Miami “It Girl” Cindy Prado is more than just a pretty face, a fit body and a luminous smile that lights up our entire Zoom room.

She’s a proud Latina, deeply connected to her roots, a widely successful influencer with a community of 2.6 million, a model, an entrepreneur, a fitness guru and founder of the Prado Program, a lover of pasta and adventure and most recently, a restaurateur, after opening a three-in-one restaurant concept at Oasis Wynwood in Miami, FL.

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mitú had the pleasure of picking her brain about growing up Latina, food, business, the dreams she has turned into realities and how anyone else can do the same things, too. 

Tell us about what it was like to grow up in a Cuban household. What are some of your favorite childhood memories?

Honestly, it was a lot of fun. I feel like Cuban families are very, very tight-knit, so even my really far away cousins were like brothers and sisters to me. We always had a lot of people around and we’re also very celebratory, so we would find any excuse to dance and throw parties. I loved [my childhood]. It was a struggle growing up, but my family never let us know it, which is something that I admire so much about them. Some of my favorite memories are of going to Disney World every year, and we’d have 12 people crammed into a Motel 6 room. Now as an adult, I look back and I’m like, “Okay, obviously we were 12 people in a Motel 6, we were struggling,” but it’s still the greatest memory. We’d have so many bean bags on the floor that you’d literally have to jump over people’s heads to go to the bathroom and we’d stay up all night… it was so much fun. If you think about it, if we had all had separate rooms, we wouldn’t have had such a good time. That’s why I love our culture. We always make the best of everything. 

Who were your role models growing up? 

I would definitely say my mom, just because I feel like a lot of who I am today is because of her. She was always really hard working. After school, I’d have to either go to my grandma’s house or my aunt’s house because she worked a lot, so she wasn’t home. No matter what though, she was always so happy. It didn’t matter if she had to wake up at 5:00 a.m. after two hours of sleep — she was always joyful. That’s probably where I got my positive nature from, the reason I do my morning dances in the mirror. She’s always just been such a positive light and I look up to her so much. 

From where does your ambition stem?

My number one ambition was always to take care of my family. I wanted to give to them what they gave to me. Now that I’m an adult, and I’ve thankfully been able to realize that goal, my ambition stems from many other things, including my family. My current goal is to continue growing, staying in the uncomfortable and making sure that I’m always improving and growing in my career. 

How do you feel speaking both English and Spanish has successfully impacted your career and tied into your identity?

Well, Spanish was my first language, but I thankfully learned English relatively quickly. My brothers and my cousins were all older than me, so when they started school, they had ESOL classes and they would come home and teach me everything. Or they would speak in English among themselves and I would listen in. By the time I was in first grade, I was already pretty good. But I’m very grateful to be bilingual because, I mean, especially in Miami, Spanish is vital! It’s definitely helped me in so many ways, from simply being able to communicate with others, to my career as an influencer. I’m able to tap into both markets and able to cater to both demographics. I feel like the Spanish community is extremely loyal and dedicated when they follow someone and admire them, and I love them for that. Being able to speak Spanish is very important to me.

What does being a Latina mean to you?

I think that being a Latina means being strong. There are a lot of things that we have to overcome, prejudice and otherwise. I know a lot of Latinas that are incredibly strong individuals who have worked really hard to get to where they are. Everything that I learned from my mom and my family — I got that because they immigrated here from somewhere else, just like so many other families, and they worked so hard to give us opportunities. As you grow up, I think you’re instilled with that same strength and resilience. 

What advice do you have for young Latinas looking to make a name for themselves in their respective industries?

Never let anyone make you feel like you’re not good enough, no matter where you come from. I think it’s also really important to have a good network of people that you work well with. My team is amazing and without them, I would go absolutely insane. So, always make sure you surround yourself with like-minded people who help you and bring you up and just always shoot for the stars. 

What makes you feel the most beautiful?

Being happy. I don’t think that any amount of makeup or hair or whatever it is can make you feel beautiful when you’re in a bad mood or you’re going through something hard. I think that there’s nothing more beautiful than having a smile on your face. If you’re happy and you genuinely feel good, that radiates on the outside. 

If you were on death row, what would be your final meal?

For a foodie like me, this is very difficult. But you know what, I saw a meme on Instagram the other day, and it said something like, “If you get the all-you-can-eat pasta from Olive Garden on death row, does that mean that you never die?” I’ll never stop eating pasta, so I think I’m just going to go with that.