I’ve practiced my elevator speech at least a hundred times and yet I still never know how to introduce myself, but I always start out with the fact that I’m a Latina; it’s something I have so much pride for and that has defined every step of my trajectory. My parents and I moved to Houston from Mexico when I was really little. I am a low-income student and the first in my family to attend college in the united states, yet I still moved hundreds of miles away from home to attend New York University aka one of the most expensive institutions in the United States. Wait… what? Those things don’t correlate much at all, right? I always saw college education as a luxury and with that price tag I thought it was nearly unattainable in my case. Nearly.
Raised in an immigrant family you always feel a strong responsibility to contribute as much as you can at home. I was too little to get a job so I took agency over the only thing I had complete control over: my education. I was determined to go above and beyond the expectations my parents set and I understood that one day in the future my academic endeavors would allow me to pay my parents back for all the sacrifices they’ve made. Imagine thinking all of this at an age where all my other peers were solely focused on Lizzie McGuire and Tamagotchis (which I sadly never had the privilege of owning. Shocking, I know!) In middle school I became fully aware of how difficult it was not being financially secure. Even if my merits warranted invitations to prestigious programs and trips I would feel heavy disappointment when I had to turn these offers down due to my inability to afford them, now imagine turning down an invitation to a friend’s birthday party because you were too hesitant to ask your parents to give you money for a birthday gift. This anxiety pushed me to do some research and figure out what I could do at my age; this is when my Etsy shop, Pofibon, was born. Through YouTube videos I taught myself how to crochet, and in the years following I created a business out of my hobby all while still maintaining straight A’s in school and helping my parents around the house. I owe my work ethic and perseverance to my background, and seeing positive results pushed me to work even harder and do even better than I believed I was capable of doing.
To make a long story short, I continued to apply and push myself and I am now an undergraduate at New York University double majoring in Mathematics and Economics and minoring in Global and Urban Education. Because of long nights researching and filling out scholarship applications I was able to keep my promise to my parents that they did not have to contribute a single penny towards my education and my promise to myself that I would not take out loans. My hardships sometimes made me feel hopeless to the point where it was debilitating, but I harnessed these dark moments as motivation to keep moving forward. This is one of the reasons I started Wavy Girls, to share my story. That, and a lack of representation for my struggle.
I have always been conscious of the fact that I could not relate to anybody on the TV screen because I did not see myself reflected in any of the major characters that defined pop culture. While I looked up to these popular icons this admiration was only superficial and not based on anything substantial. There was clearly a lack of representation for girls like me. Those shallow traits I used to want to model myself on were no longer enough for me as a student who wanted to excel both in and out of the classroom, and without a role model I was left trying to guide myself through school, friendships, and situations that I couldn’t even categorize because I felt I was the only one going through such things. Where was the kickass female protagonist who loved science and wasn’t involved in a love triangle for once? Or the bilingual ESPN female host whose wardrobe was not oversexualized by the producers?
I created Wavy Girls to close this gap and create representation for the marginalized girls who have always felt like they were on the sidelines, but never gave up. Wavy Girls take responsibility for their own success. They are dynamic, invested in their vision, and give back to the community. Wavy Girls’ mission is to inspire and uplift girls to break the glass ceiling with a little bit of flair. Through this blog I wish to encourage other girls to overcome adversity and reach their highest potential by sharing my story and vision while also encouraging a little fun here and there!