Culture

America’s First Latina Fighter Pilot Was Rejected Twice Before The U.S. Air Force Accepted Her

Before Olga E. Custodio became the first Latina Air Force pilot, she faced a slew of rejections in life for being a Puerto Rican woman. Even though she was an enrolled college student at just 16 years old, her application to join ROTC was rejected because she was a woman. She always knew she wanted to become a pilot, and worked in aviation in any capacity she could–even in accounting for Puerto Rico’s International Airline. She applied to the U.S. Air force three times before she was accepted.

When she finally was accepted into the training program, Custodio’s father, a military vet, called the governor of Puerto Rico himself to tell him the news.

Olga E. Custodio’s family moved so often, she went to schools in Taiwan, Iran, and Paraguay.

Credit: @JLANSolutions / Twitter

Her father was a sergeant in the United States Army, which meant that Custodio grew up as a ‘military brat.’ The whole family would relocate as her father was assigned to different military stations around the world. “I started kindergarten and 1st grade in Taiwan,” Custodio told Fox News Latino. “From there we moved to New Jersey, followed by a move to Iran then Paraguay before my father retired. I saw the world before I was 15 years old. I liked the feeling of being in the air.”

Custodio was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and their family returned to the island when she was 15 years old. She graduated high school a year later.

Credit: @flyLAXairport / Twitter

She was immediately accepted into the University of Puerto Rico, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree at a young age. She applied to join the ROTC program at the University but was rejected for being a woman. Only men were admitted into the program at the time. 

“Why aren’t the women leading?” Custodio asked herself at every job before entering the military.

Credit: @TheFogHornNews / Twitter

She worked a lot of different jobs, and at every one of them, she told the Daily Mail, “I always saw men in the leadership roles. I asked myself: “Why aren’t the women leading? I could lead that!” She met her now-husband, Edward Custodio, and had two children. 

Custodio applied to become an Air Force officer three times before she was accepted.

Credit: Olga Custodio / Facebook

“When my daughter was three years old, I had all the DoD regulations available to me,” Custodio told Fox. “I knew the rules and applied to be an officer for the third time.” Custodio brought her husband and marched into the Headquarters for the Air Force Military Personnel Center to apply to the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School. She was accepted. There, she talked to a sergeant who asked her to name three career choices she would like to have for herself. “I told him I would be a pilot, a pilot and a pilot,” she told Fox.

It took her two years of training to become the first Latina to complete the U.S. Air Force military pilot training program.

Credit: @JMA_Solutions / Twitter

She first had to complete the Flight Screening Pilot Officer Training program before she could enter the Officer Training School. There, she was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Finally, that qualified her for Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas. A year later, she graduated, making her the first Latina to complete the U.S. Air Force military pilot training.

Her first assignment was also historic–she was the first female flight instructor at her base.

Credit: @NATCA / Twitter

At that base, she trained others to fly the Northrop T-38 Talon, which is a two-seat supersonic jet trainer. Custodio was actually awarded an Aviation Safety Award during her time as an instructor after she safely landed a plane that had been compromised after a bird flew into the jet’s engine during bad weather. 

Custodio served our country for 23 years and 10 months before retiring.

Credit: @SISOKlahoma / Twitter

She retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in October 2003, after spending the bulk of her career teaching others how to be effective Air Force pilots. Today, she says she flies for free and for fun. When her friends who own planes ask her to take them for a ride, she happily accepts.

“My mantra is ‘Querer es poder,'” she said.

Credit: @iamalatinogreek / Twitter

“I believe everyone has the potential to do it. They just have to believe in themselves enough to actually do it,” she tells Fox. She also said that she “was not out to prove anything.” She didn’t even know she was “the first anything.” She worked hard for herself and her family, and the accolades followed.

Today, she runs a documentary production company in San Antonio, Texas.

@BigDifference / Twitter

She is also the Vice President of the Hispanic Association of Aviation and Aerospace Professionals (HAAAP). The organization takes young Latinos in the San Antonio area into the cockpit and into control towers to offer more opportunities for growth in the field. Oh, and she also directs a Puerto Rican folk dance group, just for fun.

