Entertainment

4 Afro-Dominican Models Cover Vogue Latin America’s September Issue

Afro, crooked teeth, brown skin, Dominicana — am I looking at myself in the mirror? No, of course not, I am not 10 feet tall and don’t have perfect cheekbones, but still, I feel so seen. There are four black as hell Dominican models on the cover of the 2019 September issue of Vogue Latin America. You will not hear the end of this in my Afro-Latinx household. You didn’t have to go so hard, Vogue. But really you did because this is long overdue. 

The Black Dominican models featured are Licett Morillo, Manuela Sánchez, Annibelis Baez, and Ambar Cristal. Their skin is brown, their hair is natural, and they are no less Latinx than anybody else. This is a moment. We have so few of them, it’s OK to take a beat and savor them. No, racism hasn’t ended. But when the beautiful marriage of your racial heritage and your culture are largely invisible, and even diminished by your community, moments like this are special. So let us Afro-Dominicans have this. Let us indulge in our beauty because it has been forbidden for too long. 

Manuela Sánchez

Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Manuela Sánchez has become something of an It girl. In 2017, Harpers Bazaar alerted the fashion-consuming public to be on the lookout for the then-16-year-old Sánchez. The teenager had been discovered by Luis Menieur Model Management while at school, only a year before. Known for her poise on the catwalk, Sánchez has walked in shows for Fendi, Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior and Versace. Yes, mi gente in the mainstream, baby. 

“I am from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. We have many beautiful beaches, food and so much culture. Punta Cana has one of the most beautiful beaches in my country,” she told Harpers Bazaar. 

Licett Morillo

The 5 foot 10 stunner also hails from Santo Domingo. Licett Morillo has already proved to be a disruptive force when she became the first woman of color to close a Prada show in 2018. Naomi Campbell was the first to open one in 1997 and in 2018, Anok Yai became the second. Yeah, fashion has a diversity issue. After being laid off from her job at a plastic factory, Morillo enrolled in school. It was on her way there one day that she was scouted to become a model. 

“A lady called Nileny Dippton came over to me and asked, ‘Are you a model?’ and of course, I responded ‘no way!’ I was so late for class, I had to rush off, but Nileny gave me her business card and I got in touch,” Morillo told Dazed and Confused. 

After sending in a few polaroids to IMG Models’ associate director of scouting, Luis Domingo, Morillo was on a plane to Milan for her first show. Morillo never dreamed of being a model because she never saw herself in magazines.

Models don’t usually look like us.

“In the Dominican Republic, women who are considered beautiful look very different to me and models I saw in magazines looked very different to me. So honestly, it didn’t even cross my mind,” Morillo said. 

It hurts to hear that anyone this beautiful could think they were not, but that’s colorism for you. It distorts the truth.

Annibelis Baez

Annibelis Baez has walked for some major fashion titans including, Dior Haute Couture, Kenzo, and Lanvin. 

“Fue maravilloso poder formar parte de un trabajo tan maravilloso @voguemexico Muchas Gracias por esta tremenda oportunidad, fue una experiencia increíble, música,baile y risas.  Compartir entre amigas fue lo mas divertido. Como olvidar cada detalle,” she wrote of the photoshoot on Instagram

Ambar Cristal

Cristal expressed deep gratitude for Dominican representation on Instagram. She urged fellow Dominicans that regardless if you come from humble beginnings, dreams can come true. 

“Hoy quiero dar gracias a Dios una vez más, ver mi rostro en la portada de Vogue, es como seguir creyendo en los cuentos de hadas,” Cristal wrote. “Vengo de una familia muy humilde en mi país, mi madre nos educó vendiendo habichuelas blanditas en nuestro barrio de la Toronja, hoy quiero que todos los jóvenes Dominicanos no dejen de soñar y que sepan que todo se puede conseguir con Fe y mucho trabajo.” 

They hate to see it!

While there is much more work to do in terms of Afro-Latinx representation, all I can say is I am so lucky to be alive in a time where I get to see four women who look like my family on the cover of Vogue. There is a younger version of me who was starved for this. There is a younger version of me who is wistfully clinging onto every page. 

Tourists Are Flocking To This Tiny Mountain Village For A Trip On Mexico’s Magic Mushrooms

Culture

Tourists Are Flocking To This Tiny Mountain Village For A Trip On Mexico’s Magic Mushrooms

For almost 70 years, since Maria Sabina, also known as Santa Sabina, spread the culture around the ritualistic consumption of magic mushrooms in the Oaxaca highlands, the world has been fascinated by these special fungi. The region near Huautla de Jimenez, particularly places like San Jose del Pacifico, has since been swarmed with tourists in the months between July and October, both from inner Mexico and from overseas, who want to experienced the altered states of consciousness brought by one of nature’s most powerful secrets. 

