When I attended Orgullosa’s Living Fabulosa event last week, I didn’t know what to expect. I initially found out about it just hours before it began, and the only thing that really piqued my interest was the fact that Diane Guerrero from Orange Is The New Black and Jane The Virgin would be there. However, I was in for quite the surprise, because during the event, I got to see Diane host one of the most memorable and inspiring panels that I’ve ever seen.
Aside from Diane, the panel included a group of amazing Latina women, including singer Raquel Sofia, filmmaker Denise Soler Cox, Vixen Workout founder Janet Jones, branding expert Emmelie De La Cruz, and the head of multicultural marketing at Google, Eliana Murillo. The six ladies discussed their careers, the importance of Latina role models, and how young girls can find the perfect mentor. I immediately fell in love with their humor, their vibrant personalities, and how they dealt so frankly with each topic.
Most of the conversations were targeted to young Latina women, but the panelists still touched on a lot of important issues and life lessons that could apply to anyone, regardless of their background or ethnicity. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that their advice has inspired me to try and get out of my comfort zone and do more.
After watching this inspiring panel, I eventually got to sit down and chat with the amazing Diane Guerrero herself. We talked a bit about her high school experience, her hobbies, and of course, what “Living Fabulosa” really means to her. She said: “This idea of me ‘Living Fabulosa’ gets me up and gets me saying ‘okay, what are the tasks for the day, what do I need to do to live my life to the fullest?’ because for me, I am the happiest when my work is done, when I have inspired something in myself or in someone else.” Pretty amazing, right?
I had so much fun at this event because on top of getting to connect with a lot of Latinas, I got to hear some of the best advice that I never knew I needed. Check out these 12 pieces of advice from the panelists that will literally change your life.
1. Don’t be afraid to go for what you want.
“If you want to be a makeup artist, if you want to dance, whatever it is that you want to do, do it and do it unapologetically.” – Emmelie De La Cruz
2. To stay motivated every day, find what moves you and do what you’re passionate about.
“Sometimes, getting up in the morning and saying ‘I’m gonna do this again’ is not easy. But I think for all of us, regardless of what we do or what field we’re in, it’s about finding what really fuels you, that thing that just sets your soul on fire, you know? For me that’s music and not just music, it’s writing songs, it’s performing, and you have to find that thing where you’re like ‘I couldn’t be doing anything else’ because this is the one thing that I just love so much.’ And unless you have that, then you know, being broke, not having a house, and all that other stuff is just a little bit easier because you’re doing this thing that completely moves you.” – Raquel Sofia
3. Don’t feel pressured to fit in. Be original.
“I think it’s important to keep going and I also feel like, something that makes me want to keep making music is to inspire young girls to be authentic, to be themselves, to be original, to break the mold, because we need more of that. It’s such a hard time right now with like, the media, we’re supposed to be this certain type of girl, and we’re not.” – Raquel Sofia
4. Make an effort to understand other people by learning their stories.
“I believe in seeing greatness in everyone. I’m a storyteller and I love stories. And if there’s one thing I know it’s that if you just sit down with someone and ask them enough questions that you’ll be brought to your knees by their life story, and I think if we all look at each other like that, like, possibilities of that person, that all there would be is love and respect. And we could lock arms then and move forward.” – Denise Soler Cox
5. If someone has already done something that you really want to do, don’t let that discourage you.
“When you find something that you wanna do, and you find a purpose and you think ‘maybe I can contribute to that,’ don’t ever think, ‘oh that’s been done.’ […] It’s already been done, yes, but it hasn’t been done by you. So you can bring something so incredibly special, so incredibly different, so don’t waste your time thinking ‘oh, that’s already been done, I can’t tap into that’, yes you can. Who says you can’t?” – Diane Guerrero
6. Stop waiting for permission to do what you really want.
“I think that we need to stop waiting as women and Latinas for people to give us permission to do what it is that we want to do. We really have to stop waiting as a culture and as women for people to give us a shot.” – Emmelie De La Cruz
7. Surround yourself with the right kind of people.
“I removed everyone in my life who did not add to my dream. Who did not… I don’t wanna say ‘encourage’ because it’s so much more than people cheering. It’s people that I could have a conversation with and be completely inspired by. Tonight, I feel like, when I leave you guys I’m gonna be like ‘oh my gosh what else can I create, what else can I do, I’m gonna open 10 foundations,’ just because I’m so inspired. You have to surround yourself by people that do that to you. Period. It doesn’t matter if you have to remove a family member or a best friend, remove it!” – Janet Jones
8. You are who you hang out with.
“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And it might not be time like this, sitting next to each other, but just, the people you make mental space for, that you like, allow into your life.” – Eliana Murillo
9. To find a good mentor, always be clear about what it is that you want.
“I think, for how to find a mentor […] I think it really comes down to not being subtle and sharing what your passions are, what your dreams are, and just sharing what you candidly think and want because that’s the only way someone’s gonna know what they have in experience that they can share.” – Eliana Murillo
10. Don’t be afraid to use your voice.
“We have such strong voices, no matter who we are, we can use them. And always feel like you can… you are a part of something. You are just here, you are a human being, you are a part of this earth, you are a part of this community, your voice is important. You can be heard, so use it.” – Diane Guerrero
11. Get involved in something that’s bigger than you.
“We have to live in a world where we care about something. And I’m sure we all do, we all care about something, so be active socially, be active politically, be involved.” – Diane Guerrero
12. Take advantage of all the resources you have, because they can help you in the long run.
When I asked Diane what she wished she knew when she was in high school, she said: “I wish I knew there was more out there, as far as resources. I wish I knew there were more resources out there, that I could go to a website like Orgullosa.com and see, hey, what are they doing? You know, what are they talking about? And just to look for different things that would help me with some of the questions that I had, and I think that a lot of young people go through this, they’ll say to themselves, and just like I once said to myself, is ‘I’m going through this, but nobody cares. Nobody’s gonna listen to me.’ You know, ‘I’m gonna look stupid, I’m gonna sound stupid, nobody else needs help, why am I the only one that needs help?’ And there are so many organizations that are out there to give you knowledge if you have questions about, I don’t know, an election, politics, how you can get involved in this and that. There are programs like Orgullosa that could help get you on your path, so I wish I would’ve been more comfortable with that, in knowing that I’m not alone.” – Diane Guerrero
Which of these quotes is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!