Love Thy Cuerpo: A Healthy Look at Body Image

For many mujeres, living up to the beauty ideals of the Hispanic and American culturas, is anything but easy. On a daily basis, we face unique body image issues -- “Am I skinny enough?” “Is my nose too big?” “Are my feet ugly?” -- and situations that can get in the way of our accepting and loving our bodies and ourselves. Here, five women share why they love and celebrate themselves -- we dare you to do the same con tu cuerpo!

I would stand in front of the mirror and rate each area of my body from one to 10. The part of my body that would never score well was my thighs.”

“They always looked so big and shaky. I hated them. It wasn’t until I started working out that I stopped obsessing over my legs. Then one day, I realized that my whole body, including my legs, was in good shape. My thighs were still big, but that’s just how my body was shaped and there was nothing I could do to change it. It also helped to see women such as Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian proudly displaying their big butts and thighs looking so sexy and confident. So I started accepting myself and now I think my thighs are sexy.”

- Nichole Moreno, 40

I'm on the shorter side with thick hips and a big bust, but I'm not any less confident.”

“Latinas, in general, are taught to love the shape of their body, knowing full well that it goes against the American standard of what has traditionally believed to be beautiful, which is tall, blond and blue eyed. I know that my shape and size are different, but I’m confident because being different is also beautiful.”

- Harumi Yoshida, 26

Although the ideal Latina body is supposed to be curvy and voluptuous, my hips are pretty narrow.”

“Luckily, my parents taught me to like my body ever since I was a kid. I learned very early how to be comfortable in my own skin. As a result, today, I know my body is beautiful and that anyone can be sexy at any size.”

- Karla Minchala, 25

I am a woman and we are all about change.”

“My weight fluctuates between five or eight pounds on any given day, depending on how much I ate the night before. So it is no surprise that my feelings about my weight and overall body also change depending on my mood, which also changes. I embrace the extra five pounds -- or 10. I embrace the ability to fill a dress that I couldn’t the week before. How boring would it be if we didn’t change? I love who I am today.”

- Yeilin Bonilla, 32

I was blessed with all of the hair DNA from both sides of my parents.

“I had hair everywhere: on my lips, chin, belly button, arms, legs. Even my toes! To make matters worse, my mom wouldn’t let me shave until I was in high school. For most of my life, I was ashamed of all that hair, and finally got rid of most of it with laser treatments. When it came time to take the hair off my arms, however, I couldn’t do it. At the last minute, I decided I wanted to keep it. I wanted to have something that reminded me of my parents and how I came into the world.”

- Johanna Robles, 37

What Does Being an American Latina Mean?

Being an American Latina means different things to different women. Las Fabulosas talks to three mujeres about their Latina pride and how nuestra cultura enriches the American experience.

Success and Limits of a Career Professional

“When I became a U.S. citizen, it was very important for me to assimilate. Mastery of English was instrumental in my personal and professional success. In 2007, I founded Diálogo Public Relations with offices in the U.S. and Mexico to help brands have a relevant dialogue.

To me, the only limitations for entrepreneurs are in the mind. The opportunities for Americans of Hispanic descent are infinite. I have taken a special interest in nurturing the next great Latina communications professionals by creating an internship curriculum that provides students real-life experience on PR campaigns. My advice is to work harder than anyone, pay your dues, and be grateful and proud to be an American of Hispanic descent.” - Lucia Matthews, CEO of the Hispanic-focused public relations agency DIÁLOGO

Living Between Cultures

“Being an Argentine in America has its positives and negatives. Even though my life takes place in the U.S., I need to find ways to share my experiences with my loved ones back home. Fortunately, I’m able to incorporate my Argentine culture into my American life.

Professionally, I can better communicate and relate to my law firm’s Latin-American clients. Personally, I enjoy introducing my friends to things I enjoy, such as Argentine wine or a very good asado. Speaking two languages has enriched my life since I am able to reach out to more people and eventually make friends from countries around the world. Plus, having an accent is a conversation starter. Latin people are very outgoing, driven, and have an incredible sense of friendship and care for family. I believe that is the reputation that we have built in America, and that’s what makes me proud.” - María Carolina Gonzalez Diaz, Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP Law Firm

Proud to Be an American Latina

“My culture makes me who I am. I emigrated to America from Argentina, but I think of my daughter as an American Latina even though she was born across from Central Park in New York City. I try to teach my Argentine values and traditions to my children and would love to see them embrace the culture.

The Latin culture is very rich because it is made up of capable, creative and strong people working very hard to achieve their dreams. Whether in science, the food industry, the arts or linguistics, the Latin contribution to America is expanding with strength.” - Luciana “Uchi” Davidzon, an award-winning chef and blogger at Latin Food Lovers

Hispanicize: Ground Zero for Latina Networking

At Hispanicize 2014, held April 1st through 4th, Latino trendsetters came together to share the latest trends in media and beyond. Las Fabulosas spoke with two of the event’s advisory board members about how Latinas are advancing their industries and the lives of other American Latinas.

