Entertainment

You’re Going To Lose It After Watching Laurie Hernandez Visit Her Abuelita At Her Assisted Living Home

Laurie Hernandez Gets Personal

On the latest episode of “Dancing With the Stars,” we got to see a super intimate side of Laurie Hernandez and her family. The interviews start with her parents talking about how they remember little Laurie as the “life of the house.” Her parents then talked about all the sacrifices they make sure Laurie had the opportunity to do what she loved. Just like most of our parents, they worked hard to make ends meet – they even worked at Laurie’s gym. But that’s not even the most emotional part of the interview.

Laurie then visits her grandmother in her assisted living home… and we lost it.

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Credit: Dancing With The Stars / ABC

“I’m very, very, very proud of her.” Then she whispers an “Ay, mamita.” Get. The. Tissues. They reminisce about how abuelita Hernandez moved from Puerto Rico to the U.S. in order to chase her dreams. Check out their story above. ❤️


READ: This Is Why Laurie Hernandez Means So Much To Latinas

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Every Time I Go Back To The Dominican Republic, I Remember The Person I Am And Want To Be

Culture

Every Time I Go Back To The Dominican Republic, I Remember The Person I Am And Want To Be

aruni_y_photography / Instagram

Anyone traveling to the Dominican Republic this summer has likely been met with the cautionary warning; “Don’t drink anything from the minibar.” Eleven tourist deaths on the island in 2019, ranging from natural causes to counterfeit alcohol consumption, have spurred FBI and State Department investigations. Though news of flight and hotel cancellations abounded, I missed my family and refused to let fear stop me from seeing them. Since I lived to tell the tale, here are a few things I learned about my father, about myself, and about the precarious paradise that keeps calling me back.

Billy Joel and Nas have interpreted the “New York state of mind,” and if you have ever visited the Dominican Republic beyond the purpose of tourism, you’ll know that there exists a Dominican state of mind too.

Credit: Dan Gold / Unsplash

Whenever I exit Las Americas or Puerto Plata airports, humidity slaps me in the face, and my Dominican mindset is immediately activated. On this island, electricity does not run 24/7. When the electricity goes, or as we say “se fue la luz,” water doesn’t run from the tap either. All that is left to do is swap your sneakers for flip-flops, and exorcise your need for immediate gratification. It takes practice, and I re-learn this lesson with each visit.

The Dominican Republic is changing fast. 

Credit: zonacolonialrd / Instagram

There is new construction everywhere you look. I sit on the balcony chatting with my father and stare across the street trying to remember how it looked before the apartment building was constructed in that space. I can see from an open doorway on the ground level that wooden boxes are being stacked, and hauled out in front of a business. I tune out my father’s voice as I focus on the shape and size of the boxes. My Spanish needs work, and I ask my father, “Papi, what does ataúd mean?” The business slogan translates to “Quality Coffins.” I think about magic realism traditions in Latin American literature, and I am reminded that so often a country like this juxtaposes disparate images and experiences in such a casual manner. I don’t think I would be able to live across the street from a constant reminder of death anywhere else but on this incongruous island.

We drive to the countryside of El Seibo for a few days.

Credit: fedoacurd/ Instagram

My father syncs his playlist and he directs my sister what song to play next. The first song is by Boy George. I watch my father sing along, and I can’t help but think about the Dominican Republic’s homophobic culture steeped in hyper-masculinity. Same-sex marriage is not recognized on the island, and members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination and violence. I talk to my sister about this later that night, and she tells me small changes are coming to the island. The city of Santo Domingo hosts inclusive events like Draguéalo, where you can even sign up for a Vogue class.

Credit: Draguelao / Facebook

My father’s playlist continues and I’m struck by his selections ranging from Taylor Swift to A.I.E. (A Mwana), a song by a 1970s group called Black Blood, featuring lyrics in Swahili.

I watched this Dominican dad jam across continents, decades, cultures, languages, and race. I realize there is so much I don’t know about him, and so often we shortchange our parents’ knowledge and experience, reducing them to stereotypes and gendered tropes.

