I do what I want. My actions speak much louder than my words. I have a few projects on the way... but I always will. Stay tuned. I'm here for the long run.
I'm from Central Falls, Rhode Island; one-square-mile of nothing much but drug addicts and illegal immigrants. It breeds people like me, inspired by dirt and an intense hunger for life. It's far from glamorous, but it's all I know. So when I say, "home," I mean that same house on Pine Street. You know how it goes: Call the crib. Same number, same hood. I hope to make it out and give back so we can say it's all good.
I've lived in New York City since 2010 - From Harlem to Brooklyn to the Bronx.
My first job out of college was for Calvin Klein in print advtertising. I currently pay my own way as a Creative Operations Manager, supporting the digital creative team for Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off Fifth.
Working in the corporate world has taught me an infinite number of lessons, but mostly that I'm not made to wake up and report to an office for the majority of my days. I yearn for autonomy. I am an entrepreneur at my core, with patience as my virtue.
My great-grandfather, Joaquin, sailed from Canton, China to the Dominican Republic where he me my great-grand mother. He made his way by selling all the goods he could. He is the root of my hustle.
My great-grandmother, Providencia, was orphaned by a man who worked on ships. She was born in 1910 somewhere in the Leeward Islands. She was raised by a neighbor who found her sleeping in a potato sack. She hit the lotto twice & kicked ass until she was 104 years old. She is the source of my strength & my angel of luck.
My grandfather, also named Joaquin, was an army man during the Trujillo era, while training his cousin to become a professional boxer. He was a amazing man with a mean temper.
My grandmother is as Dominican as they come - she lives in upstate New York and probably just wants me to get married.
My mother is pure magic: she has slanted eyes, makes a mean fried rice and a pernil no one can pass up. She has seen both too much and too little to dabble in nonsense. She is my role model. She has a degree in sociology and a license as a Master Seamstress, so her days are spent doing social work and her nights in a bridal shop. She's the resilient mother of three and would offer her last breath for us before you even have a chance to ask. She is relentless in her loyalty and teaching me the value of silence as well as the appropriate timing for truth.
My father was Cuban and I never knew him.
I am the American dream.
I believe the most important decision I've made in my life was to be smart, not cool.
I left my friends at 13, when I was accepted to Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island. I attended Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland where I received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a specialization in Advertising and a minor in writing.
I am both poet and killer.
I vote for myself. I am self-governed because I don't trust anyone to make decisions for me. The most honest teacher I had told me I'd never be President and I believed him. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't have, but I know I was made to travel the unlit path. I was the President of the student diversity group during high school, and realized that focusing on the pain of my differences made me angry and anger is a limiting force. I decided that if race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, family structure and disabilities don't make anyone better than anyone else, they shouldn't matter ever, at all. I still preach equality but now I also preach love. I believe that my only chance of changing the world is to be who I want to be, treat others as I wish to be treated and lend myself as an example.
I started writing when I was 6 because my mother would ask me to send her letters while she was in jail. My brother trained me early by testing me to see which of Jay-Z lyrics I could rhyme back, quizzing me on how the bars end. My favorite was, "Had a vendetta, even though I been better. Left him in the cold with a thin sweater." Needless to say, my flow is cold.
I first realized I could rhyme at 13, in the 8th grade. My adolescent lack of confidence (and lack of bass in my voice) forced me to write rhymes down, instead of free-styling. My first rap battles took place on papers passed around during science class. I've preferred pen and paper ever since.
I began performing poetry at 15, when I attended the predominantly-white Moses Brown High School. The Friends academy held Quaker meetings every Monday, where a mic was placed in the center of the room for us to speak from the heart; that was the first time I held a microphone & understood the power of prose. Poetry gave me a way to piece through and present my emotions in a manner the majority could digest.
I started singing in 2012, when I lived in Harlem. I lived on the 11th floor and sometimes took the stairs down. When I heard myself in the echo of the empty hallway, I decided to take advantage of it. I had never had the courage, the space nor the inspiration to learn to yell so beautifully. I'm still cultivating my voice.
My inspiration: Jay-Z is the man. Beyoncé is a problem. Lauryn is a monster. Kanye is a genius. Toni Morrison is the master.
I've been shopping in "thrift" stores since they were called "The Salvation Army"; before it was trendy. I learned to sift through my big sister's drawers because she had a heightened attraction to labels and labels and both, whenever possible. I was always drawn to intriguing fabrics and intricate patterns, the reason a shirt might stick out on a packed rack. Today, my mother is a seamstress, and I work on advertising for Saks Fifth Avenue.
I believe the person makes the clothing - I believe in craftsmanship individuality. I enjoy the world of fashion, and find myself participating where ever I get the change. I like to take pictures & they come out fairly decent. It makes me feel good about myself - confidence booster -- so I shoot when the opportunity arises. I occasionally dabble in film and I hope to dabble a bit more. I love a good costume, they capture the essence of characters in time.
I've just begun on my journey as a designer, learning from my mother to produce a line that speaks for me and women who love quality and consistency with a lot of class and a dash of sass. I'm working. I smarten up & open the market up.
I created a blog called ELLAthought.com when I graduated from college and had no job - I decided I needed to keep my brain working somehow and decided that sharing my honest concerns (with a positive spin) would help me clear my head as I shared my thoughts as a normal woman, any woman, a black-hispanic woman - yo soy ella.
We extended it to a full website as I've run into other people who also love what they do and I wanted to provide a platform where they could do so freely - without any restrictions nor obligations. I wanted to share on a global platform because I connect best with people who are nothing like me, but who are respectful, kind, independent, hard-working, loyal and honest. The women I write with are individuals whom I look up to, because they force me to be a better me. Those are the qualities I hope this publication will present to the world. I know I'm not everyone's cup of tea, so I wanted to show what different kinds of wonderful women are like to solidify our existence, worldwide. I respect people who venture outside of the labels the world tries to impose on them. I believe it takes courage to be other than what you're expected to be. It takes true strength to be multiple things.
I refuse to use gimmicks in promoting the magazine. I believe that what's missing from this world is something real. And I've always been the one to say the truth. While I hope the money comes, the money isn't what'll make me stay.