READ: The First Latina In Space Wants To Use Her Experience To Produce More STEM Graduates

20 Creative Latina Cosplayers Who Will Inspire Your Next Comic Convention Look

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20 Creative Latina Cosplayers Who Will Inspire Your Next Comic Convention Look

@cosplayofcolor / Twitter

At comic conventions, fans from all over gather to celebrate comics, movies and TV shows. Between their special guest stars and exclusive content, comic conventions are like a wonderland to the millions of devoted fans who visit them. At these cons, the most creative ways to show your fandom some love is to cosplay.

Now that this year’s Emerald City Comic Con is over, comic convention season is in full swing. However, you don’t have to live in California or New York just to get into the cosplay goodness. Smaller conventions still pack in just as much fun and you’re guaranteed to find one close to you. With all those events, the cosplay options are endless.

Get in character and start planning your outfit because these looks will give you major inspiration.

1. Momo Kurumi Cosplay

Instagram / @momokurumicosplay

Latina artist, seamstress and cosplayer, Momo Kurumi lives by the philosophy that cosplay is for everyone. The award winning designer has participated in cosplay since 2007 and has done over 100 looks. Most of these costumes are completely self-made. Momo range is incredible; cosplaying anime characters, comic heroines, and Disney princesses. However, it’s her Chel cosplay — the South American native from “The Road To El Dorado” — that is especially giving us life.

2. Nerdtastic Mel

Instagram / @nerdtasticmel

It seems like there isn’t any look that this Afro-Latina cosplayer can’t pull off. A self proclaimed nerd, Nerdtastic Mel serves looks ranging from adorable Pokémon and beautiful Disney Princesses to a spot on Hermonie Granger and creepy cute Wednesday Adams. Be sure to check out her 90s cartoon looks as well for a shot of nostalgia.

3. Art by Renna

Instagram / @artbyrenna_

Cosplayer Art by Renna — real name Amanda — is just as comfortable in sexy looks as she is in her sweeter ones. If you catch her at a comic convention, she could be anyone from Mary Jane Watson to Maleficent. However, cosplay isn’t the only place she’s confident. Amanda is also a boudoir and lingerie model.

4. Iced Coffee Mel

Instagram / @icedcoffeemel

Iced Coffee Mel is a Columbian cosplayer practicing her craft in Toronto, Canada. Whether she’s working anime or comic characters, she completely transforms into her roles with impressive authenticity. Check out her quirky Mina Asido, her sultry Black Cat or her amazingly cool Sombra to get a feel of Mel’s versatility.

5. Jennocide Cosplay

Instagram / @jennocide_cosplay

Peruvian-Canadian cosplayer Jennocide is a queen of the head-to-toe look. Besides making sure her costuming is always on point, her attention to prop and accessory fabrication takes her looks to another level. Additionally, Jennocide is a master of makeup. Her Vemon, Gamora and Scar makeups are works of art. If that isn’t enough, her take on Zatanna is more than magical.

6. Moxxi Shenanigans

Instagram / @moxxishenanigans

Cosplayer and costume creator Moxxi Shenanigans’ looks are as diverse as they are creative. If you’re looking for inspo for your video game cosplay or are just curious to see a really impressive Gizmo costume, her Insta is a must-see. Besides well-known characters, she also creates her own — like her “Stars War” inspired Jedi Ariel.

7. Joanna Mari

Instagram / @joanna.mari

New York-based cosplayer Joanna Mari specializes in both Sci-Fi and Fantasy. A skilled prop fabricator, her expertise come in handy for characters ranging from Wonder Woman to Raven from “Teen Titans.” Her reimaginings of sweet cartoon characters like “Pokémon,” “My Little Pony” and “Carebears” into knights, warriors and mages is a thing of beauty.

