolutely gorgeous and beautifully made with high-quality materials, but the amount of time–and love–that goes into each piece make it a very special and unique brand.
Giving new life to vintage pieces, Soigné is a fashion brand owned by Lush to Blush’s newest team member, Paola Gonzalez. During the pandemic, Paola took the extra time at home to work on her dream. She taught herself to sew and pursued her passion of creating her own line. If that’s not what we’re all about here at Lush to Blush, then I don’t know Jack!
We all know I am all about clean beauty, so I am so excited to have found a Latinx-owned clean beauty brand! elaluz is a spin on a phrase meaning “in the light” and their hashtag is #stepintothelight which I love. It makes me think of a luminous, healthy glow, which is always my goal! They’re also cruelty-free, vegan, and gluten-free.
Rezo Hair Care
Specializing in curly hair products, Rezo Hair Care knows Latinx hair! Boasting 100% vegan products, this brand has it all. From serum, shampoo, conditioner, to even a diffuser, they know what us curly girls need!
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, I encourage everyone to intentionally support Latinx brands a little bit extra.
What are some of your favorite Latinx-owned brands?
Photos by Ryan Carpenter.
September 27, 2021 @ 11:58 am
I love this post so much! (AND YOU!) It’s so crazy all of our similarities and I totally get it. From the outside we look pretty white and you would never know we are Latina at all. Growing up in the North I felt like I wasn’t white enough for the white girls, not Latina enough for the Latinas…..I was just stuck somewhere in the middle never really fitting in with either. At home my grandparents spoke Spanish to me but never to my mom because their generation tried to assimilate to American culture sadly…..I worked really hard to “re-learn” Spanish which i felt cheated in a way.
Also in school I went to an upper middle class suburb high school ….AKA all rich white kids so making friends was not easy …..but now I love my confidence in my heritage as an adult…..I only wish I embraced it more in you adolescent years
September 28, 2021 @ 9:11 am
Aww I love YOU too!!! And YES. So many similarities!!! I couldn’t agree more. We both could pass for white, but I felt the same way – like I was stuck somewhere in the middle. I feel so much more fulfilled and comfortable in my own skin now that I’ve embraced my heritage. I do wish I would have embraced it more at a younger age, but I feel like the journey I took to get here made me appreciate it even more!!
September 28, 2021 @ 2:43 pm
I think this is wonderful! So important to show kids our cultures and history!
September 29, 2021 @ 11:22 am
Yes, definitely! I couldn’t agree more.
September 29, 2021 @ 4:24 pm
I love this! I really enjoy finding out about people and businesses like this – it’s really important to support them.
September 30, 2021 @ 10:14 am
It really is! Thank you for your support!
September 29, 2021 @ 7:32 pm
I love this! I can relate to many things you mentioned here. As a first gen, growing up with an American name but obviously not looking “American” and I was too “gringa” because my accent wasn’t strong enough I felt like I never fit in. Looking back I would be embarrassed to speak spanish in public but so glad I grew out of that. I’m so proud of my Colombian roots, culture, and heritage. Will be checking out these latinx brands you mentioned!
September 30, 2021 @ 10:14 am
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me!! It’s crazy how many people I speak to that share similar stories. I think many of us tried so hard to assimilate because we wanted to fit in, but it makes me so happy to know that we are embracing our roots now. It’s so important!
October 4, 2021 @ 9:18 pm
This is such a great post because I’ve never heard of these incredible brands. I’m most intrigued by rëzo because my daughter and I have curly hair and sometimes struggle to find hair products that work! Thank you for sharing these new to me brands and telling your incredible story <3
October 5, 2021 @ 3:32 pm
This makes me so happy, Caitlin! Thank you for appreciating my story and for taking notice of these amazing brands!! I think you and your daughter should totally try Rëzo out!