My next lesson is on staying sexy.

                                                           Unsplash/Photo by Ardian Lumi 

After a few days in the countryside, my sister and I rent a hotel room in La Zona Colonial. We ready for a night out when she looks at my outfit and asks me, “Um, is that what you’re wearing tonight?” I thought my yellow jumpsuit was poppin’. My sister pulls out a little black dress from her overnight bag and kindly suggests I wear it. The dress is tiny. It’s skimpy. It’s super short. It’s absolutely perfect. I channel my inner Chapiadora, Goddess of Sex Appeal and Free Drinks, and dance all night. 

Growing up in the 90s, I styled myself in oversized men’s clothing. It wasn’t until that one magical summer in the Dominican Republic when the heat was too oppressive to wear jeans, so I wore—gasp—a skirt. That was the first time I felt sexy, and learned the power of sex appeal. Though I wielded that power throughout my twenties, it fell away in my thirties. Wearing my sister’s LBD I realize I still have “it,” and in the Dominican Republic, sex appeal is ageless. Be careful when you come here. You may fall in love with a local, or you may just fall in love with yourself again.

The island leaves me with one last lesson.

It comes late one night, sharing a few bottles of wine with my father and sister. No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver—the worst blind person is the one who refuses to see. I could say the current political landscape in the U.S. reflects this willful ignorance, a refusal to see; yet it is the same human experience felt across space and time.

I come away wondering about my own blind spots.

                                                            Instagram/@rensamayoa

I board my return flight thinking up ways to combat willful ignorance at home, thinking about maintaining that flexible DR state of mind and thinking about buying a little black dress. As tourism in the Dominican Republic picks up again, and unfavorable headlines drop out of the news cycle, this changing island stands in its own plurality welcoming visitors, and offering endless opportunities to teach us something new.

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Middle Children Around The Country Are Basically Having A Meltdown Over Their Five Minutes Of Fame

Culture

Middle Children Around The Country Are Basically Having A Meltdown Over Their Five Minutes Of Fame

@_lorimar / Twitter

Check out Twitter today and you’ll find a flood of tearful emojis and trophy signs as middle children across the country celebrate a day that mostly all of us didn’t know about: NationalMiddleChildDay. Yep, it’s #NationalMiddleChildDay, a day most of us didn’t even know existed until we woke up and saw it trending on Twitter this morning. Overlooked siblings across the United States are getting all worked up over their day in the sun and chance to overshadow their older siblings and little bros.

The excited tweets are trending on Twitter and probably the most humble thing we’ve seen lately.

Because what a thing to be pumped about.

Of course, we get it, it’snot every day the world’s most forgotten about or underestimated sibling gets their own hashtag.

The excitement of National Middle Child Day is pretty OTT.

And a reminder that when it comes to middle siblings they’ve got a THIRST for attention. (Since they don’t usually get it.)

Literally, so many middle children posting their thanks for having a day just for them.

Because TBH we all know a younger sibling that makes it about them somehow.

Fortunately for our semi-deprived siblings, parents are here for the celebrations too.

Because sure, it might FEEL like you’ve been forgotten about most days, but the love for middle children is just as strong for the oldest and youngest of sibs.

But we gotta admit, the content machine on this hashtag is pretty on point.

There are literally so many sad-face photos today.

So many photos of middle children cast away to the LEFT.

Particularly ones that highlight the moment the middle child realized being a big sibling wasn’t quite what they had in mind.

And there were a lot of good jokes.

Because they might be the most overlooked but we all KNOW middle children are the funniest.

Like literally the gags they pull are full of self-humor.

Hilariously enough chick is still pulling for her moment in the spotlight and we are WITH her.

And this middle child with the actual merchandising jokes.

TBH we need that soap rn.

So here’s to you middle children of America!

Thanks for putting up with those of us who will never know what it’s like to be dethroned from the comfy seat of “youngest sibling” and for all the laughs that you provide!

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