8. Stephanie X Moon

Instagram / @stephaniexmoon_

Chicago cosplayer Stephanie X Moon likes to bring some sex appeal and a healthy dose of horror to her costuming. An alternative model, her pin up looks reimagine scary movie creators like Chucky and the Bride of Frankenstein. In addition to her spooky styles, she also gets inspiration from comic books; bringing to life characters like Scarlet Witch and Cat Woman.

9. Chicago Princess Sarah

Instagram / @Chicagoprincesssarah

As her name suggests, Chicago Princess Sarah is an Illinois-based cosplayer. A singer and artist, she works with the other talented character actresses at Chicago Princess Parties, a company that provides magical experiences for Disney lovers. Besides looking like a princess, she has to embody that character’s personality and vibe. Sarah has played everyone from Belle to Esmeralda but we’re partial to her Elena of Avalor — Disney’s first Latina princess.

10. Adonia GameGoddess

Instagram / @gamegoddess4ever1

Cosplayer Adonia GameGoddess is a Puerto Rican jack of all trades. Costume designer, prop maker, gamer and otaku, she brings her passion and talent to her looks. A regular guest at comic conventions around the nation, Adonia is at home whether she’s playing Green Latern Jessica Cruz or Bunny Bulma from “Dragon Ball Z.”

11. Cin’Von Quinzel

Instagram / @cosplayofcolor

Body positive cosplayer Cin’Von Quinzel is a self-taught costume maker from New York City. The Puerto Rican model and performer isn’t afraid to flaunt her curves in her unique takes on characters like Mercy from “Overwatch” or the Pokémon Vaporeon. As a plus-sized Afro-Latina, Cin’Von represents two marginalized groups in the cosplay community. Still, with looks like her impressive Hela cosplay, there’s no doubt about why she’s made a name for herself.

12. Ivvy Dream

Instagram / @ivvy_dream

Though she calls herself a “cosplayer in training,” Ivvy Dream’s collection of characters is already very impressive. The Puerto Rican and Nicaraguan artist mostly works with inspiration she finds from Japanese anime. You’ll find a Poison Ivy and Elmyra in her reprutoir, but she also seamlessly encapsulates Diane from “The Seven Deadly Sins.”

13. Surely Shirley Cosplay

Instagram / @surelyshirleycosplay

Lover of all things anime and manga, body positive cosplayer Surely Shirley is a crafty member of the cosplay community. Costumes like her take on Amethyst from “Steven Universe” and her Hinata from the “Naturo” series are spot on. However, it’s looks like her Bowsette (a female Bowser) that will really make an impression on you.

14. Ivy Doomkitty

Instagram / @ivydoomkitty

With over 300k Instagram followers, Ivy Doomkitty is one of the most popular Latina cosplayers in the world. Based out of LA, the international model is also a content creator, a pin up model and an advocate for body positivity. If you check out her previous looks, you’ll find sexy cosplays like her Ms Marvel and Jessica Rabbit. However, her Bison from “Street Fighter” proves that Ivy has her costuming down, head to toe.

15. Gabi Rupee

Instagram / @Myladygabriella

Atlanta cosplayer and self-proclaimed “anime trash,” Gabi Rupee’s cosplay looks are just as animated as her interests. The Brazilian-American gaming video creator draws on her love for Japanese animation to craft creative looks like her Captain Deku — a mashup of “Captain America” and “My Hero Academia.” As imaginative as that look is, we can’t help feeling that her Faye Valentine of “Cowboy Bebop” fame is positively spot on.

16. Julia Rose

Instagram / @diary_of_a_rose

Whether you love anime, video games or Disney characters, cosplayer Julia Rose has a look for you. Her adaptation of Pajama Party Ariel from “Ralph Breaks The Internet” is too precious for words. Her Princess Serenity from “Sailor Moon” is more than ethereal. Also, Julia’s playful Disneybound looks — like Edna from “The Incredibles” — are just as creative as her full costumes.

17. Phoenix Skye Cosplay

Instagram / @Phoenixskyecosplay

Phoenix Skye is a LGBT Dominicana that embodies that cosplay is for everyone. A body positive advocate, she documented her substantial weight loss through cosplay. She showsnl ws ithat no matter the size, she could rock her costumes. Check out her Gender-bent Joker for a real taste of her talent but we also can’t get enough of this gorgeous Moana look.