Claudia Gioia, EVP, Miami Market Leader and Latino Leader at Burson-Marsteller PR firm: “Marketing and public relations are services that grew exponentially as the markets became more sophisticated. Micro-targeting proved a successful formula for connecting with the general public, but is significantly more so among minority groups like Latinas. New generations of Latinas are finding opportunities to grow their careers by supporting brands.”

On how Latinas are changing America:Many Latinas grew up in multigenerational homes, where there was a need to listen and understand family members’ needs. Employers are very interested in these attributes. After the last presidential election, it became apparent that the Hispanic population is so relevant that every general marketing and communications program needs to include them. Latinas added a great deal of authenticity to the whole ballgame in the U.S. by being excellent communicators and engagers, with an open and inclusive spirit.”

Pili Montilla, TV Host, Actress, Producer, Blogger and Social Media Expert: “There’s a beautiful need to go back to our cultural roots. In music we see a resurgence of Latin beats and sounds such as Cumbia. Lyrically, we hear a constant pride in being Latinos. We’re also seeing support for more independent, alternative acts.”

On how Latinas are changing America:Latinas in the industry are strong, ambitious, creative mujeres. We are branching out into other careers within the entertainment industry such as production, script supervising, directing and many more. Jennifer Lopez, for example, is an actress, singer, designer and more. This is inspiring to anybody, regardless of nationality, and will lead to more jobs for Latinas. While having a handful of Latinas in the public eye does not portray the full diversity of Latina women, we are heading in the right direction.”

How to Get the Corner Office

At age 22, Michelle Herrera Mulligan arrived in New York City in 1997 with a dream of working in magazines. She got her first break working as a copy editor at Latina. “It was only a two week assignment, but I stayed extra hours and worked free, helping editors on whatever projects they needed." That level of commitment got the attention of the editor in chief, and two months later Herrera Mulligan was offered an assistant editor post.

Since that promising start, she has edited two books: Juicy Mangos, a literary collection of Latina erotica; and Border-Line Personalities, an anthology about the Latina experience in America. She's also published numerous articles in popular glossies like Time, Woman's Day, and House & Garden

Today, she is the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan For Latinas, boosting Latinas’ visibility in the media and other fields. Here are three of her essential tips on how to scale the wall of success:

Master Your Skills: If you want to be an editor or writer, for example, “start a blog and contribute to it one to three times a day. Promote it and pay close attention to what does and doesn't get attention," says Herrera Mulligan. Future editors should also make reading a priority: “Read lots of different blogs and magazines, taking careful notice of what does and does not work."

Triple Your Threat: "The more skills you have to bring to the table, the more valuable you'll be to your potential employer," says Herrera Mulligan, noting that aspiring editors should take classes on copy editing, fact-checking, and web design and development to beef up their résumés.

Work Your Network: "Most professionals I know credit their careers to a series of contacts, mentors and friends,” says Herrera Mulligan. She encourages Latinas to stay in touch with classmates and fellow interns, and to make new connections with others in their field.

Money Makeover: Renew Your Budget this Spring

Tidy up more than your home this season by giving your budget a money makeover! Carmen Wong Ulrich, host of Marketplace Money, APM, and author of "The Real Cost of Living" offers a few helpful budgeting tips for reevaluating your spending plan.

Write down everything you spend for a month.

“What works for dieting, works for budgeting,” Wong Ulrich says. Dieting studies have found that keeping a daily log of meals and snacks reduces the amount of food consumed, and the same goes for spending. Keep track of everything you spend money on, and after a month this log will provide a clear picture of where every dollar is going. “Look where you can cut back and where you have wiggle room,” she advises.

Evaluate needs and wants.

“Basic needs tend to be the same across the board,” says Wong Ulrich. “But the ‘want’ creeps in when we make decisions about not only frivolous spending, but big ticket items in our budget.” Yes, we need a car, but is an expensive car still a ‘need’? It is imperative to evaluate each spending choice as a matter of needs versus wants and even further, at what price-point the purchases should be made. “I’m not a fan of living so frugally that you can’t enjoy life, but I’m a big fan of being honest with yourself as to the quality of the ‘needs’ choices you make.”

Splurging today means sacrificing tomorrow.

“Splurges are going to happen, but be willing to pay the price down the line in terms of giving up something else.” She gives an example, “If you splurge with a night out with the girls, you’ll need to commit to cutting back on other spending during the week.” It is a slippery slope, but it is important to maintain your spending balance.