So any story about Oaxacan magic mushrooms has to start with the legendary Maria Sabina, the godmother of all things trippy.

Credit: Giphy. @Hamiltons

Maria Sabina was a Mazatec curandera, or witchdoctor. She was well versed in the ancient arts of magic mushrooms and introduced the Western world to their consumption. She soon became a magnet for the rich and powerful who wanted to taste her psilocybin mushrooms. She was born in 1894 and died in 1985, so she saw the world change dramatically during her lifetime. 

She allowed foreigners into her healing evenings, known as veladas.

Credit: YouTube / Vice

She became legendary, as City A.M. reported in 2018: “It was here that, in 1955, R Gordon Wasson, a vice-president of JP Morgan and amateur ethnomycologist, consumed psilocybin mushrooms in a ceremony presided over by the healer Maria Sabina. The article Wasson subsequently wrote up for Life magazine – ‘Seeking the Magic Mushroom’ – transformed Sabina into a reluctant icon and caught the attention of scientists including Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary”. What followed is an enduring cult following of the plant. 

Mushroom tourism got a boost in the 1960s due to the high profile of some of Sabina’s visitors, who included The Beatles.

As EFE News Service reported back in 2007: “In the 1960s, the ‘high priestess of the mushrooms’ popularized this corner of Mexico located between the capital and Oaxaca city, a place visited by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan at the height of the psychedelic era”. We mean, the place has basically been a Hall of Fame! 

Consuming magic mushrooms is an ancient, ritualistic indigenous tradition that remains officially illegal.

Credit: High Times

Spanish friars first reported the use of psychedelic mushrooms in the region. Though magic mushrooms are illegal today, the authorities tend to turn a blind eye. This is due to the centrality to the customs and traditions of the Zapotecs, the area’s dominant indigenous group. Children as young as six participate in the ritualistic ingestion of shrooms.

However, tourism disrupts this long lasting understanding and ritual has turned into business.

Credit: YouTube. Vice

If you decide to try them for yourself, beware as the region is now swarmed with fake magic mushrooms offered by scammers. Anyway, San Jose del Pacifico is a natural joyita in itself, and you might get high just by taking in the landscape!

The state induced by the mushrooms is supposed to get you in touch with nature: with the soil below your feet and the celestial bodies above your head.

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous. 

According to man named Andres Garcia, he was introduced to the ritual ingestion of mushrooms by his grandfather. Just outside of Huautla, the man experienced mushrooms several times. He told High Times: “The first time I tried mushrooms I was 7 years old. And each time after that was different; each time there were messages and messages. Communication with the earth, the universe, the moon, especially the energy of the moon. The mushroom shows you everything—about your errors, your problems, all the good you’ve done, all the bad you’ve done. It’s something personal.”

Even though mushrooms are widely available in Oaxaca they are not for everyone, specially not for those who disrespect the ritual and want to do mushrooms just for some mindless fun.

Credit: Musrooms-in-Oaxaca. Digital image. Own Mexico

The magic mushroom tourism industry has brought an steady income to Huautla de Jimenez, the original stomping grounds of Maria Sabina. As reported by Juan Ramon Peña in EFE News Services, “visitors are greeted when they get off the bus by boys who offer to help them found the hallucinogenic fungi”. The wide availability of mushrooms is un secreto a voces. However, each person’s brain chemistry is different and you need to have an experienced guide to help you on a mushroom-induced trip. 

And tourism has put the sustainability of the species at stake.

Credit: User comment on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_XnzIYmUYw

The lack of regulation translates into indiscriminate picking. Of course, traditional owners of the land are affected and that is just not fair. 

Magic mushrooms have a good rep, but they are also unpredictable.

Credit: 2037. Digital image. The Guardian.

Several recent studies indicate that magic mushrooms could have medical benefits in people suffering from mental health issues. As reported by The Guardian earlier this year in relation to a study conducted at Imperial College London: “Magic mushrooms may effectively ‘reset’ the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression, the latest study to highlight the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics suggests”. However, this study was done in a controlled environment. Doing mushrooms can have unpredictable effects that some people have described as a “bad trip”

Note: the consumptions of magic mushrooms is illegal throughout Mexico and only specific Indigenous groups can consume them for spiritual purposes. We do not condone the consumption of illegal substances. This article is for informational purposes only.

