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. 

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A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

Culture

A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

UTSA

The University of Texas San Antonio is bringing the history of Mexico into our kitchens. The university is releasing cookbooks that are collections of historic Mexican recipes. Right now, the desserts book is out and online for free. Main dishes and appetizers/drinks are coming soon.

You can now taste historic Mexico thanks to the University of Texas San Antonio.

UTSA has had an ongoing project of preserving, collecting, and digitizing cookbooks from throughout Mexico’s history. Some books date back to the 1700s and offer a look into Mexico’s culinary arts and its evolution.

UTSA has been digitizing Mexican cookbooks for years and the work is now being collected for people in the time of Covid.

Millions of us are still at home and projects like these can be very exciting and exactly what you need. The recipes are a way to distract yourself from the current reality.

“The e-pubs allow home cooks to use the recipes as inspiration in their own kitchens,” Dean Hendrix, the dean of UTSA Libraries, said in UTSA Today. “Our hope is that many more people will not only have access to these wonderful recipes but also interact with them and experience the rich culture and history contained in the collection.”

The free downloads are a way for people to get a very in-depth look into Mexican food history.

The first of three volumes of the cookbooks focuses on desserts so you can learn how to make churros, chestnut flan, buñelos, and rice pudding. What better way to spend your quarantine than learning how to make some of these yummy desserts. We all love sweets, right?

If you want to get better with making your favorite desserts, check out this cookbook and make it happen.

There is nothing better than diving into your history and using food as your guide. Food is so intrinsically engrained in our DNAs and identities. We love the foods and sweets from our childhood because they hold a clue as to who we are and where we come from. This historical collection of recipes throughout history is the perfect way to make that happen.

READ: The Laziest Food Hacks In All Of The Land Would Send Your Abuela To The Chancla

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Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

Things That Matter

Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

JiromyXool / Facebook

Few days are as important or as celebrated as a teenager’s 15th birthday. So imagine the level of selflessness one must have to be able to say ‘no, I don’t want any of the celebration, I rather help out my community.’

Well, one teen in Merida, Mexico did just that this week when she told her family ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to her big quince and instead used the money that had been raised for her special day to help out her neighbors who have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Her party was canceled thanks to Coronavirus, so she decided to help out those less fortunate.

In many countries across Latin America, the quinceañera is a huge milestone for teenagers. Beautiful dresses, visits from the entire family, big parties, and the best gifts are the norm at most quinces. But for 15-year-old Jiromy Xool Pech, instead of spending money on a lavish birthday celebration, she opted to use her party funds to help feed the needy.

Jiromy and her family had long planned her quinceañera – she had been looking forward to it for years. But with the pandemic hitting her community in Mérida particularly hard, the teen decided to put the party aside and use everything that had been invested in the ceremony to help her neighbors who have been impacted by the pandemic.

“Instead of partying, I prefer to give food to people, to help them with that,” Jiromy told El Universal. Jiromy not only asked to donate the money for her quince to the community, but she was also out there helping distribute the food to her neighbors.

Jiromy and her family weren’t alone in helping out the community either. Much of the food that was given out was prepared from by neighbors and local businesses that came to join Jiromy’s cause once word began to spread.

Unfortunately, many quinceañeras have been canceled or postponed thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Diego Sanchez / Getty Images

One of Mexico City’s most famous markets for buying quince dresses – el Mercado Lagunilla – has been closed for three months. This ins’t just hating a major impact on dressmakers and salespeople, but it also means that young teens aren’t able to buy the dresses to celebrate their big day.

But not all is completely lost: there are those who have begun to return, like Ximena González, who came with her family to try on dresses. Her quince was scheduled for May 16, but the pandemic changed everything, and now they expect it to take place in November.

“I was scared and upset but I had to accept it. Some friends can no longer go because they are moving,” she told El Universal. She added, “I hope that when it is my party the infections have gone down and that everything is done as if nothing had happened.”

Mexico has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, including Jiromy’s hometown of Merida.

Jiromy’s selfless act to help her community comes as Mexico continues to see record breaking numbers of cases. Tens of thousands are dying and even more are losing their jobs and being forced back into poverty.

As of August 6, Mexico has more than 456,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 49,698 people have died from the virus. In Jiromy’s state of Yucatan, there have been more than 10,000 cases of the virus and it’s had a huge impact on tourism, which is a major economic force in the state. Therefore, it makes sense that the 15-year-old thought it was important to use the money raised for her party to help those who are suffering financially.

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