My heritage comes from Puerto Rico, la isla del encanto. Both of my parents were born in Puerto Rico. My father moved to Chicago when he was five years old and my mother moved to Chicago after high school to work. I was born in Chicago to Puerto Rican parents and have lived in Puerto Rico as well as Florida.
I have degrees in Broadcast Communications & Information Technology. An Associate of Science in Broadcasting from the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and a Bachelor of Technology from the American Intercontinental University of Florida.
Profession/ Career: What is your current profession, position and responsibilities at work?
I’m an artist but not in the traditional sense of sticking to just one medium, which is why I use the title: Creative. My painting style is abstract and each piece is an expression of an emotion. As a photographer, I create abstract and experimental photography such as light graffiti. When I’m wearing my writer’s cap, I write both fiction and nonfiction.
I’ve recently written many articles related to the topics I care about such as prejudice, discrimination and feminism because I want to be part of the generation who creates positive change in this world.
What has been your most important professional or social accomplishment, thus far?
My most important professional accomplishment so far was creating and launching my own business. Bella Vida Boutique was an online boutique shop selling luxury items such as cosmetics and accessories. Growing up my father always told me I’d be an entrepreneur and after working in an incubator, I couldn’t wait to launch my own business. I loved it. It was exciting, but most of all by taking the risk it proved I was capable.
My most important social accomplishments continue to be my activism, and fighting for women’s rights through writing–as well as through photojournalism–where I have covered protests for the feminist and occupy movements.
You were recently recognized by VOXXI as one of the most powerful Latinas in social media. What inspired your transition into social media? How did you get started?
My foray into social media began with one of my hobbies, learning about Puerto Rico. I never learned much about my ancestral history through formal schooling. Having been online since AOL came out, I’ve known how to use the internet to supplement my knowledge. To this day, I love discovering historical information, facts and figures about my beloved Puerto Rico. This information has blossomed into a very nice collection of finds which I now post on my tumblr blog.
When Twitter first came out, it was another tool for me to find news and information about Puerto Rico. First I began connecting with every Puerto Rican business, magazine, newspaper and person I could find online. Instantly I was connected to the vast online Latino community. Since then, I have continued expanding my network connecting with the communities of my varied interests. My online reach extends into the fields of journalism, literature, writing, arts, political, activism, feminist communities, etc.
Not only do I enjoy learning, interacting and meeting interesting people but I feel it is my duty to share the knowledge I uncover so others may reap the rewards and multiply the benefits. I go out of my way to produce and promote positive content which empowers the Latino community.
What motivates the work that you do?
Empowering others is my motivation. Sometimes it is by giving voice to a cause, especially encouraging others to speak up. When it comes to creating art, I am motivated to leave this place a better world by pointing out its beauty.
In what way(s) have you seen your work impact others?
I practice gratitude, so I experience it every single day. Sometimes it’s when other writers share their latest pieces tackling empowerment and prejudice with me. When my works encourage others to speak up, step out of their comfort zones and try something new. If someone looks at my work and it makes them smile, wonder or question.
What piece of work have you been most proud of?
The piece of work I am most proud of has to be a light graffiti photograph titled, Love on the Run. Not necessarily because it is my favorite or the best but because it was the first piece I was brave enough to enter in an emerging artist competition and became the first piece shown in an art gallery.
You’re such a creative person. Is there anything new that you’d like to try or take on? Any new projects on the horizon?
Yes, I could go on forever. I am creatively hyper and constantly trying new things. I’m going to work on a novel during the National Writing Month challenge in November. Shortly, I will begin a related series of paintings. And I’m always open to freelance opportunities.
Bella Vida by Letty is still in its planning and feasibility stages.
What has been your biggest personal challenge, and what has been your biggest professional challenge?
The hardest challenge in any scenario is getting past yourself and any self doubts. Once you allow yourself to try anything and use failure as a learning tool everything becomes possible.
What is your next big dream?
My next big dream is to see Latinos empowering themselves, creating businesses and creating opportunities for themselves and others that we were not previously there.
What is your advice to Latina students and professionals?
My advice to Latina students is to study the subjects you are passionate about not the ones you think will make you money. It is that passion for what interests you, that will drive you to success.
My advice to Latina professionals is to remind them of an old proverb: If you do not ask, you cannot receive. If you do not ask for the salary you deserve or the position or the title you cannot receive what you want. There is no down side to asking. If they answer no, thank them for their time and go out and build your own dream.
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