Nicole Richie’s Style Evolution Will Leave You With A Serious Case Of Whiplash

Fierce

Nicole Richie’s Style Evolution Will Leave You With A Serious Case Of Whiplash

Nicole Richie, who is of English, Mexican and Creole African-American ancestry, has had quite the style evolution. This party-girl turned entrepreneur has cycled through trends in a way that would make the average person’s head spin. Richie entered the spotlight around 2004 when she burst onto the scene in the trailblazing reality show “The Simple Life”. After the public recognized how cute, witty, and downright watchable this girl was, she pretty much has never left our screens since.

Throughout Richie’s tenure in the public eye, she’s always brought her own personality to everything she does. Back in her reality days, it was her biting, deadpan humor. Now that she’s older, her personality is reflected not only in her personal style (which is always on point), but her fashion projects as well (she’s the founder and creative director of the House of Harlow 1960 fashion line). Here at FIERCE by mitu, we’ve compiled a list of classic Nicole Richie trends that will make you realize why this Latina entrepreneur is such a force in front of and behind the camera. Take a look below!

1. Two-Toned Hair

@PetiteAnge_/Twitter

When the hit reality-show “The Simple Life” aired in 2003, Nicole Richie was rocking a really on-trend hairstyle at the time: two-toned hair where the “low lights” were much darker than the rest of the hair. We can’t say this is our favorite look of hers.

2. Tube Dresses

@ShamirBailey/Twitter

In the early aughts, Richie also gravitated towards monochrome tube dresses that looked just as at-home on the red carpet as they did in the club circuit.

3. Bright Orange Faux Tans

@missemilyjayx/Twitter

Even the naturally darker-complexioned Miss Richie wasn’t immune to the early-2000s allure of a spray tan back in the day. As you can see from the above picture, she may have gone a bit over-board with the trend (we’ve all been there).

4. Blunt Bangs

@Kamaria24k/Twitter

Richie has never been one to shy away from bold hair experimentation (see her Met Gala look from 2017). We love how she always changed up her tresses, like when switched her usual hair-do to some chic blunt bangs. She really can’t go wrong.

5. Smudged Eyeliner

@ITSPARISBXTCH/Twitter

When Richie first hit the scene in 2004, she had a signature makeup look that always turned heads. She rocked a “grunge-chic” look that included tousled, bedhead hair and a smudged smokey eye that looked like she had been up all night partying.

6. Super-Sized Sunglasses

@ccyeez/Twitter

Once Richie started to transition out of her reality TV days, she really began to come into her own, style-wise. We have a feeling that Richie began donning mega-glasses because it successfully shielded her from the paparazzi, but it also cemented her as a style icon. One could argue that it was Richie who put the over-sized sunglasses on the map for good.

7. Over-Sized Clothing

Pinterest via Amy Joyce

Not only did Richie develop a penchant for over-sized sunglasses, she also started to gravitate towards baggy clothing around the same time as well. This was a massive change from her previous style which consisted of mini-dresses and skin-tight polyester.

8. Side Bangs

@wmag/Twitter

If you look through a catalogue of Richie’s past fashion experiments, a common thread will weave through all of it: bangs. Richie has always been a big proponent of a fringe, whether it’s an aforementione blunt cut or her signature side-swept style that she usually opts for. In fact, it’s hard to think of a look as classically Nicole unless the bangs are both prominent and sideswept.

9. Boho-Chic

@TangerOutlets/Twitter

There may not be a celebrity in all of Hollywood that does Bohemian as well as Nicole Richie does. Not only is she tasteful and fashionable with her choices, but she’s also adventurous and playful. Richie’s bohemian phase was the look that launched a thousand copy-cats–celeb or otherwise.

10. Scarf Headbands

@ccyeez/Twitter

Richie has been a fan of the scarf-as-a-headband since her “Simple Life” days, and her affinity for the accessory doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon. These days, however, she sticks to smaller, top-knotted headbands as is evidenced by her most recent Instagram posts.

11. Curly & Natural

@MJHIStorySource/Twitter

Although Richie has opted to straighten her hair since her early days in the spotlight (no judgement from our side), she’s recently gone the au naturel route, leaving her mane to reveal its curly glory. We love how Richie is never afraid to experiment in any aspect of her look

12. Sleek and Simple

@nicolerichie/Instagram

Lately, Nicole Richie has been all about simplicity when it comes to her personal style–especially when it comes to her hair. This is a big departure from her bygone days when her mantra seemed to be “the more the merrier” when it came to hair and makeup.