18. Yani Luv

Instagram / @yani.luv

“Teen Titans,” “Space Jam,” “My Hero Academia” and “Steve Universe.” These just a few of the fandoms multi-talented cosplayer Yani Luv has explored. The Afro-Latina Boricua utilizes both self-fabricated props and impressive body painting skills to embody her characters. While Yani cosplays plenty of human characters, we’re partial to her absolutely adorable take on Retsuko from Sanrio’s “Aggretsuko.”

19. Iza Ragnhildr

Instagram / @izunacosplay

Fashion design student Iza Ragnhildr should get extra points for practical application. Whether she’s cosplaying each and every favorite video game protagonist, the Cuban-Mexican artist fully transforms herself. A great example of this is her killer take on steam punk Poison Ivy.

20. Theophania Cosplay

Instagram / @theophania_cosplay

Video games and anime are usually Theophania’s go-to when it comes to cosplay. Besides her cute cosplays, the Houston-based Mexican Puerto Rican is a part of the Jammingers — a live action movie about a team of music-based superheroes. Her human Judy Hwa wazopps will also make you want to check out her incredible Disney cosplays.

The US Killed A Leading Iranian Military Figure And Social Media Declared An Impending World War 3

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The US Killed A Leading Iranian Military Figure And Social Media Declared An Impending World War 3

realdonaldtrump / Instagram

Global powers expressed worry and concern about the state of world affairs following the United States’ airstrike near Baghdad’s airport Friday, which killed Iran Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The White House defended the strike in a tweet, saying Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

The United States killed Iran’s top general Friday, which inspired a wealth of reaction on social media about the future of the world.

The killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. strike at Baghdad’s international airport and Tehran’s vow of “harsh retaliation” in response on Friday morning made Twitter and Instagram users nervous about the possible outbreak of conflict between Washington and Tehran culminating in what social media dubbed, World War III.

Meme creators did what they do best: post funny pictures and videos on social media and got #WWIII trending.

France’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Amelie de Montchalin, said on a radio program: “We are waking up in a more dangerous world. Military escalation is always dangerous. When such actions, such operations, take place, we see that escalation is underway.” The term “World War 3” began trending online Friday after the airstrike. Instagram and Twitter users immediately jumped in on the discussion, posting memes, GIFs and jokes about a potential third World War. Here’s a collection of them.

Some lamented the poor start to the new year.

A lot of people woke up to news that the U.S. had launched a deadly attack on Iran’s top military official. The attack was panned by world leaders and political pundits are concerned that the attack could lead to a war between the U.S. and Iran.

Social media users turned to humor to try to make sense of the terrifying possibility of a war started by the U.S.

The airstrike led to protests throughout Iran and Iraq. Iranians were protesting because of the clear attack on their military capabilities. Iraqi citizens protested against the attack on their soil that some consider threatens their sovereignty.

Some joked about avoiding or refusing the draft.

There hasn’t been a draft since the Vietnam War. At the time, Americans protested the nation’s involvement in a war in southeast Asia. Many young men fled to Canada to avoid being drafted by the U.S. military to join the combat.

Many others simply detailed their strategies for avoiding a draft.

There has been no announcement regarding reinstating the draft, and the U.S. currently has an all-volunteer military. However, that doesn’t change the fact the Americans are concerned about a pending war and a draft.

Others made jokes about fake birth certificates and fleeing the country.

Tbh, this might not be a bad idea considering people do not support the attack.

Many mocked themselves and their response to the trending topic.

It is a terrifying moment to realize that something so disastrous and devastating might actually happen.

Some wondered if this was Trump’s way of getting revenge for his impeachment.

We are in uncharted territory and all eyes are on Iran after they threatened retaliation against the U.S.

READ: Here’s What You Can Expect Now That President Trump Has Been Impeached By The House Of Representatives